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Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Pizza Dough and Margherita Pizza

Making your own pizza like the people in the Mediterranean do has never been easier and more fun. Although pizza is loved throughout many countries, it’s one of those food items that can become very unhealthy quickly, but the pizza on the Mediterranean Diet is a far cry from the 5-meat, stuffed crust, deep-dish, extra cheese variety.

The classic Italian pizza isn’t the fat, calorie, and sodium bomb that many American versions are; Italians use just a whisper of sauce or oil, a small sprinkling of cheese, and only one layer of meat (if any at all). The bread, not the toppings, is the highlight of Mediterranean pizzas.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ivanmateev, 2010]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ivanmateev, 2010

Pizza Dough

Prep time: 25 minutes

Yield: 1 pizza, 10 servings

One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast

2 teaspoons honey

1-1/4 cups warm water (about 110 to 120 degrees)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 cups flour

  1. Combine the yeast, honey, and warm water in a large mixer or food processor with a dough attachment.

    Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to be sure that the yeast is alive (look for bubbles on the surface).

  2. Add the olive oil and salt and blend for 30 seconds.

    Begin to slowly add 3 cups of the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing for 2 minutes between additions.

  3. Allow the mixture to knead in the mixer for 10 minutes, sprinkling with flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl, until elastic and smooth.

  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and allow it to rest for 15 minutes under a warm, moist towel. Follow the pizza recipe for baking instructions.

Per serving: Calories 167 (From Fat 28); Fat 3g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 234mg; Carbohydrate 30g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 4g.

You can freeze this pizza dough for 1 month. Form the dough into a ball and cover it with plastic wrap before placing it into a freezer-safe container.

Margherita Pizza

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

1 batch Pizza Dough

1/4 cup flour as needed for rolling

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes

3 Roma or plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 ounces fresh or block mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

    Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick, dusting the pizza dough with flour as needed.

  2. Poke holes in the pizza dough with a fork (to prevent crust bubbling) and bake it on a baking sheet or pizza stone for 5 minutes.

    Remove the pan and drizzle the crust with the olive oil and crushed tomatoes.

  3. Top the pizza with the tomato slices and season with the salt.

    Blot the mozzarella slices dry with a paper towel and lay them on top of the pizza in no exact pattern. Top the pizza with the basil.

  4. Bake the pizza for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

    To brown the cheese, place the pizza under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes if desired. Allow the pizza to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Per serving: Calories 251 (From Fat 76); Fat 8g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 11mg; Sodium 474mg; Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 9g.

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