Consider this…You come home after a long day at work. On your drive home, you resolve to eat healthy tonight, especially considering the extra cookie you had in the office, and the 2 scoops of ice cream you ate last night. Yet, you arrive home and the kids declare they want a pizza. With no energy left to argue – you order one. Half-hour after ordering, the pizza arrives with an average of 270 calories per slice and dripping with cheese and next-day regret.
Let us deconstruct the recipe
What does the best pizza have? A pizza has a yeasted dough, a few toppings and a high temperature oven. That’s all!!
The show “Eat the World” in Amazon Prime features celebrity-chef Emeril Lagasse going to a pizzeria in Caiazzo, Italy run by Franco Pepe, said to be possibly the best pizza in the world. Unlike Indian cooking where even normal dishes have anywhere between 10-20 ingredients, the pizza on the show had only these 7 ingredients, albeit the best quality ingredients:
- Pizza base made with flour, yeast and salt
- Local, organic tomatoes
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- Dried oregano for flavoring
- Fresh Basil
Ingredient 2-7 are items typically in one’s pantry (o.k. – Vegetarians will not stock anchovies, but you get my point). For the base, instead of going out and buying a pizza base or making it from scratch, use pita bread. Think about it – Pita is a yeast based dough that is already made into bread. It has that chewy taste which really imitates a pizza base well. We always stock pita bread in our house for many reasons. It is a healthy naan substitute, goes well with daal, fava beans, falafel wraps, you can make pita pockets with veggies, etc.
The entire ‘pita pizza’ has only 305 calories. Compare that to 270 calories per slice from delivery pizza. Two slices might fill a delicate princess. But, who are we kidding? After a tired day at work, if you manage to stop at three slices, you will be praising your self control. 3 slices = 810 calories!!!
Another advantage with the ‘pita pizza’, you get to control the pizza experience. Give your picky kid – the cheesy one. Add veggies, frozen pineapple pieces for yourself (BTW, pineapple in pizza is not weird, so back off sister!!:)). Add marinara sauce for your husband. If everyone is happy and quietly eating, it is peace on earth!!
It only takes 20 minutes from start to finish for the pizza to be ready in your dining table. That is less time than it takes for the pizza to be delivered to your house. A couple of reminders
- Get the oven preheated first – It takes 10 minutes for the oven to reach that temperature and you can use that time to prep your veggies, open your cans etc.
- Use the largest cookie tray you can find to place 2 pitas at a time. You can use both the oven racks and get 4 ‘pizzas’ cooking at the same time as well.
Ingredients (per serving)
- 1 Pita bread – (I got mine from Trader Joe’s, but any pita bread will do)
- 1 oz Shredded Mozarella (this is the stringy type of cheese that kids love)
- Sliced Veggies (I used shredded bell pepper, olives, tomatoes and zucchini)
- 1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp marinara sauce (as a base, optional)
- 1 oz Goat cheese (as a base optional)
- Crushed dried oregano (or Italian seasoning, if you don’t have oregano)
- Preheat oven to 450F. Do this first. Also, 450 F worked best for me for the chewy pizza like taste. I tried higher temps at 475 F and 500 F and while they still work, the pizza base starts to get crispy a little, more like a flatbread.
- Thinly slice your veggies. Use veggies that taste great even if they are raw or just partially cooked – like bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, etc. Salt the veggies to draw out the water and make them concentrated in flavor. This part is totally up to your creativity. You can jazz it up all the way or go with bare minimum. One time, I was so tired to cut – I used only canned olives and canned artichoke hearts as my topping.
- Layer your ingredients on the pita.
- Oil your baking pan sheet.
- Place the pita(s) on the baking sheet.
- Put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve them while hot.
Nutritional Info (for a loaded Pizza)
Total Fat 15.1 g
Saturated Fat 4.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.7 g
Cholesterol 22.4 mg
Sodium 770.3 mg
Potassium 205.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 11.2 g
Only about 305 calories per pita, and only 20 minutes to make!! What are you waiting for? Try it and share your comments and ideas below.