Congress did kids a favor a few weeks ago by declaring pizza as a vegetable because of the tomato paste … um … sauce. Meanwhile, health food advocates and families gasped in horror at the news. Usually made with processed and poor quality ingredients, pizza is the symbol of unhealthy cafeteria school lunches. What’s a health advocate to do when the government demonstrates it doesn’t care about kid’s diets?
Make pizza from scratch and involve the kids in the process. When making the dough, use the opportunity to teach them about whole wheat, ground cornmeal and spelt flour (to a name a few). Visit a farmer’s market, and let the kids decide which vegetables they want on a pizza. Teach them about the importance of diary to our bodies and the beauty of diversity by visiting an Italian market to purchase locally made organic mozzarella cheese. Grow an herb garden to educate kids about the earth and where real food originates.
If corporations can convince congress pizza is a vegetable, then health food advocates and families can easily convince kids to eat their vegetables with a generous slice of Eggplant Tomato Pizza with Cornmeal Crust. When kids are introduced to quality food at an early age, at least they won’t be easily convinced that pizza is a vegetable.
Eggplant Tomato Pizza with Cornmeal Crust
Ingredients for Cornmeal Crust Pizza Dough
- 2-1/2-cups unbleached white flour
- 1/2-cup ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 to 2 pinches of crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. quick rising yeast
- 1 to 1-1/4-cup water
- 2 tsp. olive oil
Ingredients for Pizza Topping
- Olive oil; as needed
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
- (Optional) Crushed red pepper; as needed
- 10 oz. of fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup minced fresh herbs (rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, thyme leaves…)
- 1 small onion; thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves; minced
- 2 to 3 tomatoes; thinly sliced
- 1 small eggplant; thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Directions for making the Cornmeal Crust*
- Follow the directions for making pizza dough here, but use the above listed ingredients. Mix the flour and cornmeal together to equal 3 cups. Add spices in step 1.
Directions for Preparing and Cooking the Pizza
- Preheat oven to the highest temperature. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Set aside.
- Shape pizza dough into a rustic circle or rectangle within the boundaries of the baking sheet. If dough is initially resistant, let it rest for a few minutes and continue to shape it.
- Lightly drizzle olive oil over the dough. Place mozzarella slices over the dough. Season with garlic, sea salt, fresh black pepper and one to two tablespoons of minced herbs. Scatter onion slices over the herbs. Top with tomato slices.
- Again, season with garlic, sea salt, fresh black pepper and one to two tablespoons of minced herbs, and include a light drizzle of olive oil. If desired, add a touch of crushed red pepper for a hint of spiciness. Layer with eggplant slices. Again, season with garlic, sea salt, fresh black pepper and one to two tablespoons minced herbs with a light drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown (various ovens have different baking times). Top with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Remove pizza from the oven and season with more sea salt, fresh black pepper and one to two tablespoons minced herbs with a light drizzle of olive oil.
- Slice into individual servings and enjoy!
Note: Instead of making pizza dough from scratch, alternatively use any flavor store-brought pizza dough.