Lightening Up On Pizza

December 04, 1991|By Larry Brown | Larry Brown,Seattle Times

I don't believe I ate that fourth slice of pepperoni with sausage and now my belt is so tight I'll probably look like the leaning tower of pizza when I get up.

Got a case of the try-to-walk blues?

Don't give it up. Lighten it up.

Pizza can be plentiful in calories and fat, or it can be a healthful part of your meal planning. It's all in how you make it.

The following recipes show the way to lighter pizza. And we're not talking about depriving yourself. This is not the "brush crust lightly with 1/8 teaspoon of finely minced anchovy in canola oil" school of pizza making. Tasters gave these creations high marks for flavor and heartiness.

The calories range from 139 for a serving of sweet pepper pizza bread to 219 for a serving of turkey sausage and mushroom pizza with jalapeno peppers. The fat-content range is from 4 to 7 grams.

How does that compare to remembrances of pizzas past?

Recipes past have included a salami, mushroom and brie pizza with 355 calories and 19 grams of fat, and a "Really Trendy '80s Pizza," made with mushrooms, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, with 359 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving.

The crust dough for most of the following recipes is quickly made in a food processor, then allowed to rise for 1 hour before shaping.

Reducing the calories and the fat without a reduction in either flavor or satisfaction can be achieved by using more vegetables, more highly flavored herbs and spices and low-fat mozzarella cheese in moderate quantities.

Clam and artichoke pizza is flavored with marinated artichoke hearts and basil. You can substitute canned water-packed tuna for the clams.

Try some of these recipes, cutting the calories and the fat by half, for evidence that there's no need to deprive yourself of pizza, one of America's favorite foods.

Sweet pepper pizza bread

Makes 5 slices.

1 (1-pound) loaf frozen white bread dough

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Defrost the bread dough in refrigeration overnight.

Remove the dough from refrigeration and stretch into a rough 12-inch circle. (The dough will be difficult to work with at first.) Place on a baking sheet or pizza pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, red and yellow peppers, garlic, rosemary, salt and red pepper flakes. Saute 10 minutes.

Brush the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the dough and top with the vegetables. Sprinkle with the goat and mozzarella cheeses. Bake in a 350-degree oven 35 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Per serving: Calories 139; fat 5 grams; cholesterol 7 milligrams.

Clam and artichoke pizza

Makes 12 slices.

For the crust:

1 envelope dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced

2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 (4-ounce) can whole pimentos, drained

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained (See note)

3/4 cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Optional: 1/3 cup torn basil leaves

To prepare the crust: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and let proof 10 minutes. Place the flour and salt in a food processor and add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Process until the dough forms a ball. Add another tablespoon water if necessary to form the ball. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.

To prepare the topping: In a medium skillet heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Cut the artichoke hearts into small pieces. Discard any tough leaves. Slice the pimentos into thin strips. Stir both into the onions and season with the dried basil, salt and pepper.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch circle and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Spread with the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the clams, cheese and basil if using. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake in a 425-degree oven 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.

Note: 2 cans drained water-packed tuna can replace the clams in this recipe.

Per serving: Calories 201; fat 7 grams; cholesterol 12 milligrams.

Turkey sausage, mushroom pizza with jalapenos

Makes 12 slices.

For the crust:

1 envelope dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:

3/4 cup water

4 tablespoons low-sodium tomato paste

2 medium jalapeno peppers, divided

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

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