OyChicago blog

No-Guilt Grilled Pizza

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07/08/2013

Recently, I came across an article arguing the effectiveness of fast food chains listing caloric value next to their menu items. They proposed the idea of instead, listing an effective exercise and recommended length of time to burn off the calories. The author thought that this would help consumers to make the healthier choice. For example one slice of cheese pizza coming in at 285 calories will cost you 50 minutes of jogging. Don’t even think about pairing your pizza with a light beer—that will cost you an extra 30 minutes of bowling.

So there you are at one of your favorite pizza restaurants (Cross-town rivalry… I am going to have to go with Lou Malnati’s) deciding what you want on your pizza, and you end up eating a plain garden salad because the menu says it will only cost you a short yoga class instead of a lengthy jog. When did our dinner start coming with a choice of exercise instead of a choice of side? By educating ourselves on what goes into our favorite pizzeria’s slice, we can make a delicious slice of pizza at home instead of having to eat yet another salad.

One of my family’s favorite meals on a busy summer weekend is grilled pizza. It is fast, easy, delicious and can be made super healthy. In college, I had a nutrition professor who claimed that pizza in moderation can be a very healthy meal when done correctly because it has the ability to be a completely balanced one (it contains grains, vegetables, protein and some healthy fat).

The key is to pick fresh tasty ingredients so that you do not have to pile on cheese and fatty meats. The version below is only one of many favorites. By grilling the pizza dough, you can get it super thin and crispy so that you can pile on the veggies and lean proteins.

No-Guilt Grilled Pizza photo

Whole Grain Pizza with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Vegetables 
Serves 4

Ingredients

-Crust-
I cheated and bought the whole grain dough from Whole Foods that can be found at the pizza counter … hey, pizza is supposed to be fast and easy, right?

-Sauce-
1 (8 oz) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 small yellow onion- sliced
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

-Toppings-
1 tsp. olive oil
5 oz soft ripened goat cheese (I like Lincoln Log from Zingerman’s)
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup baby arugula
½ cup wild mushrooms, chopped
5 stalks asparagus, cut in ½ inch pieces
¼ red pepper, chopped
¼ yellow pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, sliced thin
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

-Sauce-
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Once browned add in tomatoes, agave, and bay. Simmer for about 10 min. Season with salt and pepper. Take out bay leaves and blend all ingredients until smooth. Sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use.

-Vegetables-
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil and lightly brown garlic and shallots. Add in mushrooms, asparagus, and peppers. Lightly sauté vegetables to start the cooking process and release some of the liquids so that the crust does not become soggy. They should be tender when removed from the pan. Remember they will still cook a little on the grill.

-Dough-
Heat grill on high. Roll out dough as thin as you can get it. Brush olive oil on one side and place oiled side down on grill. Pop any bubbles with a fork if they appear during cooking process. When lightly browned, turn grill to medium heat and flip dough over. Immediately start laying your ingredients down. I started with my sauce then scattered all my vegetables including raw arugula around entire pizza. I finished my pizza with the goat cheese and a scattering of parmesan cheese. Pizza is done once crust is crispy and cheese is melted. This process should be done with the grill top open the entire time.

Go ahead and indulge yourself in a beer there is room for it now.

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