Homemade pizza is probably the best thing you can dream about making at home. It is not hard to make at all and the beauty of homemade pizza is that you can customize it and choose the toppings you absolutely love and even make it a healthy pizza too. How? Simply by substituting certain ingredients for healthier options. See my recipe below for all these details.
A little history about pizza
Italian pizza has definitely conquered the world. It really has! Its crisp, 'bready' crust and the classic tomato and mozzarella cheese topping make it truly the best.
The first pizza originated in Southern Italy in Naples in the 18th century. Pizza was baked in wood ovens and then hawked by youngsters in the narrow streets of Naples.
One of the most famous pizza maker Raffaelle Esposito was the most known pizza-maker in the late 1890s and he was invited to prepare his speciality pizzas for the king and the queen of Italy who were just visiting Naples. He made the Mastunicola (topped with lard, cheese and basil), Marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano and oil) and a pizza that was made for the occasion and called after the queen Margherita who loved this pizza.
The enthusiastic pizza-maker named the pizza after the queen, pizza Margherita (tomato, oil, mozzarella cheese and basil) ingredients to recall the Italian flag colours (red white and green). Pizza was soon taken all over the world by the droves of immigrants who left Italy in the 19th -20th century.
How to make homemade pizza healthy?
Making your own pizza in the comfort of your own home is nice and not difficult at all. Give it a try and you will be surprised how uncomplicated this actually is.
Making a habit of making your own pizza dough from scratch in itself is a much healthier option as ready-made ones in stores contain nasties almost 100% of the time. These contain all sort of agents and hydrogenated oils not to mention other ingredients that sometimes cannot even be pronounced.
My food intake policy is that if any label contains stuff you cannot pronounce then you cannot digest it either! Leave it there on the shelf and consider making your own.
It is exactly what I did with my Yorkshire puddings some time ago. Love them, used to buy them even more often than I should have. I did not consider making my own because yes, it was convenient buying them ready-made and I always thought they were so difficult to make at home. This was until one day when I dared to give these a try. Guess what?! it was a true first-time success. Never bought them ever again, I probably never will!
It can be the same with your own homemade pizza experience. Especially for those that eat pizza often, it would be a real shame not to try making your own made from scratch pizza dough.
Things to consider when turning your homemade pizza into a healthy pizza option:
- substitute the heavily processed white flour for a spelt flour option, add half spelt, half wholemeal, choose a nice organic flour option
- make your own pizza sauce from scratch - you will only need two ingredients for this: - a nice organic tomato sauce or a tin of chopped tomatoes and dried herbs like oregano, basil, thyme.
- choose nice healthy toppings, a good mozzarella cheese, anchovies, capers, nitrates free meats like chorizo, bacon, prosciutto
- only use EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil) all throughout
- why not even add some extra nutrition to the pizza base/crust such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds which can be ground up and made into flour.
Making your own homemade pizza made from those ingredients, you will never go wrong, it is a truly Mediterranean way of eating, the only way we maintain a good healthy gut and lifestyle.
Ask yourself a question: How many times a week, or a month I have or I'd love to have a pizza? Well, the answer is you could probably have it even more often with clean ingredients like these without feeling any guilt at all.
The best part and aspect of home cooking, in general, is that we will always know what we are ingesting to the very last ingredient! Time to make that change I think, just give this homemade pizza recipe a try.
Ingredients needed for homemade pizza
For this easy pizza dough:
- spelt flour and wholemeal 70:30 ratio
- EVOO extra virgin olive oil
For pizza toppings:
- tomato sauce (you can use a homemade pasta sauce too)
- dried herbs (I have used a mix)
- prosciutto (nasties free)
- black olives
- green olives
- fresh tomatoes
homemade pizza thin crust
If you fancy a thin crust ( like I almost always do) here's the trick:
Spread and stretch more the pizza dough, stretch as much as you wish. For me, the thinner , the better but it also depends on the pizza toppings. The more you add to your pizza as toppings, the more crust you'd want to add.
Any homemade pizza it's amazing, whether thats thin crust, medium crust or thick crust. Just take the little challenge and make your own pizza. You will not look back.
Turn homemade pizza into a greek homemade pizza recipe
If you want to send your tastebuds for a real loop, do it! Do it quick!
For this you will need:
Dried oregano it’s a staple in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine.
Use any fresh mozzarella but semi or part-skim mozzarella will get more golden and bubbly.
Roasted Red Peppers
Jarred roasted red peppers are perfect on pizza and offer extra flavor. Or, you could use narrow two-inch long strips of fresh bell pepper, if you prefer.
Use jarred, marinated or canned artichoke. I sliced my jarred quartered artichokes in half again to make bite-sized wedges.
Kalamata olives develop amazing intense flavour when cooked in the oven.
Crumbled feta offers some truly irresistible creaminess, saltiness.
Hot from the oven, I like to top this veggie pizza with torn fresh basil leaves and red pepper flakes
What else can I do with pizza dough?
What are good toppings for homemade pizza?
Pairing a gorgonzola cheese on pizza with Prosciutto and caramelised onions prove to be a real dream.
Meat pizza topping:
• parma ham
• chicken ( precooked)
• beef mince or ground beef
• spicy salami ( pepperoni)
Seafood pizza toppings:
• smoked salmon
• mixed seafood
Vegetarian pizza toppings:
• cheese ( see cheese options below)
• goats cheese
• quail eggs
• pesto sauce
Vegan pizza toppings:
• zucchini/ courgettes
• bell pepper
• zucchini flowers/ courgettes flowers
• sundried tomatoes
Do you bake pizza dough before adding toppings?
