If there is one thing that Chicago is famous for, it’s their incredible deep dish pizza. A thick deep crust, with the toppings upside down - you can see why they call it a pie. Use our easy recipe and grab yourself a homemade slice of Healthier Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.
You will find a lot of debate about where the best pizza in the world is. Is it Rome or Naples? Maybe the dollar slices in NYC get your vote! Popolinos in Manchester was a favourite student haunt for us at 4am. (Seriously - check it out if you're ever in Manchester!)
Or maybe the famous deep dish crust from Chicago is calling your name? Whilst Rome will always come out top for me, Chicago deep dish is a close second. This is our homemade, lighter version. A healthy deep dish pizza that is easy to adapt.
Why you will love it
- Healthier than an average pizza - We have lightened up the cheese and added some veggies to make this a healthier option to a Chicago pizza.
- Easy to adapt with different fillings - Whatever your favourite pizza toppings are will work here.
- Low calories - Less than 200 calories per slice.
- Kids will love it - I am yet to meet a kid that doesn't like pizza and this "upside down" version will intrigue them.
- Pizza dough - You can use store bought, but it really is easy to make your own pizza dough. Why not try our Wholewheat Pizza Dough recipe.
- Pizza sauce - Homemade is best. Follow our recipe for Pizza Sauce. If using store bought, try to use the best quality one you can.
- Courgette (zucchini) and Bell pepper - These were out vegetables of choice, but we have given lots of other options for others.
- Cheese - A mature cheddar works well, as it has a strong flavour so a little goes a long way. You could use mozzarella too.
- Basil - Some fresh basil adds lots of flavour.
How to make deep dish pizza - Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6. Lightly grease the tin.
One: Start with the base and the cheese first.
Two: Add the vegetables.
Three: Top with marinara.
Four: Add more cheese before cooking.
Five: Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Why is Chicago pizza different?
If you haven’t had it before, it is like an upside down pizza. Kind of. You put the cheese on the base first and then the toppings and then you top it with the tomato sauce – it’s genius.
You have to try it to believe just how good it is. It’s the debated whether you finish with more cheese, but we did because how can you debate whether more cheese is an option or not?
We went with onion, red bell pepper and courgette (zucchini), but don't limit it to those. You could add mushrooms, sweetcorn, tomatoes, jalapenos or even some aubergine (eggplant). This is a good opportunity to use up any veg you have left over.
Stay away from root vegetables or any that take a long time to cook - unless they have already been cooked, then throw them in too!
Any meat that you would put on a pizza will work in this - just make sure it's cooked first. Chicken, turkey, ham, ground beef, salami all work really well.
What to serve it with
A nice big salad like our Little Gem Salad is a nice way to have a more filling meal, without eating more pizza.
The only non-vegan part of this pizza is the cheese. Simply swap that out for one of the many great vegan cheeses available and you have yourself a vegan deep dish pizza!
In the fridge, the pizza will be good for up to three days. To freeze, wrap the slices individually in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Make sure the pizza is fully defrosted before reheating. You can reheat in a microwave, but you will end up with limp, soggy pizza! For best results follow these steps: Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C(fan)/350°F/Gas 4. Place a slice of pizza on some foil on a baking tray and spray with a little cold water. Cover the pizza loosely with more foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. This will result in a perfectly heated pizza with a crispy crust.
Why is this healthier? Well, portion size for a start. If you have eaten an authentic one of these in Chicago, you will know just how huge they are. This is a good size for 4 people with a side salad. We also went pretty easy on the cheese to keep it lower in calories.
At the end of the day – it’s pizza. It is never going to be a health food or a food that I can eat in unlimited amounts.
But with a couple of small changes, like using whole wheat homemade dough and not going overboard on the cheese and packing it with veggies, it can be made a bit healthier.
More pizza recipes
Healthier Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6.
- Make the 1 portion Homemade whole wheat pizza dough according to the recipe.
- Roll it out so that it is a little wider than the pan you are using. we used a 10 inch diameter spring-form cake tin and it worked perfectly. Put the dough in the greased tin and push the dough up the sides a little.
- Put 40 g Cheddar cheese on the bottom and then top with 0.5 Courgette (zucchini) and 0.5 Red bell pepper.
- Top with 12 tablespoon Marinara and then sprinkle with 40 g Cheddar cheese and 4 tablespoon Fresh basil.
- Put into the oven for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving to make it easier to cut.
- Use up any vegetables you have - it's a good fridge raid pizza!
- Store bought pizza dough and sauce will work perfectly well for this, but nutritional values will change.
- You can skip adding the cheese on top to save a few calories.
- Change up the vegetables each time to make it different.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.