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Margherita Pizza vs. Regular Cheese Pizza vs. Neapolitan vs. Marinara vs. Caprese Pizza

By Lucy Yanckello, Ph.D.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who does not enjoy a good slice of pizza. This cheesy bread topped with tomato sauce is a favorite treat among many people. This article will explain the difference between types of pizza and which are healthier than others.

What is a Margherita pizza?

Margherita pizza dough is made with flour, salt, and yeast and topped with fresh basil, tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, garlic, and mozzarella. The tomatoes are sliced and put onto the dough, followed by the garlic and basil, and then rounds of sliced mozzarella. Margherita pizza is drizzled with olive oil and sea salt before baking. It is cooked on a high temperature taking only minutes to cook. When made correctly, Margherita pizza is crispy and not greasy.

What is the difference between Margherita pizza and Neapolitan pizza and caprese pizza?

Margherita pizza is a variety of Neapolitan pizza, which can have many toppings and variations. Neapolitan pizza has specific requirements for ingredients, size, construction of the dough, and the way it is cooked. The dough is made with flour, water, salt, and yeast. The flour used must be type 00, type 0, or a mix of the two. In Europe, flour is characterized by how finely it is milled. Type 0 and 00 flour are the finest ground, with a consistency like baby powder. The finer a flour is ground, the smoother the dough, resulting in a softer baked product. The tomatoes traditionally are from San Marzano or from the volcano plains south of Mount Vesuvius. 

Caprese pizza is similar to Margherita pizza in that the toppings are mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. However, caprese pizza uses a mozzarella known as buffalo milk mozzarella that has higher moisture content, so it is less likely to shrink when heated. Additionally, the cheese on caprese pizza is shredded instead of sliced. Caprese pizza is also a variety of Neapolitan pizza.

What is the difference between Margherita pizza and marinara pizza?

Marinara pizza differs from Margherita pizza because marinara pizza just uses tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and oil. There is no cheese on marinara pizza unlike on caprese and margherita pizza, which both use mozzarella cheese as a topping. Marinara pizza is still considered to be a type of Neapolitan pizza.

What is the difference between Margherita pizza and regular pizza and cheese pizza?

If made correctly, Margherita pizza is authentic Neapolitan cuisine, whereas cheese pizza is a product of the United States. One of the first differences is that regular and cheese pizza do not have to be made with the 00/0 flour, which is a characteristic of the Margherita pizza. Any wheat flour will work for regular cheese pizza. Additionally, Margherita pizza is always made with a thin crust (around 3 mm), whereas regular cheese pizza can be made with various crust heights. With cheese pizza, the cheese is shredded, rather than sliced, and often more types of cheese are used than just mozzarella. With regular pizza, many toppings can be used other than just tomato, cheese, and basil, such as pepperoni, sausage, and other delicious toppings.

Is Margherita pizza the healthiest pizza? Is Margherita pizza healthier than regular pizza?

Margherita pizza, made the proper way, is made with fresh, clean ingredients that are not highly processed, and as a result, can be considered healthier than regular cheese pizza. Although mozzarella does have a pretty high fat content, it also has around 6 grams of protein and consists of 11% of the daily value of calcium per ounce. It also contains bacteria such as Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum that have been purported to improve gut health and decrease inflammation in your body. Additionally, tomatoes are a source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They’re also a major dietary source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. And unlike some regular cheese pizzas which have sugar added in the sauce, traditional Margherita pizza has no added sugar.

However, Margherita pizza, like its American counterpart, is high in sodium, so it should be enjoyed in moderation. Additionally, because the flour is ground so finely, most vitamins are no longer present, including B12, and micronutrients, including iron and zinc, are also lost.

Is Margherita pizza with whole wheat flour a healthier pizza?

Whole wheat flour generally has more health benefits than other types of flours. This includes increased dietary fiber, magnesium, selenium, B-vitamins, iron, and folic acid. It is safe to say that substituting whole wheat flour into a recipe will increase the health benefits, so Margherita pizza with whole wheat flour is a healthier pizza. However, would it still be considered Margherita pizza without the 00/0 flour? That's for you to decide!

Where can I buy frozen Margherita pizza online?

At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh baked goods that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for pizzas, breads, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular items include slow-fermented Margherita pizza, cheese tortellini, fresh fettuccine, and fresh tonnarelli. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.

 

About the Author

Lucy Yanckello received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She currently works as a medical writer and enjoys being able to help people better understand nutrition and science.

 

This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.

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