by Missy Chase Lapine
Pizza is more than a mere comfort food. Stroll past an outdoor café with people munching on pizza and you’ll find yourself aching to sit down and do the same. Who among us can resist the magnetic pull of this dream dish? Crispy crust, Italian herbs, gutsy garlic, rich tomato sauce, flavorful olives, sweet onion, acrobatic cheese . . . there’s a good chance that the mere reading of these ingredients is making you yearn for a slice right now!
So why not head into the kitchen and make the best, and healthiest pizza you and your family will ever eat? I’ve got a sneaky recipe that doesn’t change any of the satisfying taste and texture we all love, while adding a big boost of nutrition to each slice. Two of my super healthy sneaky purees can be added to any pizza sauce (home made or store bought) and no one will be the wiser. While your family happily munches away, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re also eating yams, carrots and white beans—excellent sources of fiber, calcium, protein and vitamins. In fact, these additional superfoods actually make the sauce taste sweeter and less acidic, so everyone raves about the taste and it’s easier to digest. And who ever thought pizza could get any better…?
Sneaky Chef Power Pizza:
Nutrition Highlights: Vegetables, beans, calcium, fiber, and protein. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, iron, lycopene, manganese, folate, tryptophan, fiber, protein, and calcium.
Ingredients (Makes 1 large pizza or 4 smaller pizzas):
1 store bought pizza dough or 4 “ Greek style” pocketless pitas (whole wheat preferred)
3/4 cup store-bought tomato sauce
3 tablespoons Orange Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe Below)
1/4 cup White Bean Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe Below)
1 to 2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Optional extra boost: sliced mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, or artichoke hearts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if using one, or spray a baking sheet with oil.
Stretch pizza dough, or roll out with floured rolling pin on floured surface, to form a pie and transfer it to the stone or baking sheet. If using pocketless pitas, place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Combine tomato sauce with White Bean and Orange Purees. Mix well.
Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the sauce mixture across the large pizza dough (use only 1/4 cup of sauce for each pita), then top with about 1 cup of mozzarella (use about 1/2 cup of cheese per pita).
Cover and refrigerate at this point, or bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
Allow to cool a few minutes, then cut into triangles and serve.
Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Orange Puree
- 1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped
- 3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
In a medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams, and especially carrots, are very tender. If the carrots aren’t thoroughly cooked, they’ll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a gigantic no-no for the sneaky chef).
Drain the potatoes and carrots and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth; no pieces of carrots or potatoes should remain. Stop occasionally to push the contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the third tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree, but the less water the better.
This makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of puree. Store in refrigerator up to three days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.
Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: White Bean Puree
- 1 15-ounce can white beans (great northern, navy, butter or cannellini)
Rinse and drain the beans and put in the bowl of your food processor. Pulsing in on/off turns, puree the drained beans with just 1 tablespoon of water in processor until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. The goal is a smooth, but not wet, puree. (You are aiming for the consistency of peanut butter.) If necessary, thin with a little more water by one teaspoonful at a time until there are no flecks of whole beans visible.
Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Makes about 1 cup of puree. Double this recipe if you want to store another cup of puree.
Missy Chase Lapine is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine. A mother of two young daughters, she knows how picky kids can be—and she’s got the kitchen experiments to prove it! She is on the Culinary Arts facility of The New School, in New York City, and also gives cooking classes and coaching to busy families hoping to learn how to eat healthier. Her book, The Sneaky Chef, is published by Running Press. Her next book The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen) will be out in April 2008. You can learn more about Missy at her website, www.thesneakychef.com