How to Make Mini Paleo Pizzas

FrogDNA_Ninja_Turtles

This is a post from NF Rebel Chef Noel.

There is a demon I battle on a regular basis: The Pizza Demon.

Pizza is my favorite food of all time. I am not a college student, nor am I a fourth grader who gets a day off from learning for a pizza party. I am a fully grown adult who just freakin’ loves pizza. I also have a feeling I’m not alone in my love for this particular Italian invention.

But we all know eating tons of bread, sauce, and cheese isn’t going to help us much in our quest to become a superhero (unless you’re a Ninja Turtle).

If you’re looking for an easy paleo alternative to pizza, we’ve got you covered. It’s not a totally perfect replacement, but it might help you get through any pizza cravings (and it’ll help you get more veggies into your day).

Further, this recipe can be made totally vegetarian or vegan (we hear you and we don’t want you guys feeling left out!).

Not only is this recipe paleo and vegetarian, but it’ll boost your confidence in the kitchen. This is a simple recipe that lets the ingredients do the talking:

Choose your favorite pizza toppings, like some good quality veggies, and the smells of them cooking will let you know you’re on the right track.

And don’t let the ingredient list scare you off. Most of these things can be found in the same section of the grocery store (veggie section and pasta/tomato sauce section). If there are too many ingredients, feel free to cut some of them out. If there are things you don’t like, just eliminate them! This is YOUR personal pizza. You add what you want!

Chop some veggies, assemble them atop mushroom “crusts,” and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes or so. No sweat.

You can totally do this.

Ready! Set! GO!

Serves: 2-4 people
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 32 minutes

Ingredients:

Noel_Mushroom_01

4 Portobello Mushrooms – These are the big ones. They come in packages or in bulk. The ones in the packages tend to get slimy and moldy more quickly than the bulk ones in my experience. So if you can, pick your own!

1/2 Cup (118 mL) Tomato Sauce – Jars of sauce are better than cans (unless you can find a BPA-free brand of tomato sauce at your store). But don’t sweat it. A jar of spaghetti sauce will work just fine.

Sprinkling of “Italian spices” – You may have some of this left over from that time you made Paleo Spaghetti. If not, take a stroll down the spice aisle at the store while you’re out.

Red pepper flake to taste (optional) – I like my food to have a little kick to it.

Salt & Pepper to taste (optional).

2 Cloves of garlic or 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) of the pre minced stuff.

4 Tbsp (59 mL) olive oil – approximately 1 tbsp per mushroom cap.

2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar (optional) – approximately 1/2 tbsp per mushroom cap.

The toppings on your pizza will be completely up to you – it depends on your own preference.

Personally, I like to use a lot of veggies. Maybe you can use this as an opportunity to try something new! Here is a list of toppings I suggest. Add or subtract as you please!

1/2 Cup (118 mL) Spinach – don’t worry about measurement accuracy with the spinach. 1/2 cup is about half a hand full.

1/2 Bell pepper

2 Tbsp (30 mL) sliced black olives – You can find these in cans, jars, or in bulk if your local market has an olive bar.

1/4 Red onion

1/8 cup (30 mL) mozzarella cheese (optional) – If you can handle eating cheese and want to add it to your pizzas, go right ahead. If you’re 100% paleo or avoiding cheese, no problem! The veggies are flavorful enough to make this recipe tasty without it.

Fresh Basil (optional) – Here we’ll just use a few fresh leaves and cut a chiffonade (a fancy French term for cutting mint or basil into ribbons) to sprinkle on the pizza. Because I love me some fresh basil.

Italian Sausage (optional) – Where I shop, you can buy ground sausage in bulk and cook it yourself. They also have sausages of different types in casings for purchase. I would suggest a “Spicy Italian” sausage or a “Chicken Basil” sausage if you want to add some protein to your pizza. As always, check the ingredients list. Applegate Farms makes a pretty clean product.

Important!** Make sure you cook the sausage BEFORE adding it to your pizza. The time in the oven isn’t going to be enough to cook raw meat all the way through.

Equipment:

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper or foil – for lining the sheet to make cleanup easier!

Knife & cutting board – for cutting your veggies.

Spoon – for adding the sauce onto the pizza.

