Warmer weather means grilling time! Instead of sticking to traditional grilling foods like burgers or hot dogs, why not consider grilling one of my personal favorite foods, pizza.
This fantastic dish can be modified to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences, and can be easily adjusted to be a healthy food choice. Cheese can be substituted with vegan cheese or left off entirely for vegans, vegetables and fruit can be used as toppings, and some traditionally unhealthy topping choices, such as pepperoni or sausage, can be swapped for healthier options such as turkey pepperoni or venison sausage. Even more appealing, though, is the taste. Nothing truly compares to the smoky and savory flavors that combine in a good grilled pizza.
The secret to making great grilled pizza is to remain light on the toppings. A thick grilled pizza is a soggy grilled pizza. Make sure to grill the dough first so that it remains firm enough to support the additional toppings. Be creative with your toppings, but remember that simple can also be profound, especially if you use fresh, locally sourced products.
- 3 Cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
- 1 packet (or 2 ¼ teaspoons) yeast
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (or honey)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Olive oil for the bowl
- Additional flour for rolling
- Additional oil for grilling
- Pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)
- Other toppings as desired (turkey pepperoni, diced vegetables, venison sausage, pineapple, etc.)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
- Start charcoal fire or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat.
- In a glass or ceramic (not metal) bowl, combine very warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit in a warm place for around 10 minutes, or until yeast begins to foam. Add flour, a little at a time, mixing the yeasty water and flour, until you have a slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough onto floured surface and knead, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky, or a little water if the dough is too dry. You should only knead for around a minute; kneading is done when the dough looks smooth. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled (usually around 30 minutes).
- Divide dough into 4 portions. Pat or roll dough on a well-floured counter to about 8-inch circles.
- Brush both sides of crust with additional oil. Using hands, lift each crust carefully and place on grill. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until bottom is lightly browned and top looks set. Using long handled tongs, remove crust from grill, grilled side up, to a platter or baking sheet.
- Lightly add sauce and top the grilled side of each pizza crust. Excess sauce or toppings makes the pizza hard to handle. Repeat with remaining pizzas.
- Carefully slide each pizza onto the grill. Cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes until bottom of crust is browned and cheese is melted. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Nutritional Information for Pizza Dough (other nutritional information will vary depending on sauce and toppings chosen): Serving size: 1/2 of recipe | Servings per recipe: 2 crusts | Per Serving: 718 kCal, 2 g fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat. | 151 g carbohydrates, 6.7 g fiber, 6.7 g sugar | 21 g protein
Note: This column comes courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County: http://warren.cce.cornell.edu/