Whole Wheat Vegetarian Pizza

Healthy, easy and delicious, 2 slices of this vegetarian whole wheat pizza delivers 13 grams of cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber, and is loaded with flavor. As long as you remember / have time to bring the pizza dough to room temperature, prep will take no more than 30 minutes. We always make 2 pizzas as it’s great left over.

My personal favorite toppings are broiled eggplant, broccolini sauteed with garlic, and sauteed mushrooms. But feel free to substitute any vegetables you like—as long as you pre-cook them a bit so they’re not raw, they should be delicious.

This recipe is flexible and adaptable: if someone wants meat, just place some sliced pepperoni atop a few of the slices or make one pie with meat and one totally vegetarian.

For those who want to make their own dough, go for it. I hear it’s easy but I’ve never tried it as that bag of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza is like magic to me (and there’s no food processor to clean!)

Have pizza purists in the house? Do a taste-test of whole wheat pizza dough vs ‘regular’ white pizza dough. But just so you know, the whole wheat pizza is much healthier: first of all, it delivers DOUBLE the cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Not only that, the plain dough has almost double the salt and 50% more total fat than the whole wheat dough!

Give this recipe a try for a great “Meatless Monday” or any day vegetarian dinner!  Bonus: it’s great with kids or picky eaters (ahem, like myself). Kids love to roll out the dough…and if you let kids or family/friends customize with their own toppings it makes for a great pizza party. Just don’t break out the wine and beer until all the slicing is complete! (Yes, I sadly speak from experience; I now have a firm rule of no alcohol until all chopping and slicing is complete.)

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Going Lo-Co Whole Wheat Vegetarian Pizza
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Homemade Healthy Whole Wheat Pizza takes a bit of time but is easy and delicious. You can use any vegetables: my favorites are broiled eggplant, sauteed mushrooms and broccolini sauteed with garlic!

Servings: 4 people
Author: Karen Swanson
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 cup Pizza or Tomato Sauce (like Prego Pizza Sauce)
  • 3 ounces Mozzarella Slices (Trader Joe's whole or part skim)
  • 1 whole Eggplant
  • 6 oz Sliced White Mushrooms (About 1/2 container Trader Joe's)
  • 4 oz Baby Broccoli (broccolini) - heads
  • 4-6 cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 5 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Flour (To sprinkle under dough)
Instructions
Prepare Pizza Dough:
  1. Take out pizza dough so it comes to room temperature (I leave out for at least 1 hour).

Prepare Vegetables While Dough Comes to Room Temperature:
  1. Broil the Eggplant: Set rack to top and start broiler. Wash and slice eggplant into 1/3 inch thick slices. Set on a baking sheet lined with foil. Lightly spray or brush slices with olive oil then lightly salt. Turn the slices and lightly oil & salt the other side. Broil for 3-8 minutes per side, until golden brown. Turn and broil the other side. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven. First, carefully move the rack(s) to the middle of the oven. Then preheat to 425 (with pizza stone if you use...I do not.) 

  3. Saute the sliced mushrooms over medium-high heat in a large saute pan in about 2 TB of olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to plate.

  4. Prepare the broccolini and garlic. While mushrooms are sauteeing, wash broccolini, discard stems and leaves, and cut heads into bite-size pieces. Slice garlic.

  5. Saute the garlic and broccolini.  In the same pan used for mushrooms, add about 2 TB of olive oil and once warm, add garlic and cook over medium heat for 1-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not brown. Add broccolini heads, mix, and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add a bit of water, cover and let steam for 1-2 minutes.

Prepare and Bake Pizza:
  1. Once pizza dough has come to room temperature, roll it on a lightly floured surface to the size of your pizza pan or desired size. If using pizza pan with holes (aka perforated pizza pan) place dough on the pan and stretch to sides.

  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top of the rolled dough. Dot with mozzarella slices. Atop the cheese, add the broiled eggplant, sauteed mushrooms and sauteed broccolini/garlic.

  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Lift bottom of pizza to check it's cooked long enough to reach your desired crispiness. Slice with pizza cutter into eighths.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts from My Fitness Pal.