Basting brush – for brushing the mushroom caps with olive oil and vinegar. If you don’t have a brush, it’s not a big deal. You can use a paper towel or a small amount of spinach or lettuce leaves as a brush. You could also use a spoon to drizzle and spread the oil and vinegar onto the mushroom caps. It won’t be pretty or even, but it will work in a pinch.

Paleo Pizza Instructions:

1. Wash your hands and your veggies. Your mushrooms may have some dirt on them. You can brush the dirt off of them off with a paper towel.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).

3. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Noel_Mushroom_02

4. If you’re using sausage or another meat, this would be a good time to cook it. Pre-heat a pan over the stove and throw your ground sausage or a sausage link into the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally until there is no more pink visible. Drain the meat and set it aside in a bowl with your other prepped toppings. If you bought sausages in link form, slice it!

5. Turn your mushrooms over and pull out the stem of the mushroom. You can use your hands for this. It should come out fairly easily.

6. Place the mushrooms on your baking sheet. Brush the tops and bottoms with olive oil first and then vinegar.

Noel_Mushroom_03

7. Now place your mushrooms bottom side up and sprinkle your Italian spices, red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

8. Next, take your minced garlic (refresher on how to mince garlic in this post) and spread some onto each cap.

Noel_Mushroom_04

9. Your oven should be pre-heated by now. Take your mushrooms and place them in the oven for about 7 minutes. This is called par-broiling. We do this because the mushrooms are thick and will take a bit longer to cook than the veggie toppings on your pizzas. Pre-cooking the mushroom caps to about 70-80% of the way done ahead of time will ensure the mushrooms are cooked through and the toppings are not overdone.

10. While we’re waiting for the mushrooms to cook, it’s time to prep our other ingredients.

Cut your bell pepper into slices:

Noel_Mushroom_05

Slice your onion:

Noel_Mushroom_06

Nothing too fancy here. After you peel it, cut 3 or 4 slices and then cut those in half:

Noel_Mushroom_06

If using basil, now is the time to “chiffonade” it:

Stack some of your basil leaves on top of each other 5-6 should be fine. Then roll them up like this:

Noel_Mushroom_07

Then take your knife and slice the rolled up leaves like this:

Noel_Mushroom_08

When you’re done slicing, fluff the shredded leaves with your hands and you’ll have ribbons! Use these on your pizza and as garnish to add flavor and a nice visual finish.

Noel_Mushroom_09

If your olives aren’t pre-sliced, you can slice those too. Mine came sliced already.

When making pizzas, it’s nice to have all the ingredients out and ready to use. I prepped mine like this:

Noel_Mushroom_10

If preparing your veggies takes you more than 7 minutes, that’s totally okay (it took me longer than that). It’s always best to err on the side of slow and safe when it comes to using a knife. Just take your mushrooms out of the oven when the timer goes off and let them cool for a little while you finish prepping your toppings.

11. Once you’ve finished prepping your toppings, move the pan of par-broiled mushrooms to your table with the toppings. If your pan is still hot, set it on a kitchen towel so it doesn’t burn or melt your table.

Noel_Mushroom_15

12. Now, you can place your toppings on the pizza any way you like, but I usually start with the sauce. Spoon your sauce onto the mushrooms and spread it around.

Noel_Mushroom_11

13. Then take your toppings and divide them liberally among your mushroom caps. Tell me those colorful fresh mushroom caps don’t look awesome and delicious!

Noel_Mushroom_12

14. When you’re done adding toppings to your pizzas, pop them back in the oven for 15 more minutes.

Once they’re done, let them cool for a minute or two before serving. I like my pizzas with a side salad.

Noel_Mushroom_12

If the thought of a few miniature pizzas for dinner isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger, it’s totally cool to use mini pizza as a side to your chicken, steak, or other protein option. Or make a legen…(wait for it)….dary! salad to go along with it.

Kowabunga!

Stefan_Pizza_Delivery

I’ll be the first to admit this recipe isn’t a perfect replacement for regular pizza. There are lots of recipes out there that can give you tips on creating a cauliflower or coconut flour-based crust for a closer, paleo-ish substitute. If you’re into that, awesome! Try it out and tell me how it is!

However, this recipe will give you a less complicated, less time consuming whole-food based option. It’s a recipe you can enjoy making and eating with friends and family. Kiddos love assembling their own personal pizzas! The older ones can help slice and dice and the littles can assemble a masterpiece.

