Pizza is a staple on the dinner menu in most of our homes. Our writer tested out alternative crust recipes in an attempt to make pizza night a bit healthier.
Cooking is supposed to be fun, a way to be creative and one of my all-time favourite ways to do so, is by finding ways to make those not so healthy foods that we love to eat healthier but yet still enjoyable. Let’s face it, the average household is not able to constantly eat out, and our waistlines are not as forgiving as they once were. For me, what is far more important is being able to serve the kids healthier food options whenever possible. After all, healthy eating habits start at home.
With that being said, who doesn’t love pizza? A classic, comfort food most enjoy, but if you are anything like me, I go from craving it to instantly regretting eating it in a matter of seconds. I have come to accept the fact that fast food just does not agree with me for whatever reason. Sadly, I seem to forget that each time I choose to indulge. All this to say, I have recently gone on a quest to find fun, different pizza crust alternatives that not only taste good, are healthy, are somewhat comparable to the greasy, cheesy goodness that we order in, but also yummy enough that the kids will still enjoy.
For us, pizza night is a staple in our house for several reasons. For one, it is simple, inexpensive and quick. Secondly, I use pizza night as a way to get rid of leftovers. Anything that might be hiding in the fridge from previous nights and veggies that don’t have much life left in them, make for great toppings. I must say, making pizza at home definitely allows you to be creative and almost anything can be used. You will definitely have a better selection of toppings then just the regular ones you would get when ordering.
Whole wheat crust:
This crust option is probably the most preferred by the kids because it is almost the exact same as regular crust but eliminates the white, not so good for us flour. You will notice that I also do not use yeast of any kind and the only reason for this is because I don’t have patience. When I’m ready to cook, I want to cook, I don’t want to wait. The same can be said for recipes that involve refrigerating for any length of time, they just aren’t for me. And to be honest, I much prefer a thin crust versus and doughy, fluffy crust so it’s a win win in my kitchen! This recipe can also be used if ever you are in the mood to make pizza pockets, calzones or anything similar. It is extremely versatile. My favourite recipe for this crust can be found on theconscientiouseater.com
- 1 1/3 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- ½ cup Milk or water (I typically use almond milk)
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Mix your dry ingredients and then slowly add in wet ingredients
- Knead the dough and then form into a ball, let it rest for about 10 minutes
- On a non-stick baking sheet, roll out your dough and poke with a fork
- Bake for 8 minutes, remove the dough and add your toppings
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes
Quinoa crust is my favourite crust to make. It is a little bit more time consuming and involves a few more steps, and even though I’m not such a fan of extra steps, it is well worth the effort. This crust does not rise and although the texture of the batter is quite runny and deceiving, once baked, the crust is thin and crisp, almost like a cracker of sorts. It is definitely not your average crust or anything like what you would get when eating out but a great alternative for low carb night or for people that have certain food intolerances and let’s not forget that it is gluten free. Recipe from Simplyquinoa.com
- ¾ cup of Quinoa
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Water
- Cook the Quinoa like you normally would or as per the instructions on the package
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
- Once the cooked quinoa has cooled, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy.
- Spray your pan with non-stick spray and pour batter into your pan
- Bake for 15 mins and then flip and bake again for another 10-15 mins until your edges have browned
- Add your toppings and bake until your cheese has melted
Sweet potato crust:
This recipe is still a work in progress for me. I love the idea of being able to squeeze in or camouflage extra veggies into my kids diet but I’m not a lover of the texture. Out of the 3 crusts, I would have to say that this one resembles pizza the least. In fact, I have tried so many veggie crust alternatives and I don’t know if it is me but I just can’t seem to get the texture right. I find that they always seem to be a little on the mushy side. As I said, I’m still working on it and only because the flavour of this crust is just that good and the kids have no idea that they are actually eating the veggies that they might not normally eat. This way, when the kids choose to only have cheese as their toppings, I don’t feel guilty at all. The recipe I typically use can be found on pinchofyum.com
- 1 medium Sweet Potato
- 2/3 cup of rolled oats (I use quick oats)
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Garlic powder and salt to your liking
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Pulse the sweet potato and oats in a food processor until fine then add in remaining ingredients
- On a parchment lined tray, shape your crust and brush with olive oil. (makes roughly one pizza for 2 people or two small pizzas that are perfect for your little ones)
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. The crust is ready when the top is dry to the touch
- Let the crust cool and then carefully flip, brush with olive oil and bake for another 5-10 minutes
- Add your toppings and bake until you are satisfied with your melted cheese.
Having pizza night is another great way to bring the kids in to the kitchen and to have some fun as a family. Personally, I like to make individual sized pizzas that each child can roll out themselves and choose the toppings that they prefer. I love watching them get their little hands messy and be completely enthralled by something as simple as pizza. There are rarely leftovers on pizza night and I think that is largely due to the fact that they created their own masterpiece.
If you are really pressed for time, you can make pizza night even more simple by using what you already have such as bagels, pita, naan bread, tortillas or anything similar. This way they will be ready in a pinch but the kids can still enjoy topping their own personal pizza. Be sure to add pizza night to your next weekly menu if you haven’t already!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.