With the right ingredients and mindful choices, pizza can indeed be a balanced and healthy dish. In this step by step guide, we will explore various aspects of preparing a pizza to make it healthier and at the same time more nutritious, satiating, and enjoyable.
Choosing the Right Dough
The foundation of a pizza lies in its dough. Opting for whole wheat flour instead of refined flour can significantly enhance the nutritional profile of your pizza. Whole wheat flour provides more fiber, minerals, vitamins, and proteins. Additionally, it has a lower glycemic index, making it better for blood sugar control.
Ingredients For The Dough
- 500 g of wholemeal flour (for example, whole spelled flour)
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 10 g of salt
- 300 g of water
- Half a cube of brewer’s yeast
Preparation Of The Dough
Dissolve a spoonful of sugar in 300 g of warm water and then dissolve half a cube of brewer’s yeast in it. Then, let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put 500g of flour in a very large bowl and mix with 10g of salt and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. At this point, pour the water with the yeast into the bowl with the flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Place the dough in the very large bowl after sprinkling it with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Place a cloth, such as a kitchen towel, to cover the dough. Let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours, better if 4 hours or more. I usually put the dough to leaven in the oven closed off.
Another option for the pizza dough leavening is to place the dough rest in the fridge for about 12 hours or more. In this case cover the bowl both with a cloth and then, on top, with a transparent food film. Before rolling the dough, take it out from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour or 2.
Consider the Base
Once the dough has risen, roll it out by hand or with a rolling pin, depending on your preferences. When it comes to the base and crust, thinner is better from a nutritional standpoint. Thicker crusts tend to have higher carbohydrate content and can upset the balance of macronutrients. Choose a crust that is thin, crispy, and not overly dense.
The choice and quantity of toppings significantly impact the balance of macronutrients in your pizza. While it’s tempting to go overboard with cheese, meats, and oils, it’s important to exercise moderation. Instead, focus on incorporating vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, olives, zucchini, onions, and artichokes. These additions contribute fiber, satiating power, and an array of nutrients. Limit the use of fatty toppings and opt for lighter seasonings like herbs and spices to enhance flavor. It is also important to limit the amount of added salt.
Once you have seasoned your pizza, bake it in a preheated fan oven at 200 degrees (Celsius) for 20/30 minutes.
Proper cooking is essential for both taste and health. Ensure that the pizza is cooked thoroughly without being burned. Black spots on the pizza indicate overcooking and the presence of potentially harmful compounds. Additionally, it’s worth noting that pizzas cooked in traditional wood ovens may contain carcinogenic substances from the burnt wood smoke.
Pizza can be an energy-dense food, so it’s crucial to be mindful of portion sizes. One whole round pizza served at the restaurant is often equivalent to two or three servings. If you’re conscious of your calorie intake, consider sharing a pizza or consuming only half, excluding the outer crust. In general, if the crust along the perimeter is too thick or dense, it’s advisable to leave it on the plate. It’s essential to remember that a pizza is a complete meal, and consuming it with sugary drinks or additional bread can lead to an unbalanced meal.
Understanding your body’s satiety cues is vital when enjoying pizza. It’s common to feel full before finishing the entire pizza. You can refrigerate any leftovers for later consumption. Remember, it’s important to stop eating when you feel satiated to maintain good health.
With these key points in mind, you can transform your pizza experience into a healthier and balanced meal. Choosing whole wheat dough, opting for thinner crusts, sensible seasoning, mindful cooking, portion control, and prioritizing satiety are all crucial elements. By making informed choices, you can enjoy pizza guilt-free while nourishing your body with a well-rounded meal. Embrace these guidelines when preparing pizza, and you’ll be on your way to a satisfying and nutritious dining experience.
Try These Healthy Pizza Options
Here you can find a selection of the healthiest Italian pizza options.
Olive oil and mozzarella. This type of pizza often contain a greater amount of mozzarella than pizza Margherita.
Oxheart tomatoes, Campania buffalo mozzarella, basil, olive oil. Its name comes from the homonymous salad.
Olive oil, a pinch of salt, rosemary, oregano. It’s a pizza without tomato and mozzarella, it is called in this way in the regions of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Veneto and Tuscany. It is similar to “pizza bianca” (white pizza) but without the cheese.
Tomato, mozzarella, onions. The Pizza Tropea variety is made with red onions from Tropea.
Fiori di zucca
Mozzarella, courgette flowers, salted anchovies, olive oil.
Frutti di mare
Tomato, mozzarella, seafood (shrimps, mussels, squid), garlic, parsley.
Tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, parsley, olive oil (there is also the variant with porcini mushrooms).
Tomato, mozzarella, feta cheese, black olives, onion, Pachino tomato, oregano. It comes from the homonymous salad.
Mare e monti
Tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, seafood, garlic, parsley.
Tomato, fiordilatte, basil, olive oil.
Tomato, garlic, oregano, oil. The name derives from the fact that the ingredients – easily preserved – were used by sailors during long voyages.
Tomato, salted anchovies, oregano, capers, oil (in the place of origin Neaples it is called Roman pizza).
Tomato, mozzarella, black olives.
Tomato, mozzarella, peppers, aubergines, courgettes, various grilled vegetables. It is also known as a vegetarian.
Parmigiano slices, mozzarella, olive oil.
Peperoni e cipolle
Tomato, mozzarella, peppers, onions.
Tomato, mozzarella, capers, anchovies, parmesan.
Tomato, mozzarella, onion, black olives.
Tomato, black olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, basil. It derives from the homonymous first course.
Mozzarella, gorgonzola, fontina, parmesan, basil. There are variations with other cheeses of your choice, even if mozzarella and gorgonzola are almost always present. It can be made on a white or red base, with the addition of tomato.
Tonno e cipolla
Tomato, mozzarella, tuna, onion. It can also be “white”.