Golden, flavourful and highly addictive, these effortlessly healthy pizzas are guaranteed to knock it out of the ballpark!
Much like myself, cheering on both teams at the recent baseball game, this is pizza that plays the field as both a holistically healthy meal and sinfully addictive dish.
Before we take a swing at this one, however, there were a few lessons learned in the name of striking out at a sports game…
- Firstly: do not to attempt to attend the Blue Jays game in Toronto as a New York Yankees fan (more accurately a New York Yankees logo fan with the desire to sport a baseball cap at a baseball game).
- For the record, I assure you I’m team Toronto Maple Leafs, if only to create a loving family rivalry with my uncle’s team being the Ottawa Senators!
- Catch a Yankees game.
- Avoid getting beaten up by Jays fans before making it to Yankees game.
- Spot a fellow Yankees fans in the sold out crowd of white and blue. (we spotted 7 between the concession stands, walking from the stadium and standing at the train station… 8 if you want to include me!).
So I struck out on that one but we did come fully prepared for our final goal as we stashed a couple double chocolate chip vegan protein bars as an easily packable, filling treat to offset the tempting scents wafting their way through the stands.
- Goal #4: remain unseduced by the alluring aromas that had us craving our latest obsession of make-your-own-pizzas.
Seeing as hotdogs that warranted their own seat by the size of them, greasy pizzas more slippery than the batter’s hard hats, and trails of butter popcorn, strike out faster than you can say Yankees fan, I waited to satisfy my craving until I was in the comfort of my own kitchen…
With this, allow me to pitch to you my top 3 tips to hit a home run on your next pizza!
1: First – Base
- Classic pizza crusts consist of processed grains, devoid of fibre, which break down to sugar in the body, thus promoting unstable blood sugar and insulin levels, and encourage inflammation.
- Whole grain pizza crusts and pita breads are no better as these, too, contain glutenous grains which have been heavily refined.
The Holistic Swap:
- Opt for wraps as the perfect base to your thin crust pizza! Choose between gluten-free brown rice wraps or Ezekiel (a sprouted grain) if you can tolerate gluten.
- They become soft in the middle from the sauce and crispy around the edges. Being thin and mild in flavour, you will taste more of the toppings rather than the starchy breads and have my full nutritionist-approved-permission to eat the whole pizza!
2. Second base- the sauces
- Have a look at the ingredients of your favourite tomato sauce. Many are loaded with added sugars, dairy, soy and preservatives.
- One cup of tomato sauce can add up to 20 grams of sugar!
The Holistic Swap:
- Ideally we would be making our own pizza sauces. I do this year round by freezing our excess of homegrown tomatoes in the freezer to defrost and make sauces through the winter. By making your own, you control the quality of ingredients and can ensure that there are no added sugars being incorporated.
- Alternative options:
- Use tomato paste as the base. Look for tomato paste that comes in a glass jar instead of a can which leaches BPA’s and other harmful chemicals.
- Use pasta sauces. Look carefully at the label. These sauces will be more flavourful but should be mixed with tomato paste/puree to reduce the sugar content.
- Create a pesto pizza using a dairy-free pesto spread across the crust.
3. Top it off
- Greasy pools of pepperoni and cheese are about as far out in left field as we can come with low-grade meat and dairy.
The Holistic Swap:
- For toppings:
- Veggie overload: lightly stir-fry the vegetables first to soften them as the pizza won’t be in the oven for long.
- My favourites: red pepper, artichokes, broccoli, green olives, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Creamy cheese substitutes:
- If you are adamant on cheese, look for goat’s or sheep cheese which are more easily digestible and use sparingly.
- Avocado is my favourite swap being creamy in texture, mild and complimentary in flavour.
- Nutritional yeast: This adds a nutty, almost cheesy flavour when sprinkled on top and melts over your freshly baked pizza.
- I’m slightly obsessed with garlic powder and it gets sprinkled generously over my pizzas creating a 3 foot radius between myself and fellow diners. It adds a delicious boost of flavour without overpowering the slice.
- Add fresh leaves of basil, tabasco for heat, etc. Get creative!