No, this is not necessary unless you fancy a really thick crust. For any Medium or thin crust add toppings directly on pizza dough after shaping the pizza base and transfer to a pizza
What cheese do you put on pizza?
Mozzarella - perhaps the most well-known and the most popular or used pizza topping of all time. Mozzarella is adored by us all for its near-perfect consistency and straightforward flavour. Use a buffalo mozzarella if possible, simply divine.
Cheddar or Matured Cheddar - its sharp flavours and strong presence, cheddar is a great addition to any pizza recipe.
Gorgonzola - Creamy, yet crumbly, full-bodied and truly aromatic, this blue marbled cheese with sharp flavours, an original Northern Italian, is such a great addition to any pizza recipe. With mild hazelnuts tones, sharp flavours, this beautiful cheese, becomes more intense on your tongue without growing too strong.
Provolone - Provolone is a semi-hard Italian cheese ( similar to Mozzarella) often used in combo with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Mozzarella (a fab trio). The mild flavours go very well with all types of pizzas.
Aged Havarti - also a popular choice when it comes to pizza toppings, beautifully rich flavour, smooth in texture making an amazing choice on any vegetarian homemade pizza.
Goats cheese - Not the regular melting cheese like the other types of cheese. Goats cheese gives that uniqueness, a completely different touch on a classic pizza flavour. It pairs wonderfully with almost any veggies (fennel, courgette, red onion, peppers) and nice aromatic herbs.
Why not mix any of the above and make a Quattro Formaggi pizza? Yes, it is naughty and indulgent but who really cares?
How to make a pizza dough healthier?
There are ways to make a homemade pizza dough healthier and that is:
- by choosing a healthier flour such a spelt, wholemeal - yes, the carbs are still there but so are the fibres
- choose healthier toppings (nitrates free meats) unprocessed ingredients
Pizza topping combinations
Welcome to the world of never-ending but here are a few very popular combos:
Vegan (many can be made vegan by replacing the cheese with a vegan cheese option):
> Tomato, herbs fresh and dried) & garlic - Pizza Marinara
> Cherry tomatoes, black pepper and dried herbs
> Mozzarella & tomato - Pizza Margherita
> Garlic, tomato sauce and mozzarella
> Onion, tomato sauce and pesto sauce
> Apple and gorgonzola
> Onion, apple, walnuts, cheese and garlic and any firm cheese like Fontina & mozzarella
Seafood pizza or Pescatarian:
> Tomato sauce, mozzarella anchovy fillets & capers - Pizza Napoletana
> Gorgonzola and pineapple or grapes
> Garlic, arugula, mozzarella and parmesan
> Pecorino, anchovies, tomatoes, oregano & black pepper - Sardinian Pizza
> Tomato, ham, anchovies, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, mushrooms - Pizza Capricciosa
> Tuna, mozzarella and peas
> Mediterranean pizza ( tomato, tuna, anchovies, capers, olives and oregano)
> Ham and mozzarella pizza
> Spicy salami and mushrooms pizza
> Pancetta and artichokes pizza
> Ground beef and onion pizza
> Beef, zucchini and eggplant
> Pancetta and potato pizza
Here are some more homemade pizza recipes - quick and easy - that you will enjoy making depending on the time and ingredient availability:
- Pizza sauce - made from scratch that you must try and make every time you make homemade pizza from scratch whether this is a vegan pizza, a vegetarian or a meat option/version.
- Green Pizza - from Taste
- Vegetarian pizza on ciabatta bread
- Quick breakfast Pizza slices with quail eggs and a special tomato sauce
- Apple and walnut pizza - a sweet version. Why not?
If you do not have time to make a good homemade pizza sauce from scratch you could definitely use any organic jarred pasta sauce that you can buy from the supermarket. Some really good ones here in the UK are totally free from any flavour enhancers, unnecessary additives and nasties. I do recommend and totally encourage you to make your own pizza sauce as it can be ready in no time, really effortless and totally worth it.
Healthy Homemade Pizza
- glass bowl
- pizza baking tray
- chopping board
- kitchen towel
- wooden spoon
- Pizza Cutter
For a medium crust pizza dough
- 300 g spelt flour ( 2 cups) plus some extra to flour surface and dust hands
- 200 ml warm water ( approx 1 cup)
- 15 g fresh yeast or 1½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon honey or cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons tomato sauce best if made from scratch
- 1 cup mushrooms cooked
- 100 g mozzarella cheese
- 4 slices parma ham (nitrates free)
- 3 small tomatoes thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup olives chopped ( one handful)
- 1 medium red onion
To make the pizza dough
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a bowl. Rest this until the yeast mixture forms a creamy foam, 10-15 minutes.
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix well until the dough comes nicely together. Knead for 5 minutes or so.
- Allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll and spread the dough into an approximately 12-inch disk. Transfer to a greased pizza pan, a skillet or a sheet pan.
- Spread the pizza sauce using a spoon and sprinkle all the toppings.
- Bake at 205°C OR 425°F for 15-20 minutes or longer. Bake until bubbly and hot, brown and delicious looking.
- 3/4 oz (25g) fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast* - see notes for yeast below
- 3 cups spelt flour (450 g) plus some extra to dust
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/3 cup water (lukewarm)
- for best results use fresh or active dry yeast
- instant or rapid-rise yeast is also good and for the latter, you do not need to let your dough proof.
Make your own cheese blendMy absolute favourite pizza cheese blend is equal parts of:
- provolone (smoked even better if you can find it)