I love pizza. I think you all know that I love pizza. My thighs know I love pizza *wink*. That being said I had to lay off my traditional pizza for a couple of weeks. Plus honestly my system tends to act up when I eat too much bread/carbs. Now before I go on it’s not like I eat a pizza every day (God knows I wish I could BUT I can’t). I eat maybe 2 slices a week which isn’t a lot but that along with a roll here or a slice of bread there throughout the week tends to puff me up. And me puffy is NOT pretty. Plus it’s kind of defeats the purpose working out as hard as I do if I continued on the carb train. I mean just because I exercise like a crazy woman doesn’t mean I can eat whatever I want. And as much as I wish this logic was true running 5 miles while eating cake doesn’t negate the calories.
What’s one thing I always preach to you guys? Everything in moderation…even pizza…damn it!
Now for me to go a few weeks without pizza is well, ludicrous. Yes it’s necessary BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t still have it but in a creative, healthier way. Right? So I have a friend at work that has a bunch of property and I actually look forward to this time of year as he sends out his email asking if folks want various veggies from his garden. Without clockwork I always get a bunch of zucchini, squash and stuff from him. Well after about a week of no pizza and very little carbs (bread) I was going NUTS as I crave pizza. Yes I love it that much! Since I love love love my baked zucchini sticks that I dip in marinara sauce I figured I could make mock pizzas out of zucchini slices.
The first batch I made I just sliced the zucchini, topped them with cheese and baked them. The issue with this is the cheese melted BUT the zucchini rounds were watery and too hard. Yeah, not good. So I went back to the drawing board. I had to par cook them in order to get the texture I wanted – not too soft, not too hard. I wanted it so you could easily cut it with a fork or pick it up and hold it as an appetizer. That’s when it hit me! Grill them! I actually do that a lot when I want veggies. I like my veggies a bit firm so this was perfect!
Since I don’t have a real bbq (yes, even after 8 years living in this house I STILL do not have a bbq… don’t get me started as that’s the only thing Mr. Fantabulous and I fight about), I took out my cast iron grill pan. Do you cook or bake often with cast iron pans? I love love LOVE mine and almost anything I make in a cake pan or regular pan I can make in one. Heck I even make dippy eggs in it and they don’t stick! You’ve seen my skillet cookies and brownies. I even make pizza in them. How I so wish I had my parents cast iron pans from my childhood but after they both passed away no one knows what became of them. My one brother and I talk about those pans often as we both loved them.
It wasn’t until a few months ago did I learn how to properly clean and season them. That’s an upcoming post featuring just how simple it is to clean and season them.
Now what I will tell you about these is that they are FANTABULOUS! I mean seriously one of the BEST non-traditional pizzas I’ve ever had. EVER! They are light but with some ‘meat’ to it. The flavor of the sauce, cheese and toppings make it. Zucchini to me really has no taste or at most it’s very, very mild which is perfect for this dish. The light olive oil, salt and pepper really made these pop with flavor. I’ve made these about 4 times (I had a lot of zucchini – still do actually) and mixed up the toppings. I’ve made them with the pepperoni, plain cheese, roasted tomato, basil & fresh mozzarella and yes, bacon. They all ROCKED! Like I can so see making this for football parties to serve not only to my friends that are gluten intolerant but also those that are on low carb/no carb eating plans.
For me the puffiness is gone but honestly I don’t miss real pizza dough yet and the same goes with bread. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I’m not giving either of those up but if I am not craving them and this satisfies what I want, why eat it? This is healthy and delicious.
Zucchini, while being delicious is so good for you! Check it out!
Helps to Lose Weight: You might be surprised to know that consuming zucchini will help you to lose weight considerably. Zucchini is extremely low in calories, but it gives you the feeling of being full. Therefore, zucchini is a great way to satisfy your appetite without grabbing calories and starting a crash diet plan. Apart from the low calorie count, zucchini has a high water content and is rich in fiber. Hence, when you eat zucchini, your stomach is not empty, thereby making zucchini recipes perfect if you are on diet.
Maintains Optimal Health: As an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is the best source of dietary fiber that will keep your body in the best shape for the long run. It also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus . This summer squash also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein. Moreover, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, and calcium in zucchini assure optimal health. Zucchini is probably the best example of squash that has such a rich array of nutrients, including sugar, carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, minerals, amino acids and more. The folate ingredient of zucchini is highly commendable for pregnant women as well.
