Caesar salad pita pizzas combine two Italian restaurant favorites by topping a whole grain pita pizza with Caesar salad and dressing made with California ripe olives.
“I received free samples of California Ripe Olives mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Ripe Olives and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
As someone who is endlessly fascinated by other cultures cuisine, you know the Mediterranean diet is something I totally get behind. Delicious food? Check. Focus on plants? Check. All the healthy fats? Double check.
Not only that, but Mediterranean food is approachable and enjoyed by most people. I mean, what kind of sick person doesn’t like Italian food? Not someone I want to be associated with! So if that’s you, go click that little red circle in the upper left corner of your screen.
The only problem with the Mediterranean diet is that our Americanized version of it is very different from the real Mediterranean diet. Yes, I’m sorry to say when we talk about a Mediterranean diet, we’re not referring to the menu at Olive Garden. Real Mediterranean food is spaghetti in clam sauce, polenta casseroles with local greens and feta, and stuffed vegetables with a creamy tahini sauce. Oh, and lots and lots of olives.
There’s always talk of what specific factor in the Mediterranean diet makes it so healthy. Some say it’s the red wine (I like these people). Others claim it’s the fresh, local greens. Still others think it’s the emphasis on plants over meat. Most likely, it’s a combination of factors that makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy. But I suppose if you forced me to choose one thing, I’d say it’s the olives.
- California ripe olives are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, the kind that raises the good cholesterol and lowers the bad.
- Black olives contain antioxidant vitamin E (.25 mg) which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
- 1 cup of black olives contains 25% daily value iron, important for the prevention of anemia.
- Olives contain a unique set of pytonutrients. One called oleuropein is found exclusively in olives. It’s been shown to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and act as an antioxidant.
This pita pizza salad combines two of the most familiar items on an Italian food menu and does it in a much healthier way. It’s kind of a healthier take on the Macaroni Grill version of Italian food. I love to use whole grain pitas as an easy pizza base. No, it’s not the same thing as a freshly baked crust, but you know what? It works! To make a lightened Caesar dressing, I used plain yogurt and actual olives versus olive oil, which provide a similar creamy texture, flavor and nutrients with less calories. This recipe makes a little extra, so I saved the rest to make a big kale Caesar salad with hard boiled eggs and roasted potatoes to use up some food we had in the house before going on vacation.
- Olive Caesar Dressing:
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup plain organic yogurt
- ¼ cup California ripe olives
- 1 anchovy (optional)
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup whole California ripe olives
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Shaved parmesan (optional)
- 4 whole grain pita breads
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 ounces parmesan cheese
- First, make the dressing. Place garlic clove in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. Season with plenty of black pepper (it should have enough salt).
- Next, make the pizzas. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Brush mixture lightly over pita breads. Sprinkle pitas with parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted.
- While pizza is baking, toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup dressing and toss to coat.
- Top pita with salad and serve with more dressing.
More Mediterranean recipes featuring black olives: