I know what you are thinking: why is a Registered Dietitian suggesting eating pizza? One of my favorite parts of my job is helping clients subscribe to the idea that all foods can be included in a healthy diet.
Eat what you want and love every minute...
When we tell ourselves that a food is “bad” or “I can’t have that,” we add stress to eating. Food, cooking, and the act of eating can actually be a happy, fun experience if we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in a “eat this, not that” culture. The key is to consume a healthy diet at least 80% of the time, and give yourself room to eat what you want for the other 20%. So if you want to eat pizza… eat pizza! Making it at home always gives you more control over what you are consuming, but allow yourself moments to eat or order out and put the negative feelings aside.
In my household, we have “Pizza Sunday,” and I look forward to it every week. Personally, I like homemade pizza more than I like restaurant pizza… well, most of the time. We like to have fun with our food, experimenting with different toppings, crusts and sauce combinations. My one rule is that any pizza we prepare or order must include at least one vegetable (I see your eyes rolling). Why? Because adding a vegetable or two supports a healthy cause and helps ease that guilty conscious.
I previously wrote about a gut-healthy and tasty pizza. I’d like to share a simple, classic, and delicious pizza recipe that can be thrown together in less than an hour.
Sausage, Crispy Broccoli, Caramelized Red Onion & Garlic Za
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2 slices
Nutrition Facts (using LoseIt): Calories 330, Carbs 32g, Protein 16g, Total Fat 24g, Saturated Fat 2g, Dietary Fiber 2g
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into smaller pieces
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces mild italian sausage
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 cup spinach
1 pre-made whole wheat ultra thin pizza crust, such as Pastorelli
3/4 cup pizza sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup shredded Italian cheese blend or cheese of choice
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the broccoli pieces on a parchment-lined (or foil-lined) sheet pan, drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and season with garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Spread the broccoli evenly into one layer and roast in the oven for 20-30 min or until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. Reset the oven temperature according to the instructions on the pizza crust package.
In a saute pan, crumble and cook the Italian sausage until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the red onions and saute until lightly caramelized. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. Let toppings cool slightly while preparing the pizza crust.
Place the pizza crust on a parchment-lined (or foil-lined) pizza pan. Top with the pizza sauce and using a spoon, spread to about half an inch from the edge of the crust. Sprinkle the minced garlic atop the sauce. Layer the broccoli, sausage, and red onions evenly on the pizza.
Top with cheese. Bake the pizza for about 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned on the top. Remove from oven and slide the pizza on the parchment onto a large cutting board. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 8 slices. Enjoy with a side salad!
Experiment more with pizza combos at The Chopping Block's popular Neapolitan Pizzeria class offered at both the Merchandise Mart and Lincoln Square locations through August and September!