Respect the Sauce

Respect the Sauce

Pizza is everyone’s love language. Learn how to respect the sauce with this guest post from pizza expert Tony Gemignani, a 12-time World Pizza Champion, master instructor at the International School of Pizza, two-time Food Network gold medalist, restaurateur of 21 concepts, author and reality television personality.

There is nothing like having a pizza with SAUCE ON TOP! I have been preaching this longer than I can remember. I always say pizza and food, in general, is about balance. Each bite should take you through a journey. My sauce has never been understated when it comes to my pizza, it has always stood out. I take pride in it as I do with all other ingredients.

Nowadays young pizza makers, chefs, or bakers that come into our industry always want to be known for their dough and starters. I know this because I use starters in practically all of my dough recipes before it became mainstream but I never let it overcome my pizza. But it’s when guys say “did you taste my pizza? What do you think of my starter it’s like 100 years old?” For me that can be something great to brag about but I don’t want my customers, some critic, writer, blogger or hot shot primadonna kid coming up the ranks remembering my starter.? I want them to remember me for my pizza.

Sometimes it takes one longer to learn this way of thinking, sometimes they never learn this at all. Sauce, dough, and cheese or dough, sauce and cheese, whatever it is one can overcome or overcompensate the other. They should be harmonious.

We make several styles of pizzas at all my restaurants with SAUCE ON TOP, Grandma’s, Detroit’s, Sicilians, Deep Dish, Jersey Tomato Pies, Neapolitan Marinara, Coal Fire Tomato Pies, Cast Irons the list goes on. As a pizza purist I pay homage to every style of pizza. With nearly 30 years in the pizza industry, I have been fortunate enough to try pizzas from all over the world and my favorites have always been with SAUCE ON TOP.

My palate, as well as myself, have evolved. The young Tony wanted to do what hasn’t been done when it came to cooking. Nothing is sexier than recreating a pizza that was from so long ago. What’s old is new again. SAUCE ON TOP is in this category. For me the flavor, simplicity, strength of the pie, bake, all play an important factor. I teach this to my students and practice this every day.

My mission statement, my mantra, my everyday way of life is “Respect the Craft” say hello to “Respect the Sauce”

Guest post by Tony Gemignani, a 12-time World Pizza Champion, master instructor at the International School of Pizza, two-time Food Network gold medalist, restaurateur of 21 concepts, author and reality television personality. Gemignani is the president of the World Pizza Champions, is also a Guinness World Record holder and is the owner and executive chef of several restaurants.

Can Pizza be a Health Food?

Can Pizza be a Health Food?

Can pizza be a health food? You may be surprised by what Chelsey Amer, RD has to say about that! Read on to learn more about how pizza can be a nutritionally balanced meal. 

When you think of American food, you may think of a burger and fries, but statistics show we’re crowding in on the Italians’ favorite: pizza!

Every second of the day, 350 slices of pizza are consumed. That means 1 in 8 Americans chow down on a slice of ‘za every day, regardless of race and gender.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, you may be surprised to learn that I most definitely contribute to these statistics too. In fact, I recently made the mornings of many college students when I told The Daily Meal that in my professional opinion, a slice of pizza can be a better breakfast option than a bowl of sugary flakes.

Coming from a nutritionist, this may shock you, but pizza doesn’t deserve to be demonized as junk food, the way it’s often portrayed. Sure, a greasy slice with extra pepperoni or a deep-dish meat lovers pie may not be your best bets, but pizza can actually be a nutritionally-balanced meal.

Pizza, the way it was originally designed, is pretty straightforward. It should have a simple crust, plenty of tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese. As explained, pizza contains a balance of the same 3 major nutrients we need to build a well-balanced and satisfying meal: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The crust is your carbohydrate, cheese contains protein and fat.

Then, don’t forget about the tomato sauce on top! Lycopene, potent in cooked tomatoes, like pizza sauce, gives each slice a boost of antioxidants. Antioxidants are small compounds that help negate oxidative stress, a common cause of inflammation in the body. Diets rich in lycopene have been linked to reduced risk of infertility and chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, plus a lower incidence of prostate cancer.

One tablespoon of pizza sauce, the approximate amount in one average slice, contains almost 2,000 mcg of lycopene. According to the USDA, that’s the equivalent of eating one-half cup cherry tomatoes!

Of course, some versions of pizza can be more nutritious than others, so here are 5 steps to build a healthier pizza pie:

  1. Choose a Whole Wheat Thin Crust, If You Can

Whole grains contain more fiber than refined white flour, which is better for your health. Choosing a thin crust also helps manage your portion size.

  1. Lather on Tomato Sauce

Skip the white pie, and opt for extra tomato sauce. This will help keep your overall calories in check, but as previously mentioned, this antioxidant boost will promote good health too.

  1. Ask For “Light” Cheese

Do as the Italians do, and go light on the cheese. Cheese is a good source of protein, which promotes satiety and fullness, but does contain a decent amount of saturated fat, which is not as beneficial for your heart health.

  1. Add Extra Veggies for Good Measure

Skip the meat toppings and load up your pie with veggies instead. Vegetables will add even more flavor, vitamins and minerals, and fiber to keep you full for a longer period of time.

  1. Enjoy Every Bite!

Eliminate distractions while eating and savor every bite of your slice for an overall healthier dining experience.


Chelsey Amer Head Shot

Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN is a New York City-based registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindful weight management and disease prevention, helping individuals break up with dieting and find their food freedom. When Chelsey is not helping clients, she is developing deliciously nutritious, food-allergy friendly recipes, and photographing every bite for her healthy food blog,!

