Try these 7 Healthy Alternatives to Satisfy Your Pizza Craving
If you were to ask me what my guilty pleasure is, I’d answer “pizza” faster than the speed of light. Pizza is arguably the best food on the planet — for good reason. What’s not to love? The warm cheesy goodness of pizza is hard to beat, and its versatility is unmatched. Unfortunately, a slice of pizza in each hand doesn’t quite qualify as a balanced diet. Nor does it contribute to a healthy, balanced life.
Don’t despair just yet — I’ve found some substitutions that satisfy my cravings and keep me from the greasy, carb-induced feeling of regret from reaching for my favorite doughy dish.
1. Portobello Pizza
Making personal pizzas by stuffing Portobello mushrooms with your favorite pizza toppings or making pizza bites with baby bellas is a great way to get all the goodness of a pizza in a much healthier package.
To make this delicious pizza dupe:
? Preheat oven to 350
? Wash mushrooms, remove stems and scrape the gills.
? Brush mushrooms lightly with oil
? Place on tray open-end up and bake for 5 minutes
? Remove mushrooms from oven and add ingredients like pizza sauce, light cheese, spinach and olives.
? Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
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2. Cauliflower Crust
Sometimes you just can’t stay away from pizza no matter how hard you try, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to make a pizza healthier. Not only is this cauliflower crust way more nutritional than the average pizza dough, it’s also gluten free.
While the pizza recipe includes prosciutto, you could easily swap it out for something less salty — if you still want to have meat, try grilled chicken instead.
3. Pita Pizza
Wholegrain pita is one of my favorite snacks. I keep it around to make sandwiches, pita chips and, of course, pizza. This pizza pretender has roasted bell pepper and red onion to give it plenty of flavor.
4. English Muffin Pizza
All the flavor of a pizza in a conservative portion — finally you can indulge your craving and skip the feelings of guilt.
This snack is so versatile you don’t even need a recipe, just make it up as you go.
? Cut your English muffin in half
? Put on a sauce of your choice, cheese and toppings such as diced tomatoes, sliced peppers or pineapple.
? Bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
5. Zucchini Pizza
Technically there are a few ways that one could make a zucchini pizza. If the idea of vegetable crusts strikes your fancy, you can make a zucchini crust and cover it with your favorite healthy toppings.
Another option is to use slices of zucchini as a bed for your pizza toppings. Is it the same as pizza crust? No, but it’s still delicious, and your body will thank you for skipping all the grease that comes with a traditional pizza. With ingredients such as fresh mushrooms and pepper slices, this veggie pizza is sure to keep you coming back for more.
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6. Polenta Crust
Polenta is so quick and easy to make, I’m surprised it isn’t used for pizza crust more often. Just bake your polenta “crust” for about 20 minutes so it gets nice and crispy, and then throw on your favorite toppings.
This Swiss chard polenta pizza recipe is a great way to metaphorically have your cake and eat it too. All the deliciousness you want from a pizza, without all the junk.
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7. Quinoa Bites
Quinoa has gained massive popularity recently. This super food also makes a super pizza. Gluten free, packed with fiber and protein, this grain is understandably gaining traction.
With onion, cherry tomato and basil starring in this snack, there should be no short supply of flavor in this recipe. While it’s not quite the same as the historic deep dish favorite, these quinoa bites should be just as satisfying.
These healthy alternatives will let you eat pizza to your heart’s content, without any guilt or indigestion. You can treat yourself knowing you’re having a nutritious meal, and everyone will be impressed by your creative alternatives. While striving to eat healthy all the time is a good goal, it’s important to remember you’re allowed to indulge your cravings sometimes — in moderation.
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Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger, sharing advice on finding happiness and success in your career and in life. Passionate about both food and living a balanced life, Sarah is always on the lookout for healthy new recipes. Share your favorites and check out more from Sarah by following her on Twitter @SarahLandrum