When you’re focused on losing weight, that typically means you have to make some changes to your diet. And (sadly) pizza from your favorite take-out shop is often one of the first foods that gets knocked off the list. Most of the time, though, these pizzas aren’t made with the best ingredients and you’re left eating a pie that is loaded up with more fat, calories, and sodium than you should be consuming in one meal.
But what if we told you that it’s still possible to eat delicious pizza and lose weight? It’s true. As long as you make it yourself, that is.
You can easily whip up a pizza that not only tastes great but is made with quality, fresh, healthy ingredients, and toppings. If you need some help, don’t worry.
Here is your step-by-step guide to making the best pizza that helps you stay on course with those weight-loss goals, according to Chef Pasquale Cozzolino, author of The Pizza Diet.
Start by gathering your supplies.
Gather the dough—which is made with Italian-style Type 1 flour and has been allowed to rise—canned San Marzano tomatoes, sea salt, mozzarella cheese, high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and the toppings. Optional but highly recommended: A pizza baking stone.
Prepare your workspace.
Toss some flour on your work surface so the dough won’t stick. Your dough has been rising for 24 to 36 hours, right? Great! Now plop the 8-ounce ball of dough down and get to work.
Start forming your base.
Press down with your fingertips to flatten it, leaving a thicker rim or cornicione (core-nee-CHO-neh), Italian for “cornice.”
Shoot for symmetry.
Form a circle 12 inches in diameter. Stretch from the rim to avoid making the center too thin and tearing a hole in the dough.
Spread the sauce.
Spoon a ladle of tomato sauce (about 3 tablespoons) into the center of your dough. Using the rounded back of the spoon, carefully circle your pie to spread the sauce evenly out to the cornicione edge.
Chunk the cheese.
Don’t slice the cheese. Instead, pull one-inch chunks off a fresh roll of local mozzarella cheese and arrange them evenly on top of the tomato sauce.
Add a touch of EVOO.
Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over your creation. Not too much, though, or pools of oil will make your pie a bit soggy.
Garnish with green.
Finally, arrange fresh basil leaves over your Margherita pie, which should resemble the colors of the Italian flag. Fantastico!
Make it hot.
Preheat an oven to 500°F. Place the pizza on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a pizza stone and bake for 10 to 11 minutes until the crust is golden brown and looks like this. That’s your classic Neapolitan Margherita.
Pile on more toppings.
You can turn your Margherita into a more elaborate and nutritious pizza using colorful toppings, starting with a large handful of my favorite, arugula leaves. This tangy green is rich in healthful nutrients like alpha-lipoic acid and sulforaphane, plus calcium and vitamin K.
Top with protein.
On top of the greens, arrange thin slices of prosciutto di Parma ham, which will add a salty flavor to complement the peppery bite of the arugula.
More cheese, please.
Place large, thinly shaved pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the toppings.
Add some more color.
Finally, add a half-cup or so of diced raw Better Boy tomato on top. Bellissimo! Now, you’re ready to enjoy that pizza. And if you’re looking for more tips, be sure to check out The Pizza Diet.