Nutrition Facts
Going Lo-Co Whole Wheat Vegetarian Pizza
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 38%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 904mg 38%
Potassium 197mg 6%
Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
Sugars 9g
Protein 18g 36%
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 19%
Calcium 20%
Iron 22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Curry

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My interest was piqued by David Tanis’ New York Times article, A Warming Curry for Fall— because this accomplished chef mentioned that he’d adapted a Madhur Jaffrey recipe. I find her recipes can be challenging, so I was thrilled at a Mr. Tanis modification.

This recipe was both heavenly and easy—one of the most delicious recipes I’ve made. Plus, it truly took only about 30 minutes (not including roasting time – and you can make it without roasting the butternut squash if you have 30 minutes max).

Not only that, but the resulting dinner is a great vegetarian option—not always my forte but one I am trying to tackle—and it was filling. And as I served with brown jasmine rice, it was even a decent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.

I read through the many comments online and decided to modify Mr. Tanis’ recipe right off the bat to add more flavor. (See the NYT article link above for the original recipe.) I’ve included mine with adaptions below.  It’s very flavorful but not at all spicy – the only tricky part will be getting curry leaves (available at Indian markets and online) first.  While Mr. Tanis says curry leaves are optional, they really make the dish.

My modifications were to add ground cumin, garam masala and also Maharajah Style Curry Powder By Penzeys Spices. Yes, I know that ‘curry’ is a catch-all and that many of the ingredients are listed both separately and in this curry powder.  But the recipe was delicious with these additions and I love Penzey’s curry.

As for rice, I served it with Trader Joes Brown Jasmine Rice for a fiber boost.

The picture above I took while it was cooking, and my version of the recipe follows. Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients—nearly all are just spices!  And I didn’t even bother with wild mushrooms: I used sliced Baby Bellas and Shitakes … and didn’t measure them, just used 2 packs from Trader Joe’s.

It’s simple, I promise! If you like curry you will want to give this recipe a try.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Curry - Going Lo-Co adaption of David Tanis recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Delicious, easy vegetarian curry published by David Tanis in the New York Times. Mr. Tanis adapted his recipe from a Madhur Jaffrey, and I've slightly modified further, for more flavor and cholesterol-lowering fiber. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 482 kcal
Author: David Tanis, adapted by Karen Swanson
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 10 ounces butternut or other winter squash peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 small whole green chiles such as jalapeño or serrano
  • 3 medium shallots or 1 small onion finely diced. I use already-diced fresh onions and diced more finely
  • ½ teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pound mushrooms preferably a mix of cultivated and wild, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • 2 cup brown jasmine rice
Instructions
  1. Cook about 2 cups of brown rice or brown jasmine rice so it will done when curry is done.

  2. While you can follow directions for cooking the squash cubes on the stovetop, I prefer to slick with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes (then add to pan after the mushrooms.) To me, this is so easy and boosts flavor depth - you just have to time it so they are roasted before you start cooking.

  3. If roasting squash, skip to next step. Otherwise, cook squash: In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash cubes in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, letting cubes brown slightly, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to lift squash out, and set aside.

  4. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.)
  5. Add shallots or diced onion to skillet, salt lightly and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then add garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and chiles. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds more. (I did both of these steps for 1 minute)
  6. Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  7. Return squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes. If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
  8. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. 

  9. Serve atop high-fiber brown rice. Garnish with cilantro leaves - don't leave this out, it adds a lot of flavor.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional Data calculated using My Fitness Pal.

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Curry - Going Lo-Co adaption of David Tanis recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 482 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 18mg 1%
Potassium 105mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 87g 29%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 5g
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin A 23%
Vitamin C 22%
Calcium 11%
Iron 12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Snapper Escabèche with Grilled Scallions

A Bon Appètit recipe for “Snapper Escabèche with Grilled Scallions” — sounds both delicious and difficult to make, no?

Delicious, definitely YES.  Difficult – a resounding NO!

In fact, this might be one of the easiest lo-co recipes I’ve ever made – and it’s both special enough for company and easy enough for a weeknight.

Oh, and did I mention delicious?

It was both Bon Appètit’s description of why marinating a fish AFTER it’s been grilled makes sense … and the accompanying video that showed how easy this was to grill AND how to know when the fish is done that convinced me to try this recipe. (It was idiotic that my maiden attempt was for an 8 person dinner party, but all’s well that ends well – and this ended very well!)

