I freaking love pizza.
How do you like yours? Disciplined and fully loaded with veg, super convenient and ready in 10-20, or delivered to your door piping hot thanks to a local pizza place? My family falls somewhere between lazy and dirty on the low carb spectrum.
You can probably imagine what each of those silly labels mean, but just for kicks:
- Strict/Clean – food comes from whole, nutrient dense, organic, grass-fed, hormone-free, etc. sources; nothing processed.
- Lazy – food comes from what’s readily available (sometimes whole/clean, sometimes what’s on sale); can include processed products.
- Dirty – food comes from anything, anywhere, so long as it fits your macros and keeps you low carb or in ketosis.
A well-rounded, healthy-for-YOU kinda diet is likely going to be a blend of all the above, plus your own special spin on things. Labels are really only good for helping you connect with certain online communities, finding specific kinds of recipes, or browsing tips for eating out, like in this post…
Whichever way you choose to eat, if it’s overall lower carb than the Standard American Diet (SAD), then it’s simply a lower carb diet. If it’s low enough in carbs that it naturally puts your body in ketosis, then it’s a ketogenic diet. End of story! In terms of defining how you eat, it makes absolutely no difference where your food is sourced from or “if it fits your macros”. That’s all 100% up to you, your budget, what’s available in your area, and what works for you/your family.
The first question I always see about Strict Pizza is: What about the cheese?
Some folks following a very strict low carb plan typically forgo cheese since dairy can cause inflammation, among other uncomfortable side effects. But that doesn’t mean they have to forgo pizza, psh, what a silly thought – no pizza? Can’t even imagine it.
On the other hand, pizza without cheese can be… challenging. Not impossible though! If your way of eating doesn’t include dairy, you can either omit it completely or try out a dairy free cheese. Check out this list of dairy free cheese substitutes on The Spruce Eats. Just keep an eye on the ingredients and carb count, or better yet – make some faux cheese at home using whole, organic foods (swap out cashews for almonds or macadamias if you require something lower in carbs).
Okay, enough about cheese! The best way to know exactly what you’re eating and keeping it clean is to cook at home. Many recipes can be turned into a strict/clean version by using whole foods from good sources and steering clear of anything processed. Strict pizzas are often homemade with the freshest, high-quality ingredients such as: grass-fed ground meat, pasture-raised eggs, organic vegetables, and a can-do attitude.
How’s it done?
Basic Vegetable Crust
The simplest idea we’ve come across is using large, sliced organic vegetables as the crust*, like eggplant or large portobello caps, brushing them with an olive oil/garlic salt blend and blind baking until crispy (drain any excess liquid). Then add your toppings and bake again. Slice, serve, enjoy!
Basic Meat Crust
Our favorite strict/clean pizza uses a meat crust* as the base. You can easily combine ground meat with fresh Italian spices and herbs, press it out into a pan to make a crust and let it cook until slightly brown – pat away excess grease then add your toppings with more spices and broil until everything is nicely roasted.
*Note: You can also use well-beaten eggs combined with crumbled or shredded meat, low carb flours (like almond, coconut, flaxseed, etc.), or vegetables (like spinach, riced cauliflower/broccoli/etc.) as a crust. Food processors make this a breeze. If you’re not dairy free, add some mozzarella too.
While my family enjoys a version of the meaty crust with cheese on top every once in a while, clearly, this is not the best option for everyone out there with the amount of dedication and knowledge required. It’s not always easy figuring out labels (free-from, seriously??) and trusting how your groceries were raised or farmed before showing up on the shelf. Plus, some areas are food deserts where a higher quality of ingredients simply isn’t feasible. And that’s okay. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using what’s available and well within your budget. Omitting sugar and sticking to lower carb, higher fiber foods is still a heck of a lot cleaner than the typical SAD alternative.
It might be considered a stretch when one compares some Strict Pizzas to Traditional Pizzas. But should you try it, I promise you – the flavors are completely on point, the nutrition is off the chart, and you won’t likely miss your dear old friend, the carby crust.
This is my happy place, right here in the land of Lazy Pizza. Options are infinite and the only limitation is your own creativity. Plus they’re so tasty and so easy. Just a few of my favorite things…
Note: Just because it’s Lazy, doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. Lazy is partially about convenience, and sometimes it’s convenient to use ready-made, processed products like Kraft’s shredded mozzarella or marinara from low carb brands like Lucini, Mezzetta, and Rao’s. Just keep an eye on the nutrition label and ingredients used and steer clear of things that might make you feel bad.
Homemade Lazy Pizza Options
Low Carb Tortilla Pizza
The title says it all – a great option for those who like a thin crispy crust.
