Healthy Pizza Recipes You Can Eat Guilt-Free
A meat-lover’s pizza may be delicious, but those ultra-cheesy, pepperoni-topped slices aren’t exactly healthy. That kind of indulgence might be OK once in a while, but if you make it a regular part of your diet, you’re likely to feel — and see — the ill effects. Even the founder of Papa John’s has suggested that people restrict themselves to just a slice or two of his chain’s signature dish, though he argues that it’s healthy enough in smaller amounts. He may be right.
“The problem is not the pizza, it’s pizza abuse. It is a highly calorific food,” Ruben Bravo of the European Medical Institute of Obesity told the BBC.
The suggestion to eat just one or two slices sounds reasonable enough on paper, but it’s a hard resolution to stick to when you’re ordering delivery. One way to get your pizza fix but still keep your meal nutritious is to make your own. These five recipes for homemade pizza mean you can indulge in your craving for pizza without the extra side of guilt.
1. Easy Cauliflower Pizza Crust
The refined carbs in traditional pizza crust are one reason indulging in a few slices is bad news for your waistline. Swapping a crust made of wheat flour for one made with cauliflower turns a diet buster into a much healthier meal. This recipe for cauliflower crust from Mindful Mama is easy to prepare and can be used as a base for whatever toppings you prefer.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- ½ cup plain yogurt or 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop cauliflower into small florets, then grate in food processor. Add all the other ingredients to a large bowl, and stir to combine. Add the cauliflower, and continue to stir until everything is fully mixed.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then spread the cauliflower mixture onto the sheet in an even layer. Bake in oven for 45 to 50 minutes until the crust has browned and stays together when lifted with a spatula.
Remove from oven and top with your favorite pizza toppings. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese melts and browns slightly.
2. Whole-Wheat Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Pizza
The homemade whole-wheat crust in this sauceless vegetarian pizza recipe from Food Network contains 9 grams of fiber. Zucchini and cherry tomatoes provide lots of vitamin C and other nutrients.
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups white whole-wheat flour, plus more for kneading
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced 1⁄16-inch thick (about 8 ounces)
- Kosher salt
- Cooking spray
- White whole-wheat flour, for work surface
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 basil leaves, torn
Directions: To make pizza dough, stir together the warm water, honey, and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl. Let sit until a small layer of foam develops at the top, 3 to 5 minutes. (If this doesn’t happen, discard and try again with new yeast.)
Whisk the flour and ½ teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Add the foamy yeast mixture and olive oil, and mix together with a stiff rubber spatula. Form the dough into a uniform ball in the center of the bowl. Be sure to scrape and use any dough stuck to the sides. The dough will be very sticky at this stage. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and keep in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on a clean, dry work surface. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface, and knead for a couple of minutes, working in just enough flour to make the dough less sticky but still moist to the touch. Form the dough into 1 large ball, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
To make pizza, start by setting a pizza stone or baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven, and preheat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the zucchini with ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and let sit.
Spray the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and start pressing it into a rectangular shape. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, and press it evenly all the way to the edges. Place the pan on the hot pizza stone, and partially bake for about 10 minutes. The bottom should be lightly golden brown and crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the crust with the mozzarella in an even layer. Pat-dry the zucchini and shingle the rounds in a single layer over the mozzarella. Spray the cherry tomatoes with cooking spray and toss with ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl, then top the zucchini layer with the tomatoes, olives, and feta. Drizzle all over with the olive oil.
Return the pizza to the oven, and bake until the bottom is deep golden brown and the cherry tomatoes have wilted, 18 to 20 minutes.
Top with torn basil leaves. Cut into 8 squares.
3. Simple Deep-Dish Pizza
If you’ve been denying yourself deep-dish pizza because of its high calorie count and relative lack of nutritional value, rejoice. This simple deep-dish pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker is stuffed with tons of healthy roasted vegetables and isn’t overly cheesy. Using a store-bought pizza crust in this dish means it only takes a few minutes to prepare.
- 1 store-bought pizza crust
- ½ cup pizza sauce
- 1 cup mixed chopped vegetables (such as cherry tomatoes, eggplant, onion, green pepper, and mushroom)
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil (optional)
Directions: Set oven to broil. Toss the vegetables in olive oil on a baking sheet, and broil for 4 to 6 minutes, tossing once for even cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a cast iron pan or round baking dish with extra-virgin olive oil, then run a cut garlic clove over the inside of the pan for extra seasoning. Press the pizza dough into the pan, pushing it up the sides so the outer crust is about 1 to 1½ inches high. Let rest for a few minutes.
Cover the crust with ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese, and then add the roasted vegetables and sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese, the Italian seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese (if using).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then top with fresh basil if desired, cut, and serve.
4. Buffalo Chicken Pizza
You love Buffalo wings. You love pizza. Usually, eating those foods would be a sure way to sabotage your diet, but this single-serving pizza from Muscle & Fitness turns junk food into a fairly healthy dinner. It has a ton of protein, is low in fat, and comes with 10 grams of fiber.
- 6 ounces grilled chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium hot wing sauce, divided
- ⅓ of a 10-ounce whole-wheat pizza crust
- 1 large tomato, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1½ tablespoons reduced-fat crumbled blue cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss chicken in ½ tablespoon sauce.
Place pizza crust on a baking sheet, and lay the tomato slices evenly over it to cover the crust. Top evenly with chicken, then sprinkle cheese over everything. Drizzle remaining sauce over top.
Cook pizza until crust is lightly crisped and toppings are hot, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5. South of the Border Pizza
A pizza doesn’t have to be covered with a mound of cheese to be tasty. This Mexican-inspired pizza recipe from Forks Over Knives is perfect for people who want to avoid dairy, while black beans are a healthy source of protein and avocado and red pepper provide good-for-you nutrients.
- 1 (12-inch) precooked whole-grain pizza crust
- 1 cup enchilada sauce
- 1 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pizza crust on a pizza stone or large baking sheet. Spread the enchilada sauce over the crust. Sprinkle the black beans and bell pepper over the sauce.
Bake until the crust is lightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven. Scatter the avocado over the pizza, and sprinkle with the cilantro. Slice and serve.
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