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Naturally Frugal: Simple, Healthy Artisan Pizza

One of the hardest parts of transitioning to a mostly natural, whole-foods diet for my family last year was giving up frozen pizza. JD is an extremely picky eater, and cheese pizza was a staple for him. Frozen pizzas made nights when I was too tired to cook or we were in a hurry a lot easier for us. It also meant I knew I always had something on hand that he would eat. But I also knew they were full of all kinds of yucky nitrites, chemicals, and other processed foods. I’d made my own pizza dough before but it never rose well, so we ended up with okay but thin pizzas. My kids like good, chewy crusts, so it meant we either ordered pizza or had frozen pizza–neither of which really fit with the whole foods lifestyle I was trying to adopt. It was a rough few months as I eliminated pizza from our diet.

But then my friend Sherry recommended I check out the pizza dough recipe from the Five Minute Artisan Bread cookbook–and everything changed! Not only is this dough SUPER easy to make (NO KNEADING!!!) but it also is the best tasting pizza dough I’ve ever had! It rises nicely without kneading, and has a great flavor. I use whole food ingredients as toppings to keep it healthy. This one even has kale on it! Who knew kale would taste great on a pizza? I have loved kale most of my life, but I’d never thought to try it on pizza. It was really yummy and complimented the other flavors well.

This is one of our staples now at home–I make fresh pizza once a week. This particular recipe is loaded with good stuff: olive oil, kale, cherry tomatoes, roasted chicken, feta cheese, mozzarella, olives, fresh basil and italian parsley. Yum, yum, YUM! This dough recipe makes enough for four pizzas, so I’ll make two pizzas (plain cheese for the kids) and freeze the dough for two more for the next week. You can also roll out the dough for all four now, put on your freezer-friendly toppings and freeze it whole if you’d like. Then let come to room temperature before baking. Note that when it says “Five Minute Artisan Dough” they mean five minutes of work for you–there is a good one to two hours needed for the dough to rise.

This recipe is from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. I highly recommend the book–the bread recipes in there are fantastic!

 

pizza

 

Ingredients:

Pizza dough

  • 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Toppings  (adjust toppings according to your taste)

  • 3 leaves fresh Kale
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved (any tomatoes work, just slice them)
  • 6 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into chunks or shredded
  • handful of olives, sliced (optional)

Recipe:

Pizza Dough

1. In a glass bowl, mix the lukewarm water and the yeast and let it proof for about five minutes. If it foams, it is ready to use. If it doesn’t foam, your yeast is bad and the dough will not rise. Throw out the mixture and start again with fresh yeast.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or in a large (5 quart) bowl working with a wooden spoon, mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil together.

3. Mix in the flour using a stand mixer. No kneading necessary!

4. Transfer dough to large (5 quart) bowl or lidded food container. Cover with a cloth towel and let rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

5. The dough can be used immediately. I will say it is easier to work with and roll out when it’s cold. I recommend that you refrigerate it for at least three hours before using.  If storing, it may be frozen for up to three months or refrigerated for up to 12 days.

 

Toppings

1. Brush the dough thoroughly with olive oil.

2. Layer the toppings in this order: basil, kale, chicken, feta, tomatoes, olives and mozzarella. (The mozzarella acts as a glue to hold all the ingredients in place.)

3. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. When ready to cook, lower the temperature to 425 and bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes. It should be nicely browned and crusty on the bottom but soft on the top!

 

The photo up top is of the pizza before baking. Doesn’t it look yummy? It’s healthy enough that I don’t feel at all guilty having a couple of slices once a week.  Both of my kids now prefer my pizza to the pizza they get out at restaurants. That’s a definite win for Mom!

I know not everyone is a fan of feta and olives like I am. (And I think you’re all totally nuts!) What are your favorite pizza toppings?

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