Healthy Pizza Recipe: Quinoa Crust

With the start of a new year, it’s a great opportunity to begin incorporating healthier dishes into your weekly meals. Friday is pizza night in our house and in an effort to make healthier meals throughout the week, I decided to swap out the traditional crust and replace it with an unusual ingredient: quinoa.

Pizza Friday is something we look forward to each week, it’s always the perfect ending to a long week at work. While the toppings typically vary from week to week, I usually use store bought pizza dough because it’s easy. And who doesn’t want an easy dinner on Friday night? {You can see my entire collection of pizza recipes I’ve shared on the blog HERE} The only other time I didn’t use a traditional crust was almost two years ago when I made THIS cauliflower crust, which was delicious!

But, in the spirit of healthy eating, I made the traditional caprese pizza with a quinoa crust and wow, was it good! I used an 9 inch round cake pan to make them more “personal pan” size. And although this is healthier than traditional pizza, the personal pan slices allow you to limit how many slices you consume 😉 And although I didn’t use many toppings on this pizza, the crust is pretty durable so feel free to dress this healthy pizza like you would regular dough. 

**I will say that the crust does really taste like quinoa. If you don’t care for quinoa, know that the baking and toppings {at least the toppings I used} don’t really mask the quinoa taste. It’s pretty tasty if you are a fan of quinoa like me though!**

Overall, an easy and delicious substitute for regular pizza dough. It is a little more time consuming than the store-bought version {what wouldn’t be!} but it is definitely better for you and more filling! Check out the recipe below.

Personal Pan Quinoa Crust Pizzas: Caprese Toppings

{what you will need}

for the crust:
3/4 cup quinoa
2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water plus more for soaking
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

for caprese toppings {per individual pizza}
1/4 – 1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

Soak the quinoa overnight with water covering the quinoa by at least one inch. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and drizzle 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the center, spreading the oil around with your hands to make sure the parchment paper and sides of the pan are covered. Rinse the quinoa that has been soaking overnight with cold water and transfer to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the quinoa crust. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just brown. To make caprese pizza: top with sauce, cheese, tomatoes and basil and bake for another 12 minutes, or just until the cheese has melted. Allow to cool for 2 minutes in the cake dish before transferring to a cutting board. Slice, serve and enjoy!

This post is linked up with: Tasty Tuesdays | Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday | Two Cup Tuesday | Weekend Potluck  | SITS Girls 

Grilled Caprese Pizza

If you have been following along for awhile now, you may know about my obsession with pizza. Every Friday is pizza night in our house and I love coming up with different combinations to try. Caprese pizza is probably one of my favorites, especially this time of the year with the fresh tomatoes and basil. But instead of using the oven for this weeknight dinner, I decided to use the grill!



I’ve been wanting to try grilled pizza for quite some time. And although I have been super intrigued by the concept, I have also been a little nervous. On Food Network, I have seen the chefs just put the pizza dough right on the grill and it seems to work perfect for them. I’m a little to cautious for that and decided that for the first time grilling pizza, there should probably be a pan involved. I used THIS pizza pan from Pampered Chef and it worked perfectly. It’s even dishwasher safe 😉

When it comes to pizza, I usually don’t discriminate: I’ll take it anyway I can get it! But I have to say this is my new favorite way to make pizza. The crust was so crunchy {complete with grill marks on the bottom!} and the cheese melted perfectly. I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time going back to pizza in the oven once the temperatures get cold and grilling isn’t an option!


Grilled Caprese Pizza
A classic pizza cooked on the grill!
  • 1 pound store bought pizza dough
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cornmeal, for dusting
  • Cooking spray
  • Balsamic glaze, if desired
Preheat the grill for indirect heating to medium-high heat (mine was registering about 400 degrees while the pizza was cooking). Sprinkle your work surface with cornmeal and place the dough in the center of the surface. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle and place on a pizza pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. To assemble pizza: brush the olive oil onto the pizza, followed by the sliced mozzarella and tomatoes; top with the basil. Place the pizza pan on the grill and cook, covered, for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Using an oven mit, carefully rotate the pizza pan every 5 minutes so the pizza cooks evenly. Once cooked, remove the pizza pan from the grill and top with the balsamic glaze, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 12″ pizza


