The Windy City

8 Apr

JWD and I live in St. Louis- a city full of distinct neighborhoods like The Central West End, The Hill, and Soulard, each offering their own hidden gems to explore. It’s a great city, especially for a foodie like myself, but…

There is a special place in our hearts for another city…


Chicago has always been a big part of my life. Born into a family full of die-hard Cub’s fans, I was a frequent visitor from a very young age. It feels like a home away from home.

As soon as we took our first Chicago trip together, JWD fell in love too.

We try to visit at least once a year and we’ve formed many fond memories there. From concerts, to museum visits, to neighborhood food crawls, it truly is one of our favorite cities.

Maybe it’s the progressive nature, maybe it’s the great public transportation system, maybe it’s the lakefront running path, maybe it’s the many, many JCrew and Lululemon stores. πŸ™‚

Or maybe…

… it’s the pizza.

My favorite part of visiting a new city is exploring the food culture, and deep-dish pizza is a necessity when we visit Chicago. Chicago-style pizza is typically made in a deep round pan, so the crust acts as a bowl for insane amounts of cheese, sauce and toppings. It is usually layered with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top. It is thick, heavy, and jam-packed with calories- definitely an indulgence.

One lazy spring break day, the longing for deep-dish struck me. Perhaps I was longing for a vacation to my favorite city. Whatever the reason, I decided to listen to my craving and concoct a healthified version of my beloved deep-dish in my own kitchen.

Healthified Deep Dish Pizza


The Crust:

  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (equal to one package)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil + more for greasing pan and coating crust
  • Cornmeal for dusting skillet (optional)

The Toppings:

  • Cheese of choice (I used organic mozzarella and parmesan)
  • Veggies of choice (I used red onion, broccoli, jalapenos, mushrooms, and baby spinach)
  • Pizza or pasta sauce of choice (I always blend a can of whole peeled tomatoes with seasonings)
  • 1/2 block of tempeh


  • Stir the yeast and warm water together until the yeast dissolves.
  • Add sugar, salt, and 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Slowly add flour and ground flaxseed, stirring until a dough is formed.
  • Shape dough into a ball and knead on a floured surface until dough springs back when poked (about 3-5 minutes). Continue to add flour so dough is workable and not sticky.
  • Place dough ball in a bowl, coat with a light drizzle of olive oil, and cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap.

  • Let rise for 1 hour.
  • While dough is rising, preheat oven to 450* and prepare toppings and sauce.Β If using tempeh, simply crumble tempeh into sauce by hand.
  • Prepare cast-iron skillet by lightly coating it with olive oil and dusting it with cornmeal (cornmeal is optional).
  • After 1 hour…

  • … punch the dough down and shape it to fit into your cast-iron skillet. I found that this dough made a little too much crust for me, so I pinched off about 1/4 before shaping it into the pan. I refrigerated this 1/4 of the dough and used it to make a mini pizza later in the week.

  • When dough is evenly spread in the skillet, lightly brush it with olive oil and pre-bake it in the oven until you see the first hints of browning (about 10-15 min).
  • Top the pre-baked crust with a layer of cheese, then veggies, then sauce.

  • Put the pizza back into the oven and bake until the crust browns and the sauce appears hot and bubbly (about 10-15 min).

  • Slice into 6-8 pieces and enjoy!

Pre-race dinner, perhaps?

See you tomorrow for a little pre-race post! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


4 Responses to “The Windy City”

  1. Jenny April 8, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Yummy that pizza looks amazing πŸ˜€

    • Jess April 8, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      Yum! You are making me VERY excited to move to Chi town in June!!! πŸ™‚

  2. emily April 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I love Chicago, too. Lots of great memories. πŸ™‚ I love your glasses!

    And your version of deep dish pizza looks amazing.

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