Monday 18 December 2017

A novel way to get your five a day

Aoife Barry

Pizza is often seen as an indulgent treat for weekend nights when you're not in the mood to cook, and also a bad menu choice.

But homemade pizza is simple to make and can be crammed full of vegetables. This week, I have a recipe for home-made spelt pizza dough that may take a few hours to prepare, but is utterly worth it -- and, as you can see, it's the perfect base for lots of brightly coloured seasonal vegetables.

This dough isn't gluten-free, but spelt is often more easily digested than wheat. It has a lovely taste and can be used in exactly the same ways. I've included both white and wholegrain spelt flour so that you get the benefit of fibr.

Once your dough is made you can put it in the fridge to use the next day, so it's a great one to prepare on a Sunday night. What could be better than home-made pizza at the start of the week?

The pizza pictured here is vegan, with no cheese. This might seem bizarre, but why not give it a try? You'll probably find it easier to digest and you'll be cutting down on the saturated fat and calories in the meal. By adding lots of veggies, you'll also be eating most of the five a day that doctors and nutritionists recommend.

My favourite pizza toppings are roasted peppers and red onions -- the chopped peppers are tossed in olive oil and dried Italian herbs and then roasted for about 30 minutes.

I also love broccoli, which is blanched and then lightly roasted.

When it comes to the tomato sauce, all you need is some passata (blended tomatoes), dried or fresh herbs (such as basil and oregano) and a little tomato purée. Usually, a few tablespoons of passata mixed with the herbs and a teaspoon or two of the purée is sufficient for four medium-sized pizzas.

A good tip is to use tomato sauce sparingly, otherwise, the pizza base may get soggy. For an extra twist, add a little sun-dried tomato pesto to your sauce.

One of the joys in making pizza at home is that each base is unique, but, if you practice, you can make a round base just like they do in restaurants. I made a rectangular base here that has a few quirky edges to it!

Get your children involved by helping them put the pizza toppings on, and making it as colourful as possible.

So, a nutritious homemade pizza could be yours for dinner this evening, and making it will be far more fun -- and cheaper -- than dialling your local takeaway.

Irish Independent

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