One of my favorite indulgences in all creation is pizza. When hot weather has me foraging for salads and generally lighter fare, cold pizzas top my list for hot summer nights. Flavorful, healthy ingredients turn pizzas into everything from main-dish salad pizzas to trendy appetizer pizzas and refreshing desserts.
To start, pizza crusts are taking on new personalities. With the advent of gluten sensitivities and rise in various food allergies, many foodies are turning to alternative flours and grains to create the foundations for healthy pies.
From oatmeal and oat flour, almond flour, ground nuts, garbanzo bean flour and cauliflower, the art of crust-making has been elevated to new levels.
Trendy crusts don’t even resemble the faithful doughy rounds of the past, and that’s OK. They taste amazing,
Even if you have no compulsion to prepare a crust from scratch, practically every neighborhood markets and organic grocer routinely stocks pre-made pizza dough for every palette and dietary requirement.
Make Cold Pizzas a Summer Habit
The key to any great pizza lies beyond the crust, though. We rely on fresh produce, artisan cheeses, smoked and grilled meats and refreshing fruit to round out our creations.
Some of my fave toppings include a mix of summer greens tossed with chopped garden tomatoes and balsamic reduction or pesto and kale layered with grilled chicken and shaved parmesan cheese.
Habit-forming would be an understatement around my household. In under 30 minutes, I can pull a homemade pie out of the oven that rivals what I can order at a trendy restaurant.
Here are three of my favorite go-to recipes sure to satisfy your pizza cravings for a light, healthy meal or dessert. Feel free to experiment with various fresh toppings and combinations to suit your tastebuds.
Socca pizzas are all the rage, with a battered crust that is gluten-free and resembles a crusty, crisp pancake. The beauty of socca batter is that you can add herbs, seasonings and a variety of savory or sweet ingredients to complement the toppings.
A light and tasty batter crust makes this pizza something to get excited about.
- 1 cup garbanzo flour Bob's Red Mill
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp. low-sodium garlic seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. ground numeric
- 1 tbsp. pesto sauce prepared
- 1/4 cup sprouted beans
- 1 cup grilled chicken sliced
- 1 cup kale chopped
- 1/2 tsp. avocado oil
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- tumeric sprinkle
In a medium bowl, mix garbanzo flour, water, avocado oil, garlic seasoning and tumeric. Stir until well-blended and refrigerate for 30 minutes so batter takes on garlic and tumeric flavors.
Heat a medium-sized cast iron skillet or griddle in oven broiler on low broil until warm. Any oven-proof pan will work. Just be sure to use oven mitts to carefully transfer to and from the oven.
Once pan is heated, pour batter slowly into the pan. Return to broiler and allow the batter to bake until it begins to brown and get crispy around the edges. This will only take a few minutes, depending on the temperature of your broiler. Keep a close eye on the crust so it doesn't burn.
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly.
While crust is cooking, chop kale and massage it in a small bowl with 1/2 tsp. avocado oil and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice.
Prep remaining toppings.
Add all toppings to the pizza, slice and serve.
Caprese Salad Pizza
Fresh and bursting with summer flavors, this salad pizza offers a new twist on the classic Caprese salad. Pair with a grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon filet for a complete meal.
This cold pizza makes a great vegetarian meal or can be paired with your favorite grilled protein.
- 1 container whole wheat or artisan prepared pizza dough
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
- 1 cup cherry tomatos halved
- 2 tbsp pesto sauce prepared
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tsp. balsamic reduction
- basil fresh, chopped
Press pizza dough into pizza pan or onto pizza stone and bake according to package directions.
While crust is baking, toss mixed greens and cherry tomatoes in olive oil and balsamic reduction.
Remove baked crust from oven and allow to cool on the stovetop.
Top crust with pesto sauce, followed by salad mixture, cubed mozzarella and fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic reduction to serve.
Very Berry Pizza
Lest we forget dessert, we have a pizza for that! Who doesn’t love the zing of summer berries to cap the evening? This one is also a great idea for breakfast or brunch with family and friends.
Scrumptious oatmeal-banana crust topped with fresh berries makes this one a hit for breakfast, brunch or dessert.
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 bananas ripe, mashed
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
- 3 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup fresh strawberries sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
In a medium bowl, stir together oatmeal, oat flour, honey, bananas and baking soda.
Spread mixture evenly on a pizza pan or cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned.
While the crust is baking, make the "sauce" by stirring together Greek yogurt, peanut butter, honey and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Slice fresh strawberries lengthwise. Wash and dry fresh blueberries.
Arrange berries on top of sauce. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Any way you slice and dice the toppings, think about cool, refreshing summer produce to brighten up any pizza crust. The simplicity and health benefits are well worth the effort!