Pizza is the ultimate comfort food. It's delicious, customisable, and if done right it's got all the major food groups packed onto a doughy yummy base.
Sadly, pizza is also considered to be one of the biggest contributors to unhealthy eating. Despite the seemingly good tasty melted cheese which oozes with temptation, pizza - especially pre-made - is often high in fat, sodium, stodgy carbohydrates and just about nearly everything else that isn't good in abundance.
Fear not. There are plenty of ways to get your pizza fix by making your own healthier versions at home. Home made pizza tends to be a lot more forgiving on the purse-strings and the waistline!
Recipe: The Base
Everyone has their own preference for a pizza base: thick and doughy, thin and crispy, and everything in between. The pizza base alone is heavy and filling, but it doesn't need to be bad for you at all. Here's a simpler and healthier option for your pizza base. To make three sharing pizzas, or six small ones, you'll need:
- 240g Wholemeal seed and grain bread flour
- 1tsp Salt
- 10g Instant yeast
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 120ml Lukewarm water
In a large mixing bowl, pour in all the ingredients and mix. When all the ingredients have come together, transfer the mix onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 mins. If you have a food processor, you can cheat and whack it all in there.
Once it's well kneaded and blended to a nice doughy consistency, pop the mix into a lightly oiled bowl - so it doesn't stick - cover in cling film and pop to the side for 30 mins.
After half an hour, knead the dough again. You can choose whatever sized pizza you'd like to make - this mix will make 6 individual ones, or 3 sharing ones.
Separate the dough to form the bases you wish to make, then roll them out on a flat surface. Roll them thin for a healthier and crispier base. Pop them on a greaseproof tray, and you're ready to add your scrummy toppings.
Recipe: Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce (Optional)
The majority of pizzas come topped with a tomato, or even BBQ, sauce base. This is optional, as you can substitute it for other ingredients, or just leave the base plain completely - but it is nice.
If you do prefer a saucy pizza, here's a great recipe for a purée tomato and pepper layer. You'll need:
- 1 sliced onion
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 seeded and quartered red pepper
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
Simply place all the ingredients in a large tin, and roast for half an hour, until the tomatoes are a little darker. Once cooked, transfer the roasted ingredients from the tin and into food processor, or bowl for hand-blending. Whizz away until smooth, and then leave to cool down.
When it comes to topping your base, all you need is a couple of tablespoon sized dollops of your purée. Spread this evenly other the base, then add your toppings...
First things first, pre-heat the oven to 220 C so it can warm up whilst you prepare your toppings.
Super protein food, Turkey, isn't the first thought of meat topping on a pizza, but it sure is healthy. Being lean and packed full of all the essential amino acids, Turkey breast is a great option.
Top your base with some low-fat mozzarella, turkey and fresh herbs then bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the base is golden and crisp
Toppings: Chorizo, Pepper and Mozzarella
Peppers are a seriously good body food. They are packed with Vitamin C, and nutrients that help boost immunity and fight bacteria.
Once the oven is pre-heated, it's time to get your toppings prepared.
Add some of your tomato purée to a base you'd made, and evenly smooth it out over the surface. Take some low-fat mozzarella and chopped up peppers and go wild with the base.
Once you're satisfied with your work of art, pop it in the oven for 15 - 20 mins, until golden brown
Toppings: Greens and Ricotta Cheese
For a light and super healthy pizza, swap out the tomato purée for some low fat ricotta cheese. Spread evenly over a base, then decorate with a selection of yummy greens.
Asparagus, peas and spinach are great for the body. Packed with iron, vitamin C and K, green vegetables do wonders for our body. Be sure to not overcook them, otherwise they lose nutritional value!
Pre-cook the peas and asparagus so their just about done, then pop on the pizza so they can finish off baking in the oven.
Drizzle with light olive oil, pop in the oven and you're good to go!
It's a classic pizza topping and with some low-fat mozzarella, it's all you really need because this Italian sausage is packed full of flavour.
This may be a cheat day pizza topping because pepperoni is a little on the fatty side, and not the healthiest of options. If you use mini/skinny pepperoni, you're reducing the fat, but still getting its incredible flavour.
With your home-made base and purée ready, top off the pizza with low-fat cheese and small discs of pepperoni.
Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 mins, then enjoy!
The best thing about making your own pizza is how free you can be with it. Pizzas can be messy, yummy and the choice is totally up to you when it comes to toppings.
By using fresh ingredients and healthy options, you can save some pounds in the purse, and on the hips.
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