When I was in Chicago a couple of years ago, one of the things on the top my list to do whilst I was there was to eat a real deep dish pizza. Here in the UK, there is a company that makes a microwaved and frozen processed version of it and to be honest, it is a complete joke when you compare it to the real thing.
If you haven’t had it before, it is like an upside down pizza. Kind of. You put the cheese on the base first and then the toppings and then you top it with the tomato sauce – it’s genius. You have to try it to believe just how good it is.
However, these giant dishes of delight come at a price and that price is the calories. When I went to Chicago, I was backpacking alone (I was obese at this time) and I ordered one and ate 3/4 of it myself. To be honest, I am surprised I didn’t eat the whole thing myself – I must have had a big lunch. Even just one slice of deep dish pizza from one of the famous Chicago restaurants can pack in the calories – but don’t stress over it, because you can make a healthier version of it yourself!
I remember sending a picture to my husband (then boyfriend) of the pizza I was eating over there (I know – I’m cruel) and after he said how jealous he was, I promised to make him one when I got home. Which I did. Still being very overweight then and not much of a cook, I didn’t make a healthier one. My husband reminded me of that pizza the other day and asked if I could make a healthier version of it. Challenge accepted!
At the end of the day – it’s pizza. It is never going to be a health food or a food that you can eat in unlimited amounts, but with a couple of small changes, like using whole wheat homemade dough and not going overboard on the cheese and packing it with veggies, it can be made a lot healthier.
Ingredients – Serves 6:
- 75g/0.3 cup cheddar cheese
- 125g/0.5 cup half fat mozzarella
- 15 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced (optional – leave out if you want a veggie dish)
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1) Make the pizza dough, roll it out to twice the diameter of the pan you are using. I used a 10 inch diameter spring form cake pan and it worked perfectly. Put your dough inside, like the photo above shows and use a knife to cut the excess dough off from around the sides. Shape this excess dough into a ball and put in the freezer to make another, smaller, pizza another time.
2) Put your grated cheddar and slices of mozzarella on the bottom and then top with mushrooms, onions and chicken if using.
3) Top with the marinara and basil. You will have some dough left, as the filling won’t go all the way to the top. Fold the dough down to create an edge/lip for the pizza.
4) Put in a preheated oven at 220C/400F for 45 minutes.
5) Allow to cool for 10 minutes to make it easier to cut.
Nutritional Information – per slice: