Most pizza gets branded as extremely unhealthy but Neapolitan wood fired pizza is different. It isn’t really thick and loaded with heaps of cheese and piles of fatty meat.
So compared to the average takeaway pizza, then yes, Neapolitan pizza is healthy.
In addition, there are types of Neapolitan pizza which are much healthier than others. Pizza Marinara, for example, contains no cheese. This is without doubt the healthiest pizza around! It is also one of the 2 most traditional Neapolitan pizzas, the other being the Pizza Margherita.
It’s all well and good debating this with myself but I think we need hard facts. To know for sure how healthy Neapolitan pizza is, we need to break it all down. So that’s what I’m going to do in this article!
I’m going to calculate nutritional value in pizza by breaking down the pizza into 3 basic parts:
By breaking the pizza down in this way, I can calculate the nutritional value in each part. Then I will combine them together to figure out the nutritional value in a range of Neapolitan pizzas.
I realise there are many other important nutritional values such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, salt, and vitamins among many others.
But I think in general most people consider the calorie count to be the most important nutritional value. After all, if we consume more calories than we burn, we put on weight. And vice-versa.
I will therefore focus on the calorie count as much as possible when trying to determine the nutritional value in Neapolitan pizza.
The dough used for every Neapolitan pizza is generally the same. Once we have calculated the calories in the dough, we can reuse the value for every type of Neapolitan pizza.
Calculating the calories in the dough is not easy though. This is because most flours don’t have nutritional values on the packet. In addition, all flours vary in their nutritional values.
Because of this, I took the average of a few different flours that I could find the values for. Each flour I used was a 00 flour, as this is typically the type used for Neapolitan pizza.
The table below shows the calories and carbohydrates found in the different flours:
|Flour (brand)||Calories (/100g)||Carbohydrates (/100g)|
The sources (with links) I used are listed below:
It is also worth noting that the average protein in these flours was 10g.
Taking an average of these values, we can see that there are about 350 calories in 100g of 00 flour.
The average carbs in 100g of 00 flour is 70g.
Now we need to calculate the amount of calories in a serving of Neapolitan pizza dough. I have classed a serving as a whole 10 inch pizza, which weighs around 250g.
First, we need to calculate how much flour is in this size portion, since there is also a lot of water in pizza dough. For Neapolitan pizza, there is typically a 60% water content (or hydration). This means there is about a 40% flour content.
(And of course there’s no calories in water!)
Therefore, in a 10 inch pizza there is about 100g of flour (40% of 250g).
In conclusion, there are on average 350 calories in Neapolitan pizza dough.
Typically, the same sauce is used for every type of Neapolitan pizza. Once we have calculated the nutritional value in pizza sauce, we can use this value for every type of Neapolitan pizza.
San Marzano tomatoes are traditionally used for Neapolitan pizza. Following on from the pizza dough, I also took the average of 3 different brands of tomatoes which I could find the values for.
The table below shows my findings:
|Tomatoes||Calories (/100g)||Carbohydrates (/100g)|
The sources (with links) I used are listed below:
So on average, there are about 20 calories in 100g San Marzano tomatoes.
In a classic Neapolitan pizza sauce, the tomatoes are simply seasoned with salt and pepper after being crushed or blended. Because there are no additions, the nutritional value of the sauce is the same as the tomatoes themselves.
We now just need to figure out how much sauce is used on a Neapolitan pizza. Typically, 2-3 tablespoons of sauce are used to top the pizza. Or on average, 2.5 tablespoons.
I found that 2.5 tablespoons equates to about 14.5g. Therefore, the amount of sauce used to top a pizza is about 26g (14.5 multiplied by 2.5).
In conclusion, there is an average of 5 calories in the tomato sauce on a Neapolitan pizza. That’s right, just 5 calories!
The healthiest pizza has to be the Marinara. The only toppings are tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. With no meat or dairy products at all, the Marinara is a delicious vegan pizza!
(And no, this is not a seafood pizza! Check out my article on classic Neapolitan pizzas here and find out why this is a myth.)
We have already determined that there are about 350 calories in a 10 inch pizza dough and just 5 calories in the tomato sauce. Now we just need to know how many calories are in the garlic, the oregano and the olive oil. Then we will know for sure how many calories are in a pizza Marinara.
