Artichoke Mini-Pizza; protein – an alternative view

I had a little mascarpone cheese left after making the Rice & Asparagus Gratin the other day. It wasn’t enough for another gratin but it was just right for a pair of mini pizzas.

Plus it allowed me to use the last of a jar of Italian artichoke hearts I had used in a salad earlier.

Think of it as cleaning out the fridge….

Of course, there was also green garlic – it is still spring, after all

You could increase everything, probably four times, for a regular pizza.

Cut 2 single serving pieces out of the puff pastry and refrigerate the rest for another day. It will keep at least a week.

Artichoke Mini-Pizzas

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 3 artichoke hearts, sliced
  • 3 green garlic, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbs pesto rosso
  • puff pastry, cut 2 single serving squares, circles or wedges

Artichoke Mini Pizzas


  • Lay the cut pastry on a baking sheet.  Using a table knife, lightly score a line 1/3″ (1cm) inside the edge of the pastry.
  • Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  • Add green garlic and sauté briefly, about 2 minutes.
  • Divide the mascarpone and spread on each pastry out to the scored line.
  • Spread the pesto rosso on top of the mascarpone.
  • Top with artichoke hearts and green garlic.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven, 400F (200C), for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove and serve.

Print Recipe

For years I have been among the believers that protein is good and carbs are bad.

No longer…..

As part of our normal health care we get a battery of blood tests every year….

Last fall my test results showed ‘diminished kidney function’.

The doc said not to worry about it.

I worried anyway.

Then I did what anyone would do in this day – I immediately got on-line found out all sorts of stuff, some of which actually had value.

One of the things I learned was that an excess of protein can strain the kidneys. This is not a concern for healthy kidneys but is a concern if there is diminished function.

I didn’t think that could possibly be a problem for me as I don’t eat a lot of meat…. just a small serving for dinner. I decided to check out my diet anyway, to satisfy my curiosity,

The Powers That Be suggest an adult should have around 50 grams of protein per day.

I was consuming between 90 and 100 grams a day.


Only about a third was coming from meat; the rest was primarily diary along with all the other things that have protein – which is pretty much everything including most vegetables, all grains, and some fruits.

I decided to cut back on protein.

Being a serious carnivore, I wasn’t going to cut back on meat. I cut out the milk in my coffee (which turned out to be almost 3 litres of milk a week), stopped snacking on cheese and eliminated peanut butter. Those things dropped my protein intake by roughly 30 grams a day, down to 60 – 70 per day.

I may have made a few other minor adjustments….

The unexpected result was that I started to lose weight.

Then I was losing more weight than I wanted so I started the fun part – adding food to my daily diet.

First there was buttered toast along with my cereal for breakfast, then a mid-morning piece of fruit, then  a mid-afternoon piece of fruit, then potatoes or pasta at dinner. Remember, I was cutting back on protein….

I am now eating more carbs (which I also love) than I have in years and maintaining my weight easily.

As if that wasn’t enough of a benefit, I had the tests run again and my kidney function is the best it’s been in the 5 years of history I have.

In conclusion – I have nothing to say and have no idea what any of it all means. I just thought you might be intrigued.

And I’m perfectly happy drinking my coffee black, although I am seeking out better coffee.

Last update on May 5, 2017

5 thoughts on “Artichoke Mini-Pizza; protein – an alternative view”

  1. Very interesting column, not only your results but the actions you took and the results you saw. Most surprising to me is that kidney function was a part of the “normal annual” blood work you received.

    • Chuck, the French are really quite good with preventive care – we get a complete physical every 5 years, too. I was a bit surprised with my findings myself… Carbs have been demonized and protein worshiped for a very long time. Maybe a balanced diet is the answer after all lol

  2. Katie – very interesting discovery. It my be worth it to make a few changes myself as I have always had the same idea about protein vs. carbs that you do…& I could stand to loose a few lbs. Cheese would be a big culprit that we could certainly cut back on.
    Love Italian canned Artichokes – we just had them with a ham and pasta salad and on pizza they are fabulous.

    • Ina, i surprised at how much protein there is in dairy products (I knew about the calories) and I was also surprised how quickly I lost a few pounds by eliminating most of it. Perhaps I was nibbling on more cheese than I realized lol

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