Create positive memories in the kitchen from an early age, and you can help them learn to love healthy cooking from the start!

Try it out and let us know how you like it.

What are some of the food demons you struggle with?
(If you want, please feel free to draw a picture and add it to the comments.)

What methods do you use to battle them? 

– Noel

PS: We’ve been adding these recipes and a few dozen more to our Nerd Fitness Academy, which has recipes, meal plans, workout plans, and the ability to complete quests and missions and level up as you get healthier. Check it out!

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Photo source: FrogDNA: Ninja Turtles, Stefan: Pizza Delivery Man

 

How to Make Mini Paleo Pizzas
Recipe Type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: Noel
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
Miniature Paleo Pizzas!
Ingredients
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) Tomato Sauce
  • Sprinkling of “Italian spices”
  • Red pepper flake to taste (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) of the pre minced stuff
  • 4 Tbsp (59 mL) olive oil – approximately 1 Tbsp per mushroom cap
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar (optional) – approximately 1/2 tbsp per mushroom cap
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) Spinach
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Sliced Black Olives
  • 1/4 of a Red Onion
  • 1/8 cup (30 mL) Mozzarella Cheese (optional)
  • 4-5 leaves Fresh Basil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) Cooked Italian Sausage (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash your hands and your veggies. Your mushrooms may have some dirt on them. You can brush the dirt off of them off with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  3. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  4. If you’re using sausage, this would be a good time to cook it. Pre-heat a pan over the stove and throw your ground sausage or a sausage link into the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally until there is no more pink visible.
  5. Turn your mushrooms over and pull out the stem of the mushroom. You can use your hands for this. It should come out fairly easily.
  6. Place the mushrooms on your baking sheet. Brush the tops and bottoms with olive oil first and then vinegar.
  7. Now place your mushrooms bottom side up and sprinkle your Italian spices, red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Next, take your minced garlic (refresher on how to mince garlic in this post) and spread some onto each cap.
  9. Your oven should be pre-heated by now. Take your mushrooms and place them in the oven for about 7 minutes.
  10. While we’re waiting for the mushrooms to cook, it’s time to prep our other ingredients.
  11. Cut your bell pepper into slices, slice your onion, and chiffonade your basil if using. If your olives aren’t pre-sliced, you can slice those too. Mine came sliced already.
  12. Once you’ve finished prepping your toppings, move the pan of par-broiled mushrooms to your table with the toppings. If your pan is still hot, set it on a kitchen towel so it doesn’t burn or melt your table.
  13. Now you can place your toppings on the pizza any way you like, but I usually start with the sauce. Spoon your sauce onto the mushrooms and spread it around.
  14. Then take your toppings and divide them liberally among your mushroom caps. Tell me those colorful fresh mushroom caps don’t look awesome and delicious!
  15. When you’re done adding toppings to your pizzas, pop them back in the oven for 15 more minutes.
Notes
Shopping List[br]4 Portobello Mushrooms [br]1 can or jar of tomato sauce[br]Italian Spices[br]Red Pepper Flakes[br]1 bulb Garlic or a jar of minced garlic[br]Olive Oil[br]Balsamic Vinegar [br]Bunch of Spinach[br]1 Bell Pepper [br]Can or jar of black olives (or bulk olives from an olive bar) [br]1 Red Onion[br]Mozzarella cheese (optional)[br]Fresh Basil (optional)[br]Italian sausage – ground or in links – (optional)

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62 thoughts on “How to Make Mini Paleo Pizzas

  1. Looks awesome! I’ve got a few recipes on Pinterest I’ve been sitting on, waiting to make some cauliflower or quinoa crust pizza, I’ll let you know how it turns out when I get to it!

  2. Yum! Thanks I battle that same demon and usually use theclothesmakethegirl.com meatza recipe but this would be faster. Love it!

  3. We do this all the time except with thin sliced eggplant as the crust. It’s a battle to see how many toppings we can squeeze onto them. We usually do it a day after doing a big pork/beef/chicken roast and use the left over meat on the pizzas.

  4. My demon is junk food like chips. I’m obsessed with Hot Cheetos. I’ve gone probably a month without eating any but they’re hard to not think about.

