It’s only been two dozen posts into the creation of this blog, but I feel like I’ve already learned so much about the kitchen and myself. And yet, I’ve still got so much to learn. It’s funny, since starting this blog so many people have called me “expert” or told me I should open up my own bakery – if only you all could see what goes on in the kitchen behind the scenes, all the oopsies and spillage, then maybe you wouldn’t be quite so impressed!
So in the spirit of learning and growing, I’ve decided to revisit an old recipe. This ratatouille pizza is one of my favorites to whip up for dinner or a weekend lunch – stuffed full of nutrition and finger-licking delicious. But I’m not completely satisfied with the original recipe on my blog. A key philosophy behind this blog is to encourage both more experienced cooks and beginners to bake and cook more; a recipe that requires hours of hands-on work, multiple steps, and special equipment like a springform pan definitely does not fit the bill.
After a couple of experimental trials, I’ve come up with a new and improved recipe that’s easier, faster, and even a little healthier with a hidden source protein-rich ingredient in the 100% whole wheat crust. I’ve nixed the springform pan in favor of arranging the vegetables right on the raw pizza dough itself – sliced thinly enough, they’ll cook through in the bake time no problem. I’m still calling the cheese optional though, because “healthy” means different things to different people – cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but also adds a decent amount of saturated fat and calories. These photos have the cheese included but honestly I enjoy the pizza both ways depending on my mood that day.
So have you guessed the crust’s secret ingredient yet? It’s actually not that secret – just Google “two ingredient pizza dough” and recipes pop up all over the Internet. That’s right, it’s the favorite of health-conscious bakers everywhere – Greek yogurt! From what I can understand of the science, this no-yeast quick flatbread dough gets its rise from the baking powder in the self-rising flour, while the Greek yogurt provides that little tang of fermentation that all bread needs. If you don’t have any self-rising flour (I didn’t), then you can easily substitute by using plain flour with baking powder and a little salt for flavor.
I know, I was skeptical too – how could yogurt and flour live up to crispy fluffy yeasty crust? And don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge fan of traditional pizza dough. But for being quite a bit faster and healthier, this dough really holds up well to its promise. I even stopped myself from stuffing the last bite of crust in my mouth long enough to snap a quick photo to prove it – looks like real crust! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, 100% whole wheat and high protein goodness – crazy right?
One last note to make – I was in an extra rush when making it this time for the blog photos, so carelessly spaced the vegetable slices farther apart then usual – oops! (See, don’t be too impressed with this complete amateur 😛 ) If you overlap them much closer together, the effect is much more visually stunning. If I get a chance, I’ll update this already updated recipe with better photos… but in the meantime, why don’t you give it a shot in your own kitchen?
Boom – pizza, health, and happiness on the table in less than an hour!
Ratatouille Pizza v.2
makes 1 pizza (8 slices or however many you want to cut), feeds around 2-4 people
low fat, egg free, vegetarian
dairy free/vegan substitutions available
pizza crust dough – as a gluten free or low carb suggestion, how about making a cauliflower crust instead?
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat self-rising flour OR 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt (white whole wheat flour works great as well)
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I used two 5.4oz containers of Fage 0%) – or coconut yogurt, making sure you use a brand containing “probiotics” or “live and active cultures”
toppings (you may not use up all the vegetables – save the rest for a salad or omelet!)
- 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes or tomato-based pasta sauce
- optional: 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 small Japanese/Chinese eggplant (long skinny kind not fat gourd-shaped kind)
- 4-6 Roma tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to maximum temperature – usually 450 or 500 F. Set an oven rack to the lowermost position and place a baking pan in the oven while heating.
- First, prepare the dough: mix all the dough ingredients together – add a little water if too dry, add a little more flour if unworkably sticky – it should be a little tacky, so don’t get flour-happy. Set aside covered with a damp kitchen towel or wrapped in plastic wrap to let the dough relax.
- Second, let’s do as the French do – prep toppings mise en place: using a mandolin (highly recommended for faster easier prep, but not completely necessary) or a sharp kitchen knife, slice the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and Roma tomatoes into thin slices about 1/8-1/16th of an inch thick. (If using a mandolin – the eggplant and Roma tomatoes are best sliced by hand anyway due to their rubbery skin).
- Lay down a sheet of parchment paper, silicon baking liner, or greased foil. On top, roll the pizza dough out to a circle 14-15 inches in diameter. Tip, to get a nice pretty circle make sure to always roll outwards from the center (never run the rolling pin right across all the way from one side to another). Another tip – don’t have a rolling pin? Use a glass wine bottle, or a plastic soda bottle weighted with water.
- Okay, so this is the part where you do need to work quickly so the dough doesn’t get soggy. First, lay down the crushed canned tomatoes or tomato sauce. Salt and pepper sauce to taste. Second, lay down the cheese if you are using cheese.
- Last, layer the vegetable slices in alternating colors: overlap slices going one way all around the outermost edge first, then start again on the next inner layer but overlapping the other way (clockwise if the outermost edge was counterclockwise and vice versa), and continue to repeat until pizza is completely covered. Salt and pepper the assembled pizza.
- Transfer the pizza on parchment paper/silicon liner/foil directly to the preheated baking pan in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of the crust has become slightly charred and crispy.
- Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. Let the pizza cool slightly before slicing – serve warm and crispy! Leftovers can be stored wrapped/covered airtight in the fridge or freezer. Suggested method of reheating – in a pan stovetop until the bottom is nice and crispy again and all toppings warmed through.
Nutritional description: 100% whole wheat and Greek yogurt crust makes for a happy tummy – fiber from whole grains and protein from yogurt keeps you nice and full, while also promoting a good gut flora and regular digestive system. More fiber, vitamins from A to Z, minerals, antioxidants in the rainbow of toppings make this a truly nutritious meal. But the best thing is that this new and improved version is easier and faster (and still cheap), so you can make it any night of the week without breaking a sweat or wallet – because the most important thing for a healthy recipe is that it can fit into a healthy lifestyle!
Nutritional information (without vegan substitutions, without cheese, based on 8 slices): Calories 138, Total Fat 1.7g, Saturated Fat 0.1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbs 21g, Fiber 3.5g, Sugars 5.1g, Protein 8.6g, Sodium 216.8mg
Nutritional information (without vegan substitutions, with cheese, based on 8 slices): Calories 178, Total Fat 4.7g, Saturated Fat 1.8g, Cholesterol 7.5mg, Carbs 21.5g, Fiber 3.5g, Sugars 5.1g, Protein 12.6g, Sodium 301.8mg
compare to original recipe (without cheese, based on 8 slices): Calories 220, Total Fat 6.3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 1.2mg, Carbs 33.2g, Fiber 4.8g, Sugars 7.8g, Protein 6.6g, Sodium 333.7mg