Is there any comfort food more perfect than pizza? The objective answer is no, which is why denying ourselves the occasional slice is inherently anti-wellness (at least by our call). Catherine McCord, mama and founder of Weelicious — a site dedicated to helping parents expose their children to delicious plant-based food — and her newest project, family meal delivery service, One Potato, is here to help with three family-friendly healthier homemade solutions for when a pizza craving strikes…
Pizza!!!! That’s the only word I tend to hear these days whenever I ask my husband and my son what they want for dinner. Our newest Sunday night tradition has become making homemade pizzas together as a family, and it’s so much fun. One of our son’s favorite parts is getting to choose the toppings for his side of the pie. We’ve even found that foods he normally won’t eat on his own become totally appealing to him when tossed on his pizza.
A few Sundays ago when we were making some delicious thin-crusted creations, our daughter was on the kitchen floor playing with one of the muffin tins, and it gave me a genius idea – pizza muffins! Why, you may ask? Why not? Pizza is crunchy, cheesy, delicious, totally kid-friendly, and when it’s cooked in the shape of a muffin, it just adds a cool twist to the same old slice you’re used to.
The first time I made the green machine pizza I was pretty pleased with myself since I figured it was a great way to get the kids to eat their greens while also serving them one of their beloved foods. My son and daughter had been thrilled that day knowing that they were getting homemade pizza for lunch, but when they walked into the kitchen they took one look at the first verdant pie I pulled out of the oven, they both shrieked in horror, “It’s green!”
I still don’t understand why green can be such a taboo food color for kids, but on this particular occasion, after I diffused all the negativity by putting a few zucchinis on my eyes for comic relief, I let the kids make the next two pizzas with me. As if by magic, the kids were then totally game for eating them.
If you’ve never tried pesto and green veggies like broccoli, spinach and zucchini on your pizza, now is your chance. Sure tomato sauce and mozzarella will always reign supreme as the topping king and queen, but you might be surprised every now and then to watch a green machine pizza win the day!
Pizza quesadillas: This is one of those recipes that you can totally improvise with depending on what you’ve got laying around your kitchen. Kenya has a thing for dinosaur kale (probably because of the name), so it’s an easy sell and healthy addition to this dish, but as long as you’ve got red sauce, cheese and tortillas, you’re good to go.
Finally, let your kids help prepare these. It’s a fun recipe, doesn’t make much of a mess and is the perfect opportunity to use whatever veggies, meats, olives, cheeses or anything else you may have in the fridge. And if you need a bit more inspiration, watch the video for this recipe here. If anything, it will show you what a blast making this can be for the little ones. And just maybe, it will be your new “favorite” too!
4 tortillas (I use spelt tortillas because i like the nutty flavor, but any kind of tortilla works great)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped fine
1/2 cup dinosaur kale, cooked and diced
1 cup mozzarella, grated
pepperoni, kale, ham, pineapple, mushrooms, peppers, onion, olives
Place both tortillas flat in front of you and spread each with 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
Top one of the tortillas with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup dinosaur kale (or any of your favorite toppings) and 1/2 cup cheese.
Place the other tortilla on top to cover (sauce side down) and press down lightly.
Slide the tortilla into a dry pan on medium heat and cook on each side for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted through.
Cut into wedges and serve.
Green Machine Pizza
Makes four 8-inch pizzas or one large pizza
1 lb pizza dough
1/2 cup pesto
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 cup small zucchini, sliced into thin coins
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Divide dough into four equal pieces and roll out or form each piece into a pizza disk.
Spread each disk with 2 tablespoons of pesto, sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and top with chopped broccoli, zucchini slices, and spinach.
Bake on a pizza stone or baking sheet for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Tip: If you use a pizza stone, make sure to dust some cornmeal on whatever surface you’re preparing the pizza so the pie transfers easily to the stone. If you are cooking on a baking sheet, assemble your pizza pie on the sheet so you don’t make a mess when transferring.
Makes 16-18 cups
1 lb pizza dough
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce
For the toppings:
mushrooms, ham, red peppers, olives or whatever you and your kids love
Bring dough to room temperature and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out the dough to a thin 18 x 12 inch rectangle and cut into squares about 3 x 3 inches.
Grease mini muffin cups and place one square in each cup, making sure that the corners of the dough are sticking out.
Brush edges of dough with olive oil.
Par-bake dough for 8 minutes and take tins out of oven.
Pour 1 teaspoon of sauce in each cup and evenly distribute the cheese between the cups (you can add toppings now as well).
Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Cool and serve.
From planting an edible garden to buying healthier groceries, discover more wholesome wellness tips from Catherine here.