According to the USDA, there are roughly just 4.5 calories in a clove of garlic. A Neapolitan marinara pizza typically has about 2 cloves of garlic on it. Rounding up a bit, the garlic on a Marinara pizza contributes on average 10 calories.
The amount of calories in a handful of oregano is negligible (basically 0). So we just need to find out how many calories are in a tablespoon of olive oil (generous drizzle).
According to the results of a survey published on the USDA website, there are about 120 calories in a tablespoon of olive oil. Wow, that’s quite a lot! You can’t really have a Neapolitan pizza without it though!
I have compiled a table below showing the calories in the calorie breakdown of a Neapolitan Marinara pizza:
|Total calories in Marinara pizza||465|
In conclusion, we can see that there are just 465 calories in a Neapolitan pizza Marinara.
That has actually surprised me. I might have to eat Marinara pizza more often!
Now for the one that everyone wants to know! How many calories in a whole Neapolitan Margherita pizza?
In a classic Margherita there are the following ingredients: dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. With no meat, the classic Margherita is a delicious vegetarian pizza.
We now know how many calories are in most of these ingredients. And a handful of basil has a negligible amount of calories in it, just like oregano.
So we just need to know how many calories are in mozzarella now. Being cheese, I feel this is where the calories are going to add up!
Fortunately though, a Neapolitan Margerita pizza typically uses only a modest amount of mozzarella, about 100g.
According to a survey published on the USDA website, there are around 300 calories in 100g of Mozzarella.
Wow, that has surprised me! That’s a lot of calories right there! That’s almost as many calories as there are in the dough.
The table below shows a breakdown of the calories in a Neapolitan pizza Margherita:
In conclusion, we can see that there are around 755 calories in a Neapolitan Margherita pizza.
It is worth noting here that some people (myself included) choose to add some grated parmesan to a Margherita for extra flavour. According to the USDA, adding 1-2 tablespoons of grated parmesan could add roughly 25-50 calories to your pizza.
Therefore, a Neapolitan Margherita pizza with both Mozzarella and Parmesan contains just under 800 calories.
Pepperoni pizza is strictly speaking not a traditional Neapolitan pizza. However, pepperoni and other similar types of salami are often used on Neapolitan style pizzas.
So let’s find out how many calories are in Neapolitan pepperoni pizza!
We have calculated everything we need to know really apart from the pepperoni itself.
Of course, different brands of pepperoni will vary in their calorie content so I’ve compiled a table below. The table shows the calories in 3 different brands of pepperoni:
|Pepperoni (brand)||Calories (/ 100g)||Carbohydrates (/100g)|
The sources (with links to USDA) I used are listed below:
From the table, we can see that the average number of calories in 100g of pepperoni is around 465.
I’m going to estimate that there are about 7 slices of pepperoni on a 10 inch Neapolitan pizza. I think this is reasonable, it equates to more than 1 slice of pepperoni per slice of pizza. 7 slices weigh roughly 13g.
Using this, we can deduce that the pepperoni on a pizza contributes around 60 calories (13% of 465).
We can now calculate the Neapolitan pepperoni pizza calories.
The table below shows a breakdown of the calories in a pepperoni Neapolitan pizza:
From the table above, we can see that on average a Neapolitan pepperoni pizza contains 815 calories.
As with the Margherita, should you choose to add grated parmesan to this, the calorie count jumps. With parmesan and mozzarella, a Neapolitan pepperoni pizza contains just less than 900 calories.
Pizza cosacca is a little known Neapolitan pizza which I though was worth mentioning as a healthier alternative to a Margherita. This pizza is a bit like a cross between a Margherita and a Marinara.
The Cosacca pizza is basically just a Margherita but with parmesan instead of mozzarella. The toppings consists of: tomato sauce, parmesan, basil, and olive oil.
Many people actually refer to this as a parmesan pizza. But to me Cosacca sounds a bit more fancy! And there is a nice backstory to it which I explain in this article.
Whilst this pizza does contain cheese, it’s worth noting that it is still a vegetarian pizza.
If we assume a generous 2 tablespoons of parmesan than the breakdown of calories in the Neapolitan Cosacca looks like this:
As we can see from the table above, a Neapolitan pizza Cosacca contains around 500 calories.
