By: Devon Kroesche, Media Intern and Future Dietitian
A pizza recipe? On a dietitian’s blog? You heard that right. How can pizza possibly be considered healthy? Let’s break this down.
Let’s start by establishing the idea that there are no good foods or bad foods. Pizza is a food commonly considered in the dieting world as a “bad or unhealthy food”, which is simply a misunderstanding about food and how it functions in our bodies.
All foods contain a certain ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Food contains calories, and calories are no more than a unit of measurement that describes the amount of energy contained in a certain food. Simply put, food is our source of energy. Pizza is a source of energy.
So why has pizza been so vilified by our health conscious friends? It is a food that is considered to be energy dense – meaning that it contains a large number of calories when compared to other foods of similar size and weight. That makes it an easy food to overeat when consumed by itself, rather than as part of a balanced meal.
So how do we make pizza part of a balanced meal? That is exactly what we did with this recipe. We added veggies as a topping, topped our slice with a handful of leafy greens, and ate it alongside some salmon (a lean source of protein, rich in nutrients). We also made some minor swaps to pack in more nutrients – we used whole wheat dough to provide more fiber, used a homemade sauce to limit added sugar and excess sodium, and used low-fat mozzarella cheese to cut down on saturated fat. The results were delicious and satisfying. We hope you think so, too.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 lb pizza dough (whole wheat if possible, homemade or store bought), chilled for at least 30 minutes
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved, plus more for topping
- 8oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 4oz tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Tablespoon oregano
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1 cup part skim lowfat mozzarella shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 zucchini, sliced thinly into coins
- 2 cups arugula or spinach for topping
What to Do:
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a sauce pan, combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper, 1 tsp thyme and garlic cloves on high heat. Stir for 3 minutes, then add honey, peeled tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Use a fork to smash tomatoes if necessary.
- In a small bowl, mix together red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper and the last 1 tsp thyme.
- Cover sheet pan with generous amount of olive oil. Spread chilled dough across sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil on dough.
- Spread sauce on dough. Add zucchini coins. Spread cheese evenly and add herb mixture.
- Bake in oven on top rack for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through.
- Top with basil leaves, arugula, and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil with desired. Enjoy!