Recipes for healthy pizzas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

By Emily Wilder
For the Salisbury Post
A second grade prize for reading books. The sought-after middle school birthday party invitation. Teenage sleep-overs. Cramming for finals. Friday nights in the company of family.
I can almost trace the food memories of my entire life though a slice of pizza. It was a special treat, in 1986, to get my personal pan pizza when I finished the Book It! challenge, and my best friend and I were thrilled to hear Mr. Sollecito sing “when the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie” at our birthday party in 1990.
My earliest pizza memory, though, is of my mom’s homemade version. It was also a special treat, watching the dough rise all afternoon, rolling it out onto a large cookie sheet, sneaking a taste of grated cheese and sliding the heavy pan into the oven. Full of whole grains and fresh vegetables, it was a fun feast that was unique to my family.
Just a few years ago, I recognized a similar scene at Barbara Kingsolver’s table in “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.” Her family deemed Friday nights as pizza nights, and I’ve decided to make it a new tradition for my little family. We may not have pizza every week, but when we have pizza, it will be on Fridays!
Needless to say, the same old green peppers, onion, and pepperoni can get old after a few weeks. Luckily, the possibilities for combinations are as infinite as the number of pizzas consumed in the U.S. each year. According to the National Agriculture Day website, Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second!
The best way to enjoy healthy (yes, healthy!) pizza is to start with a homemade crust. For a shortcut or picky tastes within a group, use whole wheat flat breads or pita breads to create individual pizzas.
If you are in a real time pinch, there are several varieties of ready-made crusts available at grocery stores that will provide more filling whole wheat grains.
Kids will enjoy arranging the toppings, and you can even turn cooking into fun. Check out by my blog at http://www.salisburypost. com/blogs/greenkitchen/ for a look at some of our creative pizza topping arrangements (and a flashback to 1990 that you don’t want to miss).
Friday Night Pizza Crust
— from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Makes two 12-inch pizzas.
3 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 C. warm water
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 C. white flour
2 C. whole wheat flour
To make crust, dissolve the yeast into the warm water and add oil and salt to that mixture. Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture. Let dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes. Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll out two round 12-inch pizza crusts on a clean, floured countertop, using your fingers to roll the dough to the outer perimeter of the pan, as thick as you like. Using spatulas, slide the crusts onto well floured pans or baking stones and spread toppings.
Green Kitchen Easy Herby Crust
Makes one 16-inch round or 9-inch-by-12-inch crust
1 packet Fleischman’s
Pizza Crust Yeast
1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
3/4 C. white flour
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of Kosher salt
2/3 C. hot tap water
2 Tbs. olive oil
3-5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbs. dried basil
2 tsp. dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 425. Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add water and oil; mix until blended. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough ball forms. Gently knead for a few more minutes in the floured bowl, until soft and elastic. Gently fold in garlic, basil, and rosemary. Spread evenly into pan with fingers, or roll out on a flat surface and place in pizza pan. Bake 2-3 minutes before topping with pizza ingredients to bake.
• • •
For the following recipes, use either packaged or prepared crust and add topping. For regular pans, you may need to bake homemade crust a little longer than air bake or pizza stone pans. Store-bought crusts usually only need about 10 minutes with toppings.
BBQ Chickpea Pizza
1 prepared pizza crust (or homemade would be even better, but we were going for quick here)
1 C. organic chickpeas, rinsed
2 C. washed kale torn into
small pieces
1 medium sweet onion
finely sliced
1 C. grated Gouda cheese (not
1 C. low-sodium marinara sauce
2 Tbs. sweet and tangy
barbecue sauce
1 Tbs. olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet, add onions, and reduce heat to low. Cook 10 or more minutes until caramelized and add kale. Mix well to coat kale with oil, cover, and cook 8 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix marinara and BBQ sauce, tasting to get your preferred balance of BBQ and tomato. Once kale is wilted, remove from heat. Spread sauce onto crust, top with kale and onion mix, and chick peas. Sprinkle grated cheese over top and bake for 11-13 minutes, broil for 1-2 minutes.
Fresh Caprese Pizza
3 very ripe small tomatoes,
1 C. fresh basil leaf chiffonade
(finely cut into strips)
1 C. fresh mozzarella (found
in the deli or specialty
cheese section), torn
2 Tbs. high quality balsamic
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Spread oil in a thin layer on crust, place cheese chunks evenly on top. Add tomato slices and drizzle with balsamic. Sprinkle basil across pizza and bake 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
Sweet Potato, Spinach and Cheddar Pizza
1 large sweet potato,
cut into thin round slices
2-3 C. baby spinach leaves,
washed and stems removed
3/4 C. low-sodium marinara sauce
1 C. extra sharp cheddar
cheese, grated
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat sweet potato rounds with olive oil and place on a single layer baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness) until tender and slightly crispy on the edges. Remove, and set aside until cool to touch. Spread marinara sauce on crust, layer sweet potato, and then spinach leaves. Top with grated cheddar and pepper to taste; bake 14-18 minutes until spinach is wilted and cheese melted.
Green and White Pie
1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 C. low-fat ricotta cheese
3 Tbs. pesto sauce (homemade,
dry mix package, or deli-ready)
2 Tbs. marinara sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4-1 C.broccoli florets
1/2 C. sliced green pepper
1-2 C. baby spinach leaves,
washed and torn
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ricotta, pesto, marinara, and garlic. Spread over crust. Top with veggies and then mozzarella. Bake 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Ratatouille Pizza
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. each: thyme, basil,
garlic powder, oregano
2 C. fresh tomatoes, diced
(suggest roma or vine-ripened)1/3 C. feta cheese
1/3-1/2 C. mozzarella cheese,
Saute eggplant, zucchini, onion, and peppers in oil with thyme/basil/garlic powder until tender, about 5 minutes. Spread a fresh tomatoes then the eggplant mix, and some olives, feta and mozzarella over crust. Bake for 10 minutes on 425 degrees and 2 minutes on high broil.
Pizza with Swiss Chard and Bacon
— from Food & Wine, May 1999
1/2 pound sliced bacon
1 1/2 pound Swiss chard, stems
and tough ribs removed,
leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide
ribbons (4 cups)
1/2 pound Fontina or mild
provolone cheese, shredded
(2 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound pizza dough, at room
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Preheat a pizza stone or generously oil a large baking sheet. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over high heat until browned and most of the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool, then break the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet and heat until shimmering. In a large heatproof bowl, toss the Swiss chard with the hot fat. Add the bacon and half of the cheese, season with salt and pepper and toss well. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a rough 14-inch round. Transfer it to a floured pizza peel or rimless cookie sheet, or to the oiled baking sheet. Spoon the Swiss chard topping over the pizza, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Brush the border with the olive oil. Scatter the remaining cheese on top. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone, if using, and bake for about 10 minutes on the stone or 16 minutes on the baking sheet, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Transfer the pizza to a rack and let cool slightly before serving.