Model Diet…Leggera Pizza from Pizza Express!

model diet leggera pizza You may be surprised to learn that I spend an inordinate amount of time in Pizza Express. Usually because I have a huge stack of vouchers to use up, but also because it’s an easy and cosy place to meet up with friends for lunch. And I do a lot of lunching.

But before you clap your hands over your mouths in horror/surprise/amusement/disbelief at all the calories that I must inevitably be consuming, let me tell you what I choose from the menu, because this is very important; I choose from the same little pool of options each time, with slight variations. Tempting as it is to order a humungous pizza with sides every time I step through the door and smell the dough baking, I exercise a little self-restraint and leave the restaurant having not consumed any more calories than if I had popped into the sandwich shop for a baguette.

The Leggera Pizza, ladies and gentleman, is a pizza with most of the middle missing. The hole in the middle is filled with salad leaves and a few tomato halves, dressed with the regular Pizza Express dressing (which I have a slight addiction to). In effect, you get the best of both worlds – nice cripsy pizza, fresh light salad – on one plate. Total calories? 500. Less than most baguettes, I’ll wager! (I normally end up ‘spending’ the saved calories on wine, so please don’t hoist me up onto a diet pedestal, here – I only have so much willpower! It’s unfortunate that I have to watch my figure constantly when I adore my food so very, very much, so I’m just sharing with you a little ‘cheat’ card that I pull out every so often!)

Regular pizzas range from 674 for a Margherita (BORE OFF!) to 1153 for the ‘Etna’, with most coming in at the 750-850 mark, so the Leggera presents quite a nice calorie saving. Enough for at least one glass of white wine, which is all I need at lunchtime to render the rest of the working day a total write-off. Always good.

If pizza isn’t your thing, then here’s my standby Pizza Express dish: the ‘Pollo’ salad. Goat’s cheese, chicken breast, red peppers, black olives, mixed leaves and about a litre of regular Pizza Express dressing. Now, you may have heard that vicious rumour circulating, which has become every woman’s mantra when she peruses the Pizza Express menu: “the salads have more calories and fat in them than any of the pizzas!” This fact is partly true, in that if you order a salad with dough sticks, it’ll be high in calories. But think about what you’re doing when you order with dough sticks – you’re having an entire thick pizza crust “on the side”. The ‘Pollo’ salad with dough sticks is 651 calories (still much more diet friendly than most pizzas, I might add!), but take off the dough sticks and suddenly you’re looking at 412. Excellent.

If anyone is as weird as me and likes to study nutritional information then you can look at the calories in the Pizza Express menu items HERE! If this has bored you to tears and you have no desire whatsoever to watch your figure, then please feel free to disregard all of the above and order an Etna, with doughsticks,  bruschetta, ice cream and a bottle of Vin Rouge!

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. January 26, 2011 / 9:54 am

    I love the Leggera pizzas. My friends always laugh at me when I order them but who cares when you can have pizza for only 500 cals? x

  2. Summerbabe
    January 26, 2011 / 10:09 am

    I must say I don`t envy you because you have to watch your figure ;) I eat whatever I want whenever I want but still try to keep it healthy! Would love to have some pizza now ;)

  3. Rachel
    January 26, 2011 / 3:22 pm

    That picture makes me want to get pizza for dinner. Random curiosity, are you a breakfast person?

  4. January 26, 2011 / 4:30 pm

    I love reading nutritional information! Everyone thinks I’m either strange, have OCD or I’m calorie-counting when I check what’s in the ingredients and how high the saturated fat content is, but I think it’s so important to know what you’re putting in your body. Most food manufacturers can be really sneaky about mislabelling what’s ‘good for you’ and ‘low in fat’ as well, so I always like to make sure I’m getting what it claims.

    At just 500 calories, I’ll definitely be getting a Leggera Pizza next time I’m in Pizza Express. And all the calories I’ve saved on my main can go towards a big, gooey chocolatey dessert!

  5. Debbie
    January 26, 2011 / 6:01 pm

    Had to run for cover last night, Em and her friend had just finished an hours step class and were enjoying 2 quorn grills each with a big plate of salad. That they had poured Sainsburys regular ceaser salad dressing over. As they ate I calculated that the half of the 175ml bottle they had consumed between them, was a whopping 417 calories so although their 2 quorn grills and plate full of salad were around 300 cals each they had made it a 500 cal meal by pouring that stuff all over it, when you think what it takes to burn 200cal its well worth checking the labels. (label obsessed veteran dieter speaking; spend those calories wisely!) wont tell you about the cals in the Pizza Express dressing just in case you decide to hate me as Em and her friend now do!

    • January 27, 2011 / 3:01 am

      I love that you all love nutritional porn. I mean, information.

  6. ZebyK
    January 26, 2011 / 6:54 pm

    Mmm now I really want pizza!! Best. Food. Ever. Fact! :) Xxx

  7. January 26, 2011 / 8:25 pm

    I love these too – a Gustosa and a glass of rosé for me!

  8. January 26, 2011 / 9:57 pm

    I love Leggera pizzas! Normal ones are too doughy and heavy for me, and I like the light salad that it comes with x

  9. Tabvi
    January 26, 2011 / 11:28 pm

    omg i love love love this post!! im almost intrigued by models’ diets and that was so lovely and well written xx

  10. Rachel
    January 27, 2011 / 7:08 am

    Haha, pizza with a whole in the middle? Getting sneaky there! This sounds fantastic :D Thanks for the post!

  11. Jills
    January 27, 2011 / 5:44 pm

    This is indeed good info, thanks for posting. Please consider posting more healthy eating out tips. Calories saved on 1 lunch or dinner allows more eating out, win, win all round! :-)

  12. Siobhan K
    January 27, 2011 / 10:44 pm

    Keep meaning to try this, but the padana keeps luring me in..

  13. January 28, 2011 / 4:14 pm

    Wow, that looks delish & lovingly presented but I’m hungry for pepperoni nine times out of ten when I have a pizza

  14. Thais
    April 21, 2012 / 2:54 pm

    Thanks, this is really handy as I couldn’t find the nutritional info on Pizza Express’s website, must be buried somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *