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Nutrition Matters: Throw veggies and pizza on the grill this summer

By Katy Kaufman

With summer on the horizon, I am starting to gather together my favorite recipes to grill on the barbecue. One of the simplest ways to use the barbecue is to grill vegetable kabobs with garlic and olive oil. Some of my favorite vegetables to grill:

  • Sliced zucchini
  • Corn
  • Mushrooms
  • Red and orange bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant

This month’s featured recipe is a barbecued chicken pizza that is grilled on the barbecue and features spinach and chopped green and red onions. Cooking on the barbecue gives the pizza a delicious, smoky flavor.

This recipe also incorporates pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough that I bought from Trader Joe’s — find it in the refrigerated section. For only $1.19, it makes this recipe budget friendly and very simple to make. Of course you can always make homemade whole-wheat pizza dough, which would work just as well.

I would suggest prepping all of your ingredients beforehand and having them close by so that you can easily top the pizza directly on the grill.

Pizza on the BBQweb

Pizza’s versatility makes it a great option. (Photo by Katy Kaufman)

Whole-Wheat Chicken Pizza on the Barbecue
Serves 3

1 bag whole-wheat pizza dough

5 boneless, skinless chicken tenders, grilled and cut into strips

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup BBQ sauce

2 cups spinach

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1/3 cup sliced red onion

¼ cup cilantro

Start by cooking your chicken tenders on the grill until fully cooked (to an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Cut chicken tenders into strips and set aside. Keep grill hot at roughly 550 degrees.

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface into a rectangular shape. Brush one side of the dough with the olive oil until thoroughly covered.

Place the oiled surface of the dough face down on the grill. Cook for two to three minutes until grill marks appear. Use tongs and a metal spatula to quickly flip the dough.

Once you flip the dough, immediately apply a thin layer of barbeque sauce and sprinkle the green onions, red onions, spinach and chicken onto the pizza. Finish by sprinkling a thin layer of cheese on top. Close the grill and allow to cook for four to six minutes until cheese is melted.

Once cheese is melted and the crust appears golden brown, remove the pizza and allow to cool for five minutes. Top with cilantro and serve.

—Katy Kaufman is a candidate for a master’s degree in nutritional sciences at San Diego State University. She also works as a diet technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa and teaches nutrition education courses at the Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. Visit her website at

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