Whitesburg KY

Fresh for summer: A healthy bread hot off the grill

Grilled summer herb and olive focaccia. Fresh off the grill, this focaccia has a smoky flavor along with a tasty handful of Kalamata olives layered into the crust. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Grilled summer herb and olive focaccia. Fresh off the grill, this focaccia has a smoky flavor along with a tasty handful of Kalamata olives layered into the crust. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Want to transform pizza from greasy to healthy? You can start by leaving off the cheese.

In fact, most of time it’s the toppings that turn pizza into junk food. Add sausage, pepperoni or bacon and your favorite pie by turns into a fat and calorie catastrophe.

It isn’t hard, however, to end up with a relatively healthy meal, especially when making it at home.

For lighter toppings stick with vegetables, starting with the traditional tomato sauce. Tomatoes are loaded with healthy antioxidants such as lycopene, plus they’re high in flavor and fat-free.

If you want to skip the sauce, you can make a white pizza sauce by pureeing roasted garlic cloves with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil.

As for meat toppers, stay away from the greasy sausage and pepperoni. Prosciutto is satisfying and has a great salty flavor, but is much less fatty than bacon.

If your heart is set on sausage, choose lower-fat turkey versions or even try vegetarian sausage crumbles, which are surprisingly tasty. You can find vegetarian sausage with other meat substitutes, usually in the produce or frozen foods sections.

Finally, for additional nutrients and dietary fiber, include some whole-wheat flour in the dough.

This grilled summer herb and olive focaccia gets intense flavor from fresh rosemary and thyme along with a handful of chopped Kalamata olives layered into the crust.

Grilling a pizza, focaccia or flatbread gives it a great smoky flavor and lets you avoid heating up your kitchen in summer. But if you like, you can bake this at 450 F for 12 to 15 minutes.

To make this light flatbread even easier to prepare, you can use a 1 1/2-pound ball of store-bought white or wheat pizza dough for the crust.


Start to finish: 1 hour (25 minutes active)

Servings: 8

For the dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rising yeast

1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 warm water

For the topping:

1/4 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

In a food processor with a bread blade, combine both flours, the yeast, salt and sugar. Pulse to mix.

In a measuring cup, combine the oil and water. With the food processor running, gradually pour the liquid through the feed tube. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional warm water. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute more to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes before rolling.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll out into circles. Sprinkle each piece of dough with some of the olives, then fold in half and then in quarters to incorporate the olives into the dough. Roll each ball of dough out again into a circle and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a gas grill to high on one side and medium-low on the other.

Set 2 of the dough circles on the hot side of the grill and cook until the underside is golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Keep a close eye on the color, as grill temperatures vary widely.

Using tongs, flip the crusts to the cooler side of the grill, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with some of the herbs and close the lid of the grill. Cook, rotating once or twice, until hot and crisp. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, olive oil and herbs. Cut each focaccia in half to serve.

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