  5. I just spent the morning searching for a cauliflower crust recipe (mostly because I have a head of cauliflower at home), I also found a cauliflower “alfredo” garlic sauce that’s paleo I’m going to try.

  6. A lot of great pointers in this, but I just want to say that I REALLY apprieciate the way this article is written. It seems like a lot of effort is given: It adresses the reader as a grown-up, while still making sure that all the methods, ingredients and steps are totally understandable, even for kitchen noobs. And the “Detailed description with picture, Printable edition then shopping list” format is really considerate. If I’m able to put as much effort in my work outs, as in this article, I’m going to get ripped! 😉

  7. finally took the paleo plunge! I did not go cold turkey, so I would say I’m about 90%. I still eat yogurt and cheese, along with a total of one English muffin and one hamburger bun. The bun was mostly cause I had no fork!
    After only two weeks I can tell a difference and have lost 2#!!

    This recipe looks awesome!! I wish I could get my family to eat mushrooms. But on our next pizza night, I will make them a “normal” pizza and a couple of these for myself. Maybe even get them to try a bite!

    Food downfall……when I’m sick….like my allergies going haywire or the kiddos brought home some school crud, I crave bread and soda. It happened the other day (English muffin) when my latest allergy hit. Its probably a comfort thing.
    Anyone with thoughts on replacements? An easy to make paleo comfort food?

  8. Great recipe! Easy and definitely yummy-looking. I’ve also stumbled upon one of your other recipe articles and I want to say thank you for all those meal ideas encapsulated in one article. Best thing ever for someone who is trying to eat more healthily. 🙂

  9. My food demon is bread. Just bread. Not even anything fancy – doughnuts or croissants I guess look pretty sexy — but seriously bread is my kryptonite, to the point where going more paleo means I substitute it for cookies when cheating. I can eat half a challah like a bag o’ Cheetos.
    How do I battle it? I am sad to say horribly – I have a giant poster of it in my kitchen adorning my table space and beset with candles. Because I am a crusty cultist. I worship my demons.

  10. I can speak highly of cauliflower crust options (though haven’t figured out how to do it without dairy just yet – and it’s quite time consuming, but well-worth it, if you have an hour — I may be making steak/egg/cheddar breakfast pizzas for the Super Bowl this weekend, if I have guests who aren’t afraid of a little snow)

  11. Mine is donuts, and I haven’t quite found a replacement yet…because…donuts. 🙂

  12. Looks good! The only thing I might do differently is to use a spoon to remove the gills from the mushroom caps–they can sometimes trap grit from the growing medium.

  13. I didn’t read the e-mail at first because I thought it’d be another take on the cauliflower crust!! How glad I am that I finally scrolled down!

  14. Awesome! Please do. Those recipes have such nice pictures and they look delicious, but I’m a little overwhelmed by the work that’s involved in making the crust. Hope it goes well!

  15. Wohoo! Glad I’m not the only one! ‘ve yet to make a successful meatza myself. But these little guys are quick and easy. Hope you try them out!

  16. Nice one OrangeBeanie! Chips are demon food! Good job keeping your willpower bar strong. Keep up the good work!

  17. Haha. Whoops! Food blogs and Pinterest can be a total time suck, but if a delicious meal comes out of it, it’s worth it! Both of those recipes sound totally delish! I hope you enjoy them. Keep on cookin!

  18. Aww. Thanks for the kind words Quasi. I really appreciate it. 🙂 Keep getting strong! We’re with ya every step of the way! Let me know if you have any questions about food and such. You can email me at noel (at) nerdfitness (dot) com

  19. I have yet to make a successful meatza! I’ll keep trying though! Thanks for the recipe tip! I’ll definitely check it out!

  20. Thanks Noel! It helps a lot to keep them out of the house. Just have to remember that being fit is worth more than chips! No matter how tasty.

  21. Amazing Jen! So glad you took the plunge and that it’s working for you! You’re doing a great job so far! Keep up the good work!

    If dairy doesn’t bother you, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but I think you’ll definitely get some benefit from at least trying to go dairy and grain free for a short amount of time to make sure these types of food don’t affect you. You never know! You could be living with symptoms you’ve never realized were unusual for your whole life! It’s amazing what changing your diet can do for you, isn’t it?

