Kelly was so kind as to send me a pic of the paleo pizza she makes for her and Ryan in order to make it through the day without losing her mind (like we all so often need). She used a large Portabello mushroom for the ‘crust,’ warmed it up either in the over or for a few seconds in the microwave before adding sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh pepperoni (not of the packaged kind, remember the post on gourmet deli meats?). I think she got both the cheese and pepperoni at Carollo’s Italian deli in the River Market.
This is a great idea for those of you that really miss some of the grain-based foods that you used to eat a lot but have decided to give up for 30 days. For many of us that have been doing paleo consistently for awhile, we might experience what I call ‘cheat day letdown.’ Recently we had a cheat day and ate at the Dish here in Liberty, arguably one of the best pizza places in the metro area. Needless to say, it wasn’t everything I thought it would be. It was bland and overly salty, at the same time. I guess I have just gotten used to fresh flavors and very little salt in my food, let alone very little sugar (although, the spinach dip was still pretty amazing).
Back last fall, I posted a recipe for tomato sauce that you can make at home in about 10 minutes in a pan on the stove. Its more of a red sauce, not so much a marinara, like what you would use on pizza. In the U.S, if you go to any grocery store and look at food labels, you’ll likely notice that the main difference between a regular tomato or red sauce and pizza sauce is the salt content and sugar content. The traditional Italian marinara sauce is usually mostly tomatoes and herbs, while pizza sauce is more of an American bastardization of the marinara, to make it flavorful by adding lots of sodium and sugar. This will vary greatly, however, by brand these days.
The original tomato sauce recipe I posted will work just fine for your pizza and here it is:
Spaghetti or tomato sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped or minced
1/4 C chopped or diced green onions
3 Roma tomatoes (or garden tomatoes), sliced or diced
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
Sauté 2 teaspoons of garlic in half of the olive oil. Add onions. Sauté until garlic is golden. Add tomatoes. Cook over medium heat and mash tomatoes with a potato masher or thick wooden spoon until they separate into sauce. Add remaining olive oil and garlic. Add salt. Simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
If you want it a little thicker or tangier however, like a more traditional pizza sauce flavor, here is how you can alter it and still keep it paleo and it definitely won’t need a lot of salt!:
- Add up to a whole can of tomato paste (the amount you add will depend on thick you want the sauce). The only ingredient on the label should be tomatoes. Tomato paste is really just really concentrated and slightly dehydrated tomatoes. Its probably best if you buy organic, but if you’re watching your budget, its not a huge deal to get a non-organic brand and save a little.
- Add fresh or dried basil (fresh is always best, but again, we don’t all have fresh growing in our kitchen and dried gets you more for your money) ASK ME ABOUT FRESH BASIL PLANTS THAT I WILL HAVE FOR SALE AT THE GYM THIS WEEK!!!
- Add a little more garlic or pepper, depending on your tastes.
- You can also puree the whole thing in your blender if you want the really smooth texture of a pizza sauce.
Personally, I like the big chunky and interesting look of fresh tomato sauce and all the stuff I added to it. Let’s face it, paleo can get a little mundane sometimes and getting to see chunks of all the fresh stuff I just put in my sauce is cool. Yes, I’m a food nerd.
Here are some pics of my endeavor at this paleo pizza:
This is what I mean by scraping out the 'gills' of the underside of the mushroom
Before they were baked for 6 min...
Here is what I put on them: sauce (see below for how I modified the recipe), fresh pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh green onion diced. Bake at 350F for 6 min.
For the sauce, I took the above recipe and added a whole can of tomato paste, a light sprinkle of sea salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon in the entire pan) and pepper. It was delicious! Wayne stood at the counter while the pizzas were cooking just dipping pepperoni into the sauce because he could not stop eating it.
And the final product…
Here they are!
So not to make this post even longer, but I have to say that I was not as huge a fan of these as I wanted to be. Mushrooms and I have a love/hate relationship. I really want to like them, honestly. But they get so slimy when they’re cooked that I just cannot like them wholeheartedly. They lent a really nice flavor to this and if you like mushrooms, you will really love this mini pizza. I was brave and ate all but a couple bites of the second one of mine, which Wayne was more than happy to polish off for me.
In all, great project. I would make these for him again and probably force one down, but I was left a little hungry by the lack of substance in the dish. If you’re interested in what mushrooms have to offer nutritionally, from a macronutrient standpoint (carbs, protein or fat) its very little, which is likely why I was starving about an hour later. Here are some notable micronutrient qualities that portobella mushrooms possess:
In 1 mushroom top:
306 mg Potassium
15.6 mcg Selenium (DRI for most adults is 55 mcg/day)
3.775 mg Niacin (DRI for most adults is 14-16 mg/day)
So, in all, not a loss. I will still keep looking for something higher in fat and protein that will not have a slimy texture or overpower the tomato sauce, which was amazing, by the way, in case you missed it before 😉