Joy Magazine

Healthy Pizza Dough

Rethinking pizza as health food

A slice of pizza from your local parlor, smothered with cheese and topped with sausage and pepperoni, is a fat and calorie catastrophe. Make it yourself, however, and you can end up with a relatively healthy meal.

First, lighten up on the cheese. Part-skim mozzarella and other lower-fat cheeses are a great source of protein and calcium and often have half the fat and a third fewer calories than regular versions.

Supplement the lower-fat cheese with just a sprinkle of a flavorful, full-fat hard cheese, such as Parmesan or pecorino.

Don't be afraid to slather on the tomato sauce. Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants, plus they are high in flavor and fat-free. If you like, you can make a white pizza sauce by pureeing roasted garlic cloves with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil.

Vegetables are filling, loaded with nutrients and low in calories, so pile them high on your pizza.

If you want a meat topping, stay away from greasy sausage and pepperoni. Consider using prosciutto, which has a satisfying, salty flavor but is less fatty.

If you really want sausage, choose lower-fat turkey versions or even try vegetarian sausage crumbles, which are surprisingly tasty. You can find vegetarian sausage alongside other meat substitutes.

Finally, to add lots of nutrients and dietary fiber, use a whole-wheat dough to make your crust.

This whole-wheat pizza dough from "Pizza: Grill it, Bake it, Love it," by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, uses whole-wheat and all-purpose white flour, so it is has a little more toothiness and flavor than a standard pizza dough.

The earthier flavor of this crust stands up well to more robust flavor combinations, such as black olive tapenade (instead of tomato sauce) with caramelized onions and feta cheese, or roasted garlic puree, roasted red peppers, arugula and a sprinkle of Gorgonzola.