By Hajer Nakua, Recipe Developer.
Assalamu Alaikum Amanah Fitness!!
We’re back with another bread based recipe! … and this time, it’s a controversial one in the health food world. Pizza gets a bad rep for being unhealthy and a calorie-heavy meal, but it doesn’t have to be!
Here at Amanah Fitness, we believe that anything enjoyable in life can be made healthy! Today, we’re tackling pizza! I’m going to be giving 5 main tips for making your pizza healthier and more nutritious!
Make your pizza sauce from fresh tomatoes! Although I use canned tomato sauces often, it’s important to acknowledge that they contain salt, sugar and other additives. The healthier route would be to make your own! This way you control everything you’re consuming! I cut my tomatoes in cubes and then allow them to cook and break down until a sauce forms. I often add 1 TBSP of tomato paste just to thicken it up. If you don’t want chunks of tomato in your final sauce, then you can puree the tomato cubes before you cook it!
Use a nutritious dough! Most of us are not getting in our recommended daily intake of fiber and a whole wheat pizza crust is the way to go to sneak these in your diet without having to consume foods you may not like! The dough I used for this recipe is the same as the one used for khbeiza, which uses 50% whole wheat flour. Once your family is accustomed to this ratio, you can start to add more whole wheat flour until it’s 100%!
Minimize the cheese! Although cheese is what comes to most people’s mind when they think of pizza, we’re going to be decreasing the cheese without compromising flavour. To be fair to cheese, it is high in protein and calcium which are both important for our bodies, and as a self-proclaimed cheese lover, I really enjoy it on my pizza. However, the problem comes with overly processed cheese and its calorie density. So, I don’t think it’s a problem to include cheese, but just include enough to get a slight taste, not enough to have your mouth filled with it! You can even create delicious pizza without any cheese!
Maximize the vegetables! The best thing about pizza is the fact that you can sneak in so many veggies without anyone complaining! My favourite to include are zucchini, sweet peppers, mushrooms and spinach but really, all veggies on pizza are awesome.
Up the protein! Ideally, pizza can be a complete meal filled with good carbohydrates, protein and vegetables, so add protein sources to your pizza and make that a family tradition! In Libya, tuna on pizza is common and well liked, so I would recommend bringing that twist to your dinner table! For today’s pizza, I added grilled chicken (only because I ran out of tuna).
Portion control! Even when making pizza healthier, ultimately, food moderation is all about portion control. If the pizza is your main meal, grab a few slices and eat slowly. If it’s a side dish, then grab one or two slices and savour each bite.
- Pizza dough (refer back to the khbeiza recipe to make a healthier version)
- 5 tomatoes + 1 TBSP of tomato paste
- 2 TSP of oregano
- 1 TSP of basil
- 5 TSP of garlic powder
- 5 TSP of red chilli flakes
- Salt + pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 5-6 large mushrooms
- Red and yellow sweet peppers
- 2 grilled (or poached) chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- ¼ cup of cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
- Divide your pizza dough into 3 pieces (or which ever number of pizzas you want to make)
- Grease a baking tray with a little bit of olive and spread the dough on the tray until it forms your desired size
- Add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce on each pizza and spread it out while leaving a once inch perimeter without sauce
- For pizza 1: add half the mozzarella and cheddar cheese to the pizza. Top with zucchini, mushrooms and peppers
- For pizza 2: add half the mozzarella and cheddar cheese to the pizza. Top with the grilled chicken and any vegetables you like
- For pizza 3: omit the cheese and instead add the zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms!
- I usually add some oregano on top of the finished pizza just before it goes in the oven to add some flavour. This is a good way to compensate for the lack of cheese flavour!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and let us know what you thought!
Leave a comment below and tell us how you made your pizza healthy!