You only need to look at a deep-pan pizza loaded with cheese and extra meat to know that this fast-food favourite isn't good for you.
High in fat, cholesterol and salt (an average 12-inch pizza provides a whopping 85 per cent of your recommended daily fat intake and 90 per cent of your recommended sodium intake), it has little nutritional value. But if you're prepared to forget about stuffed crusts and supersized portions, then it is possible to enjoy a pizza that is relatively healthy and low in saturated fat.
Dough is very calorific, so with a thick crust comes a raft of empty carbohydrates. By making a thin wholewheat crust, you immediately cut calories and add dietary fibre.
Making your own tomato sauce is also a good idea; tomatoes are high in vitamin C and contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is believed to help fight cancer. Not only that, the homemade sauce below is very simple to prepare, and by doing so you can control sodium levels and ensure that it is free of unwanted preservatives. Top your pizza with plenty of vegetables and you've got an interesting (and child-friendly) way of adding essential vitamins and minerals to your diet.
Remember that takeaway portions tend to be unnecessarily large. If you abandon the idea that pizza has to be the only component of the meal, and instead serve a couple of slices with a salad, you'll instantly have a healthier dinner.
For the dough:
7g easy-blend dried yeast
150-175ml warm water
125g strong wholewheat flour
125g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
teaspoon fine salt
For the topping:
head broccoli (approx 100g), cut into small florets
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm wide strips
100g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
60g reduced fat mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
25g parmesan, finely grated
salt and black pepper
In a small bowl whisk together the yeast and 30ml of the warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add both types of flour and the salt to a large bowl and stir briefly. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water. Using a fork, gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid, until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a smooth ball. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes (until the dough has roughly doubled in size).
Preheat the oven to 180¿C/fan 160¿C/gas 4. Put the broccoli, red pepper and cherry tomatoes into a large bowl and drizzle over 1tsp olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and toss well to coat. Transfer to a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables and increase the oven temperature to 240¿C/fan 220¿/gas 9.
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and the garlic. After 3-4 minutes, pour in the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is quite thick.
Tip the risen dough out on to a floured surface and "knock" the air out of it. Roll out into a round, about 30cm across. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking tray. Spread the tomato sauce over the base, arrange the roasted vegetables on top and scatter with the mozzarella and parmesan. Cook the pizza for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese bubbling.
An average 12-inch pizza contains:
17.8g saturated fat