New York Inspired Gourmet Whole Wheat Pita Pizzas
I wrote most of this post on the plane flying back across the country after spending a week in Manhattan. Mainly I am sharing our food adventures and the inspiration for new pizza toppings. Bear with me – at the end of this post you will find the recipe for preparing whole wheat pita bread crust as the base. Traditional pizzas are high in caloric density because of the white crust, the greasy cheese, and the fatty meats. If we sub out the white crust with a thin whole wheat pizza, use lower fat cheeses, and keep it veggie, we will save on fat and calories!
Now for a bit of sharing…
Our trip was a food tasting extravaganza. The point of our trip was mainly spring break. We had four free airline tickets through mileage points. We chose to have a change of pace from our Cali lifestyle and spent the week staying in an artsy 2 story flat just between TriBeCa and SOHO.
We got to visit with family friends, we walked everywhere, and we really lucked out with incredible warm, sunny weather while we were visiting. The best part to me was the four of us trekking all around the city by foot together. I’m going to miss my little traveling trio next week when it’s back to school and work.
I’ve only been to NYC 3 times but have managed to find some favorite spots. Near the top of my list is the Chelsea Market. It’s similar to our Ferry building in SF but bigger and with more gourmet food options. There was a short burst of rain the afternoon we walked to this market. It was over crowded as everyone had the same idea ducking in for some delicacies.
Throughout our trip we managed to taste too many desserts – halvas, ice creams, donuts, Matcha lattes, and cannolis. Most notable was definitely the holy cannoli at Gelso and Grand.
We had some big meals involving pastas, burratas, sandwiches, and pizza – a whole lot of pizza!!
I’m sure we didn’t come close to working off all our gluttonous behavior even with walking 20K+ steps a day . We are more than ready to get back to lighter meals with plenty of fresh produce now that we are back here at home.
We’re starting with Ovenhugging NY pizza! Cooking Light magazine did a segment in their May issue on mini pita pizzas. They use the thin half of a pita as the base crust. We keep a stock pile of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita bread in the freezer. At a $1.69 a pack you really can’t go wrong with using this bread.
On our trip we spent most of our time in SOHO, Greenwich Village and Little Italy. We found a favorite spot for a slice of pizza right in that area – Famous Ben’s Sicilian Pizza.
Famous Ben’s has a great menu with a super diverse selection which we loved sampling. They had everything from traditional thin crust NY pizza to deep dish Chicago style. If we stayed any longer we would have probably tried everything they were offering.
When given the choice and the flexibility of a wide variety of slices we all choose something different. That in itself was a luxury we’re not used to. It’s hard to find so much choice when it comes to pizza by the slice any place around here.
Our NYC adventures inspired the toppings for whole wheat pita pizzas at home:
- The Green Goat (inspired by Saluggi’s)- white cheeses, spinach, walnuts
- The Primavera (inspired by Famous Ben’s pizza) – bell peppers, red onions and garlic
- The G&G (inspired by Gelso and Grands pizza) – arugula, pear, honey, pecans
Not pictured here because it got late, we lost the lighting, and we ate it too fast! Not the healthiest of the bunch but very, very tasty.
The key to crispy good whole wheat pizza crust is to pre-broil the bread. Once you have a crispy starter crust, load on any combination of veggies and cheeses.
Now finally, the recipe for the whole wheat pita base crusts:
- Whole wheat pita bread
- Olive oil spray oil
- Vegetable toppings
- Low fat cheeses
- Set oven to broil at 400 degrees F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper
- Separate whole wheat pita with pointed knife like a paring knife keeping it round and whole
- Spray pita circles with olive oil spray
- Broil plain pitas (no toppings) for 2 to 3 minutes
- Add sauce, cheeses, and veggies
- Broil for 4 more minutes
Customize your personal whole wheat pita pizza with your favorite toppings. The pizzas with the white cheeses (feta, goat, or ricotta) don’t need a sauce. We do like a tomato sauce with plain cheese, Margarita and primavera pizzas. To make a simple, healthy tomato pizza sauce I use one part low sugar marinara (namely TJ’s Organic Marinara) and one part Italian tomato paste. Add some onion and garlic powders and stir.