Healthy Hawaiian Pizza
I love making pizza at home, and have gotten pretty good at a variety of different styles and crusts. When I make pizza at home, in general, it is much more healthy than it is when I go out for a pie, if for no other reason than I make my pizza’s smaller at home, and I usually go with minimal toppings for both taste and practicality (home made pizzas can get easily bogged down with heavy toppings). As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m spending the year being trained in better eating habits and exercise by the Precision Nutrition (PN) program (so far the results have been pretty amazing). Part of this weekend’s lesson was the challenge to make a truly healthy pizza. As usual, I started with a base recipe found in Gourmet Nutrition (a PN publication) and made a few changes based on my personal preferences and what I had around the house for ingredients.
First, the crust. The PN recipe calls for essentially a quick-bread style crust using baking-powder instead of yeast. This is quicker than yeast crust, but I think would give you more of a cracker-style crust instead of a traditional pizza crust. It also uses less carbs than my recipe, but I think that a moderate amount of carbs are working for me, so I’m not as concerned with keeping things low carb. I am, however, concerned with making my food work for me, so that means getting as much fiber and nutrients into my crust as possible. To that end, I made a simple yeast-based dough using a combination of organic, stone-ground 7-grain bread flour and unbleached all purpose flour for my crust, following the technique found in this New York Times article.
And then of course, are the toppings. Following the basics from the Gourmet Nutrition recipe, this Hawaiian Pizza was likely to be a little heavier than my usual pizzas, so rather than build it straight on a peel for baking directly on the pizza stone, I opted to use one of the vintage pizza pans from my collection. This would give me the support I would need for everything that goes on the pizza. The first layer is basic tomato sauce. I was feeling lazy so I just used some generic sauce straight from a can, and sprinkled it with some dried oregano, salt and pepper.
Here’s where things get a little more unique. The next layer is cottage cheese, puréed with an egg (for protein) and then topped with mozzarella. The original recipe called for low-fat mozzarella, but in order to avoid anything overly processed I just went with some fresh mozzarella instead. Perhaps a little more fat, but I don’t think it’s enough to make a huge difference. Next came two slices of smoked turkey breast, chopped (instead of the ham that is on traditional Hawaiian Pizza), chunk pineapple, and for my own unique touch, shredded Brussels sprouts for color and a little more flavor.
The result? While I was skeptical about the density of the toppings (particularly the cottage-cheese and egg mixture) the overall flavor was very tasty. The whole wheat crust was dense and strong enough to support the toppings, and as I’ve found with other recipes, I really enjoy the nutty flavor of the wheat. The flavors of the cottage-cheese mixture along with the sweetness of the pineapple, saltiness of the turkey and the tangy tomato sauce all work together very well as toppings. The center of the pie was a little floppy and overly moist, which didn’t affect the flavor, just the texture. The brussels sprouts, in addition to adding some color and texture, add an interesting top note to the taste.
Would I make this again? Probably. Would I make it all the time? Probably not. It was a little more complicated than my usual pizzas which are just a little tomato sauce, some mozzarella and basil. I have some leftover cottage-cheese and egg topping, and my dough recipe made enough for two pizzas, so perhaps I’ll try some variations tomorrow. In any case, give it a shot, you’ll be surprised by how good it is.
Recipe: Healthy Hawaiian Pizza
Summary: A healthy take on a sweet and salty pizza favorite!
- 1 12” Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 4oz fresh mozzarella
- 2 slices smoked turkey breast, chopped
- 8oz can of pineapple chunks
- 6 brussels sprouts, shredded
- Preheat oven to 450 with a pizza stone if you have one.
- Roll out your pizza crust on a pizza pan (or directly onto a peel), pushing a thicker rim into the edge of the dough.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the cottage cheese and the egg until smooth. Next, spread the tomato sauce onto the dough, and add the cottage cheese mixture on top and spread evenly. The cottage cheese and the tomato sauce will start to mix together … this is ok.
- Tear up the fresh mozzarella into small pieces and sprinkle it evenly over the whole pizza. Repeat with the pineapple, turkey, and the brussels sprouts, making sure to get all of the ingredients spread evenly.
- Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes on your pizza stone (or on the rack), then broil for an additional 3-5 minutes to add some char to the surface of the pizza.
- Cut into 8 pieces, and enjoy!