Taste Test: We Tried 5 Cauliflower Pizza Crusts From O‘ahu Stores and Restaurants
The gluten-free crust alternative is having a moment.
Take a casual stroll around the frozen section of any grocery store and you’ll notice that cauliflower is the healthy food substitute trending right now. This replacement for carbohydrates is popping up everywhere: from bags of rice, gnocchi and bread to popular pizza places found nationwide. We here at HONOLULU Magazine have decided to taste test a handful of options that are pulling the classic switcheroo using the previously second-class vegetable as a worthwhile pizza crust.
Five Cheese + Fresh Tomato with cauliflower crust
Add $2.50 and subtract 10 calories per slice when you add cauliflower crust to any CPK pie. We picked the closest to a Margherita we could find, which was the five cheese pie with smoked Gouda, Romano, fresh mozzarella and Monterey Jack, slices of tomato and julienne basil. The thin, crispy crust held up well against the fresh flavors, making it feel like you were biting into a crunchier version of the thin-crust versions I’ve had in Italy. Make sure the pizza is cut all the way through or the cauliflower crust will buckle when you try to slide out a slice. Your carb count is cut by about a third but take note that the additional cheese to bind the crust will add just two grams of fat. – Christi Young
Verdict: I like my crusts either extra crunchy or very bready. This one worked for me and heated up well in the toaster oven a few days later.
Where to find: CPK locations in Ala Moana, Kāhala, Kailua, Kapolei, Mililani, Pearlridge, Waikīkī and near the airport.
Pieology Cauliflower Crust Custom Pizza
Dish out $3 more than the standard dough at Pieology for cauliflower crust as an option to customize your pizza at their Honolulu stores. The veggie-based crust delivers similar-to-traditional pizza with a lower-carb crust and a lower fat pie. The crust holds together but when you pile on the toppings, it can lose much of the crispiness unless you eat it right there. Since adding many toppings is part of the appeal of getting to a custom pizza, choosing lower-moisture toppings helps with crunch preservation. You are eating a little healthier since ingredients include cauliflower, brown rice flour and mozzarella rather than mostly refined white flour. The ultimate calorie, carb and fat content depends on your topping choices that include six cheeses, various sauces, many meats, many more veggies, along with some vegan plant-based proteins. – Robbie Dingeman
Verdict: A good choice for dinner when you don’t feel like cooking. Plus the carb and fat savings make it acceptable to pair it with a beer with minimal guilt.
Where to find: Pieology locations in ‘Āina Haina, Kailua, Pearlridge, University.
Caulipower Margherita Pizza
Starting from $12.29 (plus tax) at Foodland Farms
Full disclosure: I’m a repeat offender when it comes to Caulipower’s frozen cauliflower crust pizzas. For those in need of something very quick after a long day at work, these pies hold up strong on their own. But if there’s is a bit of time for easy meal prepping, I feel slightly less guilty about adding thick chunks of mozzarella, locally grown grape tomatoes and heaps of balsamic vinegar to the Margherita or Three Cheese options than I would eating a regular frozen or delivered pizza. Depending on your oven, the base becomes a crunchy, thin crust within 13 to 15 minutes. I recently spotted two more options from this brand at Whole Foods in Kaka‘ako: All Natural Uncured Turkey Pepperoni and All Natural Uncured Pepperoni. After only one try of the latter, I’m hooked. The Margherita pizza is 330 calories for half of the pie, 12 grams of protein and 37 grams of carbs. – Katie Kenny
Verdict: Frozen pizzas have a bad rep, especially those that are health conscious, but I find myself craving this after work when I simply want to be a couch potato. The thin crust, popular topping options, simplicity and calorie intake are hard to beat when shopping in the frozen section.
Where to find: Whole Foods, Safeway, Foodland Farms, Walmart.
Milton’s Cauliflower Crust Margherita Pizza
$12.59 plus tax (two in box)
This is the second Milton’s Cauliflower Crust pizza variety to show up at Costco and it’s turned into a backup dinner option we stock in the freezer for those nights when nobody feels like cooking. (The Roasted Vegetable at $13.29 for two is good, too.) You control the cooking time and can get the crust crunchy, which is sometimes a challenge for cauliflower or other healthier crusts. It’s a cut above many frozen pizzas, sufficiently cheesy with hints of provolone, Parmesan and Romano flavors as well as mozzarella and good on its own but also a good palate to build on if you want to add on some of your spices, sauce or favorite toppings that you have at home. It’s 250 calories for a quarter of the pie, 14 grams protein and 26 grams of carbs. – RD
Verdict: It’s a good deal for a bake-at-home pizza. And you can add some fresh ingredients—basil, tomatoes, cheese or other toppings—to make it even better and still a bargain.
Where to find: Costco locations in Iwilei, Hawai‘i Kai, Waip‘io, Kapolei.
365 Cauliflower Pizza Crust
$6.29 plus tax
It’s not surprising that Whole Foods’ in house brand, 365 Everyday Value, has jumped on the cauliflower crust trend. For half the price of all the other frozen store-bought and freshly-made restaurant pies, this simple gluten- and grain- free crust is made with mozzarella, egg whites, chickpea flour and potato flour. The difference between this and the other two options, is that this should be seen solely as a low calorie pizza base. Bare of sauce and toppings I tried to add the same exact ingredients I had placed on the Caulipower version, but quickly realized this crust needed sauce and a handful of seasoning. I was not as big a fan of the crust, which had a more noticeable cauliflower taste, but with the right additional flavors, I could imagine this to be a tasty flatbread-style pie. It’s 110 calories for a quarter of the pie, 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of carbs. – KK
Verdict: Sitting pretty at roughly half the price point of the other two frozen pizza options, this crust is a perfect base to any home cook looking to use their own ingredients.
Where to find: All Whole Foods locations on O‘ahu.