Recipe for Healthy Meat Lovers Pizza

Pizza is a favorite food of many Americans. The average American eats pizza at least once per week and as many as half of those people eat pizza more than once per week. Some of us have even used the excuse for our favorite weekly indulgence. “I can have pizza on my diet. One slice easily represents all the food groups!” Our doctors however, would disagree. Traditional style pizza is laden with fat and calories and is extremely high in cholesterol and trans fat. But pizza lovers everywhere can rejoice. There are healthy alternatives to preparing our favorite meal without sacrificing taste.

Healthy Starts with the Main Ingredients-

Even the traditional main ingredients in pizza can be substituted replaced by much healthier ingredients. Yeast, white flour, salt and water are used to make traditional pizza crust. By substituting wheat flour for white flour it cuts down on the sugar content of the pizza and increases the fiber content. Preparing a thin crust instead of a thick crust will reduce unnecessary carbohydrates. Using chunky tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes in the sauce on your pizza dough is healthier than a thin watered down sauce. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and lycopene.

A favorite topping of many people found on most types of pizza is cheese. Many cheeses such as mozzarella (used on many traditional pizzas), are high in fat and cholesterol. But before hanging up the phone many of us say, “Can I have that with extra cheese please?” While forgoing the extra mozzarella is a healthier option than having the cheese melting off of each slice there are many substitute cheeses that may be used in place of traditional mozzarella and may be used plentifully, so much so, that asking for extra cheese won’t make anyone feel guilty. Goat cheese, farmer’s cheese and parmesan are low in fat and high in nutrition. Vegetarian cheeses may also be substituted for the traditional cheeses. Vegetarian cheese is made from soy and melts just as well as traditional cheese with less fat and calories and vegetarian cheese has no cholesterol.

Get Creative with Toppings-

Today there are so many different types of pizza. Everyone likes to get creative and add their favorite toppings to a personalized pie. Pizza bars are becoming increasingly popular. Diners can choose from a wide variety of toppings and add whatever they like to raw dough. Personalized pies are baked and delivered to tables piping hot.

While vegetables are the best toppings to add to a pizza in order to make it healthier there are some people who love to add meat to their pie. While this isn’t the healthiest way to eat pizza, by substituting low fat meats in place of the traditional meats usually found on pizza, each slice will be substantially lower in fat and calories. Turkey burger and turkey sausage are excellent alternatives to beef hamburger, Italian sausage and pepperoni found on most traditional pies.

Start Eating Healthy at Home-

Many people will find that their local pizzerias aren’t going to cater to their healthy expectations. Most pizzerias will continue to serve traditional style pizza and while it is OK to indulge every so often, for people who really enjoy pizza and like to eat pizza regularly, it is easy to make healthy pizza at home. The following is an excellent recipe for meat lover’s pizza using healthy ingredients:

Neapolitan Style Meat Lover’s Healthy Pizza

Crust-

1 pkg active dry yeast

1 C warm water

3 C wheat flour, sifted and divided

1 t salt

Preheat oven to 450.

Sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups flour and 1 t salt. Beat thoroughly. Stir in remaining flour. Turn onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (10-15 minutes), adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Place in greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap sprayed with non stick spray. Let the dough rise in warm place until doubled about 2 hours. Punch down, turn onto board and knead just long enough to force out bubbles. Roll out dough and stretch thinly over an oiled 12-inch round pizza pan.

Sauce-

1 16 oz can of tomato sauce

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 T oregano

1 T basil

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl and spread generously over pizza dough. Sprinkle oregano and basil over the top of the sauce.

Toppings-

2 C shredded vegetarian (soy) or yogurt cheese

1 C cooked turkey burger (crumbled)

1 C cooked turkey sausage (crumbled)

1/2 C onion (sliced in rings)

1/2 C sliced mushrooms

1 C sliced red and green peppers

Sprinkle 1 C cheese over the top of the pizza. Spread turkey burger, mushrooms, sausage and peppers over the pizza. Arrange the onion slices over the toppings and garnish with 1 C leftover cheese.

Bake at 450 for 12-18 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven when the edges of the pizza are golden brown.