Everyone loves pizza. It's cheesy, doughy, and down-right delicious. Unfortunately, it's also very high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories. Each slice can have as many as 500 calories; and we all know that one slice is never enough!

Fortunately, pizza doesn't have to be a junk food reserved only for special occasions. By making a few simple substitutions and investing a little time, you can easily take this calorie-loaded comfort food to the next—healthier –level.

I'm passionate about making food from scratch; but I know that's not always possible. If you're short on time, you can absolutely substitute pre-made ingredients—but remember to examine the nutrition labels closely to ensure they are a good choice.

Aside from being healthier, the other thing I love about this recipe is that both the crust and the sauce can be frozen and used later. If you keep a little dough and sauce in the freezer, making a homemade—healthy –pizza will be just as easy as picking up the phone and ordering in!

Each slice of pizza rings in at approximately 150 calories—depending on which toppings you choose. It will be very low in sodium and have a small amount of saturated fat. The pizza will be quite healthy, and I promise the flavor will be outstanding!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

(makes two 12" crusts—8 slices/ea)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour (plus more for kneading)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. warm water

2 1/4 tsp. active, dry yeast

1 tbsp. honey

Directions:

Combine the warm water, honey and yeast in a bowl. Let this sit until it becomes foamy— about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the flours and salt. Once the yeast mixture is foamy add it to the flours. Stir, using a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to come together—then add the olive oil.

Knead everything together, adding additional flour (a little at a time) until the dough is moderately stiff and no longer wet. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about a half hour.

Sprinkle a cutting board or parchment paper with some cornmeal. Divide the dough into 2 portions (freeze one, if you'd like) and place one portion on the cornmeal covered surface. Roll the dough out to a thin circle using a rolling pin.

Poke holes all over the crust using a fork. Then, pre-bake the crust for 5 minutes in a 450 F degree oven (that has been preheated with a pizza stone for about 30 min). Remove. Spread the crust with sauce and the toppings of your choice.

Bake at 450 F degrees (again, on the pizza stone) for about 10 minutes—or until the crust gets a little browned and the cheese gets all melty.

Easy Tomato Pizza Sauce

4 large garlic cloves

3 medium tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for cooking garlic

5 or 6 large basil leaves

salt and pepper—to taste

1/2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

Peel, smash and chop garlic. Add about 1 tsp. of oil into a pan and saute until garlic begins to turn a little brown (watch it closely—garlic burns easily!)

Put garlic, tomatoes (quartered), 1 tbsp olive oil and basil leaves in blender. Blend until everything is combined, you can leave the tomatoes a little chunky if you want.

Pour sauce into the same pan you cooked the garlic in—add some extra chopped tomatoes if you'd like. Add sugar and stir everything together.

Simmer on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes or until it thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Toppings

My personal favorite is hunks of buffalo mozzarella, torn basil leaves and mushrooms; but thin slices of prosciutto, goat cheese, and spinach are equally delicious. If you enjoy pepperoni, consider trying the kind made of turkey.

Some important things to remember so that your pizza remains healthy are to limit the cheese, increase the vegetables, and choose leaner proteins. If you absolutely crave a topping that is high in fat or calories (sausage)—watch your portion size!

For extra flavor you can add a variety of fresh or dried herbs. Oregano, basil and red chile flakes are fabulous choices.

Happy Cooking!

About the author: Shari enjoys learning about food, making food, and eating food. She especially has an affinity for unique ingredients and Indian recipes. You can read her blog over at MyFancyPantry.com

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