It is now the Monday after my crazy, amazing 2,300 mile Spring Break week road trip and to say that I’m having major fun withdraws would be an understatement. So what better way to cope with my loss of time freedom than to write a post to highlight one of the best parts of my week off. My best friend Summer and I decided to ditch the oh-so-exciting city of La Verne and do a full-blown west coast road trip to San Francisco, California, to Portland, Oregon and finally to Seattle, Washington where we met up with our teammate, Danica. After exhausting our budgets with numerous restaurant meals, Summer, Danica and I decided to spend the night in making our own homemade pizzas. One of my favorite things about my two amazing friends is that they’re just as into healthy living as I am, making this recipe that much more enjoyable to share. Even though this pizza isn’t gluten free, it’s still a healthy alternative to delivery and frozen pizzas for both your body and your budget. Aaaand it leaves a TON of room for creativity and experimentation! What’s not to love about a meal that brings your friends together?
Here’s the gist:
(Makes two whole pizzas)
- 2 bags of pre-made pizza dough- $1.19, bag @Trader Joe’s (TJ offers plain, garlic and herb and whole wheat pizza dough but we decided to go for the plain and garlic and herb this time around) (P.S. the garlic and herb is to DIE for)
- 1/2 pound of fresh cheddar cheese- $4.49, lb @ Trader Joe’s (I personally am not a big fan of cheese and could’ve done without it completely, but my friends weren’t about that option so we went with cheddar. You could use any cheese you’d like but just make sure it’s real cheese and not that yucky kraft junk!)
- 1-2 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil- $3.99, 16 oz bottle @Trader Joe’s
- Wild Arugula- $1.99, 7 oz bag @ Trader Joe’s (any lettuce will do the trick but I love the flavor of Arugula!)
- White mushrooms- $1.49, box @ Trader Joe’s
- 3 red, orange, yellow or green bell peppers (or a mix of them all!)- prices will vary
- 2 rose tomatoes- prices will vary (any type of tomato will do, I would also recommend roma tomatoes)
- 1 purple onion- prices will vary (any type of onion will do)
- 1 bundle of asparagus- prices will vary
- black pepper, to taste- 99 cents, bottle @ 99 cent store
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees f.
- Chop all vegetables to your desired size (I personally like my veggies in bigger chunks so I roughly chopped them).
- Roll out each pizza dough on top a pizza stone or any type of pizza pan or cookie sheet of your choice.
- Brush olive oil on top the surface of dough, leaving about a 1-inch margin around the perimeter of dough.
- Dust pepper on oiled surface (as much or as little as you’d like, I used about 1/4 tsp amount).
- Sprinkle cheese around oiled surface (as much or as little as you’d like).
- Add all veggies in desired order (I added my arugula last because it crisps up best when on the surface).
- Add another layer of cheese atop veggies.
- Place in the oven for 12-20 minutes depending on your desired crust texture. The longer you bake it the crispier the crust will become (I baked mine for 20 minutes because I LOVEEE crispy crusts).
- When your pies finish baking, remove them, cut them and ENJOY them!
The best thing about this recipe again is how creative you can get with your ingredients. Notice that I didn’t use any pizza tomato sauces or processed cheeses. Tomato sauce usually has additives and extra sugars hidden in it to make it addictive and processed cheese is hardly ever real cheese in the first place, so if you’re married to these ingredients then just make sure to read your labels before using them… please! Here are some other options to play around with to make some crazy delicious homemade pies:
- Gluten free, vegan Cauliflower crust (this step takes a lot more time and ingredients which will up your total cost but it tastes amazing and is very worth it if you’ve got the time and stretch on your budget)- prices will vary
- Qunioa pesto- $2.99, jar @ Trader Joes
- Spinach, baby kale or any other type of leafy green- $1.99, 7 oz bag @Trader Joe’s
- Pears and apples (red or green) go great with sweeter cheeses like Brie, Blue and Gouda (I buy goat milk cheese for the rare moments I crave cheese because it’s easier on the digestive system and typically contains less additives and hormones than cow’s milk)- prices will vary but I usually buy my cheeses at Trader Joe’s
- Nuts (I like almonds, walnuts, pecans and pine nuts best for their texture)- prices will vary but I use Amazon.com for my nuts
- Homemade nut cheeses like this amazing vegan garlic cashew cheese recipe- $5.49, 1 lb bag of raw cashew pieces @Trader Joe’s
Pizza is often seen as a “cheat meal” guilty pleasure and it’s easy to squeeze a few slices in here and there when places like Little Caesars are selling them for just $5 a pie (so tempting for college students especially). But don’t let your laziness and binge weaknesses trick you into thinking that delivery is the only way to go! Healthier options to classic favorites are a lot easier to master than most people think, so stop reading this already, grab a few friends and turn a boring, hungry night into a great one!
To health infinity and beyond!