Pizza Across the World: Mediterranean

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Pizza has its history in many different countries. Even though pizza is often associated with Italian cuisine, early Greeks cooked round flat breads topped with olive oils, spices, and potatoes. Mediterranean pizza pays tribute to the cultural values of the Mediterranean Sea region including Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Turkey… the list goes on.

With so many countries clumped together under the word “Mediterranean,” there is no specific definition for what constitutes Mediterranean cuisine. But many themes (like olive oil) emerge among dishes.

Olive trees are plentiful in the Mediterranean region, making olive oil a necessity among many dishes, especially on pizza. It’s a great source of fat and tastes delicious. What’s better than dough coated in oil and baked to a crisp?

A typical Mediterranean diet consists of olive oil, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Lots of vegetables. So it’s no surprise that a Mediterranean pizza is loaded with vegetables. Mediterranean pizza in America manifests itself in the form of a vegetarian pizza, flavored with olive oil, cheese, and spices. None of that tomato paste. Let’s stay fresh and classy, Sporkers.

Vegetables common to the area include olives, artichokes, tomatoes, eggplants, onions, cucumbers, squash, and mushrooms. (And yes, we know tomatoes are technically a fruit, but they get along so well with all the other vegetables.)

So the next time you’re craving a vegetable pizza, why not try concocting a Mediterranean pizza of your own? A tribute to a cultural classic.

Mediterranean Pizza Recipe

Ingredients
1 12-inch prepared pizza crust (for prime laziness)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
3 sliced plum tomatoes
6 chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Cooking Spray
¼ cup chopped fresh basil (or 4 teaspoons dried basil)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle pizza crust with crushed red pepper and dried Italian seasoning.

Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese evenly on the crust, leaving ½” border. Using the back of a spoon, gently press the cheese down on the pizza crust.

Arrange the plum tomato slices, chopped olives, and quartered artichoke hearts on the pizza as desired.

Place the pizza on the baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and bake 10-12 minutes or until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the top and serve with your choice of seasoned olive oils.

Post by Katie Paige. Recipe from health.com.