Crustless Pizza Bites: proof that appetizers don't have to be unhealthy!

One of my favorite things to do when I’m cooking for myself is to make a dinner out of one or two appetizers. It’s almost like my own little version of tapas. In this way, I’m able to sample a bunch of different foods without having too much of any one thing leftover,  I can keep things a little lighter, and I get to try out all of those appetizers that I’ve been dying to make but never have a reason to make them.

Over the next week or two, though, I know many people will have a reason to make various appetizers, and if you’re still trying to figure out what to make, please make these “crustless pizza bites.” They are insanely good, and a really healthy way to start off any party. Appetizers can be a health-conscious person’s downfall, but if you make careful choices, they really don’t have to be all that bad. Take these, for example – you basically roast some tomatoes to within an inch of their lives and top them with a tiny amount of part-skim (or not!) ricotta cheese. Aside from the nutrients you inevitably lose from the roasting, this recipe is practically saintly. And, it really does taste exactly like a crustless pizza – and I love a good pizza, so I wouldn’t joke around about that.

Seriously, make these as soon as you can, even if you aren’t looking for an appetizer; I paired them with a batch of roasted cauliflower (reminded me of tater tots – talk about a healthified childhood throwback meal!) and was a very happy camper.

Crust-Free Pizza Bites, courtesy of Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen
Yield: 8 appetizer, 4 larger portions

The Ingredients
4 tomatoes
½ cup (part-skim) ricotta
dried oregano & coarse salt, to taste
dried basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder, to taste
grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a casserole dish with aluminum foil and grease with a non-stick cooking spray. Halve or third each tomato and arrange them in the dish. Spray the exposed sides of each tomato with cooking spray (lightly).

Sprinkle the tomatoes with all of the herbs and seasonings, and place in the oven to bake for at least 1 hour. The key is to err on the side of overroasting; you want them to carmelize and bring out that cooked, saucey flavor. When done, remove from the oven, dollop each half with 1T of ricotta, and sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

And lastly, to everyone celebrating Hannukkah - I hope you have a happy, happy first night! We're having a small family dinner tonight, and I could not be more excited for the food: mom's brisket and homemade applesauce, latkes (of course!), a simple garden salad with a TBD vinaigrette, and - last but not least - I'll be making baked cinnamon oatmeal stuffed apples served alongside a scoop of homemade cinnamon ice cream! Gotta love the holidays.



  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment