After a long day at work, I love to take off my business clothes, throw on a pair of comfy leggings, and get into the kitchen. Growing up in an Italian household, the kitchen was always the center of the home. It was where you caught up with Mom after school, helped Dad cook sauce on a Sunday, and helped Noni (what we called my Italian grandmother) with the dishes after dinner. The kitchen was where my Dad taught me to slice, chop, and julienne, skills I have now passed along to my husband. The kitchen was also where my Great Uncle Riggi taught me to make risotto and pizza frete – a fried dough dish similar to zeppoles. And, I still get nostalgic when I see broccoli rabe after having grown up with it waiting on the stove for me as an afternoon snack several times a week. Food was love, and most of my favorite memories growing up took place in my parents’ kitchen.
But, carb heavy Italian food is definitely one of the reasons I gained weight. (Give me pasta over chocolate any day, and I’ll be a happy camper.) I knew that in order to be successful at weight loss I was going to have to make some serious adjustments. Despite my commitment to my new lifestyle, I feared losing all the memories that were tied into the kitchen and food growing up, or that feeling you get when you bite into a childhood dish. Cooking also just relaxes me, and I love being able to lose myself in making the perfect sauce or pulling together a meal for when B gets home. So, once I was able, I set out to develop healthy recipes that didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on anything.
Inspiration to create these new and healthy recipes comes from practically everywhere for me. For example, today’s recipe’s inspiration comes from a couple of sources. First, my CSA has had zucchini for the last few weeks and I was looking for a good way to use them up. Second, my vegetarian co-worker is always asking quick and easy recipes that she can make after work. Third – and most importantly – I wanted to come up with a recipe that could satisfy my Italian cravings for pizza.
Sometimes, when we were especially good, Noni would make homemade pizza dough and surprise us with a “Make-Your-Own” pizza party on a Friday night. The dough would be all ready, and she would put out tons of toppings for us to choose from. The pizza had more of a thicker crust, because we rolled it out by hand, and I can still remember what that first taste was like fresh out of the oven.
So, here is my Zucchini Pizza recipe – I hope you enjoy! I like the zucchini as it is thicker than doing a cauliflower crust, so it reminds me more of the bite of a homemade dough. Admittedly, it is not the same as having a real slice, but it definitely satisfies my cravings and is a fraction of the calories, so I couldn’t ask for more!
- 1-2 Zucchinis
- 1 Jar of Your Favorite Tomato Sauce
- Italian Blend Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese
- Garlic Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Cooking Spray
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Trim both ends of the zucchinis, and then slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Prepare a sheet tray with a layer of foil for easy clean up. Spray the foil and line up the zucchini in a single layer. Spray the top of the zucchini. Season with garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Bake for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your zucchini slices.
Top each slice with a spoonful of tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Put it back into the oven and bake for another 3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
xo – SavvySleever