How’s it done?
– Poke some tiny holes around your tortillas
– Brush on some olive oil mixed with garlic salt or Italian seasoning
– Stick them in a 400° f oven for about 5-7 minutes (crispy but not too brown)
– Put on your toppings
– Bake for another 5 or until cheese is melty and bubbling
The same can be done with just about any low carb flatbread like Joseph’s Lavash or Cut Da Carb, though you may need to adjust your times.
Fathead dough was created long ago by Tom Naughton’s (Fat Head movie) oldest brother’s oldest son. Since then, it’s evolved into a million variations. Basically – cheese is a good chameleon and an awesome base for a pizza.
How’s it done?
There are literally thousands of recipes for this out there so here’s the footnotes version of how *we* do it:
– Melt 2 oz cream cheese and 1 cup shredded mozzarella, quickly fold in 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup almond flour (or equivalent in other low carb flour), and Italian seasoning
(if it gets tough to combine, microwave for about 10 seconds and work fast)
– Press into a lined pan and bake for about 15 minutes at 400° f.
– Add your toppings, bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Sometimes we leave out the cream cheese, sometimes we leave out the egg. A quick search online for Fathead Pizza Recipes is a great starting point, especially if you’re looking for something specific like “egg free fathead pizza”.
Other Homemade Low Carb Pizza Crust Options
We’ve also tried a myriad of slightly more complex pizza crust recipes that are just as pizza-worthy as the above, but we don’t make them often because we either lack the tools that make it easier (food processor) or they require quite a few ingredients which we don’t always have on hand. They’re still worth mentioning for those with a baking soul.
- Almond Flour Crust Pizza
Recipe 1 | Recipe 2 | Recipe 3 | Recipe 4
- High Fiber Pizza Dough
Recipe 1 | Recipe 2 | Recipe 3 | Recipe 4
Store Bought Lazy Pizza Options
We’ve been lucky enough to find some frozen pizza options at our local grocery store. While we much prefer our homemade pizzas above, these are extremely convenient for nights where you. just. can’t. cook.
- RealGood Frozen Pizzas | Browse Pizzas
- Quest Nutrition Frozen Pizzas | Browse Pizzas
- Cauliflower Pizza Crusts | Outer Aisle | Cauli’flour Foods
- Just the Crust | ThinSlim Foods | Great Low Carb Bread Co.
I’m a fatty fat pizza vulture who’ll scrape off the toppings and leave the rest. This is how I do dirty pizza XD
Pick your favorite: Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa Murphy’s, Blaze Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, CiCis, Sbarro, California Pizza Kitchen, Donatos, Giordano’s, Hungry Howies, Marion’s Piazza, Flying Pizza, La Rosa’s Pizzaria, Rosati’s Pizza, Chuck E. Cheese’s and the list goes on forever.
Most halfway decent pizza places stick around forever because pizza makes people happy and we’re willing to pay for that happiness. But only one pizza joint on the list above makes a well-known, very low carb pizza crust option easily available: Blaze Pizza. I’m not personally in love with Blaze’s Keto Crust, but it’ll do in a pinch. If you’re okay with a slightly higher carb count, their cauliflower crust is delicious IMO. I believe CPK makes a cauli crust as well and a few other chains offer gluten free options (but neither cauliflower nor gluten free guarantee lower carbs).
What about everywhere else?
There’s a very simple option: just eat the toppings, including cheese, and ditch the crust. Some restaurants will go ahead and do this for you by special request, baking all toppings in a small dish. That’s not always possible though. My husband sees the sad, bare crust sitting there untouched as wasteful and wants so very badly to finish my plate, and I understand this completely.
But (!) if this is all that’s available and the healthier option for me is to toss out the crust after scavenging the tasty stuff on top, then that’s exactly what I’m gunna do. And there’s no shame in that. None, zilch, zero. CHOOSING to eat this way, rather than feeling forced and guilt-ridden, gives you incredible power over how you think about food and fueling yourself.
Obviously, you don’t have to eat JUST pizza toppings if your favorite joint offers more – you could also load up on a few sides like wings (no sweet sauces/breading), salads, jalapeno poppers… om nom.
Things change, times change, you change, so the way you eat will change. The whole point of trying something like low carb or keto or any diet that strays from the SAD way of eating (beyond obvious blood sugar and neurological reasons), is to build a healthier, sustainable relationship with food and figure out what’s best for your body. Until modern science comes up with something, it’s the only one you’ve got. So why not?
Obviously, there are a lot of different ways to eat low carb. Some identify very closely with some of these labels and may disagree with our interpretation. And that’s ok. You do you, just be healthy and happy ❤️