What You Need To Know About Wine And Pizza

So, you’re reading this article and you’re thinking: what? No way! Pizza and wine could never work! But that is a huge mistake, my friend, and certainly a travesty that you have been missing out on one or the other of the two delicious parts to a whole previous to this article. This said, you are not alone considering that pizza would not work with wine; but again, you are mistaken. Just because pizza may be considered a less formal food than what many consider of wine, does not mean that the flavors cannot work beautifully together. So, I dare you, read the guidelines below about pizza and wine pairings and try it for yourself. Trust me, you will thank me for this eye-opening experience.

Ok. So if you are like me, you always thought the only alcohol that tasted good with pizza was beer, right? Well, of course, it does, but that’s not all. Though beer and pizza may seem to be on the same wave lengths as far as simple flavors and price, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some wines out there that won’t bring out the flavors in pizza just as nicely, just differently. So stop thinking that pizza is for informal occasions and wine for formal events and start opening your mind to a whole new world of taste experience: one that crosses boundaries and for good cause!

Red Sauce Pizza: When considering pairing your favorite wine with pizza, and wondering if it is a huge faux pas to the wine appreciation world, consider this: pizza is pretty darn close in ingredients to pasta, and pasta dishes are one of the best things noted to pair with wine. This said, what goes best with your standard red sauce pizza with mozzarella and toppings? Treat the acid of the tomato sauce with an acidic red wine for the optimum flavor extravaganza. Try some medium bodied to bold, acidic reds such as: Chardonnay, Chiante, Cabernet, Shiraz, Sangiovese, or even a powerful Zinfandel.

White Sauce Pizza: If you are more of a white pizza fan-that is someone who leaves out the tomato sauce when serving up the slices-then you certainly have your own set of options for wine as well. Since the pizza has light and mild flavors, try a light and mild wine-preferably white to bring out the full flavors in each of the pieces to the tasting experience. Good examples of light white wines that would work great with white pizza are: Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, and Pinot Grigio.

Whatever you opt for in the wine aisle of your favorite store, try to remember that though pizza is not chopped liver, pre-made pizza is certainly is not something as refined and sophisticated as culinary creations go, so you shouldn’t splurge on that super expensive red or white you have your eye on. Instead, save that wine experience for something that is a bit more complex in flavor-such as perfect crust pizza made in a proper Californo pizza oven.


Make Your Own Low-Sodium Pizza

Delicious and Healthy Alternative Italian Favorite


The basics of a pizza are fairly simple, and generally are healthful ingredients. There’s the crust, the sauce, the meat, the cheese, and the seasonings. That’s where the “basics” end and the creative juices can begin flowing.

While you may have given up a weekly visit to Pizza Hut, California Pizza, Sbarro’s, or Domino’s, it is not the end of the world. You can put together a heart-healthy and fantastic tasting pizza that has half the sodium of the average cheese (no meat) pizza at any of these pizza parlors – and this recipe includes meat!

The Basic Pizza Ingredients and Their Sodium Content

  • Pizza Shell (one medium pizza for two people) – look for Mama Mary’s which has 186 mgs of sodium for 1/4 of 10″ crust. The average of other brands (i.e. Boboli) for 1/5 of crust (one slice) averages 330 mg of sodium.
  • Pizza-style tomato sauce – Ragu’s Pizza Sauce Homestyle has 260 mgs per 2.2 oz serving (compared to their Pizza Quick Traditional which has 380 mgs). Other brands may go as high as 780 to 800 mgs. of sodium.
  • Olive oil (extra-virgin) or canola oil – zero milligrams of sodium

Meat Toppings

  • Ground Beef – 90% lean, 85 mg sodium per 3 oz serving
  • Chicken – thigh meat, skinless, broiled, 46 mgs per thigh; white meat 3 oz. broiled, skinless, 64 mgs per serving
  • Italian sweet sausage – Perdue turkey sausage, grilled, 490 mgs per 3 oz serving (regular Italian sweet sausage may have up to 900 mgs per 3 oz serving.)
  • Pepperoni – hard to find a “low-sodium” brand, but Wegman’s Italian Classic deli Italian sausage is 480 mgs per 1 oz. serving. Use very sparingly, if you must!

Fruit and Vegetable Toppings

  • Onions – 0
  • Fresh tomatoes – 1 mg per thin small slice (.5 oz)
  • Mushrooms – 0
  • Artichoke hearts – 1/2 cup boiled, drained, no salt added, 80 mgs sodium
  • Pineapple – 0
  • Fresh basil – 0
  • Fresh spinach – 8 mg
  • Pesto – 1/4 cup, 720 mgs (may vary by brand, but is very salty.)
  • Pine nuts – 0


  • Provolone – Sargento, regular, full-fat, 1 slice (.7 oz) – 125 mgs sodium (reduced fat is 140 mgs) Alpine Lace Reduced Fat & Sodium – 190 mgs. (per 1 oz); shredded – Sargento Aged 1/4 cup – 240 mgs.
  • Mozzarella – fresh, 1 oz balls, 20 mgs. Kraft Natural Shredded, 2% Milkfat, 200mgs per 1 oz. Most part-skim mozzarella is between 175 and 200 mgs per oz.
  • Swiss Cheese – 1 oz. slice, 54 mgs; shredded, 1 cup (3.8 oz) 207 mgs
  • Parmesan – 1 tablespoon grated, 76 mgs (.2oz)

Toppings to be Avoided

  • Anchovies
  • Capers
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Hot Italian sausage
  • deli meats like ham, bologna, salami, bacon

Recipe for Home-Made Low-Sodium Pizza

Prepare your pizza oven.

  1. Use one 10″ shell, brushed with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Spread half of a jar of pizza sauce (7 oz.) over entire crust.
  2. Slice fresh tomato thinly, approximately eight slices, and place four on each half/side of pizza. (Two per slice).
  3. Slice the onion thinly, and separate the ring sections individually; place around pizza evenly.
  4. Brown 1/3 pound (approx. 6 oz) hamburger, (or use one cooked chicken thigh or 1/2 cooked chicken breast, skinless). Drain and distribute the finely-broken up ground beef around the pizza surface.
  5. Top with broken-up pieces of one slice of provolone, 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, or 1 oz fresh mozzarella. A combination of any of these is okay if you are careful to measure and take into account all amounts of sodium.
  6. Pineapple chunks, mushrooms, fresh basil leaves, and Italian spices such as oregano, basil, and black pepper, may be added to taste.

Grill the pizza directly on the oven rack placed in the center of the oven. Set the temperature according to directions on the package (start at 450 degrees, to preheat the oven, turn down to 425 and cook for 7-10 minutes.) Cut into 6 slices, 2 slices per serving. Serves 2-3.

Sodium totals will vary depending on the toppings you choose. The basic combination of sauce, olive oil, ground beef, tomato, onion, and Swiss cheese will be approximately 1100 mgs of sodium for 2 slices. If your diet restricts you to 2000 mgs daily or less, this is the amount in half a day’s allowance. A half of a cheese pizza (no meat) at a pizza fast-food chain averages 2100 mgs of sodium.

The pleasure in making your own low-sodium pizza is in the variety of toppings you can add to add interest to your diet, while being in control of your sodium intake. You don’t have to deny yourself the yumminess of “real” pizza!