Cauliflower crusts have been popular on Pinterest boards and grocery store shelves for years, but now, local restaurants are putting their own spin on them. Veggie pizza crusts pull double duty: They’re low-carb, low-calorie alternatives to traditional dough as well as a way for chefs to use up vegetable scraps and reduce food waste.
This spring, Crushed Red – which operates locations in the St. Louis area as well as Columbia, Missouri, Overland Park, Kansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma – introduced its first gluten-free pizza crust. The simply named Veggie Crust is also sustainable: It’s made with leftover vegetables from the restaurant, such as broccoli stems, cucumber peels, tomato tops and more, which are then blended with agave nectar, black beans and Parmesan cheese. The crust can be ordered with any pizza or shareable item on Crushed Red’s menu, but it especially shines in the signature BrocStar, which piles the baked veggie crust with creamy, smoky chipotle-ranch hummus, chopped broccoli and a blend of Cheddar and goat cheeses. Co-founder Powell Kalish describes the healthier, zero-waste crust as a “guilt-free way to eat pizza.”
Crushed Red, multiple locations, crushed-red.com
West Main Pizza
When the owners of West Main Pizza in Jefferson City, Missouri, couldn’t find an affordable cauliflower pizza crust to add to the menu, they took matters into their own hands and made their own. After a few weeks of R&D, the pizzeria added its cauliflower crust to the menu in June 2018; one year later, owner Charlie Christiansen says West Main goes through more than 200 cauliflower crusts per month. The crust is only available in a 12-inch size, but diners can add whatever toppings they like – Christiansen says customers order it topped with everything from sausage, mushroom and onion to sun-dried tomato and spinach. For home cooks, crusts are also available for purchase at the restaurant.
West Main Pizza, 1931 W. Main St., Jefferson City, Missouri, 573.636.6999, wmpizza.com
The Rock Restaurant and Bar
This month, the owners of Springfield, Missouri’s popular Bair’s Sports Grill will open The Rock Restaurant and Bar in the new Quarry Town development. The restaurant offers pub fare with a twist, including pizzas made with a cauliflower crust sourced from Springfield Grocer. The crust is available for build-your-own pies as well as signature pizzas, including sun-dried tomato and cheese; mushroom, sausage and pepperoni; barbecue chicken; and bacon, chicken and ranch. Whichever toppings you choose, you won’t miss your regular pizza – owner Tim Bair says the first time he tried the cauliflower crust, he wouldn’t have known the difference.
The Rock Restaurant and Bar, 4018 S. Lone Pine Ave., Suite B, Springfield, Missouri, 417.986.0632