Love pizza but afraid to decide whether its healthy or unhealthy for your diet??? Pizza isn’t exactly junk food…but depending on how you eat it, it could probably use a nutritional upgrade. In this post, I am going to share some tips on how you can eat pizza even almost everyday…
First thing we think when we think of Pizza is the crust. These days, so many options to make the pizza crust healthier. Crust can be made by using whole grains. I opt for whole grain Quinoa as quinoa offers high nutrition. Say No to Stuffed Crust, That goes for deep-dish crust, cheesy crust, and pretty much any kind that isn’t regular. Eating the tricked-out kinds can add up to 300 extra calories per slice. If you’re a fan of thin crust, it’s an extra smart choice: Each slice has 50-100 fewer calories than regular.
Second, Load Up on Toppings …Veggie toppings, that is. Because they contain dozens of fewer calories (and usually no fat) compared to meat toppings like sausage and pepperoni, you really can’t go wrong with any vegetable option. To load up your pie with the ones that pack the most nutrients, go for onions, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli, all of which contain vitamins A and C and lots of fiber.
Then comes the cheese. Stick to Mozzarella Cheese
Because mozzarella naturally has slightly less fat, including saturated fat, than other types of cheese, go with it over three-cheese blends, which will pack more fat and calories. It’s best if you can get your pizza with fresh mozzarella, which will be lower in sodium than the processed, pre-shredded kind. Or, if you aren’t a huge cheese person anyway, go ahead and ask for light cheese or no cheese. It’ll help decrease your slice’s fat and sodium content.
I have found even better way for you to make your pizza healthy. These days, I have simply fallen in love with Quinoa and I use whole quinoa as my Pizza base. And to your surprise, when you make your next quinoa pizza bowl, you will love the way they taste. You will feel like eating real pizza but without any guilt.
- 1 cup (dry) quinoa
- 2 cups Water or vegetable stock
- 2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 2-3 cups of your favorite pizza toppings (I use diced green peppers, diced button mushrooms, and thinly-sliced red onions, but you can use your favorite toppings here)
- optional toppings: dry herbs , crushed red peppers
Preheat oven to 425°F. Or alternatively use microwave.
Cook quinoa in the water or vegetable stock according to package instructions. (Or you can see video tutorial for how to cook quinoa.)
When the quinoa has finished cooking, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Then stir about 1/2 cup pizza sauce into the quinoa until evenly combined. Set aside.
Lightly spray 6 large (10-ounce) oven-safe ramekins with cooking spray. Place the ramekins on a large baking tray.
Spread about 2 Tablespoons of pizza sauce evenly over the bottom of each ramekin.
Layer each with about 1/4 cup of quinoa, and spread with a spoon to flatten.
Layer each evenly with pinch of shredded Mozzarella.
Layer each with a single layer of pizza toppings.
Repeat by layering each with another layer of sauce, quinoa, Mozzarella, pizza toppings, followed by a final layer of Mozzarella. The ramekins should be full but not overflowing.
Transfer the baking sheet full of ramekins to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes(about 20 minutes if using any meat), or until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are heated through. At this point, you can either remove the pizza bowls from the oven. Or if you’d like to get the cheese extra golden on top, you can turn the oven to “broil”. Then — keeping a close eye on the cheese so that it does not burn — broil the pizza bowls until the cheese is golden on top.
Remove and sprinkle each pizza bowl with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers, if desired. Serve immediately.
If you don’t have much time and would like to prepare one big casserole, you can certainly do that as well.
Watch the video below for Quinoa Pizza Casserole.