Eat Your Vegetables (And Have Your Pepperoni Pizza, Too)!

Did your parents ever sneak vegetables into your favorite foods just to get you to eat them? Or tell you that broccoli were little trees to make them more entertaining? It seems to be the age-old parenting dilemma, getting children to like, or even just eat, vegetables.

While sneaking in vegetables can seem like a covert operation to parents, combining vegetables can increase flavor and provide added nutrition, too. And by the way, everyone, not just children, can benefit from more flavor and nutrition.

A favorite kid-friendly recipe that is sure to also please the kid-at-heart in every adult is pizza. Pizza is often associated with fast food and bad nutrition. In all actuality pizza can be a great choice for a well-balanced meal, especially when made at home. Pizza serves as a source of grains, vegetables, meat, dairy, and even fruit if you so choose.

It’s easy to think of adding a variety of different toppings to a pizza for added nutrition, however if you enjoy a good plain pepperoni pizza once and a while, your options are somewhat limited. Hence, the sauce is the key for adding nutritional value and the yum factor.

I found this recipe a while back from EatingWell and enjoy making it for pizza sauce. Are you ready for the secret nutrient-rich, flavor-adding ingredient? PUMPKIN! While traditionally eaten in the fall, or in holiday pies, pumpkin can pack in fiber and beta-carotene to spruce up your pizza sauce all year long.

The best part for texture-sensitive folks is that adding pumpkin puree to tomato sauce doesn’t change the consistency or mouth-feel of the sauce. So if you choose to be so sneaky when feeding your family and friends, they won’t even notice the difference unless you tell them.

Go ahead, be adventurous! Eating pumpkin-tomato sauce on your pizza can’t be nearly as bad as that time your mom made you eat each and every last pea on your plate, can it?

Here’s the recipe courtesy of EatingWell:

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza

Click here for original recipe

6 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

• 1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
• 1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
• 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)

1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.
4. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.

Per serving: 280 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat , 2 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 3 g fiber; 602 mg sodium; 153 mg potassium; Vitamin A 120% daily value; Calcium 25% daily value.

Maren is a guest blogger for Market Street. She is a Texas Woman’s University dietetic intern and graduate student in exercise and sports nutrition. Maren is a graduate of Iowa State University and is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. She enjoys cooking, baking and experimenting in the kitchen! Her first memory of culinary experimentation was around the age of 3, creating a peanut butter and mustard sandwich. Maren’s other hobbies include traveling, tasting new cuisines, grocery shopping, ballroom dancing with her fiancĂ© and walking her puppy, Waltz.

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