Bon Appètit described the compelling reason to marinate fish post grilling as:

“Because it’s so delicate, the flesh can break down when marinated first, sometimes causing the fish to fall apart. A post-grill bath delivers flavor without compromising texture.”

While this made sense to me, I was still skeptical: fish can easily stick or falls apart on the grill (even when it’s cooked in foil – see my post, “No Pots To Clean Gourmet Dinner.”) So I did something I almost never do – I watched the recipe video and it compelled me to try it. You can watch it on the recipe link above, or here (sorry for the ad):

Video: how to grill Snapper Escabèche with Grilled Scallions:

All you need for this dish is some very fresh red snapper fillets and a mandoline for thinly sliced red onion … Plus, it sits for at least 10 minutes after it comes off the grill, plenty of time to enjoy appetizers with friends.

I served it with these three make-ahead dishes – perfect for a dinner party:

And lots of rose wine of course.

I got several requests for the recipes – as I’m sure you’ll believe when you see how gorgeous these dishes were – and they were equally delicious:

The Snapper Escabeche:

Grilled Snapper Escabeche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The make-ahead sides:

ENJOY this heart-healthy easy-to-make dish sometime this summer!

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The Most Delicious Dish I’ve Ever Made…

Melissa Clark is one of my favorite cookbook authors – I find her recipes well researched, easy-to-follow and consistently delicious. But the depth and complexity of flavor in her Coconut Pork Stew with Garam Masala make this recipe, hands down, the most delicious dish I’ve ever made.

And it wasn’t even difficult. (To be fair, two elements require day-before preparation, so planning is required. But making a list is about as complicated as this recipe gets.)

I decided to make this recipe because I found the enveloping NYT article, Pork Stew Gets A Chile Kick intriguing, and I like Indian flavors and coconut curries. Plus, we were having an east coast March ‘blizzard’ on Tuesday, so I knew we’d be house-bound and I’d have a good three hours in the afternoon to let this bake. So Monday evening I had my butcher cube and trim two-and-a-half pounds of ‘pork butt’ (which I’d never heard of before) and collected the rest of the ingredients.

Normally, I reject recipes which require day-before prep and/or browning the meat first (too much of a hassle), but because I’d watched Ms. Clark’s video, I knew the day-before prep was simple and the browning step wasn’t fussy – just toss the cubes into the pot and let them ‘get golden’ for about 5 minutes.

Along that same vein, there’s not even much to chop or mince in this recipe – especially if you use fresh, already-diced onions. Which I always do. That said, in my view the chopped cilantro garnish is absolutely not optional – it adds a lot to the dish.

My only concern with this dish was nutritional. This recipe calls for coconut oil, which has a lot of saturated fat, a lo-co no-go. For information on why, in general, you should avoid coconut oil, read The Cleveland Clinic’s Olive Oil vs Coconut Oil: Which Is Heart-Healthier?

That said, if you omit the garlic-coconut oil topping (which doesn’t add a lot IMHO, other than another pan to clean!) this recipe really doesn’t have THAT much coconut oil and thus, is not so terrible, lo-co wise. (And certainly better than Shake Shack or fast food!) And, always good to serve with a green vegetable – I steamed green beans – or a salad.

I followed this recipe exactly and have no edits at all – it’s easy to follow and the steps make sense. My only quibble is that Ms. Clark suggests the yellow split peas are the dish’s starch. For me (and other commenters on her recipe page) the split peas were just not enough. I served it with basmati rice (yes, a better choice would be brown rice but I didn’t have that on my shopping list as it was not in the recipe. LOL.)

I also love that the NYT recipes now – finally! – have nutritional information!  Without rice, the nutritional analysis proffered on the recipe page indicates 19 grams of saturated fat. When I uploaded this recipe into ‘My Fitness Pal’ and included about 3/4 cup of basmati rice, I got a whopping 24 grams of saturated fat – 118% of of daily allowance! Not good.

But omitting the garlic-coconut oil drizzle brings that to a still-high-but-more-reasonable 15 grams of saturated fat or 73% of daily allowance.

So if this recipe sounds appealing (and believe me, the complexity and depth of flavor are ‘restaurant-quality’ which is not something I can usually easily deliver!) just make sure you’re not overdoing it with other high-saturated-fat dishes that day!

