How to Make a Low-Carb Pizza

Ideas and Recipes for Low-Carb Pizza

low carb pizza
Low-Carb Pizza with Flax Meal Crust. Photo © Laura Dolson

Pizza -- it's one of the most popular foods, at least in the U.S. Can we have our pizza and our waistlines too? How about healthy levels of blood glucose? Well, think about it. Most pizza toppings aren't high in carbohydrates. So what we need to do is to find different vehicles for those toppings. Here are some ideas, and several recipes, for low carb pizza. Before we turn to the crust, though, let's learn a bit about toppings.

The Sauce

Most pizza sauce has sugar in it. Yep, you heard right -- just look at the label. Furthermore, most (but not all) red pasta sauce has sugar as well. I find that sugar-free pasta sauce works very well for pizza, and most grocery stores have one or two brands that work. Look for sauce with no ingredients masquerading as sugar in it - usually, these sauces have about 6 to 7 grams of effective carbohydrate per ¼ cup serving.

The Cheese

Whole milk mozzarella cheese has about 2.5 grams of carbohydrate per cup, and partial skim has slightly more. Most other mild cheeses have similar carb counts. Parmesan cheese has about a gram of carbohydrate per ounce (about 5 tablespoons of grated cheese).

Other Pizza Toppings

Most meats only have scant amounts of carbs, although some sausages have some added carb. Most vegetables typically used on pizza are low in carbs, including mushrooms (1.5 grams per cup, sliced), green peppers (2 grams per ½ cup, chopped), olives (1 gram per 4 large olives), or other low-carb vegetables.

Non-Crust Alternatives

If you don't want to take the time to make your own pizza crust, try these ideas for having that combination of flavors we all know and love:

1. Just Eat the Toppings

I call this the "when all else fails" technique. It's the most flexible, although messy, way to go. When your friends or family are ordering pizza, just don't eat the crust (and get a salad on the side).

2. Low-Carb Tortillas

The only trouble with this method is that you can't spread much on the tortilla, or it will tear. But you can smear a little sauce, cheese, and toppings, and then heat in the oven or microwave. As an alternative, try a "pizza burrito" by wrapping pizza sauce and toppings in the tortilla.

3. Portobella Mushrooms

Scrape the gills out of a large Portobello mushroom and bake or grill it to get some of the moisture out. Fill with toppings, then broil or bake. Carbs in Portobello Mushrooms

4. Pizza Burgers

Make a thin hamburger, then cover with pizza toppings and cook in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

5. Pizza Omelet or Frittata

Make an omelet, mixing in your favorite pizza toppings, and use the sauce as a condiment. Or, try this Pizza Frittata recipe (a frittata is a quick Italian egg dish).

Pizza Crust

I have tried a lot of low-carb pizza crusts. Here are some of the basic approaches to making a low-carb pizza crust, and my personal versions of them.

1. Deep Dish Pizza - Our Favorite Low-Carb Pizza Base

Although I'm partial to the flax meal because of the health benefits, I have to admit that this has become our very favorite. You wouldn't think an egg-based crust could be so good, but there it is. It makes a deep-dish type pizza that is really good, even the next day.

2. Meatza Pizza

This is a traditional low-carb approach. You make a base of hamburger and spices and put the pizza toppings on top. Check out my version of this recipe.

3. Flax Meal Pizza Crust

This is a hearty, very whole-grainy approach. It's a version of my Flax Meal Bread made into a pizza crust. It's fairly thick, but you can make it thinner if you want. You can't pick it up while it's still hot, but when it cools somewhat, you can.

4. Soy Flour Pizza

I have tried a few versions of pizza crust made with soy flour. Soy flour is much lower in carbs than regular wheat flour, but it isn't very low; one cup of soy flour has 20 to 25 grams of effective carbohydrate. George Stella, who used to have a low-carb cooking show on the Food Network, has a recipe that starts out sort of like a pancake batter, and makes a thin crust. It actually tastes fairly good. I tried making a crust that is a little thicker, and added some protein powder to lower the carb count. The protein powder makes it a little drier, but it has the advantage of being able to be picked up. It does have a little soy taste, though the spices help that. Here, the recipe from, followed by my own version.
  • George Stella's Soy Flour Crust
  • Laura's Soy Flour Crust

  • 5. Pizza Bites with Pepperoni "Crust"

    These are sort of like mini-quiches made with pizza toppings. You line the muffin cup of a mini-muffin pan with pepperoni first. They make great party food or snacks.

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