Pizza is a delicious — and infinitely customizable — food, but doesn’t have a reputation for being healthy. Most restaurant or store-bought pizzas are high in calories, sodium and saturated fat from piled on cheeses and meats. The good news is that pizza is easy to make at home, particularly if you build on an easy and healthy base. And when you make it at home, you can control the amount of cheese and other toppings, focusing on healthier options.
From whole-wheat pita or English muffins to mushrooms, try one of these options to start your pizza a healthier way. Here is a basic recipe to get you started, then feel free to add your favorite veggie toppings to make it your own.
And if your friends and family can’t agree on favorite toppings, this is a great opportunity for everyone to make his or her own personal pizza. Pineapple, mushrooms and jalapenos? Why not? Please share your favorite healthy pizza toppings in the comments.
For additional inspiration, check out this round-up of pizza ideas, including different sauces and toppings.
<strong>Pizza base of your choice:</strong>
1 whole-wheat pita, 1 whole-wheat English muffin (both halves) or 2 large Portobello mushrooms per serving
<strong>To prepare mushroom base: </strong>
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
<strong>For all pizzas:</strong>
2 tablespoons of sauce
4 to 6 slices of tomato (or vegetables of your choice)
1 ounce of part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced (mozzarella is the pizza standard, but you can use any cheese — or no cheese at all)
4 to 5 leaves of fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. For Portobello mushrooms: Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove stem (see note about using stem in sauce). Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon oil inside the mushroom caps and sprinkle with oregano and basil (or your favorite herbs/spices). Rub remaining oil on the outside of the mushroom cap. Place gill-side down (cap up) on a baking sheet and roast for 12 to 15 minutes until the mushroom has softened and released some of its juices.
3. For pita or English muffin base: Toast for 1 minute before adding sauce and toppings.
4. For all pizza bases: Layer sauce, tomato/veggies and cheese on the base and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese melts and the toppings are hot.
5. Carefully remove from oven, top with fresh basil and serve immediately.
Note: Since mushrooms release a lot of liquid, you can make a quick “sauce” using the finely chopped mushroom stem and finely chopped tomato. Include roughly equal amounts (will vary depending on the size of your mushroom stems). To make the sauce, drizzle or spray a small amount of olive oil in a pan, add a pinch of dried oregano, basil and granulated garlic, and heat over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chopped mushroom and tomato, and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until they have released their juices. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and continue stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. Use in place of standard tomato sauce on your mushroom pizza.