Low Carb “Veggie Crusts and Shells”

I love breads, cereals, rice, grains of any kind– I am not a carb hater.  But I find my body is happiest when eating those things in moderation.   When a friend of mine announced she was going “breadless” for awhile, I started thinking of all the yummy things she could eat in place of bread.

I’ve used shredded zucchini in the past as a base of a pizza crust during Passover.

Another versatile vegetable is cauliflower.  Pureed with a bit of cooking water, butter, cream, and salt, it makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes.  Processed in a food processor until crumbly and then steamed for four minutes, it is also a great substitute for rice (though for me, I would not use it in place of Japanese rice).

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

I’ve eaten it as a sort of pilaf/couscous with butter, salt, toasted almonds and dried cranberries:

I’ve also seen it various places used in a pizza crust.  I’ve fiddled with the recipe and came up with one I use all the time as a single serving sans all the cheese.  I mix my steamed cauliflower (I nuke it for four minutes without water, just covered with saran) with 2 tablespoons egg white (about one), 1 teaspoon grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon any kind of flour (wheat, soy, almond, chickpea, coconut, etc.) or matzo meal, and seasonings.

It has a texture similar to polenta.

Shape into a crust. I like to do it  on parchment so it doesn’t stick.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Place another piece of parchment on top, flip over onto baking sheet, then peel the top piece of parchment off the browned side.  Bake another 5-10 minutes.

Top with whatever you like.  I’ve used it as a pizza crust, as mentioned before:

Cauliflower pizza with sausage and caramelized onions and mozzarella.

And I’ve also used it as a tostada “shell”:

With refried beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and plain Greek yogurt.

Recently, I tried shredded butternut squash (because I discovered I was out of zucchini) and it was fantastic!



The texture was not as crunchy or crispy as the zucchini, but perhaps this could change if I used a bit less egg white and matzo meal instead of soy flour. I’m still experimenting.  The flavor was great though!  Now I’m also thinking of other combinations — shredded carrot and zucchini might be good… I’d love to hear if you try any of these, or come up with your own creations!

Butternut squash used as a tostada “shell” with refried beans, grilled veggies, lettuce, cheese, and Green yogurt.

Individual Veggie Crust

1 cup of shredded vegetable of choice (if using cauliflower, process  and steam for 4 minutes)

1 tablespoon any kind of flour or matzo meal

1 teaspoon or so of parmesan or more if you like

2-3 tablespoons liquid egg whites or 1 egg white (depending on how crunchy you want the crust to be)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I use a toaster oven).

2.  Mix ingredients together in bowl.

3.  Shape crust into a 1/4 inch layer on parchment paper on baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Place another piece of parchment on top, flip crust, and peel top sheet off of browned side.

5.  Bake for another 5-10 minutes until desired browning is achieved.

6.  Use as a pizza crust or tostada shell and top with toppings of your choice.


Filed under Dinner, Vegetables

17 responses to “Low Carb “Veggie Crusts and Shells”

  1. I LOVE this!!! 🙂 I’ve been wanting to make homemade pizza because we are pizza junkies, and was thinking about crust. But I’m a crust-hater. I don’t hate carbs either, but sometimes I like a really thin crust and this would be perfect for incorporating more veggies into our diet PLUS we get a nice thin crust! And love the tostada too. Very nicely done!!! 🙂

  2. This is creative, Melissa. I’ve only tried zucchini crusts (from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood), not the others.

  3. I didn’t realise pizza crust had so much delicious potential – love it my friend, wonderful job 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thank you! I’m actually quite addicted qnd have been eating them every night!
      I juat tried the cauliflower one with minced onion mixed in with matzo meal and it was so good.

  4. Cheryl

    I too have done the Moosewood zucchini crusts but I’ll have to try these.

  5. Marvelous idea! It never occurred to me that a crust could be made out of veggies.

  6. I’ve been meaning to try some of the cauliflower pizza crust/bread recipes I’ve seen around, to reduce bread consumption a tad and, more importantly, to increase veggie intake. This modified recipe, as well as the squash versions, looks fantastic. Thanks!

  7. Well I guess I have been under a rock! I see all those comments, but I have never had either the zucchini or the cauliflower. However, the results in your picture does look pretty tasty. Also, it is versatile as well I am just thinking of all the things you could make using the crusts as a base. Creative and healthy-glad you posted this.!

  8. I LOVE this idea! I’m going to have to try this.I’m so excited!! =]

  9. This sounds wonderful! I’m always looking for healthy recipes that taste great too so this looks like something I’ll have to try! 🙂

  10. Wow, I will have to try this as I’m trying to minimize carbs in my diet. Now if I could just find a valid substitute for cheese! (PS… Consider adding at least an Email “share” option for your posts. I was looking for a way to email this to myself, but evidently I can only paste it into a Word doc to print. Spread the love!)

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