I know I'm not alone in this. But I used to take it to extremes.
I could personally down a couple of large pizzas, any toppings included.
No wonder I had two heart attacks, with a life history like that!
And I've missed the occasional pizza fix. OK, OK, I have indulged in the last couple of years, especially since the all-you-can-eat Pizza Monster Café opened locally, but rarely, and in much smaller quantities.
No more than two pieces of pizza twice yearly for me now, thanks.
At least that's what I thought, until this delightful thought occurred. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first, and if you Googled the main ingredient, I'll bet you'd find it out there somewhere. But it's original to me.
Start with a veggie pizza. Throw out the crust. OK, yes, you'll have to start from scratch with your own crust.
But here's but beauty of it. YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN CRUST FROM A TORTILLA. Waaaayyyy less carbs. And cheeeeep. The crust (1 large tortilla) on this baby cost me about 12 cents. 'Course, I had to buy 30 at Sam's Club to get that price.
Too thin, you say? Hah. See the above proof.
So here's what I used to make it work:
- 1 large tortilla, or a couple of regular ones.
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup undiluted (no water added) tomato paste, depends on how much tomato taste you want, or tomato sauce if you take the time to condense out lots of water.
- Good sprinkle of nutritional or brewer's yeast (optional).
- Pizza seasoning to taste, included red pepper flakes if you're so inclined.
- 2/3 medium onion (about 2+ inches), thin sliced, about 1" pieces.
- 2 cups assorted raw veggies, or about 1 1/2 cups if cooked
- Grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 of the onion, thin sliced in about 2" pieces (1/2 of full round slice) for the top
- Thin sliced tomatoes for the top, after it's cooked.
Pre-heat oven to 425.
Put your tortilla on a baking sheet and assemble your pizza. No oil is necessary. As needed, I can assemble two pizzas on 1 cooking sheet, but one makes for no trimming due to overlap. Or, I can get 3 regular tortillas on one baking sheet.
Tomato paste works best, as it doesn't soak into the tortilla and make it too soft. Plain tomato sauce makes for a mushy crust.
For seasoning I sprinkled on pizza seasoning blend from Winco, but any Italian seasoning works.
The brewer's yeast adds a kind of cheesy taste. My wife, who won't eat anything she's not used to or sure of, wouldn't. But I like it, and it adds vitamin B12, good when you're light on meat in the diet.
I used 1/2 a green bell pepper, a cup of fresh broccoli, plus 2/3 of the yellow onion and 3 large sliced mushrooms. Other possibilities are red bell pepper, green beans, red onions, cauliflower, green peas, sugar peas, cabbage, shelled edamame, or any non-starchy vegetable that won't turn to mush. Therefore I don't use zucchini.
The key is to dry the veggies as you cook them, so I loosely stack them on the crust so the oven dries them out as they cook. This is really the key step, and takes some practice. Mushy-wet veggies make for a mushy-wet crust.
Sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top of the veggies. Too much and you smother the veggies and keep them from drying out. Plus you void your nutritarian warranty on this one.
My ultimate pizza always has toasted onions on top, so I save 1/3 of the onion, thin sliced then cut in half, and separating the strands as I randomly scatter the onion on top. Cook in the hot oven until the onions and parmesan start to turn brown.
The final step is to spread thin slices or small chunks of raw tomato all over the top after it's cooked. I tend to do this piece by piece as I eat it. In the above picture, I ate one slice for my dinner, then froze the rest. Yes, I did pull this out of the freezer for this picture. Is that cheating?
There are two important principles to emphasize. First, keep everything dry. Nothing that is actually liquid should go on your tortilla. Of course, there's always a fork if it goes soggy. But the attraction of a pizza is having a crisp crust so you can pick up and eat your pizza by hand, in my book.
Second, don't eat too much of this too often. It's low carb compared to regular pizza, but I try (and sometimes fail) to eat only a couple of slices in a single meal, and not to eat this too often.
If it was life and death I'd have to quit it completely.
But for now it's better than saying goodbye to pizza forever.
The acid test is my weight. If I'm at or progressing toward my ideal weight, it's ok. If I'm struggling, it's not.