The Ultimate Foodie Diet
Opt for: “BLT” Thin-Crust Pizza
Recipe courtesy Kristi Ritchey, executive chef, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, California
Though delicious, a typical BLT is made on white bread, slathered with mayo and features crispy bacon—not very calorie conscious. But if that flavor combination sounds too tasty to pass up, give this lighter twist a try: Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey, who lost 110 pounds, has designed a diet-focused menu at Greanleaf Gourmet Chopshop, including a popular “BLT” Pizza that skimps on calories by substituting a whole wheat tortilla for bread and avocado pesto for aioli.
5 ripe avocados
½ tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ tablespoon chili flakes
1 bunch basil
2 ounces pine nuts
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 10-inch whole wheat tortilla (look for a low calorie, trans fat-free version available at most grocery stores)
1 large fresh Roma tomato, thinly sliced
⅓ cup grilled turkey bacon, chopped
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
¾ cup fresh Romaine lettuce, shredded
Preheat an oven to 475°F.
Scoop the flesh from the avocados with a spoon and place into a food processor with garlic, chili flakes, basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Purée all the ingredients together. The pesto should have a spaghetti sauce consistency, so add cold water, one teaspoon at a time, if the mixture is too thick. This recipe yields enough sauce for 6 pizzas.
Partially cook a tortilla in the oven on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet until it is slightly brown on both sides, no longer than 2–3 minutes. Remove it from the oven and spread 3 ounces of the avocado pesto on the tortilla, then layer tomato slices and turkey bacon on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. Place it on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven set at 475°F until the tomatoes are golden brown, no more than 4 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven, top with lettuce and serve immediately. Serves 2.
Ritchey recommends La Merika’s 2010 Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast. “Pinot is one of my favorite varieties,” says Ritchey. “It pairs well with many dishes, especially the BLT pizza because its flavors are mild and straightforward.”
Tips: Chef Ritchey offers these tips when making pizza at home.
Find oil substitutes. “With the BLT pizza, we use a pesto made with avocado, relying on the natural fat from the avocado,” says Ritchey. “Adding lemon juice and water gets a similar consistency.”
Hard cheese, please. “Using a harder cheese is a great way to decrease calories and fat because you use less, versus a softer cheese like mozzarella,” says Ritchey. “The flavor profile stands out much more without the additional calories.”
Rethink bacon. Though everyone loves bacon, “use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, because you’ll cut down on calories and fat,” says Ritchey, who notes that nitrate-free turkey bacon is the healthiest choice.