Who doesn't love pizza? It is the perfect food with protein, veggies, carbohydrates and sometimes even fruit. Plus, it's a dish that can be personalized and different every time you eat it. But it is also one of those foods that can quickly turn on you and your body.
So how can you ensure that pizza stays your friend? Be creative! Look for healthier alternatives to the deep dish supreme, which you can still have once in a while (save that for when you are eating out at a pizza joint). Make your pizza not only taste good by using roasted vegetables and adding spices and herbs, but also look good with bright greens and contrasting cheeses. If it looks good and tastes good, you probably won't even notice what kind of crust it has, like the cauliflower one used in the recipe below.
Although its name might make you think cauliflower is a flower, it's not — it’s actually a bunch of tiny stems. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, with a compact head (called a "curd") that averages six inches in diameter and a central stalk. Ribbed, coarse green leaves surround the curd to protect it from sunlight, which helps it maintain its white color.
If you need more reasons to use this white gem as your pizza crust, just take a look at the nutritional benefits. Cauliflower is a superfood — an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamins K and B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese. In addition, it’s the jackpot when it comes to antioxidants and phytonutrients. Cauliflower has been proven to provide the following benefits: cancer prevention, boosting brain function, keeping a healthy heart, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, aiding in detoxification and promoting good digestive health.
Although this recipe might look complicated, it's really easy to make if you prep all the vegetables ahead of time. The hardest step is making sure you get all of the water out of the cauliflower. Give your pizza a new twist!
Real Bite Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Recipe developed by Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD
1 medium head cauliflower
1 large egg
¼ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
1 small green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, cut into strips
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, cut in half
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 cup baby spinach, cut up
⅓ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup pizza sauce
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Place a pizza pan or large cookie sheet in the oven to heat up.
- Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower. Place in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower has a sand-like texture. You can use a box grater if you do not have a food processor. Make sure that you use the side that produces the finest grate.
- Remove and place the cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
- Place cauliflower in a clean towel and squeeze all of the water out of it. You might need to do this twice to ensure all of the liquid has been removed.
- Place the cauliflower into a bowl. Beat the egg and add it to the cauliflower. Add the cheeses, basil, garlic and oregano. Mix well. It should have a dough-like consistency.
- Place the cauliflower ball on a piece of parchment paper and press out to form either a round or rectangle, depending on the pan shape.
- Place the parchment paper and crust on the heated pan and bake for 10-15 minutes. It should be a golden-brown color.
- Spread the vegetables, except the spinach, on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place them in the oven and roast while the crust is baking.
- Remove both the crust and vegetables.
- Spread the pizza sauce over the crust and layer the spinach on top of it. Spread the roasted vegetables over the spinach and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Drop tablespoon-size dollops of ricotta over the top of the pizza.
- Place back in the oven and cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Cut into 4 big pieces or 8 smaller ones.
Nutrition Information For Pizza (per serving): calories 280; protein 20g; fat 14g; carbohydrate 20g; fiber 5g; sodium 600mg