By Lorraine Allen
Ah, pizza! The word itself makes my heart beat a little faster. Pizza is one of the most perfect meals. It’s deliciously filling, comforting, and versatile. Best of all, it can be easily personalized – perfect for families with picky eaters – and pretty much anything goes! Here are some totally delicious but woefully underused toppings to try on your next pie, whether you make it at home or order in from your favorite pizza place.
Cracking an egg on top of your favorite pizza toppings before baking adds a whole new amazing layer of flavor, and loads of protein too. Of all the underused pizza toppings out there, this is my personal favorite, by far.
Image ©iStock.com/Lauri Patterson
If you have just one steak but need to serve a whole hungry family, try slicing it (cooked) and adding it to a pizza. It adds loads of hearty protein and juicy flavor, and everyone will enjoy each meaty bite!
Veggie pizza is a great way to use leftover vegetables, but people tend to overlook asparagus, which tastes sooooo good with cheese. