Before my I found my
current former job as a line cook, I worked for a few months as a pizza maker at a popular pizza restaurant in the Boston area.
I worked at this pizza place as a second job (I also work full-time as an independent social media marketing consultant and Web content writer) to earn additional income.
Also, I wanted to learn how to make pizzas, since my plan is to open my own restaurant that serves pizzas.
And yeah, I also wanted to eat pizza.
A lot of pizza.
And let me tell you.
Sometimes having too much of a good thing is an awesome thing.
However, pizza is definitely NOT one of those things you can never have enough of!
Especially if you use fresh and healthy ingredients on the pizzas you are putting down and going all out H.A.M. on!
Why use fresh and healthy ingredients in pizza?
I use a lot of fresh and healthy veggies in the pizzas I make.
By making the pizza as healthy as possible, you’ll be maximizing the amount of healthy nutrients and vitamins you consume.
The healthier you eat, the better your health will be.
AND it’s also a healthy pizza that you can feel good about making, eating, and feeding to others.
(By the way, I’m testing out a new Twitter WordPress plug-in called Click To Tweet that lets visitors to this blog tweet certain lines from my blog post. So feel free to Tweet that Click To Tweet sentence above. Or not.)
That’s the type of pizza I like to make and that’s what I’ll teach you here in this SEO-friendly titled blog post:
How to make a super healthy pizza that also tastes really awesome in 5 surprisingly simple, easy, and mouthwatering steps (PICTURES)
This is my recipe for my infamous “Green Giant” pizza that I’ve been experimenting with for a few months. If you’ve been following The Idea Hunters.net on Instagram, then you have witnessed the various incarnations of this “anti-hero of anti-oxidants“.
Also, if you want to make a healthy gluten-free pizza, then you can substitute gluten-free pizza crust into your recipe.
A popular gluten-free pizza crust brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust.
An Important Note about this recipe for a healthy pizza known as “The Green Giant” and recipes in general
Please note, the below ingredients can be adjusted according to your own taste and what you prefer.
These are just general guidelines and suggestions for creating your own version of “The Green Giant” pizza.
Ingredients for “The Green Giant” pizza:
- Crushed red pepper
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of of tomato sauce
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 16 oz. of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 6 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of flour (I use whole wheat organic flour because I try to make my pizzas as healthy as possible)
- 1 ball of fresh pizza dough, thawed
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
- 2 cups of chopped broccoli
- 1 cup of chopped kale
You’ll also need:
- A pre-heated oven set to 425 degrees
- A medium-sized baking tray lined with greased aluminum foil or a pizza stone
- Pizza cutter
Step 1: Prepare your Mis En Place
Before you begin cooking, it helps to organize all of your ingredients beforehand.
In the restaurant industry, this is what we call the “mis en place” which is a French term meaning “everything in its place”.
Basically, it’s all of the ingredients you will be using to prepare your dish (in this case, an awesome healthy pizza) organized and set before you for easy access.
As a professional line cook (and former professional pizza maker), I am responsible for “prepping” or preparing for service, all of my mis en place in time before the busy dinner rush.
By having all of my ingredients in place and within arms reach in the proportions and conditions I need, then I’ll be able to efficiently and correctly put together all of my dishes that my station is responsible for cooking.
As a home cook, it also helps to get your mis en place together before you prepare your meals.
This will prevent you from leaving out a key ingredient or doing something during the cooking process that may disrupt the cooking time or dramatically alter how your pizza tastes (and not in a good way).
Step 2: Work the dough
Dough is the foundation of any great and healthy pizza like the one you’re about to prepare.
Treat your dough with respect and love, and it will do you right. Disrespect the dough, and it will result in a gummy, undercooked, nasty pizza experience.
Have plenty of flour on hand, which will keep the dough from getting sticky and help it flatten out. The organic whole wheat flour I used for this healthy pizza is brown in color.
You also need to prep your dough by opening the bag and letting the dough “breathe” for at least 15-20 minutes beforehand.
This will help make the dough more pliable and it will be easier to make your pizza crust as thin or as thick as you want.
Liberally sprinkle flour on a flat surface, such as a large cutting board or a clean countertop.
Then, lay the dough on the flour and flatten it out with your hands or a rolling pin.
You’ll want to press out any air bubbles that may form in the dough.
If you don’t have a rolling pin, then you can use gravity to help you stretch out the dough.
This is the technique that I use. I simply lift the dough and let it stretch itself out.
Once it stretches, I lay it back on the flour and continue flattening and shaping it.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. This ain’t no Domino’s, homie!
You can shape your pizza in any way shape or form you want.
I prefer a rectangular pizza with rounded corners, since that fits the baking tray I usually use to bake my pizzas. If you have a pizza stone, then perhaps this would be a good time to bust that action out.
If you’re using a baking tray, you can line it with foil and sprinkle it with extra virgin olive oil to prevent the pizza from sticking and you eating a mouthful of aluminum foil.
I also form the pizza crust by pressing and shaping the edges of the dough.
Don’t forget, dough expands when it cooks, so there’s no need to make big honking dough crusts, unless that’s the type of pizza game you are striving for.
I like smaller crusts because I want as much real estate for the toppings as possible.
But that’s just my preference. I like small crusts and a lot of room for a lot of toppings on my pizza.
Step 3: Add seasoning (and love) to the dough
I can’t emphasize this point enough when it comes to making your healthy pizza from scatch with raw dough:
If you don’t add love to the dough, then the dough won’t love you back.
Trust me. I’m a professional line cook. I am required to know what tastes good in food. It’s my job.
So give the dough some love and don’t sleep on this next important step.
You should season the dough by brushing it with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and since we’re all about cheeses up in here, parmesan cheese.
Add these delicious ingredients to up your dough game, player.
Step 4: Top it all off
I am a big fan of tomato sauce. Now only is it perfect on pizza, but tomato sauce also contains healthy ingredients like lycopenes and anti-oxidants.
Remember, this is not just going to be a delicious pizza, but a healthy pizza, too.
A healthy pizza that tastes good and is good for you. It’s a win-win pizza scenario.
Spread the sauce by adding it to the center of the dough and then spreading it outwards towards the crust with a spoon or ladle.
Next, add the fresh mozzarella slices.
Space the slices evenly across the entire pizza.
Remember to leave space between the mozzarella slices for the ricotta and other toppings.
Add the chopped kale, broccoli, ricotta (use a piping bag or spoon), and apple slices evenly throughout the pizza.
I try to get a little bit of every topping into every bite.
Also, remember that in addition to expanding to form the crust, the center of the pizza will actually shrink inwards. You’ll want to avoid placing the toppings all bunched up toward’s the pie’s center. This is what’s known in the professional pizza making industry as “center loading”.
Don’t be afraid to put your toppings as close to the edge of the pie as possible to spread them out and distribute delicious tastes evenly.
Sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and oregano to taste. Make it taste good.
Drizzle with the olive oil to add flavor and give the pizza a nice golden coloring as it bakes.
Step 5: Get your bake on!
Bake the pizza at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
You’ll want a golden crust and some browning of the cheese.
I prefer my pizzas to be on the more well-done side of the tracks, so I’ll let it bake for about 25 minutes.
Remember to check in on the progress of the baking after about 15 minutes, since pizzas can have different baking times due to things like the number of toppings, size of the oven, and other factors.
When I worked at a pizza shop, we wouldn’t set a timer for the pizzas when we placed them in the oven.
Instead we’d frequently check the progress and look for things like a slightly burnt outer crust and a melted middle. Then you’ll know when it’s ready to be taken out of the oven, sliced, and enjoyed thoroughly.
It should looks something like this when it’s ready:
Wait about 5 minutes or so to let the pizza cool off and for the toppings and cheese to settle in.
It’ll make cutting and serving the slices much easier and you won’t lose any valuable toppings from sliding off.
Grab your pizza cutter and give it one big slice horizontally before running the slicer vertically to create 8 equal slices.
Enjoy with your favorite beverage and extra parmesan cheese or crushed red pepper flakes if needed.
I hope you enjoy trying this healthy pizza recipe.
I look forward to providing more useful content including healthy recipes and other articles about living healthier.
Got any good tips for making a healthy pizza?
Let’s hear all about it in the Comments below, healthy pizza party people!
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James K. Kim
James "Jim" Kim is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield / Pyramid Brokerage Company in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in retail, office, and industrial tenant and landlord representation.