Are Margarita flatbreads healthy?

Margherita flatbread has become an increasingly popular appetizer or light meal. Made with simple ingredients like bread dough, tomatoes, cheese, and herbs, margherita flatbread can seem like a fresh and wholesome choice. But are margherita flatbreads actually healthy? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts.

What are Margherita Flatbreads?

Margherita flatbreads are a type of flatbread or pizza made with just a few key ingredients: bread dough, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. The toppings are meant to replicate the colors of the Italian flag – red from the tomatoes, white from the mozzarella, and green from the basil.

Traditional margherita flatbread is made with pizza dough that is stretched out thin, brushed with olive oil or sauce, and then topped simply with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil leaves, salt, and pepper. It is then baked until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Some variations on margherita flatbread may include garlic, onions, or oregano added to the oil or sauce. The flatbread may also be made with dough other than pizza dough, such as naan, lavash, or Greek pita bread. The main defining factors of margherita flatbread are the classic tomato, cheese, and basil topping combination.

Nutrition Profile of Margherita Flatbread Ingredients

To determine if margherita flatbread is healthy, we need to look at the nutritional value of each of its main ingredients:

Bread Dough

– Made from refined grains, which have had the nutrient-rich bran and germ removed during processing. This leaves mostly starch.

– Refined grains are higher in carbs and calories but lower in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals compared to whole grains.

– Still provides some nutrients like iron, B vitamins, selenium. Amount depends on the type of flour used.


– Excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene may promote heart health.

– Also provide vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and some vitamin A.

– Low in calories – about 20 calories in 1 medium tomato.

– Contain carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars but the calorie and carb count remains low.

Mozzarella Cheese

– Primary nutrient is protein – 1 oz of mozzarella provides about 7g protein.

– Also contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc.

– High in saturated fat and calories – 1 oz has nearly 6g saturated fat and over 80 calories.


– Source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and flavonoids like antioxidants.

– Minimal calories and carbs.

– Adds fresh flavor and aroma.

So in looking at the main ingredients, we can see that margherita flatbreads provide protein, some vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and lots of flavor. But the refined grains and high-fat cheese also add significant calories. Portion size will be important for keeping margherita flatbread healthy.

Full Nutrition Facts for Margherita Flatbread

Now let’s look at the full nutrition facts for a typical margherita flatbread serving:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 358
Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Protein 15.1g
Carbohydrates 57.2g
Fiber 2.4g
Sugar 3g
Sodium 744mg
Calcium 197mg
Iron 2.7mg
Potassium 139mg
Vitamin C 4mg

Based on this nutrition data for a 6-inch margherita flatbread:

– Calories are fairly high at 358 per flatbread, from the refined dough and high-fat cheese. A good portion of these come from carbohydrates.

– Fat provides about 20% of calories, which is within but on the high end of recommendations. Also high in saturated fat.

– Fiber content is low at only 2.4g – a better target is 25-30g daily. The refined grains provide almost no fiber.

– Sodium is very high at 29% of the daily value. Most of this comes from the cheese.

– Nutrient highlights are protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron.

So in looking at the full nutrition profile, we can see that margherita flatbreads are relatively high in calories, refined carbs, sodium, and saturated fat. They do provide some beneficial nutrients but lack fiber.

Are Margherita Flatbreads Healthy?

Based on the nutrition facts, margherita flatbread falls into more of an occasional treat category rather than a truly healthy option. The white flour and cheese provide a lot of calories, sodium, and saturated fat for the amount of nutrients.

However, margherita flatbread can be a healthier option in moderation and with some modifications:

– Opt for a whole wheat pita or naan bread instead of white pizza dough, for more fiber and nutrients.

– Load up on the veggies by adding tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushrooms. Go easy on the cheese.

– Ask for part-skim mozzarella instead of full-fat to cut down on saturated fat.

– Include a side salad to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

– Stick to a single portion rather than multiple flatbreads.

– Avoid adding things like garlic bread, fries, or sugary drinks as sides.

Ultimately, an occasional margherita flatbread can be part of a healthy diet, but balance and moderation is key. While tasty, it lacks nutritional benefits compared to meals prepared with more whole foods.

Healthy Homemade Margherita Flatbread Recipe

To make margherita flatbread healthier at home:


– 1 (6-inch) whole wheat naan or pita

– 3 tablespoons pizza sauce or marinara sauce

– 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

– 1/4 cup diced white onions

– 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

– pinch of dried oregano

– pinch of red pepper flakes

– 2 tablespoons shredded part-skim mozzarella

– 2-3 small basil leaves


1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400°F.

