For those of you who plan your meals well ahead of time, mark your calendars now for National Pizza Day, which will be taking place on Tuesday, February 9th. National Pizza Day is a way for everyone to celebrate the food that 40 percent of Americans eat at least once a week. In fact, pizza is so popular in the United States that 350 slices are eaten each second.
“Humans are drawn to foods that are fatty, sweet, rich, and complex,” according to The Washington Post. “Pizza has all of these components. Cheese is fatty, meat toppings tend to be rich, and the sauce is sweet.”
Now that we know why we all love pizza, one question still remains: is it good for us? A typical slice offers all the macronutrients – the crust has us covered with carbohydrates, while the cheese provides both protein and fat. The only catch is that too much of either macronutrient will end up storing as excess fat if it’s not burned off through exercise.
One of the best ways to ensure that the pizza you’re eating is healthy is to make it yourself at home. By creating your own pizza you’ll be able to use high quality ingredients and also monitor the amount of oil and salt that you’re adding. So, let’s take a look at healthier pizza options that you can make at home that your whole family will love. This way you can enjoy National Pizza Day on February 9th, while also doing it in a healthy way.
This Healthy Pizza recipe from I Heart Naptime is made with whole wheat pizza dough and features lots of protein and vegetables. The whole wheat pizza dough is easy to make and can be made in under an hour. Then it’ll take about another 20 minutes to add the toppings and bake your perfectly crispy and delicious healthy pizza.
Making The Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
The ingredients required to make this whole wheat pizza dough are active dry yeast, granulated sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, honey, table salt (or fine sea salt), whole wheat flour, and warm water at 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have all of the ingredients ready to go, mix the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring the yeast mixture together. Then cover the bowl and let it sit for about five minutes, or until it foams.
To make the whole wheat dough, add the yeast mixture, two tablespoons of oil, honey, and salt to a large bowl. Add two cups of flour and then knead with your hands or by using a dough hook until it’s combined. Then add another ¼ cup of flour at a time and knead until the dough is smooth, soft, and a little bit sticky. Then knead for another three to five more minutes. Roll the dough into a ball and then rub a little oil around the dough. Place the dough into a bowl and cover it, allowing the dough to rest for 20 to 60 minutes, or until the dough puffs up a bit.
When the dough looks like it’s close to ready, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and then sprinkle flour on the counter. Cut your dough in half and roll it out with a rolling pin, or toss it if you want to have some fun and feel like an authentic pizza maker. Then continue rolling or tossing until the dough is ¼-inch thick and 12-inches wide.
This whole wheat pizza dough recipe will make two 12-inch pizzas. If you’re not planning on making both at the same time, you can bake one and freeze the other. Just make sure to divide the dough in half after it has risen, wrap one of the dough balls, and place it in a container. Then you’ll be able to store the dough for up to three months. When you eventually want to use the dough, let it first thaw completely before you roll it out on a floured surface.
Assembling and Baking Your Healthy Pizza
Now that your whole wheat pizza dough is ready, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), ¼ cup of pizza sauce, ½ cup of mushrooms (sliced), ½ cup of grape tomatoes (sliced), ½ cup of red bell pepper (chopped), 1-2 cups of shredded chicken, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ cup of arugula, and a balsamic glaze for drizzling.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and then lightly brush the extra virgin olive oil onto a pizza stone or a large baking sheet. Place the dough on top of the stone or baking sheet, brush olive oil on top of the dough, and sprinkle garlic cloves all over. Then lightly spread sauce on top of the dough using the back of a spoon.
If you have any little helpers around, now comes the fun part – adding the toppings to the pizza. Top your healthy pizza with the sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, chicken, and mozzarella. Then bake the pizza in the oven until the crust is golden brown, which will take around 10 to 15 minutes. You may want to set a timer for 10 minutes just to make sure that the pizza doesn’t burn. When the crust is golden brown, remove the pizza and add fresh arugula and a balsamic glaze. Feel free to change up the toppings as you desire.
This recipe is for one 12-inch pizza, which will make six slices. Each slice is 338 calories. You can also double the dough and make two pizzas. Just remember to double the sauce and the toppings, as well. When you’re done, slice using a pizza cutter and get your National Pizza Day party on.
Other Ways To Make Healthier Pizza
You can also make this recipe on flat bread, pita bread, or cauliflower crust. Other ways you can make healthier pizza are by using lighter cheeses, loading up on veggies, choosing leaner meats, picking healthier toppings, and using homemade sauce since jarred sauces usually have a lot of sodium and other preservatives.