Cheeseburger Pizza

cheeseburger pizza recipe
I know I am normally all about the healthier recipes, but I couldn’t resist sharing this delicious, and not so healthy, pizza recipe with you! For those of you who have been following along for awhile, you know Friday night is pizza night in our house. I love experimenting with different ingredients for fun, new pizzas {Two of my all-time favorite are here {just made this Friday night!} and here {my husband’s favorite combination}.
I’m not a huge meat person but I do love a good burger — I know, crazy right?! I don’t cook meat too often at home truthfully because I don’t like handling it, but I know how much my husband loves it so I do try to make it occasionally. I started experimenting with the idea of a cheeseburger pizza at the end of last year {if you follow me on Snapchat {rach.mccarthy7} you may remember seeing a few pictures of it!}. But, I wanted to make it a few times to get the recipe down before I shared it with all of you! And, let me just say, this pizza is AMAZING. It literally tastes like you are eating a burger. I feel like I am pretty well-versed when it comes to pizza making and I think this might be my favorite one yet — says the almost vegetarian 🙂
Like with many of my recipes, you can totally customize this to how you would create your own burger. Although I would never want pickles on a burger, I did add them to the pizza and it gave the entire pizza an amazing flavor!

Cheeseburger Pizza

{what you will need}

1 pound ground beef {I used 90/10}
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons low fat mayo
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
1/4 small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup hamburger dill pickles, chopped
1/3 cup shredded lettuce
Store-bought pizza dough
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Begin by browning the ground beef over medium heat until it is cooked through and no longer pink. Reduce the heat to low and add 1/3 cup ketchup, yellow and Dijon mustards and the barbecue sauce. Mix to combine completely and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ketchup {2 tablespoons} with the mayo to create the pizza’s “sauce”. Place the pizza dough onto a pizza stone or pan and spread the ketchup and mayo mixture over the dough. Add the ground beef on top of the sauce and continue with the remaining toppings: cheddar cheese, tomatoes, red onion and pickles. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the shredded lettuce. Allow to sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy! 
Thanks for dropping by and happy cooking!

cauliflower pizza crust

Today’s post takes it to a whole new level of crazy. I made this cauliflower pizza crust last Friday for our weekly “Pizza Friday” and I think my husband was confused {correct me if I’m wrong, Richard! 😉 } I kept talking about the cauliflower pizza crust all week and how I was so excited to make it, but I think he thought we were have the cauliflower as a topping and not a crust. And I sensed that he was skeptical when he found out the cauliflower was actually part of the crust. And frankly, I was too. I couldn’t image the texture of cauliflower as a pizza crust, even if it was ground in a food processor!

I have seen several recipes for healthier ways to make pizza — especially gluten free options that seem to be great alternatives to the traditional pizza dough. As you may know, I love to incorporate healthy and “hip” foods into our weekly meals, so I’ve been thinking about this cauliflower crust for sometime! 

The result? It was DELICIOUS! Even my skeptical husband said it was in the top 5 pizzas I’ve made 🙂 I decided to keep it relatively simple with the toppings, since the crust was the star. And, I didn’t want anything too heavy because I wasn’t sure how much the crust could hold {this is definitely an eat with a fork kind of pizza — although that’s all pizza for me, but I think it’s probably a necessity with this crust!}. I used my regular caprese pizza recipe for the toppings of the pizza and it was the perfect compliment to this flatbread-like crust! 



Cauliflower Pizza Crust
slightly adapted from Food Network’s Katie Lee
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, stalk removed 
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the cauliflower into florets and blend in a food processor until fine, almost the consistency of couscous. Place the cauliflower in a clean kitchen towel to allow all the water to drain from the cauliflower; transfer to large bowl. Add the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper and lightly beaten eggs to the cauliflower; stir to combine. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Add the toppings {see below} to the crust and make for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. 
Caprese Pizza

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 tablespoons store-bought pesto
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded mozzarella
Fresh basil for garnish, if desired 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place halved cherry or grape tomatoes in a small bowl with the garlic. Add the olive oil and stir to coat the tomatoes; set aside for about 10 minutes. On a baking sheet, spread the tomato and garlic mixture into a single layer, roast for about 5 minutes {keep your eye on them, they go quickly!}. To assemble pizza: spread a thin layer of the pesto on the cooked pizza crust, followed by the shredded mozzarella. Top with the roast tomato and garlic mixture and garnish with a few basil leaves, if desired. Cook the pizza for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. 
Let me know if you end up trying this cauliflower crust and what you think! Thanks so much for stopping by! 

BBQ chicken pizza

Today I am sharing a very outside the box kind of pizza for me. It’s very rare to have meat on a pizza that I make. Not only do all vegetable pizzas seem easier, they also seem to take a lot less time to prepare. But last Friday, I decided to mix things up and I am so glad that I did! Richard said this is one of his favorite pizzas yet, so I will definitely be incorporating it into the rotation! The only thing that could have made this better was the green onions. I could have sworn I bought them at the grocery store a few days earlier, and after spending 10 minutes searching the refrigerator for them, I gave up. So, if you remember to buy green onions at the store, they would be a great addition to this delicious pizza! 


