Who can resist a luscious slice of pizza pie? No sir…not I.
So we all know just how irresistible pizza can be. It’s quick, convenient, versatile, mess-free, fool-proof, and almost everyone loves it. The one thing keeping this sucker from being a home run is the nutritional content – or lack thereof.
If you’re anything like my dad, you’ll claim that pizza is “good for you” because it can be checked off in nearly every food group. You’ve got your cheese for dairy, crust for grains, sauce for vegetables, etc. Alright, let me go ahead and ruin this crazy dream for you.
The average cheese pizza slice contains a minimum of 275 calories.
IN ONE SLICE! Now what sane human being truly eats just one slice of pizza in a sitting? It’s most common for pizza eaters to consume 2-3 slices per meal, which would result in a 550-825 calorie meal. But since we’re being honest here, let’s go ahead and say pizza usually contains some array of toppings. From pepperoni to sausage and extra cheese to garlic butter, the calories just keep on adding up. Let me tell you – it’s not worth it.
In addition to the boatload of waist-widening nonsense, most delivery and frozen pizzas contain many modified preservatives and chemicals that are far from “body-healthy”. Even if a pizza company claims to be all-natural and preservative free, that only means they may have not added the chemicals themselves. Keep in mind, the majority of pizza companies do not make their cheese, sauce, dough, etc. They order it from bigger food companies who may (and usually do) in fact utilize hefty preservatives and no-no’s for the human body.
So next time your pizza craving hits, which mine does far too often, try out this spinach tomato pizza. It honestly couldn’t be easier or more full of flavor. As my boyfriend (who isn’t the biggest veggie lover) put it, “It tastes like a pizza you’d order from a fancy restaurant.” I like the sound of that.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 ball of raw, whole wheat pizza dough (made with natural ingredients)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
1-2 medium tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
A handful of raw spinach leaves
About 1/2 – 1 cup of freshly grated Gruyère cheese (or substitute Swiss cheese)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and begin rolling your ball of dough. I purchased my dough from the Harris Teeter Fresh Food Market and cut the ball in half to make a medium-sized pizza. The other half can be saved in the freezer for later, or you can make a second pizza. Be creative!
Roll the dough into a circular shape until it is about 1/4 inch in thickness. Poke the dough multiple times with a fork in order to create tiny holes which will keep your pizza from forming any air bubbles while baking.
If you’d like to have a braided crust, I promise, it’s easier than it looks. All you have to do it take a ball of dough about the size of your palm. Form it into three separate ropes and place them each side-by-side, leaving about an inch in between each rope. Place one rope over another, alternating the outside pieces and crossing them over the center, exactly like braiding hair. Once the braid is formed, you can pull it to stretch it out to fit the diameter of your pizza. Press it firmly onto the outside of your pizza round and secure each end together.
Next, it’s time to make some garlic-infused oil to make this pizza something truly special.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. In the meantime, slice the garlic cloves into thin rounds. Be sure to remove the tough tips from each clove.
Throw the sliced garlic into the hot oil and toss it around with a wooden spoon. Cook the garlic until it just slightly turns golden brown. Do not let the garlic burn – it will taste bitter and will ruin the flavor of your pizza.
When the garlic is finished cooking, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Thinly slice the tomato – enough slices to cover the surface of your pizza. A big hunk of calories comes from prepared pizza sauce. It’s easy to eliminate those calories simply by nixing the sauce and replacing it with fresh tomato slices. You can even ask to have this done when ordering pizza from a restaurant, or ask for light sauce.
Pour the garlic-infused oil and garlic slices over the prepared pizza dough, being sure to spread the oil in an even coat. Reserve a small amount of oil in the pan. This will flavor your pizza like you wouldn’t believe.
Next, top the pizza with a layer of tomato slices and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add about 2/3 of the cheese and the spinach leaves. Top those with the rest of the cheese.
Gruyère is a sweet but slightly salty and nutty cheese from Switzerland. It’s extremely creamy and perfect for melting over a delicious pizza.
Drizzle the remaining garlic oil over the top of the pizza and bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
I really, really, really love this pizza. If it was human, I would marry it.
It’s so simple, yet so layered with depths of flavors and textures. I can guarantee you won’t eat this pizza and then have a guilt session a few hours later. You won’t have to pull out your elastic waste-band pants either. This light, fluffy, and delectable pizza will only set you back about 90 calories per slice.
You are going to be so impressed.