Q: When making pizza, can I just substitute lowfat or fat-free cheese as a topping? Or would it turn out to be a waxy, pathetic mess?
A: It’s not surprising that when it comes to pizza, the biggest offender in terms of fat and calories is the topping of gooey cheese. Whole-milk mozzarella contains 90 calories and 7 grams of fat per ¼ cup shredded. As a healthy move, it would make sense to cut calories and fat with substituting in lower-fat mozzarellas—however, the question is whether it would also compromise flavor and texture.
Off the bat, we dismissed fat-free mozzarella—while it contains no fat and just 45 calories per ¼ cup shredded, its flavor is very bland and its texture is rubbery. Part-skim weighs in at 80 calories and 6 grams of fat per ¼ cup shredded. Reduced-fat mozzarella also contains 80 calories but only 4.5 grams of fat. The flavor and texture of part-skim turned out to be the favorite of our tasters whether melted on pizza or eaten out of hand.
Granted, using part-skim over whole-milk mozzarella might not seem like a lot of fat and calorie savings, but when you’re watching every calorie and gram of fat, even a little can make a big difference. As for brand, we prefer Kraft Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella, which baked up “fresh” and “flavorful” on pizza (try it on the recipe below) and tasted “rich” and “tangy” on its own.