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DIY Pizza: A Healthier Take

December 11th, 2009 No Comments

—By Nutritionista

Let’s get one thing straight: I love pizza. It’s by far my favorite less-than-healthy food. But like most traditionally “junky” (and nutritionally void) foods, the good news is that it doesn’t HAVE to be unhealthy at all. Example A: the mini pizzas we made tonight…

If you make it yourself, a few simple swaps will have you feeling like you’re running your own healthy pizzeria in no time:

  • Use whole wheat crust. Trader Joe’s sells a good premade version, or you can use Jenna’s “best pizza dough” recipe, which combines whole wheat and regular flour. The whole grains in the dough add just a bit more fiber to your pizza. I actually like how whole wheat gives the crust more texture. I couldn’t use whole wheat in the pizzas above because I had to get gluten-free crust. It was meh.
  • Use chicken sausage or other lean protein instead of pepperoni or regular sausage. There are lots of delicious chicken sausage flavors out there. For the pizzas above, we used sweet basil pesto sausages. We only had to use one for both pizzas. I also think a spicy Italian chicken sausage would be amazing on a DIY pizza. For vegetarians, there’s no reason you couldn’t throw some black beans or tofu crispies on your pizza.
  • Add lots o’ veggies. When you’re making it yourself, there’s no reason to skimp. Throw on whichever veggies float your boat. To the above pizzas, we added multi-colored bell peppers and baby spinach (I meant to throw on some onion but forgot!). You can go crazy with eggplant, broccoli, zucchini, even sweet potato! Vegetables not only add lots of texture and flavor, but they make for pizzas full of nutrients.
  • Get creative with nutritious ingredients. Pesto? Yes. Sun-dried tomatoes? Yes. Leftover salmon or turkey meatloaf? Sure, why not. It’s hard to mess up pizza, you know?
  • Go light on the cheese. This one’s kind of obvious, but seriously, a little cheese goes a long way. Too much cheese masks the flavor of the other ingredients anyway.
  • Get a simple red sauce. No need for anything fancy (especially nothing with added cheese, etc.). If you’re going for premade, look for something with a short list of ingredients. Ours had tomato puree, diced tomatoes, salt, soybean oil (not a huge fan, but okay), chopped garlic & onions, tomato flakes, basil, and oregano.
  • Season with spices! Go for classic Italian herbs and spices like basil, thyme, oregano, etc. Don’t forget the crushed red pepper if you like it spicy! Fresh basil would also be especially delicious on your DIY pizza.