A tuna and red onion pizza inspired by a traditional Italian recipe. Lightweight and delicious, this pizza is also high in protein.
Last year I went on a three-day trip to Venice, and on my first night there, I stumbled upon a place called Pizza Al Volo in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood, close to the Accademia. It was one of the few places open that late and we were famished after our flight, so my husband and I decided to share a pizza.
A pizza tonno e cipolla like no other
The place is a little takeaway gem, so we ordered a pizza with tuna and onion in a very broken Italian and ate it on a bench in the piazzetta nearby. It was without any shadow of a doubt the best pizza with tuna I had in my life.
The pizza was so good, we went back twice on a three-day trip, which says a lot, as there are so many places to eat in Venice your head spins. We don’t like to sit down for lunch when we travel because we feel we’re wasting precious time we could spend in museums or taking photos on the streets in the best light. So on two out of three days, we went to Pizza al Volo for a quick lunch. We tried other things on their extensive menu, but the pizza tonno e cipolla, as it’s called in Italian, was still the best.
You can see it pictured below.
Back home, I knew I had to recreate it. As usual, I used the thinnest homemade pizza crust known to man to cut down on calories. The base is so thin, an entire 26 cm pizza with all toppings on it has about 1,000 calories, which means I can have one for myself as a treat without feeling too guilty, especially when I’m on a two meals a day diet (which is most of the time these days).
So back to the pizza. I obviously tweaked it a bit and added some black olives because they really bring out the flavour of the tuna. The result is a thin, crispy pizza that is packed full of protein because of the tuna plus mozzarella combo. It’s also low fat because I use low-fat mozzarella. It doesn’t taste as good as the full-fat version but it’s a small price to pay to cut down on the calories.
How do you make pizza with tuna and red onion?
The tuna I like for this pizza is canned tuna in sunflower oil, very well-drained. I tried to make it with tuna in spring water to bring down the calories even more, but the taste just wasn’t there. So use tuna in sunflower oil, but make sure you drain it really well.
The dough I use is the same I use for all my pizzas (see my pizza with haggis and mushrooms recipe). You can make it by hand or in the bread maker. We love pizza so much in our home that I can’t be bothered to make it by hand most of the time. I know it’s not the Italian way to make pizza dough in a bread machine, but it’s not like I’m pretending this is an original Italian recipe.
As you can see from the pic above, the original version in Venice had white onion on it, but I changed it to red onion as I feel it brings out the flavor of the fish better. You can use either, it will still taste amazing.
For the dough
- 160 ml water
- 235 g strong white flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp dry yeast
For the topping
- 100 ml passata
- 1 tsp dry basil
- 125 g low-fat mozarella, well-drained
- 1 can tuna in sunflower oil, very well-drained
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 30 g black olives, pitted
Make the dough
- Add all the ingredients in the bread maker in the order recommended by the manufacturer and run the "dough" cycle. Some machines have a dedicated "pizza" setting. If yours has it, use that instead.
- Alternatively, make the dough by hand by adding all the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix them well, and gradually add the olive oil and water until you have a dough that's now sticky. Leave it to prove for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Assemble the pizza
- Heat the oven at 230 degrees Celsius.
- Mix the passata with the dry basil and season with salt and a pinch of black pepper.
- Roll the dough as thin as possible without tearing it. Place it on a pizza tray.
- Spread the sauce on the pizza.
- Add the mozzarella, torn by hand. Follow with the tuna, onion, and olives. Spread everything as evenly as you can.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 230 degrees Celsius or until the mozzarella is melted and the base is crisp.
When you roll the pizza dough very thin, it's possible to experience tearing. Finding the perfect thickness takes a bit of practice, so try again until you get it as thin as you prefer.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 454 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 43mg Sodium: 1289mg Carbohydrates: 51g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 24g