Five simple low-carb pizza crust options
When I first had to switch to a low-carb diet, for various boring medical reasons, the food I missed most was pizza.
I Googled “low carb pizza” and tried many of the recipes. I have tried making pizza crust from scratch with bases of cheese, bases of ground meat and cheese, flax and other flours, sliced deli turkey meat, and, of course, cauliflower. I have failed, failed miserably each and every time. I kept trying because pizza is my number one favorite food, and I was getting pretty frustrated.
It would come out soggy, or crumbly, or overly crisp, or too meaty. And however I made it, there was one huge elephant-sized problem — it took time and effort. I’ve got other things to do than cook, food process, and squeeze water out of cauliflower.
A few months ago, though I noticed that my local supermarkets started carrying low-carb flatbreads. Hallelujah! It was as if the skies had opened up, a rainbow shone down, and a horde of angels played a trumpet fanfare.
Now it takes just a couple of minutes for me to have a small pizza in the comfort of my own home, about as long as it would have taken to heat up a microwave pizza.
What I normally do is buy the lowest-carb pasta sauce in the store to use for sauce, or use pesto for even lower carb counts. Then add cheese, and all my usual toppings, most of which are typically zero or very low carb.
I pop it in the toaster oven for a few minutes — just long enough for the cheese to melt. And then I enjoy the deliciousness.
At my closest supermarkets, these flatbreads are actually in several different places, so they’re easy to miss. One brand is in the bread aisle. Another is at the deli counter. Others are in with the tortilla wraps. So keep an eye out and check the labels — remember to subtract the total grams of dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate number to get the net carbs.
Here is my roundup of what’s available in my area.
I’ve actually found several brands of flat breads or wraps in my local stores that are pretty low-carb and make for nice — okay, usable — pizza crusts.
My favorite is the Flatout, with 6 grams of net carbs per flatbread: https://www.flatoutbread.com/products/flatout-wraps/flatout-light/light-original/
I just put a tablespoon of the lowest-carb tomato sauce I can find on it, then cheese and the other toppings. The Flatout crust is roughly comparable to that of a very thin-crust single-serving frozen pizza. I buy it at my local Stop & Shop and Big Y stores, but this is a national brand, so should be available almost anywhere.
It’s not gluten-free, obviously — wheat is the first major ingredient. It seems to compensate for the carbs in the wheat by adding in a lot of fiber and protein. That’s fine with me, and doesn’t kick off carb cravings or cause any of the other bad things that happen when I accidentally eat too many carbs.
I use these in more ways than just for pizza, so I always keep some in the fridge.
Aldi also makes their own version of a low-carb flatbread, the Aldi Fit & Active Flatbread, with just 5 grams of net carbs. I actually prefer the taste of these to the Flatouts, and the fact that it’s cheaper doesn’t hurt.
My nearest Aldi is a bit of a drive, though, so I usually go with the Flatouts.
Another one of my favorites is the Kontos Greek Lifestyle Flatbread.
The Kontos Flatbread has 12 net grams of carbs, and is smaller around than the Flatout, but it is thicker and chewier. Very nice for a single-person snack, if the rest of the day has been light on the carbs.
If I’m really craving pizza, the Kontos is the one that comes closest to tasting like a real pizza when I cover it with toppings and pop it into the toaster oven.
My local stores also carry several varieties of the Tumaro’s Low-in-Carb Let’s Skip the Sandwich wraps, which have 6 net grams of carbs each.
For a while, these wraps was all I could get, so I’ve eaten a lot of “pizzas” made with these. You have to go really really light on the toppings with them, though, since they’re basically tortillas, and not particularly substantial. When using them, I typically opted for the quesadilla version of pizza — top half with cheese and pepperoni, fold them over, and fry them.
Finally, there’s Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Square Lavash.
They’re just 8 net grams of carbs — the nutritional information on the label is for half a lavash, so don’t be fooled. I can find them at all my local supermarkets. And they’re pretty big, so I can see how they justify calling one two servings. However, they are also very very thin, so when I do make pizza out of them, I put a very tiny amount of pizza sauce or pesto on them. It comes out more like crackers.
In fact, these make great crackers if you toast them in a toaster oven. Why don’t they already come in cracker form? Is anyone paying attention?
Regular bread now comes in low-carb, too
On a slightly unrelated note, for regular sandwiches, Nature’s Own now has a low-carb bread, found in the regular bread aisle. It costs and tastes exactly like regular bread.
Nature’s Own Life Honey Wheat has just 13 grams of carbs for two slices. That might sound like a lot, but regular bread is typically twice as much — Sara Lee’s honey wheat is 12 net carbs a slice, or 24 for two slices.
And my local Stop & Shop sells their own generic version with similar carb counts.
I haven’t missed sandwiches as much as I’ve missed pizza, and had pretty much written them off. I’ve tried frozen low-carb breads from health food stores, and they were inedible. Whole Foods in my area has a low carb bread from When Pigs Fly, which just 6 grams of carbs per slice. The bread is heavy, a little too heavy for most sandwiches, and the slices are small. Plus, it’s extremely expensive and goes bad quickly. I used to keep it in the freezer and break off slices and toast them if I wanted to eat some bread. But it was better than no bread at all, and I was grateful.
With the Nature’s Own bread, I can buy it in my regular supermarkets, for regular bread prices, and eat it the way I would normally eat bread. In fact, it tastes so normal that the person I live with who isn’t on a low carb diet can’t tell the difference and will eat it, too. With the When Pigs Fly bread, I’d secret it away because it was so expensive and I because had to go out of the way to get it. With Nature’s Own, I don’t mind if everyone eats it up.