Is there any food more perfect than pizza? Pizza is without a doubt my favorite food. Growing up, I think I ate pizza for at least 60% of my meals. Nowadays, I still love pizza, but my diet has changed for the better. I follow a vegan diet for many personal reasons, so when I do eat pizza, it's without cheese, but I make sure it's just as delicious as the slices I grew up on.
Although I've tried vegan pizzas at restaurants, I prefer to make my own at home. I like making my own pizza because I can determine the size of the pie and it's so much healthier than restaurant and frozen versions. Pizza is surprisingly easy to make. You can buy the dough at most supermarkets (I usually buy mine at Trader Joe's). I like using Trader Joe's pizza dough because it comes in a whole wheat variety which is tasty and full of fiber. If fresh pizza dough is not available at your closest supermarket, you can try buying dough at your local pizzeria. If you're feeling extra adventurous and want your pizza to be authentically Italian, you can try making your own dough (but this can take some time and skill to master).
For sauce, I once again take the easy route and use jarred tomato sauce. My favorite tomato sauce to use for pizza is also from Trader Joe's (see the picture below). The sauce really matters to me because that's where the bulk of the flavor comes from. You can use sauces labeled "pasta sauce" or "pizza sauce", but I've found pasta sauces to be a bit more flavorful and complex. Try different sauces based on what you like, and don't be afraid to make your own sauce (I use jarred sauce because it's just easier for me). If you're following a low-sodium diet and want to cut down on sodium, you may want to make your own sauce because canned/jarred/prepackaged food tends to have more sodium than homemade.
The second most important part of my vegan pizza are the veggies. I've found that bell peppers, onions, and artichokes taste amazing on pizza, but use whatever veggies you like. Some other veggies that taste great as toppings are spinach, arugala, olives, mushrooms, and eggplant. Adding veggies to your pizza increases the nutrient content without adding a ton of calories.
The recipe I'm sharing serves two, so feel free to share with a fellow pizza-enthusiast or save the leftovers for a quick and easy meal.
A perfect plant-based pizza
- ⅓ of a package of Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough (this is about 5-6 oz. worth of dough)
- ¼-1/2 cup tomato sauce of your choice
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- a tiny bit of flour (for rolling out the dough)
- basil (fresh or dried)
- black and/or red pepper
- garlic and/or garlic powder
- veggies of your choice
- Remove the pizza dough from the fridge and leave out for 20-30 minutes (or up to an hour). This will help the dough stretch
- Preheat the oven to 370°F
- Once the time has passed, stretch out the dough with your hands and use a rolling pin (or a sturdy, smooth cup) and a little flour to flatten the dough
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled pizza stone or nonstick surface
- Brush the pizza with a small layer of olive oil
- Add the sauce and some herbs and seasonings (oregano, garlic powder, etc.)- you can also repeat this step after adding the veggies
- Add the veggies
- Bake for 25-27 minutes at 370°F
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes
- Cut into small slices using a pizza knife or a regular knife
For ½ of the pizza pictured above, there are 238 calories, 4.6 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 9.1 grams of protein. It has 890 mg of sodium, which is high, but comparable to most slices of pizza (also see my tips above to cut down on sodium). It contains 75% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and 248% of the RDI for vitamin C. Skip the takeout and enjoy a lower calorie pizza with this recipe.