Almost Clean BBQ Chicken Pizza

I have just recently discovered the art of cauliflower crust. By that I mean, I’ve heard of it, but couldn’t bring myself to try it for 2 reasons.

1. Cauliflower cooking smells WEIRD, right? It just kinda smells like… trash.
2. If you’ve ever made anything with cauliflower, you know there is a process between the cooking and the turning it into dough that requires you to get all of the moisture out of it. This turns into some long, drawn-out, messy experience that usually ends with half of my cauliflower stuck to a dish towel and the other half still super soggy.

The bad news is that I still don’t have a solution for either of those problems. I hear there is something called a tea towel that works for straining liquid out, but I haven’t tried that. The good news is that the end result of this pain is a delicious, clean pizza!

Okay, I know that so far I haven’t been a very good salesman on this so far, but it’s seriously SO worth it. Let me tell you why – for the entire pizza, it’s 247 calories, it’s delicious, and it’s {almost} completely clean.

I say almost because I used an amazing bottled BBQ sauce from Trader Joe’s, Carolina Gold. While it’s not clean, it’s not…terribly unclean. I know that it’s pretty black and white, so that term doesn’t really make sense. Yes, it’s processed, and you wouldn’t see it near an approved Paleo list, the ingredients in it are all okay in my book. You’ll see on the label that the first ingredient is cane sugar. I’m okay with it, it’s actually the type of sugar I prefer to use and bake with it, but it’s not something that I think should be a large part of a healthy diet, so for that reason, I don’t chow down on this sauce regularly. And for those of you who follow an 80/20 clean eating plan, I do consider this a very small portion of my 20% unclean.

carolina gold label


I get asked a lot how I know what’s okay, what’s not okay, where can you bend the clean eating rule, etc. I will say that it’s mostly just personal preference. If someone follows a 100% paleo diet, they wouldn’t eat this sauce. I lie somewhere in between Paleo and 80/20, which seems confusing, I know. I don’t follow Paleo to the full extent because there are some things that I enjoy in my diet, that make my life convenient, and that I don’t see any negative effects from eating that are not approved on the Paleo list. However, I do try to keep my diet very minimally processed and far less than 20% of the foods I eat are processed. That’s pretty much my definition of clean eating, in a nutshell.

Some of my non-negotiables are artificial sweeteners (sucralose, splenda, equal, aspartame), MSG, and trans fats. What I mean by non-negotiable is that I will not consume these products, ever. Not as my treat meal, not as part of my 20%, not one time in 50 years. Obviously, I’m sure that I have (holds throat, gagging) without knowing at a restaurant or somewhere that I couldn’t see a label. But if it’s in my control, these won’t go into my body. So if you are lost in the grocery store and want to know what’s acceptable to use as part of your 20%, again that will be totally based on personal preference, but those are my rules that I live by.

{Please keep in mind that I am NOT a registered dietician or physician. You should make all of your diet choices based on your beliefs, medical recommendations, and what’s best for you. I am simply sharing what has worked for me and what I believe in!}

So, if you are wanting to create this concoction but are turned off by the packaged BBQ sauce, there are some great recipes out there for homemade sauces. Pinterest has a great search bar for that type of stuff – finding one you like and want to create might take you a little time, but once you do, you can always use it for anything BBQ related. I simply was feeling lazy and was okay with this option.

Moving on to the good stuff! Let’s get this pizza party started!

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 head of chopped cauliflower
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Light Mozzarella) divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon of Quark Cheese (you can read about this here!)
  • 2 ounces of pre-cooked chicken (1 tenderloin) cut into bite size pieces or shredded
  • 1 tablespoon of Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce (or any sauce of your choosing)
  • 1/8 of a red onion, chopped
  • parsley, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper

You’ll first want to start the process of the crust. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and load into a food processor. Process until riced and cook in the microwave for 8 minutes. Allow to cool so it’s not steaming hot when you touch it and place into a clean dish towel. Fold the towel around the cauliflower so that it can’t fall out, and squeeze with ALL of your might. You want as much moisture to come out as possible, because the dryer it is, the better your crust will hold together. Once strained, place in a bowl, along with egg white, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, oregano, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With clean hands, roll “dough” into a ball and spread out of cookie sheet. You want this to be thin and flat so that it will cook evenly. If it starts to separate, fill it back in. In the end, you want to have a circle of dough with no holes, and pressed as flat to the parchment paper as possible. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. You’ll want to use a spatula to flip it by first sliding it under all sides to loosen it from the paper. Use caution, this breaks easily and it takes a few times to get the hang of it!

crust 1

crust 2

crust after

While crust is cooking, combine diced red onion, the remaining mozzarella cheese, chicken cubes, and BBQ sauce. Mix well and spread across crust once it’s baked. Sprinkle parsley on top and return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and toppings are warm. Add dollops of Quark cheese to fully cooked pizza, or put it in a bottle to drizzle it across.

pizza close final

That’s all! It seems like a lot of work, but if you have cauliflower pre-cooked and even pre-drained, it’s a lot easier and faster, so I have started keeping some on hand!

pizza done

pizza done close

Happy Pizza night!


signature newest


No Comments

Leave a Reply