Healthy Deep-Dish Pizza Bagel Recipe

Back in middle school, my friends would gather at my house for my signature pizza bagel creations. After a long day of exams, a bad school lunch, and two hours of tennis practice, the crunchy-chewy combination delivered the perfect bagel oasis.

Last week I was feeling nostalgic for my favorite after-school snack, so I decided to reinvent it with a Healthy Deep Dish Pizza Bagel Recipe. This grown-up, healthy version starts with the crusty part of a whole-wheat bagel (toss the bready center to the birds), colorful red bell pepper, roasted garlic, and fresh basil, and is finished off with with bubbly mozzarella cheese. This recipe is a great way to revive day-old bagels.

Healthy Deep Dish Pizza Bagel Recipe
Servings: 1 very large pizza bagel (enough for 2 people to share)

1 large whole wheat bagel
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh skim mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free ricotta cheese
1 garlic bulb, roasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

(step-by-step photos below)
1. Use a bread knife and carefully slice off the very top of the bagel.
2. Use your hand to scoop out the inner dough, being careful to leave the outside of the bagel intact.
3. Blend the ricotta cheese, roasted garlic (tailor the amount to your liking), fresh basil, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
4. Brush the inside of the bagel with olive oil.
5. Layer in all of the ingredients. First, ladle a thin layer of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom and sides of the bagel, Then spread a thin layer of the ricotta cheese mixture. Add the diced pepper and sprinkle some of the parmesan. Repeat until the bagel is almost stuffed. Layer the top with mozzarella and more parmesan cheese.
6. Bake the pizza bagel in a toaster oven until the outside of the bagel is light brown and crisp on the edges and the bottom and the cheese is melted and bubbly on top, about 5 minutes. (Note: Feel free to bake the pizza bagel in the oven, even better, on a pizza stone).
7. Arrange fresh basil leaves on top, optional.

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