Pizza lovers rejoice- you CAN bring pizza night back! Pizza sure gets a bad rep in the Foodie-World, but luckily not all pizzas are created equal. So what that means for you, is given a makeover, PIZZA CAN BE HEALTHY. Yes, I said that! The best way to ensure a HEALTHY pizza is to make it yourself. And here is how:
CRUST- You can either make it from scratch using whole grain or gluten free flour or buy a healthy pizza crust from your local health market. My absolute favorite crust is sold at Mother's Markets and Whole Foods and is the Vicolo brand corn meal crust, it is organic, non GMO, and has no preservatives, there is also a Gluten Free crust available. It's divine!
SAUCE- The secret here is to use your favorite pasta sauce instead of the generic pizza sauce sold in conventional grocery stores! Make sure the sauce you choose is organic and has no added sugar to it. What's fun about this is there a lot of flavor variations to choose from when picking your sauce and you can choose one that compliments the pizza toppings you will be using.
CHEESE OR NO-CHEESE- I know what my non-Vegans are thinking..."Is she crazy? What's pizza without CHEESE?!" Well no, I am not crazy and trust me pizza tastes amazing without it, you can really taste the unique flavor combinations of your toppings without having the cheese get in the way. But for my cheese lovers who refuse to give this a try, make sure you use organic cheese, and even raw milk cheese if you can! You may also try goat cheese or just sprinkling Parmesan onto your pizza- That way you are still getting that cheese flavor, without overdoing it. My vegans may want to try Vegan cheese (although that does offer up some preservatives) or even better, try sprinkling Nutritional Yeast on your pizza when it comes out of the oven. Nutritional Yeast has a cheesy flavor and comes with many benefits including a great source of your B vitamins, it's a complete protein AND you can get a good amount of iron, zinc, and selenium when you eat it.
TOPPINGS- Now here is the part where you get to really be creative and choose ingredients that will offer up an array of nutrients and overall make this a HEALTHY dish. First, ditch the pepperoni, ham and sausage- all of these meats are processed and full of cancer-causing substances. If you want animal protein on your pizza choose something like organic chicken or wild-caught shrimp. And for my FAVORITE part, load up on your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, squash, roasted garlic and so on.
ADDITIONS- Add your favorite herb to your pizza like basil or cilantro for detoxing benefits. One thing I love to do is top my cooked pizza with lots of fresh spinach when it comes out of the oven, the heat wilts the spinach a little and provides me with a great dose of greens. You can also season your pizza with your favorite seasonings like pink Himalayan sea salt or crushed red chili flakes, which will stimulate that metabolism of yours.
Here are some of my favorite good-for-you pizza creations:
Use your healthy-crust of choice for all of these:
- Roasted garlic tomato sauce and homemade pesto (I use olive oil, walnuts, basil, lemon and sea salt and blend in a food processor) with thinly sliced red and purple potatoes, roasted garlic, and onion. For the cheese- Parmesan pairs nicely with these flavors or give nutritional yeast a try!
- Pureed black beans as the "sauce" topped with bell peppers, onions, squash, and diced tomatoes. For the cheese- try organic or raw milk mozzarella or vegan cheese. Once this pizza comes out of the oven, top with shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro and avocado slices
- Tomato basil sauce with fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, green bell pepper, and onion. For the cheese- Use your favorite organic, vegan or non-cheese option. Once it comes out of the oven, top with as much fresh spinach as your heart desires and crushed red chili pepper flakes (shown above without the topped spinach).