Thin Crust Spinach Pizza (Ready in under 30 minutes)

Thin Crust Spinach Pizza (Ready in under 30 minutes)

Yes, pizza CAN be a health food! This recipe for Thin Crust Spinach Pizza is ready in under 30 minutes and is filled with nutritious ingredients, vitamins, and minerals!

Spinach is awesome! And as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I want to celebrate everyday like it’s national spinach day. And spinach, tomato sauce and cheese? One of the best combos. I’ve cooked up a super quick and easy dinner recipe for spinach pizza that I’d love to share with you. I’m a fan of healthy convenience – that means cooking from scratch when you can, shopping for healthy packaged foods, and using time-savers to get dinner on the table pretty darn fast. My shortcuts here? Frozen chopped spinach, jarred pizza or marinara sauce, pre-crumbled feta, and whole-wheat flatbread. No need to rinse, sauté, boil, mince, crumble, mess up six pots and pans, or roll out dough that clearly has no interest in flattening out. If you’d like to sub the shortcuts for homemade dough or fresh spinach or some other ingredients, I know it’s going to taste awesome, I have no doubts. But these shortcuts are great for busy nights and dishwashing-haters like me.

Indulge me for a second while I opine about spinach. I load this pizza up with the stuff. Why? Well, 2 cups is 89% water, which means it’s naturally low-calorie and filling. For just 129 calories, you get 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber, which helps you feel satisfied, and supports muscle growth and development and bowel regularity. To get the same amount of protein, you’d need to eat 6 slices of turkey and you wouldn’t get any fiber. Plus, those 2 cups of spinach are high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin E, and a good source of zinc and vitamin C. And bonus – the vitamin C in the pizza sauce will enhance iron absorption!

So here’s the recipe. Perfect for a busy night. Fun to make with kids. Great for singles. Or couples. Or parties.

Thin Crust Spinach Pizza (Ready in under 30 minutes)


Yes, pizza CAN be a health food! This recipe for Thin Crust Spinach Pizza is ready in under 30 minutes and is filled with nutritious ingredients, vitamins, and minerals!


  • 1 whole wheat flatbread or lavash (I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash bread)
  • 1/4 cup good pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • 2 cups frozen, chopped spinach, cooked. Squeeze out excess water.
  • 3 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees FahrenheitLine a baking sheet with tinfoil.
  2. Pre-crisp the flatbread by baking it for 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes total).
  3. Spread the marinara on the toasted flatbread, leaving a 1-inch border of crust.
  4. Cover evenly with chopped spinach.
  5. Arrange the artichokes on the spinach.
  6. Add chopped mozzarella.
  7. Sprinkle feta cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the goat cheese is slightly brown and the mozzarella has melted.

Caroline Kaufman MS, RDN is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, freelance writer, blogger and media spokesperson. Her advice has been featured in Health, EatingWell, Real Simple, Fox News, PBS Parents, upwave, and Food and Nutrition Magazine. Caroline loves to help busy people achieve their nutrition goals without adding stress; if you like the sound of that, check out her blog and follow her on TwitterPinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

A Dietitian Goes to Pizza Expo

A Dietitian Goes to Pizza Expo

A Dietitian Goes to Pizza Expo

Have you ever been to a pizza expo? Dietitian Leslie Schilling attended the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas and shared her experience with us. Check out her video to see what went down at the expo!

By Leslie Schilling, MA, RDN, CSSD

Pizza has been a family-favorite meal for decades. This isn’t only true for my family but families across the United States. From time-to-time, this literally well-rounded meal catches flack for being on the not-so-healthy list. I believe that all foods can be a part of a family’s wellness routine and pizza is no exception.

At this year’s International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, NV, I had the pleasure of interviewing award-winning pizza makers and pizza enthusiast from around the world. And it seems we’re all in agreement. From the cost-effective nutrition provided from canned tomatoes and sauce to the delicious digestibility of slow-fermented dough, pizza isn’t just a favorite family meal, it can also be a healthy one.

Cauliflower Pizza Muffins

Cauliflower Pizza Muffins

Did someone say delicious bite-sized cheese cauliflower pizza muffins, that are actually healthy, waistline-friendly and easy to prep for a busy weeknight dinner? We sure did—and we’re signing you up for a delicious mouthful of these little guys! As you may know if you’ve read our blogs, we often mention how we grew up in a healthy household where our parents were basically hippies (minus the drugs) with our mom cooking everything from scratch, especially her granola, and our dad doing something athletic outdoors, so you may be surprised to know that EVERY Thursday night was pizza night! Woohooo!! Of course, our mom made it herself– kneaded her homemade whole wheat dough after waiting for the yeast to rise, whipped her yummy sauce together starting with a splash of olive oil, adding canned tomatoes and fresh spices and then letting us add our own veggie toppings. No Domino’s Pizza here, folks!  Yes, our pizza was a tougher crust (and as our brother would say in hopes of a softer crust, “Can you use half white flour?” 😉 ), fiber-filled creation, but even as picky kids, we didn’t mind it—because it was PIZZA!

And now one of our top requests from our clients (and from you) is to be able to enjoy pizza without feeling like its’ hurting efforts to be healthy, or to lose a few pounds, when that’s your goal.  When dining out, we show our clients how to indulge and to meet their goals–and dining in, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves– some that we learned from our mom, and some new ones including our newest creation, these Cauliflower Pizza Bites!  These unbelievable little nips are an ooey-gooey, super satisfying, weight loss recipe that makes your taste buds happy and fills you up, leaving you feeling light, with just 120 calories yet with 12 satisfying grams of protein in 6 pizza bites. You can enjoy these and know they’re actually good for you!