When you think of a healthy pizza, you can automatically imagine a tasteless fat-free cardboard crust and cheese, with an added broccoli topping. But here’s the thing: you can actually make delicious, flavorful pizzas, which can actually help fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to help you reach your gym goals rather than setting them back a few thousands of calories (more or less).
While pizza isn’t always your healthiest option, it doesn’t always have to be that way. And we’re not talking cheeseless or crustless. “There are so many ways to eat pizza without feeling guilty,” says Chief Dena Marinoone of the nation’s preeminent chefs with a big heart for pizza!
Chef Marino’s much-loved and acclaimed meals at MC Kitchen caught the attention of the Miami Heat, making his restaurant a regular postgame stop for much of the roster. His work with the team eventually led to his current position as householder for LeBron James and his family.
If it’s good enough to satisfy King James, then with these tips, this world-favorite meal can be prepared in the comfort of your own home and enjoyed by family and friends, guilt-free.
Let’s make a pie!
Tip 1: Enjoy the crust
Carbohydrates are not the enemy, nor is pizza crust, as long as you prepare it with health in mind.
“One way to do this is to build your own pizza using chickpea crust from Banzasays Chef Marino, who helps the brand create some of its original pizza-making products. and the crust is always moist and crispy, just like a regular pizza. She says. On top of that, Banza pizza is loaded with protein that regular dough lacks, making it a perfect post-lift meal option.
Tip 2: Additional clean crust options:
- If you buy a premade crust, be sure to choose real organic ingredients.
- Learn how to make your own homemade pizza dough. This lets you avoid unnecessary ingredients like fillers that make pizza dough unhealthy. From there, you can include different ingredient crusts, such as:
1. Cauliflower Crust
2. Organic flatbread
3. Almond Flour Crust
4. Zucchini flour crust
Tip 3: Be “choosy” with your cheese
Chef Marino is a big fan of cheese (aren’t we all?). When it comes to a clean and flavorful cheese option, Chef Marino goes for Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese. “A lot of people don’t know that this cheese comes from buffalo milk, which gives it a much creamier taste and higher protein content,” says Marino, and it can be found directly at Whole foods. The bonus: you don’t need a lot of buffalo milk cheese to get great texture and flavor, which helps you save money and calories.
Advice: When selecting the healthiest cheese for your pizza, go for organic cheese without antibiotics, fillers, and unnecessary ingredients (just like Italy). Talk to your local farmers or employees at your local grocery store to find a cheese that best suits your lifestyle and goals.
Tip 3: Be naughty
When it comes to making your own pizza, the sauce is the boss. Beyond the classic red sauce, Chef Marino likes to use pesto with vegetables as a tasty alternative to sauce because the pesto enhances their flavors.
A simple chopped fresh tomato cooked with olive oil, onion and garlic is another staple of Chef Marino’s Tomato Basil Pizza recipe. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it’s good for the heart and full of vitamins and minerals.
Tip 4: Stack the toppings!
The toppings are where the pizza shines and where a lot of the nutritional value comes in. Marino encourages the addition of grilled chicken or turkey pepperoni for a lean protein option, and of course, lots of veggies.
“Sautéed spinach, kale, swiss chard, charred and shaved Brussels sprouts, onions, raw or grilled zucchini, lots of sautéed mushrooms, fresh sliced tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs,” recommends Marino.
- Other Topping Ideas: Olives, goat cheese or feta, peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and really, any of your favorite vegetables would make a fantastic pizza topping. We let you choose the pineapple.
- Don’t forget your herbs: Also considered a garnish and they’re packed with serious flavors: basil, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper, thyme, parsley, Himalayan salt, black pepper, rosemary, and garlic.
Random Chef’s Tips:
- Invest in a pizza stone for your oven if you don’t have a real pizza oven. It makes a big difference in the texture and quality of your pizza.
- Drizzle olive oil over your pizza once it’s done. (Healthy fats help boost flavor)
- Roasted garlic, basil or Calabrian chili oil will give your pizza more depth and flavor while making it more indulgent.
- Never use raw mushrooms on pizza – there are plenty more pre-caramelized flavors.
Now that your mouth is watering, here’s a stripped down version of the asparagus and herb “spring” pizza from Banza.
SPRING PIZZA WITH ASPARAGUS AND FINE HERBS
- ADVICE: A bake after the hot honey drizzle will kick this pizza up a notch! The shallot can be replaced by red onion if necessary.