For those who are seeking a healthy Neapolitan pizza and are not vegan, this is a great option. The Cosacca is a relatively low calorie pizza, which is why I felt it was worth mentioning. It’s a delicious pizza too!
In general, the number of calories in 10 inch Neapolitan pizza range from around 450 calories to 900 calories. This is a wide range but of course the number of calories will depend on the toppings on the pizza.
A 10 inch Margherita Neapolitan pizza contains around 750 calories.
The pizza Marinara offers the lowest amount of calories in a 10 inch Neapolitan pizza, coming in at just 465 calories.
The Neapolitan pepperoni pizza contains the highest amount of calories in a 10 inch pizza, coming in at 900 calories.
The table below shows the number of calories in various 10 inch Neapolitan pizzas for easy reference:
|Pizza (type) – 10 inch||Calories (kcal)|
I think it’s safe to say that Neapolitan pizza won’t win any awards for it’s healthiness. However, Neapolitan pizza is nowhere near as unhealthy as takeaway pizza.
In addition, if you limit the amount of cheese and meat on the pizza then Neapolitan pizza is not actually that high in calories.
For those that are trying to limit their calorie intake, the Marinara pizza is the perfect option. Don’t be fooled by the lack of cheese, this Neapolitan pizza is still a thing of beauty!
If you’re planning on sharing then it’s definitely worth knowing how many calories are in 1 slice of Neapolitan pizza.
A 10 inch pizza is typically divided into 6 slices. We can easily find out the calories in 1 slice by diving the calories in a whole pizza by 6.
The table below shows the calories in 1 slice of Neapolitan pizza for easy reference:
|Pizza (type) – 1 slice||Calories (kcal)|
Obviously the number of calories depends massively on the toppings on the pizza. But on average there are around 120 calories in 1 slice of Neapolitan pizza.
Obviously the size of the pizza and the size of the slice varies massively. But the average Neapolitan pizza is around 10 inches in size.
Since there are typically 6 slices in a 10 inch pizza, we can divide the total number of calories in a parmesan pizza by 6.
Doing this shows us that there are around 85 calories in a parmesan pizza slice. Not bad!
You can also add a bit of garlic to that pizza and you’ll only add another 5 calories! Ahhh I love garlic!
Neapolitan pizza tends to be surprisingly reasonable in it’s calorie count. But if there’s one area where it lets itself down, it’s in the number of carbs. Being essentially bread with toppings, the carbs in Neapolitan pizza are quite high.
Although I mainly focused on the calorie count in this article, I have made note of the carbs. For people trying to limit their carbs or those on a low carb diet, the carbs in Neapolitan pizza is going to be very important.
The table below shows the breakdown in the number of carbs in a Neapolitan Margherita pizza:
From the table, we can see that there are around 73g of carbs in a Neapolitan Margherita pizza.
As we can see, essentially all the carbs come from the dough. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way to limit the carbs in Neapolitan pizza. Other than by eating less! Boooo!
At least if you are having Neapolitan pizza whilst on a low carb diet you can eat the cheese! Since there are very few carbs in cheese.
Carbs in most types of Neapolitan pizza are going to be similar. The toppings contain such a small fraction of the carbs compared to the dough.
Even pepperoni contains very few carbs. 7 slices of pepperoni, the amount used on a pizza, averages just 3.5g of carbs. So even if you have quite a lot of cheese and meat on your pizza, it wouldn’t push the carbohydrates up too much.
It’s safe to say that the maximum carbs in Neapolitan pizza sits at around 80g. That’s including all types of Neapolitan pizza, even those with meat and cheese on.
I think it’s clear from the research I did in this article that no two pizzas are the same. The healthiness of a pizza depends largely on its toppings.
Of course, no pizza is so healthy that you want want to eat it all the time. But eaten as a treat, it really isn’t as bad as most people think.
If you’re trying to keep your calorie count down then you still have options. You can treat yourself to a Marina or a Cosacca pizza and still consume less than 500 calories!
In my personal, unprofessional opinion, Neapolitan pizza eaten once a week is fine. It’s certainly good for your mental health! It tastes incredible!
So next time you’re tucking into a delicious Neapolitan pizza, don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t contain as many calories as you thought! (Or I thought!)
Now let’s get making pizza!
I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!
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