Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gillian McKeith's incredible 'Mediterranean Sweet Potato Pizza'

This is NOT fast food but it is delicious, filling and incredibly healthy.    Even the kids go wild for this pizza.  The toppings are entirely up to you but it is wise to be careful with what you choose.  If you are like me and love meat on your pizza, I'd recommend using lots of mushrooms.  it gives you a hearty flavor and a pleasing 'mouth feel'.  

You have to start with preparation of the crust.  Olive oil, baking powder, oregano, basil and whole wheat flower.

It is a good idea to carefully peel your sweet  potato before boiling or you'll end up (like me) fishing out the skins for a lot longer time than you'd think.   I chose to go with some frozen veggies to include in the topping.  Normally, I'd prefer to use fresh but I was feeling like I needed to rush (Sunday afternoons always seem to get away from me).  The trick to keep in mind is to thaw and thoroughly dry your frozen veggies or you'll end up with a soggy crust.  

One of the most satisfying parts of making this pizza is the sauce.  It is easy and really adds flavor and character to your pizza.  When it is this easy and tastes this good it seems almost criminal to use a pre-made (and preservative-laden) pizza sauce.  You can even do like I did and use canned, diced tomatoes.  Add in some onion, garlic, some oregano and a few other spices (to taste) and you've got a sauce you'll not soon forget.

The crust must be blended and you should not be afraid to add as much wheat flower as necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands too much.  Working the crust is probably the most trying part of the recipe.  It loves to stick to your fingers and anything else it comes in contact with - until the flour mixture is right.  Trial and error will tell you when it is right.  

The fun is just about to begin.  You have to first pat out the crusts into pizza form.  Next is adding the sauce onto the crust.  You don't have to use too much sauce to get lots of flavor.  Just ladle it on and tamp it down slightly and you are ready to add toppings.  Be sure to put lots of veggies all over the pizza.  I find red, green and yellow peppers give tremendous flavor and make this pizza have a very 'up-market' sort of feel.  

One of the most surprising things is you don't need to use any cheese whatsoever to make this thing feel and taste like a pizza.  I find that using just a small amount of shredded (fresh) romano cheese is enough to give you the taste of cheese without having tons of the stuff that your stomach is forced to digest.  Words don't do this pizza justice.  It isn't fast to make.  I recommend making a double-batch so you can freeze some left-overs and enjoy the luxury of healty pizza over and over again.  It is very dense so you will probably not be able to eat even half the amount of this pizza that you would with something you'd order from a pizza shop.  It fills you up and gives you super nutrients that will give you the fuel you need to feel good for hours afterward.

This recipe will take about an hour or so to make once you are familiar with how it works.  A food processor is likely to be a way to make your preparation time faster.  I bought some nice knives and enjoy chopping and doing everything by hand.  I admit it is an unnecessary step but there is something very rewarding about bringing out the personality of this recipe with your own two hands.  

I hope this very lengthy discription helps to encourage you to get off the couch and into the kitchen.  Gillian McKeith is the owner of this recipe and I am all too happy to give her all the credit for this wonderful family-favorite.  Her show has made a huge difference in my life and I would encourage anyone who is interested in living a healthy (and satisfying) lifestyle to set their DVR to record every episode of her show and check out her books.

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