I was inspired when I made Portobello Mushroom Pizzas for my kids and they gobbled it right up. Then I saw Melinda post a recipe for a Cauliflower Crust Pizza and I thought there must be something here. Sauce and cheese are good on just about anything. What else can we use as a pizza crust that will be lower in calories and offer more nutrients?
I love veggie topped pizza. Back when I worked for the Center for Science in the Public Interest on their Nutrition Action Healthletter, we did a study on the calories and fat in restaurant pizza. We found that vegetables not only offer added nutrition, but usually displace some of the cheese, offering a lower calorie slice. So when ordering out or making it in I always go heavy on the veggies. My kids didn’t really know what plain cheese pizza was until they started getting slices at birthday parties – and then they complained about not having any mushrooms, broccoli or spinach on top! My kids don’t really do salad, so I love that they get everything they need in one slice. Sometimes we even get broccoli, spinach and mushroom pizza for a real treat.
At home, we use everything from tortillas to focaccia bread when I am too lazy to make pizza dough, but it turns out that the veggies we love on top of our pizza work equally well on the bottom. The trick is paying attention to the cheese and/or breadcrumbs in order to really save on calories. A regular average slice of cheese pizza from your local pizza shop is about 300 calories, 39 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat. And remember most of us probably don’t stop at one slice. So, let’s see what we can make at home to satisfy a pizza craving, but minimize the calories, carbs and fat.
Melinda’s cauliflower crusted pizza (inspired by a paleo diet recipe) cut the carbs but not the calories or fat. One fourth of the pizza (roughly equivalent to a large slice) is 280 calories,13 g carbs and 18 g of fat. By cutting the cheese in the crust by half you still have a great slice of pizza, and bring the calories down to 130, the carbs to 5 g and the fat to 9g.
The Rosiest Cheeks inspired me to make these Zucchini Bites to replace the more common bagel bites. These are so cute and smart and don’t need the breadcrumbs (which would add a lot of carbs). A typical serving of bagel bites includes 4 pieces which have 190 calories, 5 grams of fat and 26 grams of carbs. Four of these Zucchini Bites have 75 calories, 3 grams of fat and 8 grams of carbs.
I decided that if cauliflower could make a great pizza crust, so could broccoli. I tried this pizza recipe based on my Broccoli Latkes (Bratkes). They are pan fried so the calories are a little higher but are filled with nutrients, 1 large pieces has 200 calories, 12 g of fat and 1 g of carbs.
And don’t miss my original inspiration for this article, Portobello Mushroom Pizzas, each with only 100 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of carbs. Serve with soup or salad and enjoy.
For more on the Nutrtion Action Healthletter Pizza Study http://www.cspinet.org/new/pizza_051702.html