Vegetarian Recipe: Pizza With Sautéed Fennel, Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes

Pizza doesn’t have to be just a vehicle for cheese—when you pile on the veggies, it turns into a versatile, healthy meal.

By: Ali Eaves

Pizza doesn't always conjure up the healthiest thoughts, but for registered dietitian Heather Calcote, it's a perfect way to pack a variety of veggies into one dish.

"It's a great versatile meal," she says. "It's a staple in my vegetarian kitchen because it's easy to be creative with a short or long list of veggies, and it provides protein, carbs, and healthy fat."

We're on the verge of fresh tomato season, so Calcote recommends looking at local farmers markets to maximize the lycopene benefits. The mushrooms on the pizza provide an excellent source of selenium, she says, which can help improve skin, enhance immune function, and in some cases has been found to benefit heart health. 

Yield: 8 slices
Per slice nutrition: 240 calories, 11 grams fat (3.8 grams saturated fat, 5.7 grams monounsaturated fat), 24.7 grams carbohydrate, 1.5 grams fiber, 10.4 grams protein.

Ingredients:
Store-bought dough (Calcote recommends Trader Joe's brand) or:

1 packet yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup olive oil
*This dough recipe was adapted from the blog Eat, Live, Run.

Toppings:
½ fennel bulb, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Marinara sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Dried oregano

Steps

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

2) Stir in the salt and flour. Mix on medium-high speed in a stand mixer for five minutes, or knead for eight minutes. While mixing or kneading, drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil.

3) When the dough is soft and elastic, rub with olive oil and then place in the bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for one hour.

4) Preheat oven to 425 degrees or to the temperature required by the store-bought dough.

5) Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan. Sauté the chopped fennel for three minutes, add mushrooms, and season with salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste. Sauté until softened. At the last minute, add the cherry tomatoes. Set aside.

4) After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs. Freeze half the dough in a plastic bag for another time.

5) Roll out the remaining half of the dough, spread with one teaspoon olive oil, then top with sauce and shredded mozzarella. Add the vegetables, and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

6) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through.

Heather Calcote is a registered dietitian in DC. She blogs about nutrition, running, and cooking at Dietitian on the Run