If you think that pizza is the ultimate un-health food, boy have we got news for you. While it’s true that plenty of those takeout and freezer-aisle pizzas do make for a less than nutritious meal, there is a wide world of homemade pizza options out there that can be part of your healthy eating habits!
Simply changing up your pizza crust is one such way to have a healthier pie. No we’re not talking thick crust vs. thin crust pizza, we’re looking at things on a fundamental level, what’s actually in those pizza crusts and how they are cooked.
So get that pizza peel out and get ready to whip up one of these types of healthy pizza crust, then take a peek at a few of our favorite pizza toppings that will simultaneously inspire your taste buds and amplify the nutrition content of your new favorite pie!
11 Alternatives for a Healthier Pizza Crust
Whether you are looking for a healthier alternative to your usual pizza dough, or you simply enjoy some variety and would like to try something new, take a gander at the healthy alternative pizza crusts we’ve compiled here!
Whole Wheat Flour Pizza Crust
Let’s start with a relatively subtle diversion from the usual pizza crust, a simple swap in of whole wheat flour. Traditional pizza crust recipes usually call for all-purpose flour, which although made from wheat as well, is highly refined and stripped of some inherent nutritional value.
As compared to regular pizza dough, whole wheat dough will be a bit tougher, more dense, and not as pleasantly chewy, but will have plenty of flavor thanks to the rich, nutty taste of whole wheat!
Health Benefits of Whole Wheat Flour Pizza Crust:
Whole wheat flour contains slightly less calories and more fiber as compared to all-purpose flour, as well as provides an added boost of protein, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Pro Tip For Making Whole Wheat Flour Pizza Crust:
If the flavor or texture of whole wheat pizza comes on a bit strong for you, you can always work with a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flours. This will help the pizza dough to maintain a texture more similar to that of regular pizza, while still providing you the nutritional benefits and whole wheat goodness.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Cauliflower crust pizza is one of those food items which has been trending in recent years–and for good reason! Making a cauliflower pizza crust is a gluten free, low carb alternative to regular pizza crust, and like all good things, it takes a bit of (worthwhile!) effort to pull off.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
Getting more cauliflower into your diet is an extremely healthy choice as this cruciferous veggie is packed with nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin K, and vitamin C. In addition, the fiber content of cauliflower helps with digestion as well as can promote a healthy blood sugar.
Pro Tip For Making Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
First and foremost, you need to get that cauliflower as dry as possible in order for the pizza to hold together as it cooks. Once the cauliflower is cooked, use a clean kitchen towel, mesh bag, or several layers of cheesecloth to wring as much water out of the cauliflower as you can. When it comes time to bake your healthy pizza crust, be sure to use a parchment paper lined baking sheet as this is one pizza crust type that is very prone to sticking. For this reason, we don’t recommend using a pizza stone here.
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust
Spaghetti squash may be more well-known as a suitable substitute for pasta–you know, the other staple of the Italian diet–but standing in for a pile of noodles is not all this squash can do!
When combined with ingredients such as egg and shredded cheese, spaghetti squash forms a mixture that holds together nicely when cooked, providing a stable base for any and all of your favorite pizza toppings.
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust:
As a member of the gourd family–along with pumpkins and butternut squash–spaghetti squash is absolutely loaded with nutrition in the form of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and beta carotene to name a few.
Pro Tip For Making Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust:
Once again, you’ll want to get that arm workout in by squeezing as much liquid as possible from the squash before mixing it with the other ingredients and baking. Many recipes for spaghetti squash crust call for a spoonful or two of flour just to help hold things together, but if you are looking to keep your crust gluten free, you can certainly opt for rice flour, potato flour, or any other alternative flour you like.
Tortilla Pizza Crust
Maybe you don’t quite feel like (or have the time for) hassling with homemade dough, but you still would like to impose some carb control on your pizza crust. Enter: the tortilla pizza!
We acknowledge that there are a great number of unhealthy tortillas and wraps out there, rest assured that there are plenty of healthy choices as well. Choose wisely and you’ll have a tortilla which makes for an amazingly quick and easy good-for-you pizza crust alternative!
Health Benefits of Tortilla Pizza Crust:
If you opt for a brand that offers high fiber and whole grain tortilla options, you’ll be giving your pizza crust an overall low net carb count. While your average flour tortilla hovers around an amazing 26 grams of net carbs, there are many variations of tortillas and wraps out there that feature less than 5 carbs per tortilla! Many of these brands also include seeds, sprouted grains, or actual vegetable ingredients for an added nutrient boost.
