Living in New York City, I see pizza joints on every street corner. With over 61,000 pizzerias nationwide, we go crazy for this hot, gooey and cheap classic. Readily available and perfect for a quick dinner or late night snack, eating pizza is nearly unavoidable. It’s become almost too easy to order one from take out- just a click of a computer button and within 30 minutes a piping hot pie is at your doorstep. While delivery and $1 slices are convenient, nothing beats making homemade pizza. Making pizza yourself is a great way to design a pizza exactly how you like it. It’s also the easiest way to turn your typical fatty pie into a healthy, plant-based meal suitable for anyones diet. Usually pizza is loaded with meaty toppings and mounds of melty cheese that can leave your stomach feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable. Drop these animal products and make the switch to building plant-based pizzas. Using loads of vegetables and your own two hands, here are easy tips on making delicious pizza that tastes a whole lot better and is a whole lot healthier.
Skip the Cheese (Yes, Really!)
Much of pizza’s grease and fat is owed to cheese. Skip cheese and make plant-based pizzas with all the same great flavor. Instead of loading on different types of mozzarella, Parmesan or ricotta, try instead to load on healthy, vegetable toppings. The sky’s the limit on what vegetables you can add. For a hearty pizza, add meaty vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant, butternut squash or cauliflower. To get calcium that you would normally get from cheese, try adding calcium-rich vegetables like spinach or arugula. For more unusual flavors and toppings check out this Asparagus Potato Pizza or this Kale and Artichoke Pizza.
Of course, you can make plant-based cheese if you must have that classic cheesy goodness on your pizza. Using nuts, homemade dairy-free cheese is protein packed and won’t leave your body feeling greasy and bloated. This Fresh Vegan Moxarella Cheese will make you forget all about that dairy-filled slice. This cheese is vegan, creamy and free from artificial additives. Plus, it won’t make you heartburn-ridden or cause dairy indigestion. Many grocery stores also carry dairy-free cheeses, making the transition away from dairy even easier. If you want a simple cheesy fix for your pizza, settle for sprinkling on some nutritional yeast like you would Parmesan, or make your own vegan Parmesan.
For the healthiest pizza, go raw. Raw pizza is 100% delicious and 100 percent good for you. Raw pizza means that your crust isn’t baked and is 100 percent plant-based, it ensures that your sauce is the freshest possible, and your toppings are able to be unique from those found on a sizzling slice. Using bell peppers and sunflower seeds for a crust, try our Raw Vegan Pizza with this Raw Marinara Sauce for a light and flavorful meal. Fresh garlic, avocado and thinly sliced zucchini make tasty and unusual toppings, but feel free to use any vegetables you have on hand. This Raw Vegan Pizza With Spinach and Pesto uses marinated vegetables to make the fresh flavors burst. While raw pizza does taste differently than the pizza we are all used to, it will truly make your body shine with nutrients that you just can’t get from your typical slice. The best part about plant-based, raw pizza? You can eat a whole lot of it and still feel great!
Make Your Own Crust
Good pizza is often defined by its crust. Whether your preference is deep dish or thin, there’s no doubt that handmade crust trumps all. Making pizza dough is fun for the whole family, super simple and extremely rewarding when you cut into that first slice. For the healthiest non-raw crust, use whole wheat flour to make Wholemeal Pizza Dough. Add flax meal or other seeds for an extra fiber boost. Gluten-free and low-carb eaters are not out of luck anymore when it comes to crust. Try this Gluten-Free Pizza Base for a crust most similar to the original. For those with intolerances, try making vegetable-based pizza crusts. Cauliflower Crust Pizza is a well known option that creates a sturdy base for a light bite. To switch things up a bit, dare to use other vegetables such as zucchini and eggplant to make crust. This Sweet Potato, Sesame and Chickpea Pizza is perfect for those with allergies as it is gluten, yeast and grain free. To get extra protein and get that digestive system back to regular, make this Healthy ‘Digestive-friendly’ Quinoa Pizza Crust. Plant-based crusts are perfect for pizzas that are dense and filling, yet light and satisfying.
All About That Sauce
Tried and true, tomato sauce will forever be pizza’s classic sauce. However tasty, tomato sauce can also get boring. There are so many other sauces that will taste awesome on your pizza. If you opt for a tomato base, make your own Thick Vegan Pizza Sauce for the freshest flavors, or choose a store bought brand without sugar, too much sodium, or additives. For delicate and sophisticated pizzas, choose to make a white pizza. This is a healthy choice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with allow your vegetable toppings to shine. For a creamy white pizza try making a rich sauce like on this White Zucchini Pizza. To get some added protein, make a nut-based pesto. As a base, pesto pairs fabulously with artichokes, potatoes, olives or ripe tomatoes. Perfect for a refreshing meal, try this Fresh Summer Vegan Pesto Pizza. If you really want to impress some taste buds, use this Homemade Healthy Barbecue Sauce as a base. Add tempeh for extra heartiness, or pineapple for a Hawaiian pizza. BBQ not your thing? Simply spread hummus on your crust for an extremely healthy pie that has a zesty flavor and creamy texture.
Get creative and use these tips to upgrade your typical, greasy pizza into a healthy, plant-based meal. With all the classic pizza flavor, these healthier alternatives will leave you feeling satisfied and totally guiltless. For more fun pizza ideas, check out these amazing 27 Vegan Pizzas. We’d love to hear from you, what’s your favorite way to eat a slice?!
Lead Image Source: Socca Pizza