I love pizza. With that, one of my goals in life is to figure out how to eat as much as I want for the least amount of devastation. The suggestions below are a way to eat more pizza than would normally be acceptable.
Here’s how it works.
- First, make your own pizza. I think of my pizza as a canvas on which I am able to express my culinary imagination, there are no limits to what might show up on my pie. Everything is good with bread and cheese. However, I always make my pizzas mindful of calorie, fiber and nutritional smarts.
- Start with good quality whole-wheat pizza dough. I like Trader Joe’s as I’m too lazy to make my own.
- Next, I pile many many vegetables on my pizza so I bake it on a cookie sheet. If you use a screen or stone the pizza will fall apart (trust me!) make a mess and you’ll go hungry.
- Roll out your dough on whole-wheat flour or corn meal and lay it on the cookie sheet. Preheat the oven at 450 degrees. Sprinkle dough with cheese. (I don’t use “sauce” as it just adds calories/sodium and in this case you don’t need it.)
- What to put on your pizza? I like to use as many vegetables as possible. In my mind lots of veggies cancel out the cheese that they ‘re laying on top of. And, the fibrous veggies bind with the cheese (in your stomach) to help move the fat out before it can cling to your arteries (I learned that on Dr. Oz).
Here are some of my favorite pizza toppers (remember lots of veggies!)
- Chard – lightly sauté with lots of garlic, you’ll need at least 6 cups of sautéed chard. Try Gruyere cheese and a little Mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan when it comes out of the oven.
- Spinach – With all leafy greens you should lightly sauté them as to lessen their water content. Sauté with a little olive oil and lots of garlic down to 6 cups. Mix in ¼ cup golden raisins and some pine nuts. I like to use Fontina and mozzarella cheese on this version.
- Left Overs – Last night I used every veggie left in the frig. The photo above is, 1 cup chopped (not sautéed) spinach, 3 cups yellow squash sliced about ¼ inch thick, 3 cups broccoli flowerlets, 9 asparagus spears and one red onion on a bed of pepper jack and mozzarella cheese. Prior to baking, I drizzled the veggies/pie with 2 tbsp’s of olive oil. I sprinkled red pepper flakes and Parmesan on top after baking.
Rules of thumb
- Use 6-8 cups of veggies and no more than 2 cups of cheese.
- Use an average of 3 tbsp’s of olive oil per pie to either sauté or drizzle on top of the veggies before baking.
- Use nuts, seeds, organic meats and even beans when possible to add fiber and/or protein.
Some good things to know
- If you use tomatoes lightly squeeze the water out of them. Cut in half and gently smush so that the liquid and seeds come out (then you can slice or chop them). Too much water on your pizza makes it mushy.
- Feta cheese has half the calories as most other cheeses. Use that to your advantage!
According to my calculations, 1 piece of these pizzas (1/8th of the pie) will cost you about 200 calories and give you 4 grams of fiber. Obviously those numbers depend on exactly what you build your pizza with but this is a pretty good, general calculation.
Bake your pie for about 20 minutes according to my experience. The directions on the dough might say it takes 10 minutes but if you load it up, you’ll need longer. Keep an eye on your masterpiece and bake it till the crust is deep golden brown.
Have at it!