Pro Tip For Making Tortilla Pizza Crust:
Using a tortilla as a pizza crust will help your pizza to crisp up quickly in the oven, meaning this is a quick-cooking pizza option! Just be sure not to load it up too heavily with toppings as this will bog down the tortilla in a way that prevents it from crisping as well as makes it impossible to pick up by the slice.
Polenta Pizza Crust
Polenta is a cornmeal product, which when cooked in water, produces a thick, porridge-like substance. Polenta has the unique characteristic that when it cools, it “sets up”, making it an out-of-the-box option for a pizza crust substitute.
Despite this relatively firm structure, a slice of polenta piece is unlikely to be one that you can pick up and eat with your hands, especially once toppings are involved. Nevertheless, the flavors and concept of pizza are very much alive and well in this pizza crust alternative.
Health Benefits of Polenta Pizza Crust:
The key benefit of using polenta as a pizza crust is that it provides you with a healthy dose of whole grains! Incorporating whole grains into your diet provides you with heart healthy fiber, an added protein boost, and helps you to feel more satiated (translation: you’ll eat less and still feel full!).
Pro Tip For Making Polenta Pizza Crust:
Using polenta as a pizza crust enables you to very easily adjust the size of your pizza. When spreading the soft polenta–but before allowing it to set–you can opt to shape it into just one pizza or several individual pizzas. You can even use large cookie cutters to make fun-shaped miniature pizzas for kids, or kids-at-heart.
Chickpea Pizza Crust
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to enjoy socca, you already know where we’re going with this one. Socca is essentially a large chickpea flour flatbread which is a popular food item in many regions of France.
On its own, this dish is usually served simply with just a sprinkle of fresh herbs or seasonings and is often enjoyed as a street food. As a pizza crust, however, it can be topped with any of your favorite toppings. Chickpea flour bakes into a structured crust, giving you the ability to pick up and enjoy your pizza by the slice.
Health Benefits of Chickpea Pizza Crust:
Just like the whole chickpeas themselves, chickpea flour is extremely nutrient dense, containing a ton of vitamins and minerals as well as 10 grams of protein per half-cup! It is also low carb, has a low glycemic index, and is packed with fiber.
Pro Tip For Making Chickpea Pizza Crust:
While you could grind your own chickpea flour if you really wanted to, ready-made chickpea flour is available in most large grocery stores these days so we definitely recommend reaching for that when possible. You may notice that on its own, chickpea flour has a strong aroma of chickpeas. Don’t worry though, once baked and smothered in toppings, this flavor will blend into the background no problem!
Sweet Potato Pizza Crust
Pizza crust from–sweet potatoes? Yes! The sticky, starchy texture of this tuber is actually perfect for forming into a disc, topping, and baking. You can’t just use straight up mashed sweet potato however, you will need some other ingredients to hold things together.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potato Pizza Crust:
We love this healthy pizza crust option as it not only eliminates the refined carbs that you would normally encounter in your standard pizza crust recipe, but it also makes all of the nutrient-rich sweet potato goodness all that much more enjoyable! As you can tell by their bright orange coloring, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, helping to keep your eyesight healthy. In addition, it is antioxidant and fiber rich, keeping your body defended against free radicals and promoting healthy digestion.
Pro Tip For Making Sweet Potato Pizza Crust:
Some recipes for sweet potato crust call for rolled oats, while others make use of the wide world of alternative flours–tapioca flour, rice flour, coconut flour, almond flour, etc. An egg is also helpful for binding the ingredients together and providing structure to the crust, but if you’d rather keep things plant based, you can easily substitute this with one of your favorite egg substitutes.
Almond Meal Pizza Crust
Almond meal is one of the OG flour alternatives, so it makes perfect sense that it would have a spot in our list of favorite pizza crust alternatives! If you have already worked with almond flour before, you know that it tends to be crumbly rather than starchy, therefore it definitely relies on binding ingredients such as eggs (or egg substitutes) and olive oil to come together. Most almond meal pizza crust recipes also call for leavening ingredients such as baking powder to provide a bit of lift.
Health Benefits of Almond Meal Pizza Crust:
Seeing as almond flour consists simply of ground almonds, it contains a ton of nutrition! Almond meal is a low-carb, low glycemic index food which provides a great deal of healthy fats, manganese, iron, and fiber. Not to mention, 7 grams of protein in every ¼ cup!
Pro Tip For Making Almond Meal Pizza Crust:
You want to be sure to opt for finely ground blanched almond meal here as opposed to coarse, as the latter will impart a gritty texture to your pizza crust. Also, when rolling out your dough, it helps to do so between two sheets of parchment paper. Once rolled out, this crust will be fragile until it is baked so use the parchment to help you move it around as needed.
