10 Healthy Ways to Top Pizza—That Still Taste Amazing
Cheese pizza is classic, but these superfood toppers will amp up the nutrition and add delicious fresh flavor to your favorite slice.
As a superfood with more than one health benefit, as defined by Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color, asparagus is a superfood superhero. One thin stalk of this spring veggie is packed with loads of minerals, folate, fiber, and antioxidants. It’s also considered a secret weapon for maintaining your weight. “Asparagus is a natural diuretic that can help you feel less bloated,” confirms registered dietitian Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, Founder and Host of fiorellaeats.com. Here’s what your pizza guy is secretly thinking—besides that you’ll have to add your own asparagus.
Raw, roasted, grilled, steamed, or spritzed with lemon, broccoli is a powerhouse of vitamins and vital nutrients. DiCarlo breaks down the superfood staple: “Its fiber content helps keep a belly full; it’s full of cancer-fighting phytochemicals, and contains vitamin C and calcium, which contributes to youthful looking skin.” This cruciferous vegetable also contain cancer-fighting antioxidant. For a fun twist, try topping pizza with Roasted Broccoli with Sriracha and Honey from Gluten Free with L.B. Here are other cancer-fighting foods to eat often.
One surprising must-add fruit to your grocery list is the tasty fig. Known to be higher in fiber than any other fresh or dried fruit, the fig is also being recognized for its cancer-fighting properties. Largeman-Roth says the sweetness of the figs plays well with onions and earthy walnuts in her Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Pizza recipe. Here’s why figs are way more nutritious than you realize.
Hot chili peppers (peperoncino)
You will feel the burn when chomping on these zesty red pepper flakes. But it’s worth it. Hot chili peppers are full of antioxidants, according to DiCarlo, and also contain capsaicin, which increases metabolism by its thermogenic effects on the body. Did you know that hot peppers can help you live longer?
Butternut squash makes everything taste better. Plus, this root vegetable is jam-packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and potassium that can help prevent high blood pressure. Largeman-Roth suggests combining roasted butternut squash cubes or slices with lightly salted pistachios on a pizza with fresh mozzarella. Sounds like a meal and a lifesaver all in one. Here are more foods that can help lower blood pressure.
Red onions contain some of the highest amounts of polyphenols, phytochemicals with antioxidant powers, according to DiCarlo. Red onions also contains allicin, which, like garlic, is known for its immunity-boosting powers and cancer-preventing properties. Breath not so fresh after an onion-topped slice? Eat it anyway, along with these other antisocial foods you should definitely keep in your regular rotation.
A best friend for any dieter, the red, yellow, and orange vegetables contain vitamins C (more than an orange, in fact!) and vitamin A, which boast fierce antioxidant power. The fiber in bell peppers also helps in weight loss.
White pizza is delish, no doubt, but it’s the red tomato sauce that’s filled with heart-healthy nutrients. Brimming with the antioxidant lycopene, the low-sodium vegetable is linked to improving cardiovascular health, and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. One of the best ways to maximize the nutrition from tomatoes is by cooking them, as you would on a delicious fire-roasted or coal-oven pizza.
Extra virgin olive oil
The one superfood you must have in your house at all times, extra virgin olive oil is the “Valentino” of oils. Recommended for many well-known eating plans, including the Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet, this high-quality oil contains monounsaturated fats, which are the heart-healthy kind. Check out other extraordinary uses for olive oil beyond the kitchen.
Love olives? Great, because they will do your body good. This fruit (crazy, we know!) makes a super pizza topper, as long as they’re black, as the green ones don’t pack as big a nutritional punch. “Green olives are picked before they are actually ripe and then chemically treated with harsh substances to soften and remove the bitter substance present in them,” according to superhealth.com. “Ripened black olives contain more nutrients, more olive oil, and are a far healthier fat to eat.”
Sweet potatoes don’t just belong covered with brown sugar on a Thanksgiving table—they also make a tasty topper for a homemade pizza. They’re a major source of eye-healthy vitamin A, not to mention vitamin B6 and potassium. Make a batch of Gluten Free with L.B.’s Easy Skillet Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro to top off your favorite pizza recipe.