If you prefer, download a PDF of the Coconut Pork Stew With Garam Masala recipe.

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Steamed Whole Fish

It seems many people find fish hard to cook — or fear it’ll be ‘smelly.’ But both are so far from the truth! To me, baking or grilling fish is one of the easiest (and healthiest) dinners possible, and I’ve never suffered a fishy-smelling kitchen. If you’re game to try for the first time, the simple overall cooking concept is to slick with oil and bake at high heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Prefer more specific directions to bake a piece of fish?  To bake Arctic Char, Salmon – basically any reasonably thick (1/2″ or more) fillet — all you do is this:

  • Preheat oven to 450. Place a thick piece of Arctic Char or Salmon (or any fillet) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil; if 1 end of fish is thin, tuck it under.
  • Generously salt the fish and sprinkle with fresh pepper to taste.
  • Slick on some olive oil – just enough to barely cover entire fillet.
  • Sprinkle on a bit fresh or dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc)
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

If you want something ‘fancier’ you can find many fish recipes on my Lo-Co Recipe page; here are a few quick links to blog posts with recipes and directions:

While preparing fish using any of these methods is easy, quick and delicious, steaming a whole fish is another story. While steamed whole fish is terrifically healthy and an amazing presentation for serving guests (you cook the fish right in the dish you’ll serve it in!) it can be a bit more complicated … leftovers and bones can emit that fishy smell.

But it’s so worth it. And really fun to do with guests. We steamed a whole red snapper with our friends Chris and Dave on the eve of Christmas Eve this year – it was a fun to prepare together, and incredibly tasty.

I’d tried steaming a whole fish once before using a bamboo steamer and following David Tanis’ Steamed Whole Fish recipe – and though it was delicious, it was a fail in concept as I had to make it using a fillet as a whole fish didn’t fit in my steamer. (Read my The Trick To Steaming Whole Fish post about Mr. Tanis’ reply to my twitter query!)

After unearthing a very large pan with both a lid and a rack insert from my ‘magic closet’ I realized I now had the tools to try steaming a whole fish again. I re-read Mr. Tanis’ directions and actually watched (I never do this!) a Martha Stewart video that’s embedded on her Steamed Whole Fish page – and essentially prepared it using Martha’s recipe. The recipe is on that page too; I created a PDF of Martha’s recipe.

First, I bought a 2 1/2 pound wild-caught whole red snapper. I asked my favorite fish monger, Pagano’s, to prepare it as Martha’s video suggested: they descaled it and removed the fins and tail, so all I had to do was rinse and dry it, then lay it on the serving platter I was going to cook it on. It was helpful to watch Martha’s video, but they natter on for a long time about other things, so here’s a tip: they start talking about this fish recipe at about 3 minutes into the video; at about 6 minutes in they talk about the ingredients and at about 7:50 they talk about the fish preparation. Frustratingly, they never talk about serving it, which would have been incredibly helpful…

Then, I made my ‘mise en place,’ following what Martha and her accomplice did at about 6 minutes – because her actual written directions don’t explain/follow what they do in the video (sigh, I hate when that happens). This takes a while and you’ll want to do this before taking your fish out of the refrigerator! Then we added the ingredients to the platter and placed the platter (carefully) onto the rack set inside the very large roasting pan with an inch of boiling water we had set to go on the stovetop. If you look closely, you can see the steam rising above the top of the platter! Then we covered the roasting pan with its lid (if like Martha you are using a roasting pan with no lid, you’d cover the fish with parchment THEN tightly cover that with foil – you can’t have foil touching the fish!)

Twenty-five minutes later, (about 10 minutes per pound) and straight out of the pan, it looked like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then pulled the fish from the bones – and served it like this (you’ll notice only cilantro and scallions atop the fish – the ginger and lemongrass and other ingredients were just ‘aromatics’ – they don’t get served!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this of course (yes, that’s all that was left of the first bottle of white wine we drank while cooking the fish!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s worth watching the Marta Stewart video for pointers, and here’s the full recipe in a PDF format, Steamed Whole Fish, that I modified to include directions they left off the website recipe. Give it a whirl – wrap up the bones tightly or they will smell (better yet, make fish stock – but who am I kidding, I’d never bother!)  And of course, always best to do all your slicing before you drink the wine. (That was a lesson learned the hard way for me.)

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