Promotes Men’s Health: Many researchers have taken extracts from this squash to conduct certain studies and concluded that this fruit has certain properties that effectively treat an ailment in men called BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged in an odd shape and size, which can cause trouble with both sexual and urinary func tion – this is known as prostatic hypertrophy. A good treatment of this is seen in combination with other foods that contain phytonutrients; zucchini is said to be extremely useful in decreasing BPH symptoms.
Keeps You Disease-Free: Your overall health will surely improve if you consume zucchini regularly. It helps you prevent all kinds of diseases in a general sense. Studies have already declared that fiber-rich foods help to alleviate cancer conditions by washing away the cancer-causing toxins from cells in the colon. The vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene content in zucchini helps to protect these cells from the harmful chemicals that can lead to colon cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin C also have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby naturally curing ailments like osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, where swelling is immensely painful. The copper percentage in zucchini also helps in reducing the aching symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Overall Cardiovascular Protection: Zucchini is rich in nutritional value, especially during the summer, when it delivers countless advantages to the body. The food ranking systems in zucchini-rich countries have declared this squash has abundant of manganese and vitamin C that helps to keep the heart strong.
During the research, most of these nutrients are shown to be effective in the prevention of diabetic heart disease and atherosclerosis. The magnesium content notably reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In combination with potassium, magnesium also helps in reducing high blood pressure. The vitamin C and beta-carotene found in summer squash helps in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol builds up on blood vessel walls, but these nutrients reduce the development of atherosclerosis. The vitamin folate is required by the body to eliminate an unsafe metabolic byproduct called homocysteine, which can result in heart attacks and strokse if the levels rise too high. Zucchini’s fiber content lowers high cholesterol levels as well, thereby helping reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease due to diabetes.
“Hey TKW, what’s up with all that learnin’ ‘n stuff? Talk more about the food and the recipe. I’m hungry!”
LOL But seriously zucchini, up until a few years ago got a bad rap. It was boring and one of those vegetables that everyone had in their garden and all they ever did with it was make zucchini bread.
Until now… I’m telling you guys one night when you get home from work, you’re exhausted and really don’t feel like cooking make this. Let the whole family help out. Let the kids top their own; get them involved. If they are involved they are more likely to eat “non-traditional” pizza. Plus with these being gluten free it’s a WIN WIN!
It’s funny the other night while Mr. Fantabulous and I were lying in bed around 8 or so (yes that early only because he was still sick, I was just run down) we both realized that we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. I made him scrambled eggs and me these. What I loved the most about these is that they aren’t heavy in your stomach like traditional pizza which was awesome as it was closer to bed time. As we were eating, he looked at my plate and went “GASP! Whasdat??? Where’s mine?” I just popped one in my mouth (without making eye contact) and said “You don’t like zucchini and that’s what these are.” “But I might like them even with yucky zucchini…” he whimpered to which I responded “Eat your eggs…” and popped one in my mouth. LOL
I know, I’m a meanie. Meanwhile I had a ton leftover in the kitchen. I got up to get him some but he was so stuffed from his stuff he said he’d try them the next day however he didn’t get a chance to as I took them for lunch. Which to tell you these keep AWESOME at least overnight. I just put them in a container and then just reheated them on a plate in the microwave. PERFECT!
To me zucchini is one of those foods that is so diverse that it can be incorporated into almost any type of recipe. What’s your favorite way to use it in a dish? Sweet perhaps, savory or not at all? If you’re not a fan I ask you to try it this way. It just rocks and a great way to still have pizza without all that extra fat! Your skinny pants will thank you *wink*!Print
- 2 medium-large zucchini
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1–2 Tbl Olive oil
- 3/4 cup fresh shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup fresh shredded provolone
- 1/2–3/4 cup pizza sauce
- Pizza toppings: pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, cooked sausage, etc
- Fresh basil leaves, torn
- Preheat broiler with the rack in the middle.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top.
- Slice the zucchini into almost 1/2” thick slices (you want thicker than 1/4” but less than 1/2”).
- Preheat an Indoor Grill Pan over medium-high heat.
- Put the zucchini slices in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper gently mixing to coat evenly.
- Place the zucchini slices on the grill pan and grill for 1-2 minutes each side, flipping only once. You want them slightly firm to hold their shape.
- Put the cooked zucchini on the cooling rack.
- Top each round with a 1/2-1 tsp of pizza sauce, tsp of cheese and a few toppings.
- Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with a few pieces of fresh basil.
If you don’t have one I HIGHLY recommend this Indoor Grill Pan ! I absolutely love mine!