Heart & Cardio Health
Recipes

Pizza gets a healthy makeover

Eating right for your heart needn’t mean giving up all your favourite foods. With a few simple tweaks, takeout favourites like pizza, burgers and kebabs can be made a lot healthier, so you can enjoy a treat without guilt.

To show you how easy it to create healthier versions of your favorite foods, we’ve given pizza a heart-healthy makeover. Most conventional pizzas are loaded with sodium, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates – all of which are bad news for the heart. Our healthier version significantly reduces the salt and fat content and is packed with antioxidants to help keep hearts healthy. We’ve replaced the standard refined flour base with wholegrain pita bread, reducing the carbohydrate content and adding valuable fiber. 

Traditional high-fat, high-salt toppings like pepperoni, bacon and cheese have been swapped for heart-healthy ingredients that deliver both flavor and nutrition:

  • Tomato Puree - Packed with lycopene, tomato offers powerful antioxidant benefits and reduces inflammation.[1]
  • Olives - The oleic acid in olives is a special monounsaturated fat which helps managing inflammation, it increases beneficial HDL cholesterol and lowers harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Olives are also loaded with antioxidant Vitamin E to help protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation.[2]  
  • Red Pepper - A rich source of Vitamin C to help keep arteries healthy and prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
  • Mushrooms - High in soluble fiber, mushrooms help lower LDL cholesterol levels, along with B Vitamins, they help control harmful homocysteine levels. 
  • Garlic and Onions - A powerful flavor punch, they help thin the blood, balance cholesterol levels and keep blood vessels healthy.
  • Basil - A rich source of antioxidants to help keep blood vessels healthy and manage inflammation. Basil also promotes healthy blood pressure and helps prevent platelet aggregation (clumping) which can cause blood clots. [3]
  • Spinach - Packed with potassium, spinach may help regulate blood pressure.

 

Packed with flavor and goodness, this pizza will satisfy all your cravings. Plus it’s super simple to make, so you’ll have dinner on the table faster than it takes to order takeout.

Heart Healthy Pizza Recipe – Makes 4 mini pizzas

Ingredients

  • 4 mini pita pockets
  • 14 oz pumpkin
  • 7 oz tomato puree
  • ½ - 1 whole onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn
  • ½ cup grated gouda cheese

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 390⁰F.
  2. Chop pumpkin into 1cm cubes, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30-35 minutes.
  3. While pumpkin is roasting, prepare the rest of the pizza. Lay pita pockets on an oven tray.
  4. Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.
  5. Spread two teaspoons of tomato puree on each pita pocket.
  6. Divide sautéed garlic and onion between the four pita pockets.
  7. Top pita pockets with sliced mushrooms, red pepper and olives.
  8. When pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and divide between the pizza bases.
  9. Sprinkle pizza with torn basil leaves and baby spinach then sprinkle over grated cheese.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden and pizza bases are crispy.
  11. Season with cracked black pepper and enjoy with a side salad.

References:

[1]  Lycopene and Heart Health. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. Volume 26, Issue 2. February 2012. Pp 296-303.
[2] WH Foods. Olives. www.whfoods.com
[3] Dr Axe. 12 Benefits of Basil + Recipe Ideas.

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