Everyone loves pizza — but what if you are on the keto diet? Good thing Annie Lampella, who blogs at Keto Focus, is here to share a keto-friendly margherita pizza recipe with Mashed. As she acknowledged, "Being on a keto diet comes with lots of restrictions with what you can and can’t eat." Lampella added, "Pizza is high in carbs, and it’s a favorite food to many. I wanted to create a low-carb pizza crust that looks and tasted like traditional pizza in order for people to stick to their goals and still enjoy their favorite food."
We are so glad she did! But wait — how can pizza crust possibly look and taste like traditional dough? Lampella explained to Mashed that her version of keto margherita pizza is "made out of mozzarella cheese instead of a gluten-based flour." She added, "Combining the melted mozzarella cheese, egg, and almond flour creates an elastic dough similar to gluten-based pizza dough." She also notes, "The mozzarella cheese is added to provide structure and support."
But never fear if you are on a keto diet, but, say, your partner isn’t. We asked Lampella if non-keto eaters would enjoy this recipe. "Yes, many of my non-keto family and friends love this pizza," she assured us. So, for your next Friday pizza night, why not try out this easy and delicious yet healthy and low-carb recipe?
Gather the ingredients for your keto margherita pizza
For the keto margherita pizza dough, you’ll need shredded mozzarella cheese, almond flour, an egg, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. For those not familiar, Lampella explained to Mashed what xanthan gum is and why it’s needed in this keto pizza dough. "Xanthan gum is added to provide additional structure and support for the recipe," she told us, adding, "It is found in most grocery stores."
Meanwhile, she notes, "Almond flour is a low-carb, gluten-free substitute to all-purpose flour commonly used in the keto diet." This keto baking substitute is made of blanched almonds and is not to be confused with almond meal.
Once you have shopped for your dough ingredients, you can gather your other ingredients.
Gather your keto margherita pizza sauce ingredients and toppings
For the sauce and toppings for this keto margherita pizza recipe, you’ll need to buy low-carb marinara sauce. Lampella assured Mashed, "With the growing popularity of the keto diet, it is now found in most major grocery stores. The most common brand is called Rao’s. If you can’t find it, I recommend using a tomato sauce that doesn’t contain added sugars."
You’ll also buy fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese — or you can shred it yourself — fresh basil, and olive oil, which you can likely grab from the pantry. Meanwhile, it’s easy to make this keto pizza your own, with Lampella suggesting, "If someone wants to create a different pizza, they can add toppings like pepperoni, salami, olives, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, anchovies, sausage, bacon, or tomato, all of which are considered keto friendly."
Melt the mozzarella for your keto margherita pizza
The first step to preparing your keto margherita pizza dough is to add your shredded mozzarella cheese to a microwave-safe glass bowl. You’ll heat it 60 seconds at a time until the cheese is melted, being sure to stir the cheese in between. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, Lampella recommends getting out your food processor to combine your ingredients — but don’t worry if you don’t own one. "You can use an electric mixer, or you can knead the ingredients together with your hands," she told us, also offering this tip for producing the best dough sans food processor: "Make sure the mozzarella cheese is still warm and melted to make the mixing easier."
Combine all your keto margherita pizza dough ingredients
No matter how you plan to combine your keto margherita pizza dough ingredients, to the melted mozzarella cheese, you’ll add the almond flour, egg, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. In a food processor, simply pulse the ingredients until a dough ball forms. At this point, you will move on to the next step, which is rolling out your dough. But Lampella notes that you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it.
"This is a great meal prep tip," she told Mashed. "Store the rolled-out crust in a freezer-safe bag sandwiched in between parchment paper, and freeze it until ready to use. When you are ready to use the dough, thaw it at room temperature for 30 minutes."
Roll out your keto margherita pizza dough
To prep your keto margherita pizza dough for use now or later, simply place it in between two pieces of parchment paper. Employing this trick, as Lampella explained, is crucial because, "The dough sticks to the rolling pin and your counter if you don’t use parchment paper. Using two sheets will keep this from happening — plus, it’s easy to lift the crust up — you just grab the bottom parchment paper and transfer the dough to a baking sheet."
You’ll roll your dough out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick, folding in the edges to create the crust. Next, transfer the dough to your baking sheet and remove the top parchment layer. You can keep the bottom layer intact.
Add the sauce to your keto margherita pizza
Now, you can spread your low-carb marinara sauce on top of the keto margherita pizza crust. Next up is where things get really good — because it’s almost time to layer on your other toppings. Remember, as Lampella says, you can stick with the sliced mozzarella cheese and shredded Parmesan, or you can get a little bit crazy by adding ingredients of your choice. Either way, don’t add that basil just yet. As Lampella told Mashed, "If you add the basil before baking, it will wilt and turn an ugly brownish-gray color." Noted!
Okay, almost time to enjoy this flavorful meal!
Add the toppings to your keto margherita pizza
Once you have topped your keto margherita pizza with the cheese, you’ll bake your creation on the middle oven rack for about 12 to 14 minutes. Then, Lampella recommends transferring the pizza to the top oven rack and broiling it for an additional few minutes. Why wait those additional minutes when you’re hungry? "It gets the fresh mozzarella cheese bubbly and golden brown on top," Lampella told Mashed. Yum!
Meanwhile, you’ll know the crust is done "when it starts to get golden brown around the edges," Lampella says. Once your crust has reached appropriate doneness, go ahead and remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool for a few more minutes before the final step: Top your pizza with the basil leaves and drizzle it with olive oil. Enjoy!