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts {about 1 lb.} {I used the tenderloin version, but both work}
Store-bought pizza dough
About 1.5 cups barbecue sauce {I used Sweet Baby Ray’s}
4-6 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Olive oil 
Non-stick cooking spray
Optional: 2 green onions, diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees {or follow the directions for your store-bought dough}. In a large skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook chicken on each side until golden brown and the juices run clear. For my chicken tenderloins, it was about 4 minutes on each side. {I like to use the tenderloin version because it cooks a lot quicker!} Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and slice into small cubes. Transfer cubed chicken to a large bowl and pour about 1 cup of the barbecue sauce over the chicken, mixing well to combine. Add more barbecue sauce if needed; you just want enough to coat the chicken. To assemble the pizza, spread about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce over the pizza dough, creating the “sauce” layer. You can use as much barbecue sauce as you would like, but I used just enough for a base. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the sauce, followed my the cubed chicken. Top with cilantro {and the green onions if you have them!} Bake according to dough package directions, or until cheese has just started to melt and the crust is golden brown. Serve and enjoy! 

p^3 {pepper + prosciutto pizza}

1 red pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

1 Hungarian/banana pepper, seeds removed & sliced

About 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 – 1/2 cup pizza sauce {I used Classico pizza sauce}

1 pizza dough {I have been using this lately}

5-6 basil leaves, chopped

5-6 thin slices prosciutto

2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a pizza pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray, spread the pizza dough out to desired thickness. Cook in the oven, without the toppings, for 8 minutes {these directions are on the pizza dough packaging too}. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the sliced peppers, cooking under tender and brown, about 10 minutes. To assemble the pizza: place the sauce on the dough, followed by the shredded cheese, peppers and slices of prosciutto. Garnish with the basil and Parmesan cheese. Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

Today I am sharing a pizza recipe I made for New Year’s Eve {hence why it’s just a little more unhealthy than the buffalo chickpea pizza I made last week 😉 }  This past weekend, I was watching one of my favorite shows on Food Network, “Beat Bobby Flay” and asked Richard what my signature dish would be if I was on the show. For those that don’t know, {“Beat Bobby Flay” has two contestants that go head-to-head to make the best dish and the winner gets the opportunity to face Bobby Flay making the contestants signature dish.} We agreed that it would definitely have to be a pizza! 

I am not a huge fan of prosciutto, but it’s one of Richard’s favorites so I decided to incorporate it into the pizza of the week. Actually, I cannot take complete credit for this recipe, it was Richard’s idea to combine the peppers and prosciutto {not surprising since those are two of his favorite foods!}. And I have to say, it turned out perfectly! Just a heads up, the Hungarian/banana peppers I used for this pizza were fresh, as opposed to canned, and they were SUPER hot. Our grocery store, Wegmans, has a huge section of peppers and I just grabbed one, without reading the description, to add to the pizza. The flavors were amazing, but a little spicy in case you like to stay away from the heat 😉 

Thanks for reading!

buffalo chickpea pizza

1 pizza dough {I have been using this lately}

5 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot Sauce

1 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans {I used organic}, drained & rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups arugula

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 tablespoons Ranch dressing {I used low fat} 

Olive oil or cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a pizza pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray, spread the pizza dough out to desired thickness. Cook in the oven, without the toppings, for 8 minutes {these directions are on the pizza dough packaging too}. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the garbanzo beans with about 2 tablespoons of the Frank’s RedHot Sauce, just enough to cover the beans. Remove the dough from the oven and spread about 3 or more tablespoons {depending on how much heat you want!} of the Frank’s RedHot Sauce over the pizza to create the “sauce.” Add the mozzarella cheese in an even layer, followed by the arugula. {The arugula will look overwhelming, but it shrinks in the oven!} Place the chopped red pepper and red onion on top of the arugula, followed by the chickpeas. Place the pizza back in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and starting in the center of the pizza, continue a circle of ranch dressing until reaching the outer layer, almost to the crust. Serve and enjoy!

January 2nd. The day most Americans begin their New Year’s resolutions, most of the time, having something to do with eating healthier or working out more. In honor of the conclusion of the holiday season, I am sharing a healthy version of one of my favorite foods. As you may recall, I hate chicken. But, there is something about buffalo chicken that I am absolutely in love with {maybe it’s the breading haha 😉 }.

