Like most people, I love pizza.  I also love to make my own pizza on occasion and decided to try out this recipe for a nice change of pace.  Not your traditional pizza by any means because of the crust used, but still a wonderfully delightful way of eating a healthier version.  Think of this recipe as a tasty alternative to higher-fat and –calorie pizzas.

If you’re thinking how using French bread can make this pizza lower calorie, I don’t blame you.  The reason is you will scoop out the inside of the bread leaving a crispy crust without overdoing the bread. That’s how!  Then, instead of loading it with pepperoni or sausage, you will use protein and fiber rich Great Northern beans, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach for a beautifully blended mix of tantalizing flavors reminiscent of an Italian café.   Of course, if you don’t want to use French bread as the crust, feel free to use a ready-to-serve thin Italian pizza crust (12 inches in diameter).

When I made this “pizza,” it actually reminded more of bruschetta, an Italian bread drenched in olive oil typically served with garlic and tomatoes and used in restaurants as an appetizer. Either way you want to use it, this pizza will be a crowd pleaser and won’t last long.

Photo taken by Cheryl Mussato

White Bean and Spinach French bread Pizza – serves 6

Nutrition per serving: Calories – 250; Total Fat – 9 grams; Protein – 15 grams; Carbohydrate – 30 grams; Fiber – 6 grams; Sodium – 550 milligrams

Ingredients:

One 12-inch long French baguette – or can substitute a ready-to-serve thin Italian pizza (12 inches in diameter

½ cup sun-dried tomato halves (not in oil)

1 can (15 ounce) great northern or navy beans, drained and rinsed

2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-2 cups of store-bought marinara sauce

¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup firmly packed spinach leaves, shredded

½ cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pour enough boiling water over dried tomatoes to cover. Let stand 10 minutes, drain. Cut into thin strips; set aside.
  3. Place beans and garlic in food processor. Cover and process until smooth.
  4. If using French bread, cut bread in half lengthwise; then cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces. Scoop out the soft center of the bread and discard.
  5. Place the bread, scooped side up, onto the prepared baking sheet.
  6. If using French bread, spread about 1/8 to ¼ cup of marina sauce on each piece; if using pizza crust, spread marinara sauce evenly over entire crust.
  7. Spread about 3 tablespoons of beans over sauce if using French bread or spread all of the beans over the entire pizza crust.
  8. Sprinkle each French bread piece evenly or pizza crust with oregano followed by spinach leaves, tomatoes, and cheese.
  9. Bake until bread is toasted and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 12 minutes.
Categories: Recipes

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Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia, found on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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