To eat or not to eat Trader Joe's new Broccoli & Kale Pizza Crust? That is the question.
If you're a big fan of Trader's Joe's pizza crust made with cauliflower, you're probably wondering if this new low-carb crust measures up.
I decided to conduct a taste at home, so I recently prepared (and ate) both crusts to see if one truly reigns supreme.
Trader Joe's first launched its cauliflower crust as a gluten-free pizza base in 2017 and the cruciferous white vegetable has soared in popularity since. Many other brands, like Oprah Winfrey's O! That's Good food line, developed their own version of the crust, and plenty of homemade cauliflower crust recipes circulated online
In March, the pre-made, frozen crust got a little in-house competition when Trader Joe's launched a similar product. In the new crust, broccoli and kale are used to bulk up the crust instead of cauliflower.
Both are prepared in the same way: Just place the frozen crusts in a 450-degree oven, bake for 10 to 12 minutes, add any desired toppings, and then broil or re-bake for a few minutes longer.
So how do they really measure up? Here's what I found.
Cauliflower is a versatile veggie
The cauliflower crust is definitely the more versatile of the two pizza crusts. The frozen crust comes plain and is free of gluten and dairy (though it is made in the same facility as those potential allergens, so it could have traces of each). It's made with cauliflower, corn flour, water, cornstarch, potato starch, olive oil and salt. It has 80 calories, 17 grams of carbs, 220 milligrams of sodium and no fat per slice (1/6 of the pie) and costs $3.99.
Since the crust has a very neutral flavor, it can be used as a base for a variety of toppings, but the corn flour flavor does come through more noticeably than a crust made with wheat flour. I prefer a softer pizza crust, but for this lower-calorie substitute, I recommend making sure the edges get slightly crisped or it can taste a little mealy.
That being said, I had a lot of fun using summery, seasonal ingredients to make two different types of pies. One of my new favorite meals? I used a thin layer of olive oil, sliced peaches, fresh basil, honey goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (all from Trader Joe's) before re-baking. One wouldn't think those ingredients would flow with cauliflower, but they did!
I also made a plain version with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese for my 4-year-old. She called me out on swapping the crust for something other than what we order from the Italian pizzeria, but she kept eating it — which means the cauliflower crust passed the kid-friendly stamp of approval in my book.
If you're someone who wants to have fun with ingredients and not taste too much of a difference between flour and cauliflower, this is the crust for you.
The benefits of broccoli
While the broccoli flavor of this frozen crust was delicious as a base for a salty pizza, it could not be masked. So if you're serving someone who, like former President George H.W. Bush, detests broccoli, this won't be an enjoyable swap for you.
Green Giant recently proclaimed that broccoli is the most popular veggie in America, so many people seeking a low-carb crust won't be offended by this one's strong cruciferous taste. Along with broccoli and kale (which account for 50% of the crust's mass) corn flour, water, cornstarch, potato starch, olive oil and salt are also used. This pie is a tiny bit healthier and more expensive than its predecessor, clocking in at 70 calories, 15 grams of carbs, 230 milligrams of sodium, and half a gram of fat per slice. The whole thing costs $4.29.
For anyone who loves veggie pizza, this crust option truly delivers, as it only enhances the natural yumminess of other savory items you might put on top. This crust welcomes a myriad of ingredients, as long as they're in the veggie zone — I used tomatoes, Kalamata olives and fresh arugula, and they all worked together marvelously. The pie would also work nicely with salty meats like prosciutto or sausage.
If you love broccoli-cheddar broccoli soup, Trader Joe's even has a recipe which mimics that flavor in pizza form! Yum.
The bottom line? Broccoli is better if you're a true veggie lover but if you prefer a mildly flavored base as a vessel for pizza toppings, choose cauliflower.