2. Spread pizza/marinara sauce evenly over naan/pita.

3. Top with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, oregano, pepper flakes.

4. Add mozzarella.

5. Bake for 5 minutes until naan is crispy and cheese is melted.

6. Remove from oven and top with torn basil leaves.

This homemade version contains more vegetables, less cheese, and uses a whole grain pita bread. The nutrition facts are much improved:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 330
Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Protein 14g
Carbohydrates 56g
Fiber 5g
Sugar 3g
Sodium 344mg
Calcium 100mg
Iron 2mg
Potassium 146mg
Vitamin C 4mg

The whole grain pita, extra vegetables, and reduced cheese:

– Cut calories by 10%

– Decreased fat intake, especially saturated fat

– Maintained protein and carbs

– Increased fiber 3x

– Reduced sodium by over 50%

This nutrient profile makes for a much healthier, well-rounded margherita flatbread that can be enjoyed more regularly as part of a balanced diet.

Healthy Mediterranean Margherita Flatbread Variations

In addition to lightening up the classic recipe, some other healthy ways to adapt margherita flatbread include:

Mediterranean Pesto Margherita Flatbread

– Top with fresh spinach, tomatoes, part-skim mozzarella and basil

– Swap tomato sauce for pesto sauce

– Pesto provides heart-healthy fats from olive oil and nuts

Hummus Margherita Flatbread

– Spread hummus on flatbread and top with diced tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, basil

– Hummus offers protein and fiber

Chicken Mediterranean Margherita Flatbread

– Top flatbread with grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, spinach, feta, basil

– Lean protein from chicken

Shrimp Margherita Flatbread

– Add marinated grilled shrimp, roasted red peppers, basil, feta

– Excellent source of lean protein from shrimp

Eggplant & Tofu Margherita Flatbread

– Use baked tofu instead of cheese. Top with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, basil

– Higher protein, lower sodium, meatless

– Eggplant provides fiber, potassium, antioxidants

Vegetable Medley Margherita Flatbread

– Top with mixed vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach

– Boosts fiber, vitamins, minerals from extra veggies

So in addition to adjusting the classic recipe, Mediterranean and veggie-focused margherita variations can further improve the nutrition profile. This allows the flatbread to become a hearty, nutritious vegetarian meal.

Tips for Buying Healthier Margherita Flatbread When Dining Out

If purchasing margherita flatbread from a restaurant, here are some tips to make it a healthier choice:

– Opt for flatbread made with whole grains like whole wheat pita or naan. Avoid white pizza dough.

– Look for veggie-packed versions with things like spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, eggplant.

– Request light cheese or part-skim mozzarella instead of full-fat cheeses like fresh mozzarella.

– Ask for olive oil brushed on the crust instead of buttery sauces or spreads.

– Choose marinara over cream-based sauces like alfredo.

– Include a side salad and avoid fries, chips, or creamy dips and dressings.

– Stick to water, unsweetened tea, or a glass of wine over sugary drinks.

– Split an order with a friend or take half home to manage portion size.

– Check the menu and nutrition info online in advance to compare options.

With some simple substitutions and smart menu choices, margherita flatbread ordered at a restaurant can also be part of a healthy meal plan.

Healthy Eating Tips for Enjoying Margherita Flatbread

Here are some healthy eating tips to keep in mind if margherita flatbread is your go-to appetizer:

– Savor just 1-2 pieces as an appetizer portion rather than eating a whole flatbread.

– Balance it out by also filling half your plate with non-starchy veggies.

– Pair it with a leafy green side salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

– Opt for plant-based protein sources like chickpeas or lentils instead of animal proteins.

– Avoid adding on unhealthy fried appetizers like garlic bread, mozzarella sticks, or chicken wings.

– Steer clear of creamy, cheese-laden dips and sauces which ramp up calories and fat.

– Stick to water or unsweetened tea instead of liquid calories like soda, juices, or alcohol.

– Practice portion control and stop eating when you feel satisfied, not overly full.

By carefully choosing sides and ingredients, margherita flatbread can be worked into an overall healthy diet. Just be mindful of proportions and frequency as an occasional treat.

Are Margherita Flatbreads Healthy: The Verdict

Margherita flatbreads are certainly delicious, but based on their nutrition profile, they fall more into the “sometimes food” category rather than a health food. Traditional restaurant versions tend to be high in refined carbs, sodium, and saturated fat.

However, homemade recipes and restaurant choices can be adapted to make this tasty flatbread more nutritious. Choosing whole grain crusts, loading up on veggies, and limiting high-fat cheese improves the nutrition stats. Serving sizes also need to be kept reasonable as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

So realistically, margherita flatbreads should be enjoyed in moderation as part of an otherwise balanced, vegetable-focused diet in order to gain health benefits. By paying attention to ingredients and portions, flatbread lovers can feel good about an occasional indulgence.

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