Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Great Pizza Experiment of 2011: Sicilian-style pizza

The most popular page on my site, by far, is the photo tutorial for cauliflower pizza. Pizza seems to be the number one thing that people miss when they embark on any diet, but particularly when people decide to eat low-carb, gluten-free, and/or grain-free. Fortunately, there are many, many options out there for those missing their favorite treat. The cauliflower pizza has been my standby, but I started to wonder: which is the best option out there? So I got a crazy idea: I'm going to make pizzas using every popular low-carb grain-free substitute. That way I can photograph, rank, and review them all. For you, my readers, I will suffer through all the delicious homemade pizza ;)

I will make pizza out of all of the following:

Let me know if I missed something. There are also lots of hybrid recipes out there (i.e. flax + coconut flour) but unless there is one particular recipe that is wildly popular, I will stick to recipes based on a single carb substitute.

I let my husband rank this one:
Thick or thin crust: Thick
Taste: 7
Texture: 8
"Realness": 8 (I am using the term "realness" to indicate how much it is like a real pizza. Clearly I am watching too much RuPaul's Drag Race.)
Ease of preparation: Very easy if you have a standing mixer. A bit more of a pain if you don't, as you have to beat the cream cheese until soft. If you don't have a standing mixer, make sure the the cream cheese is softened before you start.
Comments: This makes a thick, chewy, Sicilian-style pizza crust. I have seen it referred to as deep dish pizza, but as my husband is from Chicago, he forbade me from referring to this as deep dish. Truth be told, I've had enough Pizzeria Uno to agree. This is a very, very convincing way to make this type of pizza. The husband was in utter disbelief that the crust was primarily cream cheese. If you prefer a crispy thin-crust, this may not be your thing, but this is the first low-carb version of that stretchy doughy sort of pizza that I've encountered.

I used a recipe from According to her:
I think I may have discovered the secret to a crispy crust. I left the baked crust uncovered in the refrigerator for several hours. I think that allowed it to dry out a bit so that it became crisp during the second baking with the toppings. I was able to pick the pizza up in my hands.
I did not take that extra step (I was hungry, dammit) but I can definitely see how that would work. In fact, I think that I would score the crust before refrigerating so that the edges of each slice can dry out. Another option would be a Baker's Edge pan.

Makes 8 slices

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (I used Philadelphia brand low-fat)
  • 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg whites or substitute)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 ounce
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese, shredded (low-fat is fine, do not use fat free)
  • Pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and beat until well-blended. Beat in the parmesan and seasonings.
  3. Stir in the mozzarella
  4. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9"x13" baking dish. Use either a glass dish sprayed with Baker's Joy or a metal dish lined with parchment paper, otherwise it will stick. 
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until evenly browned but not burnt.
  6. Flip the crust over.
  7. Spread the crust with sauce, then the cheese and toppings of your choice. Bake at 375 about 15-20 minutes or until toppings are bubbly. Let stand a few minutes before cutting. 
(Per 1/8 of the pizza, crust only, using low-fat cream cheese, low-fat cheese, and omega-3 enriched whole eggs)
136 calories, 9g fat, 2g carbohydrates, 12g protein
Per 1/4 pizza:
272 calories, 18g fat, 4g carbohydrates, 24g protein


Arthur said...

So far my favorite low carb pizza crust is a baked shredded cheese crust. Closest thing to a thin crispy crust that I have found. Check out the recipe on my blog. Looking forward to your pizza experiment.

Erica said...

Arthur, I definitely plan to do a shredded cheese crust! I checked out your recipe, I'm not going to do that one since it's a bit of a hybrid (with baking mix and coconut flour), but I plan to try this one: . I might try some hybrid recipes after going through my list; any excuse for more pizza!!

Anonymous said...

This by far is my favorite way. I used a recipe I found on recipezaar (now called just is almost exactly the same as this but ingredient amounts are a little different.

Erica said...

@Anonymous: I believe the recipe was originally posted on an Atkins forum by Bikergoddess, I've seen that on as well :) But I've seen variations of it posted alllll over the place!

thetruck45 said...

Thank you so much for doing this! I've been paleo w/dairy (I guess lets just call it primal) for about 8 months now and had never seen this pizza recipe before! It was incredible, reminded me of the brooklyn style crust! Can't wait to try some of the other variations you have on here!

Erica said...

@thetruck: Let me know if it works out for you! I used to live in New York and it reminds me of what they labeled "Grandma's pizza".

Alcohol Server Certification said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I really love your recipes! It's healthy and delicious! Always want to go online and find new things to eat in your blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to find your website (via Pinterest). I am on the Modified Atkins Diet for epilepsy and have been SO BORED with my usual foods! Thank you so much:)

Rebecca said...

I just made this, and it is so good!!!

Unknown said...

Why would you use low fat cream cheese? If you're not eating carbs, you need fat! Otherwise you starve. Source:

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