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TCP Kitchen

Winning the Weight War

Sponsored by Texas Peanut Producers Board. With the right ingredients, low-calorie food doesn’t have to be low-enjoyment food—not even pizza

For many of us, the dawning of a new year means that the battle of the bulge is joined again. Among the most popular New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. And losing weight often means changing one’s diet.

That battle can be difficult. Food is abundant and relatively cheap. Processed meals and restaurants offer easy temptation of the calories, fat and sodium that fill our bellies and fire the pleasure center of our brains but leave our bodies nutrition-poor.

This is not a hopeless battle: The trick for me is not giving up the foods I love—creating cravings that I eventually give in to—but to enjoy them less often. I also try to make healthier versions of my favorite meals. This might mean trimming portions, eating healthy snacks or substituting ingredients.

The weight war can rarely be won at the dining table alone. Exercise, a dirty word to some, usually must be deployed. Even if it’s just a 15-minute walk every day, every step you take will bring you closer to your goal.

After that walk, treat yourself. One of my favorite treats is pizza. Now, I love the full-calorie meat-and-cheese-laden slices from a pizzeria. But there are ways to reduce pizza’s impact on your waistline.

This recipe goes all out, eliminating much of the fat and calories of a regular pizza. Roasted vegetables provide the creamy texture of cheese, and marinated mushroom slices substitute for meat. Of course, you can take the basic idea and add your own flavors and styles or shake on some Parmesan. You might be surprised at how satisfying this pie can be. Compare this, at 79 calories for two slices, to a single slice of the same size restaurant-baked cheese pizza at 275 calories.

Cheeseless Portabella Pizza

1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 portabella mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1 large onion
1 small eggplant
2 red bell peppers
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon fresh basil, julienned
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 thin 12-inch pizza crust (store-bought or homemade)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine soy sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic, Italian seasoning and 1 tablespoon water and pour over mushrooms in a bowl. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate as you roast vegetables.
  • Slice onion, eggplant and peppers in half. Remove seeds and ribs from peppers. Place vegetables face down in large baking pan and roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Combine puree, thyme, oregano, basil, salt and sugar in a large bowl. When vegetables are done, remove pan from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  • When cool, chop onion and stir into puree mixture. Remove skin from eggplant and chop into 1-inch cubes. Remove skin from peppers and slice.
  • Place crust on pizza pan. Spread with puree mixture. Top with eggplant and peppers. Drain any excess marinade from mushrooms and arrange them on top of pizza.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Servings: 4. Serving size: 2 slices. Per serving: 79 calories, 3.4 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 17.7 g carbohydrates, 4.7 g dietary fiber, 245 mg sodium, 9.8 g sugars