Thinking Outside the Pizza Box

The history of pizza is a bit hazy, but legend claims it came from Italy and depending on your family’s origins, Sicily, Napoli and Rome are all in the running. Travel through Italy and you will find flat bread topped with a barely-there red sauce, a scattering of fresh buffalo mozzarella, chopped fresh basil, a sprinkle of salt and that’s it, simple yet delicious. However, walk into any pizzeria in America and the dough gets thicker, the toppings heavier and the cheese, mama mia! There is enough cheese to cause chronic sinus infections when eaten in excess.

Since pizza has become a standard in America’s menu plans, why not think out of the box and make your pizza using quality, alternative ingredients? Commercial pizza crusts are now available made with rice or spelt flours. Dairy-free cheese alternatives and organic tomato sauce can also be purchased in whole foods markets or local grocery stores. Experiment with what looks good to you, then round out the meal with a steaming bowl of vegetable soup or an organic vegetable salad.

What follows are two recipes to get you started (find more recipes here), but feel free to share your favorite healthy pizza recipe here with your fellow Care2 readers.

Spelt Bruschetta Pizza
Yield: 8 servings

6 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 cup cannellini beans, cooked and rinsed
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1 large spelt pizza crust
1 cup dairy or non-dairy mozzarella cheese

1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, capers, basil and beans.
2. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
3. Season with salt.
4. Place tomato mixture aside.
5. Prepare spelt pizza crust by adding 1 tablespoon olive oil, chopped garlic and salt around the top of crust.
6. Place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
7. When done remove and spread tomato mixture over crust.
8. Top with mozzarella and return to oven another 3 minutes.

Polenta Pizza w/ Broccoli
Yield: 6 servings
1 cup course corn meal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon oregano
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or soy parmesan (optional)
2 cups broccoli pieces, lightly steamed
1 1/2 cups Tomato sauce
1 cup Monterey Jack soy cheese, grated.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium size bowl mix together the crust ingredients, minus 2 tablespoons oil and set aside.
3. Lightly steam the broccoli and set aside.
4. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole pan and place in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
5. Assemble all ingredients.
6. Remove the hot dish from the oven and pour the cornmeal mixture into the pas so that it covers the bottom of the dish.
7. Top with broccoli, tomato sauce and grated cheese.
8. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.

Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including:The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on To view her website go to:

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Mervi R.
Mervi R.5 years ago

Vegan pizza, excellent!!!!

Heather A.
Heather A.5 years ago

broccoli on pizza is my absolute favourite! :)

Alessandra Solina

History of pizza
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This article is written like a personal reflection or essay and may require cleanup. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (April 2009)

History of pizza
Pizza delivery

Pizza varieties
New York-style pizza
Sicilian pizza · Greek pizza
Chicago-style pizza
Pizza al taglio
New Haven-style pizza
Hawaiian pizza
California-style pizza
St. Louis-style pizza
Mexican pizza · Pissaladière
Detroit-style pizza

Similar dishes
Grilled pizza · Deep-fried pizza
Lahmacun · Focaccia
Manakish · Coca
Sardenara· Calzone
Pita · Flammkuchen
Paratha · Naan
Green onion pancake
Tomato pie · Pizza bagel
Garlic fingers · Sausage bread
Farinata · Quesadilla

Pizza tools
Pizza cutter · Mezzaluna
Peel · Masonry oven

World Pizza Championship
Long Island Pizza Festival
& Bake-Off

Pizza has a long, complex and uncertain history that often inspires heated debate. The origin of the word "pizza" is unclear, but it first appeared in 997 in Medieval Latin, and it was in Naples in the 16th century that a galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza[citation needed].

At that time, the pizza was a baker's tool, a dough used to verify the temperature of the oven[citation needed]. A dish of the poor people, it was sold in the street and was not cons

Genevieve H.
Genevieve H.6 years ago

Well, I really don't know if pizza was invented in Italy. Obviously there have been flat bread around the Mediterranean for thousands of years, and you can see then almost have the same kind of name, (pida, pidde, pita are names that spring to the mind, for lebanese, turkish cuisine for instance).
But the tradition of putting tomato sauce on it can only date to the discovery of the American continent and the bringing of tomatoes to the European continent. Sorry to spoil the Italian nationalistic pride a bit here!

Katie V.
Past Member 6 years ago

Does anyone know any gluten free pizza recipes?

Laurie T.
Laurie T.6 years ago

If your realllly wanting a scratch pizza, you can mix an envelope of quick rise yeast with 1 1/2 cups of your favorite flour (I use whole wheat) a tsp of sea salt. Heat 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of olive oil added, until it's hot to touch, adding it to the flour, yeast mix. Stir it up and add about 1 more cup of flour to the mix, kneading it as you go. You can even knead it right in the bowl! Once it is smooth and elastic, cover the bowl with a cloth and set aside for 10 minutes. 1/2 the dough will make the crust of one 12" pizza. Fit it into a pizza pan,(or any pan!) brush on some olive oil, and top with your favorite veggies and/or sauce. Bake at 450 f (230 c) for 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Tis the season to get creative, as harvesting gardens is upon have fun, mixing and matching flavors!

Becki Boales
B. Boales6 years ago

Robert V.: Great idea! Have them bring it up here, to Ontario, Canada!!

Sudha Chennupati
sudha chennupati6 years ago

looks good.I will try today.Thank you!

Raine K.
Raine K.6 years ago

I ate a wonderful spinach pizza one day. It was different but I love spinach and it was really good.