These healthy-ish treats blend the cuisines of Chicago and Italia.

These two healthy pizza recipes with pizzazz will blow your mind in taste and imagination. They use Chicago-style cornmeal crust that is both crunchy and delicious – plus it holds as many ingredients as you can pile on!

Chicago style cornmeal pizza

INGREDIENTS

» 1 ½ Tbsp yeast

» 2 cups warm water

» 1 ½ Tbsp sugar of choice

» 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour of choice

» ½ cup stone-ground cornmeal

» ¼ cup olive oil

» 2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in a liquid mixture. Whisk and set aside until the yeast has been activated and starts getting frothy.

Fully blend the flour and cornmeal, creating a well in the center. Add olive oil and salt to liquid mixture and pour into the well. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Pour the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for eight to 10 minutes (think of the great upper body workout!) until it forms a springy, smooth ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes, until it has doubled in size.

Set aside dough to use as directed in your preferred pizza recipe.

Adapted from The Great Chicago Style Pizza Cookbook by Pasquale Bruno, Jr.

Zesty Italian pizza sauce

INGREDIENTS

» 2 cloves garlic, minced

» 2 Tbsp olive oil

» 1 large onion, diced

» 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes,

» 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

» 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

» 1 tsp capers

» 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

DIRECTIONS

Sauté onions and garlic in the olive oil until onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until mixture becomes thick.

Deep dish stuffed spinach pizza

Makes 4 servings | takes 1 ½ hours

Get ready for a flavour blast off with this spinach-loaded pizza. This pizza is an impressive creation that’s great for entertaining or if you just want something healthy and delicious. 

INGREDIENTS

» Dough: Chicago style cornmeal pizza crust

» Sauce: Zesty Italian pizza sauce recipe

Stuffing

» 1 small box fresh baby spinach

» 1 cup light shredded cheese or dairy-free cheese substitute.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead to form two balls of dough, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger dough ball out into a large circle, big enough for your deep dish pizza pan, cake pan or cast iron frying pan of choice. Place the dough in the pan and gently press against the upper rim of the pan, leaving approximately one inch of dough hanging over the edge. Roll out the smaller ball of dough until it is large enough to fit inside the pan, and set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Wash baby spinach, remove any long woody stems and spin dry.  Coarsely chop the spinach and mix with the cheese or dairy-free substitute.

Press the spinach mixture into the pizza pan and lay the dough that was set aside overtop. Pinch the two pieces of dough together to form a raised edge along the rim of the pan. Press gently on the dough and spinach mixture stuffing with your palms. Cut a one inch slit in the center to allow steam to escape. Spread the zesty Italian pizza sauce over the top crust.

Bake this beauty on the lowest rack of the oven for the first 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 425°F and move to the middle rack to bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the top crust is fluffy.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 411; Fat 25g; Carbohydrates 37g; Protein 15g

Vegan los hermanas pizza and pico de gallo

Makes 4 servings | Takes 1 ½ hours

This pizza is a protein-rich Mexican fiesta on a crust with refried beans instead of meat and a combination of fresh ingredients. Gourmet and easy as pie!

INGREDIENTS

» Dough: Chicago style cornmeal pizza crust

» 398ml can of refried beans

» ½ cup salsa

» ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion

» ½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes

» ½ cup loosely chopped cilantro

» ½ cup shredded light mozzarella cheese or dairy-free alternative

» 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

» 1 avocado, halved and sliced

Wash and separate cilantro leaves. Add tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll out pizza dough to fit pizza pan, saving any remaining dough for future use. Partially cook dough until firm and just starting to brown (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from oven.

Spread refried beans on the crust using a spatula until fully covered. Spread salsa evenly over refried beans. Top with cheese and place on middle rack in the oven. Cook until crust edge is lightly browned and cheese has melted. Take out of oven, spread pico de gallo over the pizza, and top with avocado slices.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 348; Fat 18g; Carbohydrates 35g; Protein 14g

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