Healthy Veggie Pizza (?!)

Generally speaking pizza and healthy are not the two words found complementing each other often. Pizza is decidedly an indulge for many of us - something to cave in on a Friday night along-with a movie and a coke/beer. But it really does not need to be so - you can make your pizza every week and eat it too (yes even weekday nights) without the guilt!

The trick is to make it at home so you can control the ingredients without compromising the flavors. Using whole wheat pizza dough, moderate amount of skimmed milk cheese and loading it with lots and lots of veggies will all help with the brownie points..

I have been making this veggie pizza for quite a long time now. What I like most about this recipe is that it is filled with short cuts, all will save time here and there without compromising the taste. Also it's very versatile, the choices of toppings are endless so don't let what's not in your pantry deter you from putting together what would be certainly a delightful home-made meal.

I love many things Trader Joe's but their pizza dough ranks my top 10! They come in three varieties, plain, whole wheat and whole wheat with herbs. The herb dough is my favorite - the dough itself is so tasty and I like the rosemary-thyme herb combo they flavor it with.

You don't need any special tools other than your oven but if you become a pizza regular, I strongly recommend investing in a pizza stone.I own this from Amazon which was a gift from a friend though there are quite a few inexpensive options here. All you need to do is keep pizza stone in oven while you preheat the oven so it gets nice and toasty and can crust the pizza nicely. Then place pizza to cook on the heated stone - the stone will give it an amazing crust!

1 Trade Joe's pizza dough (I like the whole wheat or herb)
(1 dough makes 2 medium size pizza, below recipe will make enough for 2 medium pizza)
2 large juicy tomato -cubed
1 clove of garlic - grated
mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced)
(I buy skimmed milk cheese slices, and use 1 slice per medium pizza, but you can use more per taste)
whole wheat flour for rolling the dough
1Tbsp cornmeal (optional)
1/2tsp sugar
olive oil

Topping (some or all of below):
1/2 red or yellow paper - sliced
1 tomato - sliced in circular slices
handful of onion slices
mushrooms - sliced
thinly sliced ribbons of spinach
small Japanese eggplants - sliced thin
thinly sliced basil leaves

Remove the dough from fridge and keep on counter nearly 30 mins before you want to cook.

Make a quick marinana sauce - heat olive oil in a small pan. Add garlic, when fragrant add chopped tomatoes. Then add salt to taste and sugar. Let cook on low heat for 10-15 mins until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let the sauce cool on counter while you prep pizza.

Pre-heat oven to 500F with pizza stone on topmost rack. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into two balls. Add liberal amount of floor to the ball so it's pliable. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the parchment paper which helps with sliding pizza and also adds a nice crunch (optional)

Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle flour on parchment paper. Add the dough and gently start rolling the dough with your fingers in circular motion. If this is your first time rolling your own dough, check out these helpful videos on youtube covering basic techniques.

Add some olive oil or more flour as needed while rolling. Make sure to leave a little crust towards the edges. Roll as thin as you can without ripping it for a thin crust.

Then brush olive oil on the crust and insides. Add thin layer of marinana sauce on top (about half the sauce you made). Add cheese then top with all the veggies.

Bake for 20mins +/-2mins depending on oven/how crunchy you like the pizza to be. Remove and let sit for 5 mins. Cut into slices and serve!