Pizza probably isn’t what you think of when you think of “healthy” food. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Like many “comfort” or “junk” foods, there are ways to make these treats a more regular – and even nutritious – part of your diet. Here are my favorite tips for making pizza healthier, but not even a bit less tasty.
1) Make homemade crust. Seriously. It’s not that hard or time consuming and means that you can control the number and type of ingredients (hint: it only takes 3 + water, seriously). Try:
2 1/3 cups flour (I like a mix of regular and whole wheat)
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
¾+ cup warm-ish water
Mix dry. Add water. Stir and add tiny bits of water until a dry dough forms. Knead for a minute and then let rest until doubled. Spread out onto a very lightly oiled sheet and bake at 475 (with desired toppings) for about 15 minutes.
2) Make homemade sauce. Again, seriously. It doesn’t take much, will prevent you from having added sugar, etc., and you can make a big batch and freeze leftovers for another pizza night in your future. You can also blend in spinach or pumpkin puree to even up the veggies and nutrition further! Try this recipe; it’s our absolute favorite.
3) Expand your Topping-game. Think beyond the typical pepperoni, sausage, etc. Try roasted veggies (squash, zucchini, parsnips, carrots), or some weird veggies like broccoli. Caramelize onion. Add spinach. Any veggie can be added to a pizza, and I guarantee the cheesey, saucey, baked dough back drop will make them taste awesome.
4) Think creatively. Try a homemade cheese-free pesto for your base instead of the typical tomato sauce. Use stronger-flavored cheeses so you can use less (goat cheese, smoked gouda, blue cheese – the stronger flavor means you’ll need less to make a real impact!). Try adding fresh greens on top before serving for an added texture and increased veggies. Use the recipes below for inspiration!
http://www.backtoscratch.net/whats-cooking/best-intentions (Mint Pea Pesto Pizza)
http://www.backtoscratch.net/whats-cooking/good-bye-summer (Arugula Pesto)
http://www.backtoscratch.net/whats-cooking/pesto-power (Basic Pesto + variations)
With some simple tweaks, you can make pizza a regular and even nutritious part of your diet! For more ideas and recipe hacks, come in to CoreLife.
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN