To be honest, I never ever would have attempted to make pizza from scratch if it weren’t for our good family friend, Joe Riti (that’s Joe cooking in my moms kitchen in the photo above!) Joe is truly a master of Italian cooking and he’s been making pizza since he was a kid. I can honestly say he makes the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had. His pizza even beats the pizza I had in Italy.
When I was working on my third book, Whole Foods Diet Cookbook, I was lucky Joe was down visiting from New York and he spent an entire afternoon showing me the ropes on how to make authentic Italian pizza. Although Joe makes every aspect of cooking appear as though it’s second nature I was so surprised that making pizza from scratch really wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s actually not that difficult at all. Joe helped me tweak the recipe to make it 100% whole grain using white whole wheat flour. And we even added some flaxseeds. This ultra healthy “eat clean” whole wheat pizza recipe tastes far better than anything you get in a package off the supermarket shelf. And it’s fun to make too!
Joe Riti’s Ultra Healthy “Eat Clean” Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur Flour), plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup ground flaxseeds (such as Barlean’s Forti Flax)
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (such as Real Salt)
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place lukewarm water in a medium-size bowl and add the yeast and honey; stir to dissolve. In a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, flaxseeds and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the liquid mixture. Add the oil and whisk ingredients together with a fork, working toward the outside of the well. Using your clean hands to mix the ingredients, add a little more flour as needed to make a soft but manageable dough. Gather the dough into a ball and knead for 8 minutes on a lightly flour work board. Place the dough in a medium-sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, use a knife to cut it in half and sprinkle about 1/8 cup flour onto two separate work boards. Place each dough half on one of the boards. Punch the dough half down with your fist and use a rolling pin to flatten.
- Lightly oil two 12-inch pizza pans. Place the dough on each of the pizza pans and use your fingers to gently stretch the dough to fit the pans. Bake dough for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove pizza crust from oven and assemble toppings (see ideas below). After you put the toppings on place the pizza back in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is crisp. Let pizza cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
Mix-n-Match Pizza Toppings
You’ll notice three different pizzas in the photos. This is because Joe doesn’t like to make just one type of pizza. He even goes so far as to make his marinara from scratch. I admit I don’t always go that far as I usually cheat and buy a premade marinara (my favorite is the pricey Rao’s Marinara but I also really like the more economical Amy’s Kitchen Organic Family Marinara). Anyway, once you cook the dough I’ve included three varieties for toppings. Don’t get hung up on measurements. Topping your pizza does not require mathematical precision. Winging it works.
PIZZA #1: Olive, Onions & Mozzarella with Marinara
Start by spreading a thin layer of marinara over the dough. Then sprinkle on a bit of shredded mozzarella. Time for the toppings; you can use black or green sliced olives, either one will do. For the onions, just slice them thin and sauté in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and garlic before adding them to the pizza. You could also add some very, very thinly sliced tomaotes if you like (the thinner you slice them the better!) Season the toppings with salt and garlic powder before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.
PIZZA #2: No Cheese Onions, Mushrooms & Spinach with Marinara
Start by spreading a thin layer of marinara over the dough. No cheese this time. Again, you’ll want to slice your onions thin and sauté them in a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic before adding them to the pizza. You also want to sauté your mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil and garlic too. For the spinach, you can use frozen chopped spinach; thaw in the microwave and then use paper towels to press out every last drop of water. Season the toppings with salt and garlic powder before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.
PIZZA #3: “White” Pizza with Broccoli Raab and Onions
This one is the least healthy beecause of the cheese, but it does taste amazing. You start by brushing a thin layer of ricotta cheese (I buy grass-fed from Natural by Nature). Then sprinkle on a bit of crumbled feta cheese and then some Parmesan cheese. No need to go overboard adding globs of cheese. A little bit will do. Then you add the sautéed onions (again, thinly sliced and sautéed first in garlic and extra virgin olive oil). Then add the sautéed broccoli raab (Here’s the recipe for How to Cook Broccoli Raab Perfectly). Season the toppings with unrefined sea salt and garlic powder before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.