    These little guys are super duper delicious. (They smell amazing while they’re cooking too.) One of the commenters above suggested using eggplant instead of mushrooms. Would your family enjoy that?

    Hmm. There are a TON of paleo recipes for bread/grain/pastry replacements around on the internet. One of my other food downfalls is waffles, so I like to make almond flour waffles, but since they’re so expensive to make (almond flour) and calorically dense (again, the nuts), I consider them a special, rare treat that will help me up my willpower bar when it’s getting low. They’re totally paleo junk food, but in times of dire need, they’re worth it for me.

    If I need something quick and easy and less junk food-ish, I’ve grown to love apples dipped in almond butter. OH! Or a couple squares of really dark chocolate (85% or higher if you can find it!). Green and Blacks is my favorite brand.

    I hope this helps! If you have any questions or need any help, please don’t hesitate to email me. My email address is noel (at) nerdfitness (dot) com. Promise I don’t bite!

  22. Thanks so much for the kind words Madalina! I hope you enjoy the recipes! Keep up the good work!

  23. Are you in my brain?! We should swap altar decorating tips.

    For my day job I work at a coffee shop and am surrounded by demon breads all day. I know your pain, friend.

  24. Haha. Sort of. Stuffed mushrooms sound fancier than this is. If you don’t like mushrooms, you can try baked eggplant with toppings piled on it. Another reader suggested it, and it doesn’t sound bad! 🙂

  25. Shut. Up. Steak/egg/cheddar breakfast pizzas sound amazing. They combine my two favorite food types: Pizza and breakfast! I’ll come over to your house for Super Bowl! I’m not afraid! (total lie.)

    Yeah. That’s the thing about cauliflower crust pizzas that intimidate me. They sound like so much time and effort and I am rarely motivated enough for that.

    Do you know if you can make them ahead of time and freeze them for later?

  26. mmm donuts. [insert best Homer Simpson impression here] That’s a tough one. The only thing I can think of is to replace that sweet thang with something decidedly un-donut-like (like dark chocolate or an apple with almond butter).

    Maybe helpful as a damage control mechanism if donuts are a common indulgence for you, but don’t be too hard on yourself! Remember the 80/20 rule. Good luck!

  27. 😀 Thank you for the kind words, Brittany! Hope you enjoy it! **Top Gun windmill high five**

  28. Great suggestion. I removed the gills from the first mushroom, but it looked sad and empty so I decided not to torture the other mushrooms. If you do scrape out the gills, I suppose it’s an opportunity to fill them with even more delicious toppings!

    Personally, I didn’t have a problem with grit (tapping them out on the counter gills-down helps get that gunk out.)

    Cheers! Happy cooking!

  29. Really anything that we have around; they’re different each time. We usually use some oven roasted tomatoes in olive oil (jars of them, all organic at costco are pretty cheap) instead of sauce, then whatever meat we had the night before. Sometimes we’ll do hawaiian type ones with pineapple, ham or bacon, almonds and cinnamon. Sometimes spinach, basil, chicken, and broccoli.

  30. O_____O
    Mushroom pizza just got a whole new meaning, I’ll definitely be making these sometime soon

  31. Honestly, every time I’ve made it, I’ve only ever had a single head of cauliflower, hence I’ve only made a single pizza. Right then. However, I would think these would freeze, if you wanted to”rice/boil/squeeze/construct” the crusts en masse.

  32. Oh lordy this looks so good! I’m going to the supermarket soon to get things for my meals at work this week so this recipe is def on my list! I can’t say no to cheese though…helps me eat my veggies 🙂 I’ll cook them up and then just eat them cold for my lunch break (hopefully they taste ok like that!)

  33. Thanks for the great idea! I’ll have to try this rather soon! I usually make “pizza salads”… which is a normal salad with peperoni, black olives, mozzerela cheese, and a few too many tomatoes. 🙂

  34. I eat paleo pizza at least once a week but I call it meatza. I can’t claim to have invented it, but its amazing and carries a huge protein load which is great. Seriously, look up meatza!

  35. Tom Naughton had a great mozarella / almond flour crust awhile back on his Fat Head blog. But my favorite is the bacon weave crust. Weave about a pound of bacon together and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake about half an hour at 400F. Remove from oven, drain, and add your favorite toppings. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes to brown things. Enjoy!

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