Homemade Pizza, in 30 Minutes or Less
Don't think you have to kiss pizza goodbye just because you're trying to lose weight. It's fun and easy to make healthy, delicious homemade pies.
Homemade pizza doesn't have to eat up all your PointsPlus® values, and you might be surprised how simple it is to make. If you start with pita bread, packaged naan or a bagel, it doesn't even need to be time-consuming. Try these great tips for enjoying this American favorite.
Putting together a pizza: The crust
- Stop in at your local pizza joint and ask if you can buy some unbaked dough. You'll get restaurant-quality yeast dough that's already risen — ready to stretch, roll, top and bake. (You can also buy pre-mixed unbaked dough in the refrigerator or freezer section of your supermarket.)
- Use whole-wheat pita rounds as crusts. Don't split them; just spoon on sauce and toppings and cook them on a baking sheet.
- Buy naan at the grocery store; find it in either the bread section, or frozen. The teardrop shape doesn't lend itself to conventional slices, but the flavor (and built-in portion control) more than makes up for it.
- Split onion or garlic bagels in half and scoop out the doughy filling. Hollowed out, these make great vehicles for your delicious toppings and sauce.
- Make your own homemade yeast dough with whole-wheat flour. Try the following recipe:
Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes one 12-inch pizza crust.
- 1/2 cup warm (105°F - 110°F) water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Put the warm water, oil and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy.
- Combine both flours in a food processor. With the machine running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube. After the dough forms a ball, move it to a lightly floured counter. Knead briefly until smooth and elastic.
- Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Punch down dough and roll into a 12-inch circle. Spray a nonstick cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Place the dough on the tray and top as desired. Bake until light brown and crunchy, 12 to 15 minutes.
Putting together a pizza: The toppings
Jarred pizza sauce is often full of fat and sugar. Try fat-free/sugar-free pasta sauce — just whisk in a little tomato paste to thicken it. Or, try one of the other delicious toppings below. Likewise, think beyond the typical thick layer of mozzarella.
Excessive cheese does not a pizza make, and it adds lots of calories. A pizza without cheese can be delicious, especially when topped with fresh vegetables. If you do opt for cheese, buy a good-quality one and use it sparingly.
Ten new ideas for pizza toppings
- Pimiento, goat cheese and spinach pizza Checkerboard the dough with baby spinach leaves. Place jarred pimiento strips on top of the leaves, and dot with soft, low-fat goat cheese.
- Zucchini and ham pizza Cover crust thinly with prepared pizza sauce (as indicated above). Shred one large green zucchini; squeeze out all moisture. Toss with finely diced, low-fat ham; sprinkle on dough. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then bake.
- Shrimp nacho pizza Spread a thin layer of salsa over the crust. Cover with cooked, peeled shrimp. Sprinkle shredded low-fat cheddar cheese on top. Dot with fat-free sour cream after baking.
- Salad pizza Spray crust with nonstick spray and sprinkle evenly with your favorite salt-free herb blend. Bake without any toppings until browned and crisp, then top with your favorite salad, dressed with fat-free vinaigrette.
- Garden pizza Cover crust with chopped, frozen mixed vegetables (thawed) before baking. Bake. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and, if desired, extra-virgin olive oil before serving.
- BBQ chicken pizza Cover crust with a thin layer of BBQ sauce. Sprinkle chopped, cooked chicken breast, chopped red onion, minced cilantro and shredded smoked mozzarella (optional) over top before baking.
- Fajita pizza Top crust with thinly sliced onion and red bell peppers. Sprinkle canned, chopped green chiles and sliced, cooked chicken breast over pizza before baking.
- Hawaiian pizza Drain 1 large can pineapple rings. Place rings on crust. Sprinkle with chopped Canadian bacon, thinly sliced scallions, and reduced-fat Swiss cheese (optional) before baking.
- Turkey club pizza Cover crust with thinly sliced tomatoes. Crumble cooked turkey bacon and chopped turkey breast over top. Bake. Toss shredded iceberg with fat-free vinaigrette then spread onto pizza.
- Dessert pizza Spread fat-free hot fudge or caramel sauce thinly on dough; cover with sliced bananas and bake. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are the authors of The Ultimate Potato Book.