Zucchini Pizza Crust
Using zucchini squash as a pizza base works incredibly well for the fact that it gives a sturdy, satisfying structure to the pizza crust. Like our other veggie based crusts so far, you will need a touch of flour and egg to ensure that the crust holds together as it bakes. Also, zucchini is a blank canvas meaning you are free to season the crust mixture with herbs, spices, and seasonings to your liking!
Health Benefits of Zucchini Pizza Crust:
Zucchini is extremely low calorie and high fiber, meaning that eating a zucchini based pizza crust will help you to feel full and satisfied for far longer than those traditional flour based crusts. Also, this veggie provides a decent dose of folate, vitamin A, and plenty of antioxidants!
Pro Tip For Making Zucchini Pizza Crust:
This recipe relies on shredded zucchini as a main ingredient, which you can produce either by way of a box grater or food processor fitted with a grating blade, if you have one! Once shredded, the best way to remove as much water as possible is to toss the shredded zucchini with a light sprinkling of salt and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Then gather the zucchini into a clean kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth and wring out any and all moisture that comes forth!
Whole Veggie Pizza Crusts
If you’re not in the mood to roll dough (and we don’t blame you!), one outside the box option is to use whole vegetables as a pizza crust. Some great options are: Portobello mushrooms, sliced eggplant, or large sliced summer squash. While the taste won’t be quite the same as that of dough based pizza crust, this is a great way to highlight your pizza toppings while simultaneously increasing your veggie intake.
Health Benefits of Whole Veggie Pizza Crust:
What better way to amp up the health factor than to replace a carb-heavy food such as prepared pizza dough with whole foods like fresh vegetables! It goes without saying that this alternative is gluten free, but also provides a huge bump in fiber content as well as all of the vitamins and minerals that come along with fresh vegetables.
Pro Tip For Making Whole Veggie Pizza Crust:
Using whole veggies as pizza crusts is a great way to make snack sized pizzas, as thick slices of eggplant, zucchini, and Portobello mushroom caps will yield small yet hearty pizzas. You want to be sure to cook the vegetables until they are just about fully cooked before adding your toppings and melting under the broiler.
Healthy Pizza Topping Ideas
While we’re here, let’s toss around ideas for a few of our favorite pizza toppings you can smother your new favorite pizza crust alternative in!
- Instead of highly processed and fat-laden meats such as pepperoni or sausage, try lean ground chicken or turkey, or even lean, grass fed ground beef for a healthier protein boost.
- Vegetarian or plant based eater but you still want a nice, filling pizza? Try one of our favorite sources of plant based protein!
- Amp up the heat of any pizza with a topping of hot peppers! These fiery veggies are thought to provide many health benefits such as improving metabolism, aiding in weight loss, and warding off some cancers. Go ahead and use sweet roasted red peppers if you aren’t a fan of spice.
- Veggies Veggies Veggies! Raw veggies, roasted veggies, it doesn’t matter just get them on your pizza already! You can even opt for a trendy “salad pizza”, using an apple cider vinegar based dressing to reap even more health benefits.
- Try a Mexican style pizza–which goes especially nicely on that polenta crust if you ask us. You can use salsa (naturally low-fat and low calorie!) in place of regular tomato sauce or pizza sauce, topped with some protein-packed black beans, shredded lettuce, sliced scallions, and perhaps a bit of our nutrient-rich Broccomole.
- Instead of canned or jarred tomato sauce, which often has added sugars, opt for fresh tomatoes instead. Slice cherry tomatoes and toss with salt and Italian seasoning before scattering across your favorite pizza crust–easy as (pizza) pie!
- Prefer to keep things dairy-free? Skip the shredded mozzarella cheese–or any other type of cheese for that matter–and drizzle your pizza with plenty of olive oil instead. Use extra virgin instead of regular olive oil for a bit more nutrition boost!
Healthy Pizza Crust Options: The Takeaway
We hope we have convinced you that there is no need to relegate pizza night to “cheat meal” status! There are so many healthy recipes for pizza crust alternatives that are gluten free, vegan, keto friendly, high-protein, and beyond. No matter what type of eating plan you follow, there is a healthy pizza crust option out there for you!
Bottom line: don’t be afraid to try out a new pizza dough recipe, even if it sounds a bit off the wall at first. While it’s true that nothing may quite be able to take the place of your favorite delivery place, you might just find a new favorite (or second favorite) pizza alternative, which can help you to create an overall healthier nutrition profile in your diet.