Healthy Caprese Pizza

Being healthy should be about balance, not sacrifice. Sure, ice cream doesn’t have much nutritional merit, but a cone here and there won’t kill you, and few squares of dark chocolate a few times a week will keep you mentally healthy. When I eat, I try to be mindful about what I am putting into my body without depriving myself of the foods that make life worth living. For me, that means PIZZA. Cold pizza for breakfast or piping hot for dinner, I think I could eat this classic Italian dish anytime of day, multiple times a day. A life of clean eating without pizza would honestly just not be worth it, so I made some substitutions. Rather than getting greasy pizza from take-out joints, I make my own so that I know exactly what it is I am eating and have control over where it came from. The most surprising thing? The homemade, home grown, all natural version of pizza is 100% better than Pizza Hut.
The first step is to combine one packet of yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp) with 1 2/3 cups of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes and stir after the time is up!

  For the dough, we will be using all-purpose unbleached flour. Bleached and unbleached flour are pretty interchangeable except for one small factor: one of the above is treated with chemicals while the other is allowed to age naturally. Yup, you guessed it unbleached flour has been treated with benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas to ensure that pure white look. While neither chemical is thought to be hazardous to health, do you really want to put something you have no idea how to pronounce into your body? Unbleached flour is allowed to mature naturally and actually contains proteins that are lost in the bleaching process. As the saying goes, nature always knows best. Add 3 3/4 cups of unbleached flour to a large mixing bowl.

 You can now add the water and yeast mixture to the mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix and that’s it! The hardest part is over. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for two hours while you wait for the dough to rise. Take the dog for a walk, go to yoga class, or lift some weights while you dream of the delicious pizza that awaits…

 Okay, so your two hours are up and you’re ready to go. Set the oven to 500 degrees and put the racks on the lowest space. Now, thinly coat two pizza trays with olive oil and cut the dough in half (yes, literally use scissors). This recipe makes two pizzas…I’m thinking I know what lunch will be tomorrow!

 Add flour to the dough so that it isn’t sticky to the touch and start to evenly kneed it out until it is spread across the pan. You’ll want to lightly brush some aluminum foil with olive oil and cover the dough. Put it in the fridge to cool while we prepare the toppings!

 The first one is pretty obvious: tomato sauce! Make sure it is all natural so that you can enjoy all the benefits tomatoes provide, and there are a lot! Tomatoes have been proven to reduce the risk of four different types of cancer, promote heart health with their high concentration of vitamin C and potassium, and even give you energy! These cheery fruits not only taste good, but they make you feel good by increasing the production of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Don’t hesitate to go heavy on the sauce, and add a little basil pesto for flavor.

 Now, slice up two whole tomatoes, making the slices about half an inch thick. They taste even better when grown in your own garden or purchased at a local farmer’s market!

 Finally, we need the cheese. For this pizza we will be using thin slices of buffalo mozzarella to complete the caprese taste. Surprisingly, buffalo mozzarella is actually made with buffalo milk! It is a good source of dairy and provides protein and calcium. Like all cheeses, mozzarella is pretty high in fat and calories so keep this in mind when deciding how much or little to add. Calories aren’t the be all end all though, mozzarella is fresh and natural and, most importantly, delicious!

  
Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator after 10 minuted and spread on sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto, and some capers for taste! Lightly brush the crust with olive oil to create that signature crunch texture. The wait is almost over…bake each pizza for 15 minutes (10 min on the bottom rack 5 on the middle). When they have finished baking, transfer the pizzas to a wooden board, slice, and serve. Pizza doesn’t have to be something you feel guilty about, it can be natural, healthy, and delicious!

  
Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs salt
  • Natural tomato sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Capers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Buffalo mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Combine one packet of yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp) with 1 2/3 cups of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes and stir after the time is up.
  2. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water until consistent. Allow dough to sit in a bowl for 2 hours covered with plastic wrap.
  3. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly coat 2 baking pans with olive oil and cut dough in half. Spread dough over pans, adding flour so no longer sticky.
  4. Cover with tin foil brushed with olive oil and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  5. After time is up spread tomato sauce and add 2 sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced buffalo mozzarella, capers, basil pesto, and pepper. Brush crusts with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 10 min on bottom rack and 5 min on middle rack. Enjoy!
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