When the doctor told my dad he couldn’t have high-sodium foods there was a great sadness in the land, because pizza. My dad’s love for pizza eclipses that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My dad doesn’t know any kind of ninja moves or crap like that, but I’m sure he’d even risk his life rumbling with Michelangelo for a good slice.
The unfortunate truth about most pizza you buy from pizzerias is that it’s extremely unhealthy. Greasy cheesy, salty… oh, gosh, my mouth is watering. Fats and salts and grease are super delicious, but they put your health in danger when you eat them on the reg, so my dad had to give up pizzeria pizza.
So, the dude learned how to make his own pizza. It is damn good, and (can be) super healthy.
The recipe here has a lot of options for shortcuts, so don’t be scared! If you’ve never made a pizza from scratch before, start with making just the sauce and buying your pizza dough from the store. A lot of grocery stores sell pre-made slightly baked pizza doughs in the freezer section, or wet, unshaped dough in the refrigerated section. (psst: I also use this from time-to-time when I’ve messed up the pizza dough). Furthermore, you can always use canned pizza sauce if you’re really in a hurry.
I’d encourage you, however, to try to make the pizza from scratch. Making most of the pizza gives you control over the ingredients, and gives your best chance at making the pizza healthy as possible, which is exactly why my dad started making his own pizza! The gigantic cheapskate in me also LOVES making this recipe because it is also extremely low on costs. With some pizza places charging $1 per topping, when you make it at home, the sky is limit on your toppings. Go nuts and pour the healthy ingredients on the pizza. Cheapskate me loves using leftovers on top of pizza.
To cut back on the usual unhealthiness surrounding pizza, we’ll be cutting back on the salts and grease. This means adding less or no salt to the sauce (if you’re buying your own, try to find a low-sodium sauce), but also less cheese to top the pizza. This sounds like a very sad thing, but to make up for it, you should buy some fancy-pants cheeses. These cheeses will cost a bit more by the pound, but we will end up using much less cheese than a typical pizzeria pizza. Plus, fancy cheeses have stronger tastes: you will actually end up tasting MORE cheese on your pizza. Basic mozzarella and Parmesan cheese doesn’t taste as good or nearly as strong as their fancier, freshly grated counterparts, and cheeses like pecorino or feta can add some flavor dimensions to your pizza. I’ve provided a basic list of delicious cheeses you can try on your own in the recipe below, but I’d encourage you to try different cheeses on your own the next time you try this recipe. The end result should always be only about 50% or less coverage of the pizza, however.
To add an extra layer of healthiness, I’ve included a 50% wheat crust recipe. Go for the fortified/enriched whole wheat flour from your grocery store. Bonus points if you can buy slightly higher gluten wheat flour (such as whole wheat flour meant for bread-making), but an all-purpose variety can work decently here as well. For your white flour, go for unbleached (also fortified/enriched if you can) and high-gluten as best you can, but, again, all-purpose will do.
Today, we’re making a superfoods-topping pizza. It’s as much an experiment in pizza-as-delivery-method-for-a-salad as it is an experiment in deliciousness. If you want to make your own variation but stay healthy, be sure to avoid the normal pitfalls of pizza. Avoid preserved and/or salted meat toppings, and try to lean more veggie if you can. The toppings suggested below come from our Top 12 Superfoods article, and are designed to boost your health, your fertility, and your chance of getting pregnant.
Plus, your lady can’t help but be impressed by from-scratch pizza (especially if you use fancy cheeses). Pair this with a good red wine and you’ve got date-night covered! Make baby-making extra easy tonight, dude.
Dad’s Superfood Pizza (makes 2 pizzas)
Dad’s wheat pizza dough (see recipe below or buy from store)
Dad’s pizza sauce (see recipe below or buy a low-sodium can/jar from store)
¼ c corn meal, coarse grained
2 tbsps olive oil
fancy Mozzarella cheese
fancy, fresh-grated parmesan cheese
French feta cheese (this kind of feta is creamier and less salty than Greek varieties)
1 small sweet potato
2-3 medium heirloom tomatoes, various types, diced to 1cm cubes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 c shredded Spinach
1 small salmon steak, good enough to eat raw (about 1/2c of shredded fish DO NOT USE CANNED OR SALTED VARIETY)
1 avocado (optional)
Fresh or dried minced Oregano to taste
Fresh Basil to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 500 °F. Move shelf to middle rack.
- Prep toppings first!
- Peel the sweet potato. Throw away peels and wash peeler. With the peeler, keep shredding the meat of the potato until you have as much as you want to top the pizza. Place sweet potato shreds in a bowl with 1-2 tbsps of olive oil and ½ tsp fresh minced oregano (1 tsp dried). Toss until potato slices are coated.
- Mince the garlic and chop the tomatoes.
- Shred spinach, fresh basil, fresh salmon, and slice avocado as desired. Set aside.
- Shred and slice the cheeses. Slice mozzarella cheese into thin medallions. Grate parmesan using a fine grater. Break apart the French feta by hand into small bits (< 1cm).
- Find 2 large cookie sheets (or pizza pans if you have them). Grease or line with parchment paper and cover with an even coat of coarse corn meal.
- On flat, clean, lightly floured surface, shape dough for one pizza to preferred round or square pizza shape (be sure to lightly flour your hands before handling dough). Dough should be very elastic and easily shaped by tossing method or floured rolling pin (super secret: use a tall floured pint glass if you don’t have a rolling pin). Roll up the edges slightly for crust if needed.
- When dough is desired size, place on cooking sheet.
- Spread 1 tbsp olive oil over the dough
- Spread ¼ to 1 cup pizza sauce over the dough up to the crust as desired.
- Cover pizza with mozzarella medallions, parmesean, and feta. Cover about 50% of the pizza with cheese as evenly as you can. Do not go overboard here, this cheese will melt and fill in a lot of the spaces. Plus, if you bought fancy-pants cheese like I told you to, the flavors will go a long way.
- Cover pizza evenly with tomatoes, garlic, and sweet potato.
- Repeat Prep from step 8 with second pizza.
- Place both pizzas in oven for 12-18 min, or until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. If they both can’t sit on the middle shelf, cook one at a time for 8-12 min.
- IMMEDIATELY after pizza is taken out of oven, add spinach, basil, and salmon. The spinach and salmon will cook a little bit while pizza cools down enough to eat. When cool enough to eat, add avocado if desired.
- Slice and serve.
Dad’s Pizza Sauce
4 28-oz cans of tomatos (puree, chunks, whole, whatever is your preference is ok)
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried parsley
½ c red wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
Optional: crushed red pepper
Optional: ½ tsp salt (won’t be low-sodium if you add a lot!)
- In a large saucepan, sautee the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and sautee for 1 min.
- Add red wine and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and all the other ingredients. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or to taste.
Dad’s Pizza Dough
¾ c water
1 packet of dried yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons of dried yeast)
¼ c white wine
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ c whole wheat flour
1 ¾ – 2 c white all purpose or bread flour
- Mix all ingredients until they are a ragged mess.
- Coat hands in flour, and knead for 15 seconds on a floured counter.
- Cover with a floured cloth and let the dough sit for 10 min.
- Knead for 5 minutes, and let dough sit covered for 10 min.
- Knead for 5 minutes, and transfer to a bowl coated in oil.
- Flip the dough to allow oil to coat, and let sit for 1 to 1 ½ hrs, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
- Punch down dough and use for pizza.