One of our traditions in the McCarthy household is Pizza Friday. I’ve made some not so healthy {but ridiculously delicious} pizzas in the past, but this one is definitely not on that list! The best way to describe this pizza is a vegetarian version of a buffalo chicken salad. {Side note: you could also make this vegan if you omit the cheese!} The delicious flavors of the arugula and chickpeas combine with the classic buffalo sauce to create the most delicious, healthy version of a buffalo chicken pizza. Here are some other suggestions for changes to this recipe that would also be amazing: use blue cheese dressing instead of ranch, use spinach instead of arugula and add celery and/or carrots to your toppings! This pizza will be a new Pizza Friday favorite in our house! 

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend!

potato + leek + prosciutto pizza

3-4 medium-sized redskin potatoes, paper-thin sliced

2 medium-sized leeks, cleaned well & thinly sliced

1/3 pound prosciutto, diced

Fresh mozzarella {I used about 6 thin slices}

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Store-bought pizza dough

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees {or the recommended temperature on your store-bought pizza dough}. In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat; add diced prosciutto. Cook until the prosciutto is crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil {or if there is enough grease left over from the prosciutto, you won’t need any olive oil} and add leeks. Cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Spray pizza pan with cooking spray and stretch out the dough. Drizzle a little olive oil over the crust. To assemble the pizza: arrange the potato slices in a single layer all over the crust, overlapping just slightly. Sprinkle potatoes with a little salt. Lay the mozzarella slices on top of the potatoes in a single layer, followed by the leeks. Sprinkle the prosciutto on top followed by the crumbled goat cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, sprinkle the entire pizza with ground pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese begins to bubble.

By now, I’m sure you are well acquainted with my love for pizza. Fall pizzas are probably one of my favorite to make because there are so many delicious ingredients to incorporate. This particular pizza is my version of the Pioneer Woman’s Potato-Leek Pizza {the Pioneer Woman is my favorite Food Network star — she has such simple, yet delicious recipes!}. I’ve always been a fan of the potato-leek combination, especially in the soup version; it’s the perfect comfort food on a cold, fall day. In the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, she uses bacon. I’m not a huge fan of bacon, but I knew that the potatoes and leeks needed something salty to compliment the flavors. I decided to go with something similar to bacon, but more tolerable to my palate: prosciutto. This was such a fabulous fall pizza, I will definitely be making this again before fall is over! 
P.S. See more of my fall pizzas below!

roasted fall vegetable pizza


As I’m sure you know by now, pizza is a weekly staple in our house. And it’s not just regular pizza. I love coming up with new ideas for toppings. Now that fall is in full swing, a whole new section of vegetables are available at the grocery store. Two weeks ago, I made a roasted butternut squash and kale pizza that was absolutely delicious {post here}. This time, I wanted to incorporate the butternut squash again, but add more vegetables — more specifically, fall vegetables. The red onion, carrots and baby potatoes were the perfect combination for this pizza. And there is something SO delicious about adding ricotta to the top of a pizza!! Thanks for reading!

Roasted Fall Vegetable Pizza

{what you will need}
1/2 medium-sized red onion, sliced into bite-sized chunks
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & diced
10-15 baby medley potatoes, quartered {I used these}
3-4 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons basil pesto
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Pizza dough
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Place the red onion, butternut squash, potatoes and carrots in a large bowl and toss with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the baking sheet and spread evenly into one layer. Roast for 30 minutes, turning with a spatula once at the 15 minute mark. To assemble the pizza: spread a thin layer of basil pesto on the pizza dough and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and roasted vegetable mixture. Finish with a few tablespoon dollops of ricotta cheese and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese begins to melt.

roasted butternut squash + kale pizza

This is my first truly fall pizza and I am so excited about it! I made this over the weekend and it was so delicious! After eating the entire pizza, my husband expressed his initial concerns with this concoction: he thought the butternut squash would be too sweet for a pizza. I considered this too when I first came up with the idea, but my hope was that the kale and ricotta would balance the sweetness out perfectly…and I’m happy to say it did! The butternut squash browned just enough to mix with the crispy kale to create the most divine pizza ever. And the colors on this pizza are so awesome, they just scream fall! This was the perfect introduction to fall pizzas…I am so excited to try out new ideas in the coming weeks! Thanks for reading!

Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Pizza

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds remove and diced
1 1/2 cups kale, de-stemmed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons basil pesto
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Pizza dough
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Place diced butternut squash in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to baking sheet and spread evenly into one layer. Roast for 30 minutes, turning with spatula once. Transfer roasted butternut squash to a clean bowl. In the same medium bowl previously used to coat the squash with olive oil, toss kale with 1 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper. Arrange kale on same baking sheet used for the squash and cook for about 6 minutes until the kale is crunchy. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. To assemble pizza: place a thin layer of basil pesto on the pizza dough and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Place kale on top of the mozzarella followed by the butternut squash. Finish with a few tablespoon dollops of ricotta cheese and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese begins to melt.