If You're Not Making 5-Minute Healthy Pizza With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, You're Getting It Wrong
When Turkey day is officially over, you're left with warm and fuzzy feelings of gratitude, having gotten that much quality time with friends and family—and lots and lots of leftovers. Often, the last thing you want to do is compose another Thanksgiving plate, but throwing away food isn't a good look for any low-waste warrior. Never fear—the post-Thanksgiving pizza is here.
A quick and easy pizza is one of the best ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, for a few reasons. The first is that, unlike sandwiches, you can quickly make enough to feed a lot of people (or to have leftovers for your leftovers...very meta, and very convenient). Second, a pizza is forgiving enough to accommodate any number of Thanksgiving dishes. If you have a pasture-raised Turkey, throw it on there. Cranberry sauce? They add a bright pop of acidity! Brussels? Yum! There's no structural integrity to worry about, no textures to consider. Anything and everything can work.
There are a few keys to making a perfect healthy post-Thanksgiving pizza.
1. Consider your base.
To make a healthy pizza, you obviously want a healthy crust. We love the grain-free mix from Simple Mills, which comes together quickly and easily and tastes like traditional pizza crust. The Cali'flour cauliflower-based crusts adds in another dose of veggies, and comes in vegan and cheesy versions. Keep in mind that some sauces need to be pre-cooked before adding toppings.
2. Add "sauce."
No, we don't mean a traditional red sauce, which would muddy the flavors of your Thanksgiving masterpiece. For the sauce on your leftovers pizza, you want to go for the most spreadable of your leftovers. Mashed potatoes work well, as does gravy (and you can definitely use both!). Even steamed sweet potatoes can work—simply mash them up with a fork before spreading on the pizza. The one sauce that shouldn't be reached for? Cranberry. While the sweetly acidic blend is delicious on Thanksgiving pizza, it should be dolloped on at the end rather than spread over the entire pizza, as its concentrated, strong flavor could upstage the other notes in the dish. If you don't have a spreadable sauce-like food, don't worry—simply drizzle on some olive oil and use the back of a spoon to spread it in an even layer on your crust before adding the rest of your toppings.
3. Cheese or no cheese?
While Thanksgiving pizzas don't need cheese, they're not offended by it either. If you'd like to up your dairy ante, sprinkle on some shredded, pastured parmesan or gruyere for an extra dose of creamy richness.
4. Sort your toppings.
Anything that needs to be warmed up—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy—should be added to the pizza before it's popped in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees until all components are warmed through, around ten minutes. After you remove it from the oven, feel free to add any fresh elements (salad, cranberry sauce, even fresh thyme that wasn't used up the day before) for a zesty pop.
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.