Tomatoes, fresh basil with mozzarella cheese…the Margherita pizza is in a class of its own! This post will show you how to create the healthiest, tastiest, BEST homemade Margherita pizza.
The other night my mother-in-law asked what I had planned for this week’s recipes.
I told her I made the BEST homemade Margherita Pizza and, not sure if she knew what it was, listed off the ingredients (essentially tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese). I also clarified it had nothing to do with a Mexican “margarita” cocktail.
My mother-in-law then asked, “Why is it called a Margherita Pizza?”
Good question! Here’s what I discovered:
In the 19th century, the King of Italy, and his wife, Queen Margherita di Savoia, noticed peasants in Naples eating a large flat bread covered with tomato paste and tomatoes.
The curious queen called for Chef Rafaelle, the most popular of the pizza chefs in Naples, and ordered him to prepare his specialties...
Her favorite? The one with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. Yup, the Margherita Pizza is named after a queen!
What’s The Difference Between A Margherita Pizza And A Regular Cheese Pizza?
A Margherita pizza is quite different from a regular cheese pizza because of the fresh ingredients. A cheese pizza includes cheese over the sauce and nothing else. But a Margherita pizza? You’re in for a homemade pizza recipe with fresh and flavorful toppings like tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
I make homemade pizza dough, too and this one is simple, with 5 ingredients and no yeast! Read on for how to make this extra tasty homemade pizza recipe, paired wonderfully with your favorite salad. And don’t worry, no baking stone is no big deal. An upside down sheet pan works just great as a pizza pan.
Is A Margherita Pizza Healthy?
Unlike other pizzas, a Margherita pizza can be considered healthy as long as you’re mindful of ingredients. Which, you know I’m all about!
My best homemade Margherita pizza recipe is fresh, light and its toppings only include a sprinkle of oregano and basil, mozzarella, tomato and a tad of olive oil. In fact, a 4-ounce slice of a Margherita pizza made with whole-grain crust only has around 90 calories.
Canned tomatoes combines with olive oil, spices and sea or kosher salt make a terrifc homemade pizza sauce. More on that directly below!
*Compared to its common counterparts, I’d definitely say Margherita pizza is healthy.
What Kind Of Tomato Sauce Is Best For This Pizza?
A simple tomato sauce makes for the best Margherita pizza (I’ve experimented quite a bit to find the perfect flavor and texture). My go-to tomato sauce for this pizza, specifically, begins with whole peeled tomatoes. Not including juices.
Packed with natural flavor, this also gives you that fresh and light taste a Margherita pizza stands for. To get the smooth pizza sauce texture, I’ll run it through the food processor while adding some olive oil, oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Yum!
Which Mozzarella Is Best For This Pizza?
Low-moisture fresh mozzarella cheese is best for a homemade Margherita pizza! Avoid mozzarella that comes packaged in water because the extra liquid will give you soggy pizza. Low-moisture fresh mozzarella is great because it gives you that perfect bubbling melt and it’s also super tasty.
*Aim for medium to high quality cheese. Low quality mozzarellas works fine but could be a bit rubbery.
Is a Margherita Pizza Vegan?
If you make a Margherita pizza at home, you can easily make it vegan! Simply replace your cheese with a non-dairy substitute. There are so many vegan cheese options in the market now compared to several years ago. I personally like mozzarella cashew, but don’t hesitate to explore.
*If you’re in a restaurant, try inquiring about their vegan cheese options. It may feel unlikely now but if enough people ask...
How Do I Store My Pizza?
Pizza is best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This keeps it dry – but not too dry – and it won’t get soggy. I know some people suggest wrapping the slices up in a bed of foil, but I noticed that it gets too moist and tastes like fridge-burn (if that’s a thing!).
How To Reheat The Pizza To Keep It Crunchy?
The stovetop reheating method will get your pizza crunchy the next day. Never heard of it? It’s actually one of the quickest ways to mimic the hearty benefits of an oven without overdoing it. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Heat the pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of water, to cover it.
- After a few minutes add the leftover pizza slices and allow it to cook for a bit before you drizzle more water on the side of the pan.
- Cover the skillet immediately! This traps the steam and heats up your toppings.
This technique will (mostly) recreate the crispiness you get from a freshly baked pizza.
More Healthy Pizza Recipes
If you would like to add more pizza options to your repertoire, here are some you’ll surely enjoy. Grab your pizza stone and try one!
- Grilled Pizza with Maple Onion Jam
- Chicken Alfredo Pizza with Spinach and Red Onions
- Italian Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza
- Best BBQ Chicken Pizza
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
Tomatoes, fresh basil with mozzarella cheese…the Margherita pizza is in a class of its own. This post will show you how to create the healthiest, tastiest, BEST homemade Margherita pizza!
- pizza crust/dough see recipe here
- 1 14-oz can can whole peeled tomatoes not including juices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2-3 Roma tomatoes thinly sliced
- 7-8 oz fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
- 1 oz fresh basil leaves torn into pieces
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Drain tomatoes and puree in a food processor (or blender). Add olive oil, oregano dried basil, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
Spread sauce over pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge for the crust. Create a layer of the thinly sliced tomatoes over the sauce. Line the sliced mozzarella over the tomatoes.
Bake pizza for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and the crust begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
Toss fresh basil over cooked pizza and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Slice and serve.
I used a pizza paddle and stone to make the pizza. If you plan to use one make sure that you build the pizza on the paddle.
Remember to flour the paddle well so can easily transfer the pizza into the oven.
I stretched the dough into an 11 ½ to 12 ½ inch round, maybe 1/8 to ¼ inch thick which you are free to adjust based on your preference.
If you don't have a paddle no worries, you can flip your baking sheet the other way around instead.