The Mediterranean ‘Pizza’ Diet

  • Our Santa Lucia Pizza - Covered in Healthy Ingredients

The Mediterranean ‘Pizza’ Diet

The idea of the Mediterranean Diet is a beautiful thing. Unlike other so-called diets that preach small portions and avoiding your favourite foods – most with dubious track records, we hasten to add – the Mediterranean Diet instead urges us to enjoy the cuisines of Italy, Spain, France and Greece to our heart’s content.

This means feasting on durum wheat pastas (the good stuff from Puglia!), fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious cheeses, nuts, legumes and even a bit of wine. The idea is that eating just like a real life Mediterranean in this way can make you both look and feel great!

Yet, to our obvious dismay at Basilico, pizza – perhaps Italy’s most famous meal – is left off nearly every list of ‘approved Mediterranean Diet dishes’. We’re here to set the record straight and to state unequivocally that we believe our pizza is the perfect accompaniment to the diet that has kept Italians looking beautiful and living long, healthy lives for millennia!

A bold statement? Perhaps, but is it a stretch to suggest that our freshly-made dough containing only two different types of flour, a little fresh yeast, olive oil, salt and water, loaded with vibrant red tomatoes, fresh vegetables and fior di latte mozzarella, rich with calcium and Vitamin D, could be a Mediterranean Diet-friendly dish? Not at all, and if some of our more mainstream competitors weren’t so committed to producing inauthentic and deeply unhealthy pizza, real Italian pizza like the ones we cook and deliver at Basilico might well be considered the very example of the tasty and healthy Mediterranean Diet.

Here’s a run down of the pizzas we believe best represent the virtues of this famous diet and why!

Bufala Basilico – The ingredients of this pizza read ‘fresh buffalo mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano and Basilico pizza sauce’ – exquisite, if humble, fresh ingredients that combine to make a light, fragrant and delicious pizza. If that isn’t enough, consider the health benefits of our roasted cherry tomatoes and Basilico pizza sauce. Tomatoes on their own are high in vitamins A, C and K; they also contain high levels of potassium, manganese and fibre. This super-food is rendered all the more potent when cooked, a process that increases a tomato’s free radical-killing antioxidants!

Vegetarian – Most striking about this pizza are the huge slices of roasted aubergine and courgette draped across it. Not only do they pack a punch of flavour in tandem with the base of Basilico pizza sauce, roasted red peppers, red onion, fresh tomatoes and basil and fior di latte mozzarella, they are also extremely healthy. Our roasted aubergine and courgettes combine to provide an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins A, C, B1, B6 and potassium, not to mention that they are rich in antioxidants – specifically nasunin – and minerals copper, magnesium, manganese, folate and phosphorus. For those who like a chilli kick in their Mediterranean Diet, why not try our tasty Chilli Vegetarian, set on fire with fresh scotch bonnet chillis and dried smoked chilli flakes?

Pizza Zucca – It’s a common assumption that when you add something ‘healthy’ to a dish, it makes it bland and insipid. At Basilico such nonsense is thrown to the wind as we add roasted butternut squash for its delicious sweet, earthy and caramelised flavour to our pizza, which works brilliantly with the crispy pancetta, crumbled roasted chorizo, smoked chicken, fior di latte mozzarella and our Basilico pizza sauce. Of course, this superfood ingredient is full to the brim with health benefits – it is low in fat and high in dietary fibre, which makes it exceptionally heart-friendly. It also provides high amounts of bone-healthy potassium and vitamin B6 which boosts the nervous and immune systems.

Santa Lucia – We’re really excited about the recent addition to the Basilico menu, the Santa Lucia, not only because of its unique flavour but because it is absolutely covered in super-healthy ingredients. Roasted red peppers are a rich source of vitamin A and C; asparagus, which is loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals including chromium; heart-healthy and anti-oxidant rich pine nuts and pistachios; and last but not least, our luxurious fior di latte that brims with calcium and the much-needed vitamin D that we lack during British winters. And while we don’t claim our pizza will actually improve eyesight, did you know that Santa Lucia was the Patron Saint of those with poor vision? Maybe she will look down fondly on those who savour the Mediterranean flavour of her eponymous pizza?

There is a veritable excess of evidence, then, to suggest that pizza – specifically our Basilico pizza – should be recognised among the standard bearers for the hallowed Mediterranean Diet. But before we sign off, what’s our take on a pizza like our Tutto Salami, the aptly named pizza that offers five tasty authentic Italian salumi as toppings? While cured Italian meats will likely never make the cut and join the pantheon of Mediterranean Diet-certified ingredients, we’d like to ask our readers, what could be more healthy than enjoying a pizza made with love and only the highest quality Italian cured meats, particularly when enjoyed as nature intended – in moderation!

Buon appetito.

pick of the month