Linked to taste, convenience and affordability – as well as sociability –pizza (both frozen and take-away) is frequently listed as one of the most popular student foods. However, it also tends to be relatively high in calories, (saturated) fat and salt, while at the same time providing very little in terms of either fibre or micronutrients. As an alternative, these pitta bread pizzas remain convenient and affordable, are arguably much tastier, and will almost certainly provide a healthier option.
And when you create your own ‘pizza’ you can – of course – use whatever you want as a topping. You might get inspiration from something that you’ve eaten in the past, or you can see what you’ve already got in your fridge and make a selection from that (it helps that you don’t need very much of any one ingredient). The possibilities really are endless. Just remember that these pizzas are cooked for a relatively short time – and that leaving them for much longer risks burning the bread – so make sure that you slice or dice any vegetables that you use into fairly small pieces.
They also go very well with a simple fresh salad, made with some lettuce – I particularly like romaine –as well as any other ingredients you’ve got. This might be a chopped tomato, some cucumber and a couple of finely sliced spring onions (you may have already bought a bunch if you’ve made the pot noodle featured in yesterday’s post), it could be thin slices of carrot and / or courgette (you can use a vegetable peeler to do this), or perhaps some diced pepper and mushroom. And it’s easy to make a simple dressing by mixing 3 tbps of olive oil with the juice of ½ a lemon, to which you can add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. This should be enough to last you for a few days, and it will keep well in a small screw-top jar.
Of course, pitta breads often come in bags of six, but there is no need for any to be wasted. Here are a few suggestions of other things that you can do with them:
- Make extra when you’re preparing these ‘pizzas’ for your evening meal. They’re good eaten cold (or can be re-heated) and make an easy and convenient next-day lunch
- Use them as an accompaniment to other meals later in the week
- Freeze them for future use – they only take a few minutes to defrost at room temperature
[This is the second in a series of posts – you can find the first one here – prepared in response to a request from Jess, who has recently moved to London where she is a full-time student at LAMDA]
Recipe: Pitta Bread Pizza
2 whole meal pitta breads
2 tsp tomato purée
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 tomato, sliced
¼ courgette, sliced
¼ pepper, sliced
A handful of grated cheese
I used pecorino, but you can use any hard cheese that you’ve got
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: sliced black olives and fresh basil leaves (torn or cut into pieces)
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas mark 6.
Spread 1 tsp of tomato purée onto each pitta bread, and sprinkle over the mixed herbs.
Cover with tomato slices, followed by the courgette and pepper.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and season with black pepper.
Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melting and the vegetables have softened but are still crunchy.