Tag Archives: ricotta

Veguary day 11: healthy pizza time!

The other day I posted about making healthy swaps so you can still eat the foods you love. Because, really, who wants to live on salads forever and ever? Even if they are freaking delicious. One of my favourite swaps was introduced to me by my friend Chris at a pizza-making party (four people and a bottle of wine makes it a party, right?): using lebanese bread as pizza bases!

1 standard pizza base: 657 calories
1 piece of wholemeal lebanese bread: 287 calories

How good is that? It means you can eat twice as much pizza and still be consuming less calories than if you were using normal pizza bases. And this is for the full-size pita pockets, not the mini versions, although if you’re cooking for one and don’t want to make leftovers, you can always use those instead. Not only is wholemeal pita much lower-GI than traditional pizza bases (meaning you’ll get longer-lasting energy from them, and feel fuller for longer) but they’re physically thinner too, so your topping-to-bread ratio is much better. And I’m sure we all know that making food at home is better for you than if you were to buy takeaway pizza… for comparison’s sake, a veggie pizza from Pizza Hut packs a delightful 1472 calories. Eeek. Anyway, I love making homemade pizza – it’s so easy, you can add whatever toppings you feel like and/or have in the fridge, and next-day-pizza is famous for being just as good (if not better) than fresh from the oven!

Here are a couple I made the other night – a traditional veggie pizza and a slightly more ‘pizza nouveau’ option. You might as well make two pizzas at once for a bit of variety – if you’re an omnivore, you can do one with meat or one without, or if not you can do what I did and go for a tomatoey one and a cheesy one.

 

 

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Pumpkin and ricotta pizza

  • Half a butternut pumpkin
  • Light ricotta
  • Grated parmesan (or any other sharp cheese)
  • Grated mozzarella
  • 1 large wholemeal pita pocket

Preheat your oven to 180C. Roughly chop the pumpkin, cover with water and microwave for 5 minutes. Add a good sprinkling of parmesan and mozzarella to the ricotta (enough to thickly cover your pita bread) and combine. Drain pumpkin and mash roughly. Spread the cheese mixture on the pita, top with pumpkin mash and season with pepper and any herbs you have lying around. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the pita is golden and slightly crispy.

Roast veggie pizza

  • 1 large portabella mushroom
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1/2 small tub pizza sauce (I’m a Leggo’s girl, myself)
  • Grated mozzarella
  • 1 large wholemeal pita pocket.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Slice veggies thinly and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until slightly softened. Spread pizza sauce on your pita. Add veggies, top with mozzarella, season with pepper and herbs, and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the pita is golden and crispy.

Serve with a side salad (or perhaps some cauliflower soup!) and enjoy the smug satisfaction of having made something delicious and super healthy. Smug face, GO!

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Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

It’s pancake day! It’s pancake day! It’s p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p pancake day!

Just me? Okay then.

Such are the joys of being on holidays that, despite it being a Tuesday, I could spend a lazy hour making and savouring these delicious pancakes. I was inspired by a post on Esme and the Laneway featuring banana bread covered in lashings of yoghurt and raspberries and topped with crumbled pistachios. It just looked so pretty (the colours!), and I knew it would taste delicious, too. So I thought, since it’s Shrove Tuesday today, I’d do a pancake version instead. And I think I’ve hit upon a new weekend breakfast standard. These things are way too good to just have once a year…

Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

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Makes 2 serves

For the pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup white self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp natvia (or 2 tbsp sugar)
  • 2 tbsp light ricotta
  • Cooking spray

For the topping:

  • 200g strawberries
  • 30g pistachios
  • 80g low-fat vanilla yoghurt
  • 20g honey

Mix the two types of flour together in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and quickly stir until well combined. Lightly spray a pan and add 2-3 pancake-size dollops of batter at a time (depending on your mad pancake skills, and/or how big your pan is), turning when the batter starts to bubble. Hull and slice the strawberries and roughly chop the pistachios. When your pancakes are done, stack and assemble: dollop yoghurt on top, drizzle with honey, add your strawberries and top with pistachios.

So. Good. And these babies come in at only 483 calories per serve. And none of this ‘one pancake is a serve’ business – these are decent stacks! They use ricotta instead of butter (it tastes better, I swear – lighter and fluffier, which is ideal for pancakes!), almond milk instead of milk (again – pancakes that taste slightly nutty is a win in my book) and natvia instead of sugar (I didn’t notice the difference). I also substituted half the flour with wholemeal for longer-lasting energy. If I’d made these the ‘normal’ way, they’d be 737 calories per serve. Big difference! That’s the best thing about learning to make healthy substitutions – you can still eat the food you want, you just find ways to make it lighter and better for you. Having said that, I still wanted pistachios on top of these, and I wasn’t about to substitute them for no thing, no how! It’s all about striking a balance. Here’s a list of easy swaps you can make for day-to-day things:

  • Almond milk instead of milk (about half the calories, higher in protein – lower in calcium though, so make sure you’re getting your calcium elsewhere!)
  • Low-fat vanilla yoghurt in place of cream/ice cream with desserts (surprisingly awesome!)
  • Multigrain bread instead of white (Lawson’s seed and grain bread is the bomb)
  • Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese (I used to eat carrot sticks and Philly on a regular basis but cottage is much lower in calories!)
  • Cooking spray instead of oil (it’s the same thing but you use less and get better coverage)
  • Rice crackers instead of potato chips (rice crackers can still be a pretty high-calorie snack as they’re so moreish – check the nutrition label)
  • Brown rice instead of white (takes longer to cook but keeps you fuller longer, so you don’t need as much as you would white rice)
  • Light wholemeal pita bread instead of pizza bases
  • White corn tortillas in place of wheat ones
  • Homemade sweet potato chips instead of frozen chips/wedges (just chop, season and roast – easy as)
  • Multigrain/wholemeal anything instead of white (wholemeal will usually give you longer-lasting energy)

And some cheeky halves I enjoy:

  • Use half beans and half mince instead of all mince when making anything Mexican (lower in calories and cheaper!)
  • Substitute wholemeal flour for half the white flour when baking (see above!)
  • Half wholemeal pasta and half white (wholemeal can take a bit longer to cook – check the packet to be sure)

Substitutions I’ve tried or heard good things about, but have yet to cook myself:

  • Chocolate mousse made with avocado and cocoa instead of eggs (delicious, creamy, vegan, and doesn’t taste like avocados, I swear!)
  • Banana icecream, made out of nothing but bananas (also vegan!)
  • Nutritional yeast instead of cheese (again… vegan)
  • Quinoa instead of rice (higher in protein!)

Do you know of any good healthy substitutions? Or amazing pancake-spiration for Shrove Tuesday?

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