Low sodium pizza…and it is low cholesterol? Yes, it can be done. Although the crust is thin, the taste is BIG. Friday Recipe Rehab continues with low sodium pizza!
Low Sodium Pizza: Can It Be Done?
In this week’s installment of Recipe Rehab, heart-healthy eating, I’m sharing with you my new family favorite: low sodium pizza.
Pizza packs a hefty punch of cholesterol and sodium. Before embarking on this lifestyle change, I loved nothing more than a big DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza or another major brand of pizza. We would each eat 1/3 of the pie, saving the other 1/3 for another weekday meal. Add a big salad, lots of cheese and olives to the salad, and oh boy…scrumptious.
I’m not picking on one brand of pizza, by the way. All processed and frozen foods, including pizza, typically add tons of sodium to the food. It helps preserve it and enhances the flavor.
The problem? A meal like the one I just described is a sodium TIME BOMB packed with over 1,480 mg of salt per serving. The cholesterol in mozzarella cheese isn’t bad, but it’s not great, either. At 50 mg per serving, with a daily limit of 200 mg of cholesterol for an adult enjoying a heart-healthy diet, it’s not going to break your cholesterol bank.
However, if you can limit cholesterol even further, why not?
I set to work seeking an alternative to typical frozen pizza that fits into a heart-healthy diet.
Lower Salt, Lower Cholesterol, Bigger Taste
I tried making the crust from scratch without salt. If you enjoy cardboard, go for it. It tasted like a cracker with pizza toppings on it. For the sauce, I used homemade tomato sauce, which I made from tomatoes grown here on our farm and mixed with no-salt tomato paste.
Shredded, low-fat mozzarella cheese offers a lower cholesterol version. I didn’t substitute the cheese because let’s face it — without cheese, you may as well just spoon sauce on top of bread and call it a day.
Healthier Toppings on a Low Salt Pizza Recipe
Another trick to ramping up the flavor on this low salt pizza recipe is to use plenty of healthy toppings. I used garlic powder, which has no sodium listed on the label, plus plenty of dried basil and oregano from my garden. Diced onion, pepper, and mushroom added vegetables and flavor without calories, fat, or sodium.
But the crust…I still couldn’t get the crust right until I found it at, of all places, Dollar Tree!
The Secret? A Dollar Tree Pizza Crust!
I browse Dollar Tree every week looking for bargains. I’ve found olives, herbal teas, no-sodium taco shells, and one glorious week, low sodium pizza crust! It’s packaged in an air-tight wrapper so it is shelf-stable. There is no brand name on the label but it appears to be manufactured by the Quaker company given the return address on the package.
I used our metal perforated pizza tray, placing the crust on the tray. I spooned sauce on top, added the cheese in an even layer, then the diced mushrooms, onions, and peppers from the garden. A heavy sprinkle of basil and oregano, followed by garlic powder, and into the oven for 8 – 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.
The results? Yes, a thin, crisp crust but delightful, delicious, hot, gooey pizza. What a treat!
Best of all? We cut the sodium by 69%. It is truly a low sodium pizza recipe!
You can, too. It takes some effort, but many of your family favorite recipes can be made over. Look for creative substitutions, healthier alternatives, and compromise where you must to make an enjoyable meal.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.