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Pizza Crust for a Low-Carb Diet

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Pizza Crust for a Low-Carb Diet
Transform a humble head of cauliflower into a lower-carb pizza crust. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

A low-carb diet restricts many favorite, familiar foods, such as bread, pasta and morning muffins. Pizza is another food that is usually off the menu as it typically contains 20 to 40 grams of carbohydrates in just one slice. Even moderately low-carb diets call for less than 150 grams of carbs per day, while many regimens have you consume 50 grams or fewer.

Revamping the crust recipe can help save you some carb grams on your pizza. These low-carb crusts may still be too much for some extremely low-carb regimens, but they easily fit into less restrictive low-carb diet plans.

Almond Flour for a Low-Carb Crust

The Atkins Diet is one of the most well-known, low-carb diets around. After the first 2-week induction phase, during which you're limited to just 20 grams of net carbs per day, you slowly add back small amounts of carbs to find a level that helps you manage your weight. "Net" carbs are equal to the total carbohydrate grams in a food minus the grams of fiber: net carbs = total carbohydrate grams - fiber grams. You count net carbs because they're the ones that will notably affect your blood sugar level.The diet offers a recipe for a low-carb pizza crust that's suitable for a low-carb regimen. The only time this pizza crust is off-limits is during the induction phase.

Use almond flour as the binder mixed with eggs, Parmesan cheese, spices and baking powder. Almond flour offers just 3 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup compared to wheat flour with 23 grams. Eggs, cheese and herbs contribute negligible carbs to the recipe. Unlike preparation for a traditional flour-based pizza crust, bake the dough first and then add sauce and toppings before finishing your pie in the oven.

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower makes a tasty, low-carb substitute for foods typically banned from a low-carb plan, including mashed potatoes and rice. Cooked cauliflower has just 1 gram of net carbohydrate per 1/2 cup. With a little effort, transform cauliflower into a dense crust on which you can place any toppings you desire. Accept that a cauliflower crust won't mimic a thin, brick-oven style pie, but will be more like a vegetable flat bread. It's also far more delicate than a classic pizza crust, so you might need to dive in with a fork rather than to fold and devour.

Puree raw cauliflower in a blender or food processor, steam for 4 to 5 minutes and then squeeze dry using a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Mix the dry cauliflower "flour" with egg and a dash of Parmesan, coconut flour and seasonings. Spread the dough out -- it's quite sticky and not conducive to "rolling" as you would with traditional dough. Bake in a hot oven until golden and firm, then add your favorite toppings and finish in the oven.

Vegetables as Pizza Crust

Embrace the spirit of pizza's rich tomato and cheesy flavors and consume minimal carbs by using fresh, roasted or grilled veggies as your crust base. Precook portobello mushroom caps by steaming or grilling and top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Finish under the broiler for a "crust" that has just about 2 grams of net carbs per cap.

Eggplant, with just 6 grams of net carbs per cup, also marries well with pizza flavors. Steam slices and then top with sauce and toppings. Slide under the broiler for just a few minutes for another pizza-style, low-carb meal or snack.

Bacon Pizza Crust

Some creative low-carb and paleo dieters weave together strips of bacon to make an entirely carb-free pizza crust. Roast the bacon raft in an oven, then apply your desired toppings, and cook until the cheese melts. The minimal carbs in the dish come from the sauce and any added vegetables.

Do keep in mind that bacon is quite high in saturated fat, so keep this crust as a once-in-a-while treat. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados, fatty fish and nuts, are far healthier options.

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