Friday, July 8, 2011

Asian Inspiration: Thai Vegetable and Chicken Pizza

I  must admit that this is not a creation of my own.  It is a replication of one of the best pizzas known to man... A Thai Veggie or Thai Chicken Pizza from Leonardo's Pizza.  I fell in love with this pizza as a sophomore in college and now that I moved away I have been craving for it.  Leonardo's pizza is a local chain pizzeria around Burlington, Vermont with lots of interesting gourmet pizzas.  AND they were one of the first to start carrying a whole-wheat pizza crust which is phenomenal.  This pizza uses a spicy peanut sauce as a base, then mozzarella, and whatever toppings you may choose (I used peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, and grilled chicken).

Pizza makes for a wonderful meal because you can get all components of a meal in one dish!  You have your starch (whole-wheat crust has more fiber and fills you up better), veggies, protein, and dairy (yea, calcium)!  Start with a side salad to help bulk up your meal and you won't leave the table unsatisfied and you have better control over your portion sizes of the pizza!

I included a whole-wheat pizza crust recipe that I like to use from www.eatingwell.com.  I usually knead it by hand because I don't want to clean my food processor.  That being said, you can use the kneading attachment to a food processor to do the initial mixing.

Whole-wheat Pizza Crust Recipe
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package quick-rising yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2-2/3 cup hot water, (120-130°F)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
    1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. Gradually pour the hot liquid over the dry mixture. Start mixing with a spoon or your hands until it forms a sticky ball.  The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Cover your surface with cling wrap and begin to knead the ball of dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.  

Here is a video that shows how to knead the dough if you haven't done it before: http://www.ehow.com/video_2340386_knead-pizza-dough.html
I apologize that it isn't me, I don't have the guts for live videos of me up on here yet. :)

Thai Vegetable Chicken Pizza
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp corn meal
1 pizza crust
1/3 cup of Peanut sauce*
2-3 cups of part-skim mozzarella shredded cheese
Cooked chicken, cut into small strips
Vegetable topping suggestions:
Red and green peppers
Onions
Broccoli
Mushrooms

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the pan you will be using (a pizza stone, round pizza pan, or cookie sheet.)  Sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal over the oil.  
Roll the pizza dough out and place on the cooking sheet.  Spread the peanut sauce over the crust, then sprinkle mozzarella, finish with your toppings.  If you wish, drizzle a small amount of peanut sauce over the top of the pizza.  Place in the oven on the lower rack for ~20 minutes (the crust should be starting to brown).  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before cutting.  Enjoy with a side salad and you have a healthy, quick dinner on the table!  

*I like San-J Thai peanut sauce.  Most grocery stores carry it in the Asian section.  I will make it from scratch next time and include the recipe!  

Nutrition Facts: (Per piece)  Serving size 1-2 pieces plus side salad (try to chose low-fat salad dressings)
330 calories, 27 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 650 mg sodium, 370 mg calcium, 5 g fiber.

Enjoy my favorite pizza today!!!!!

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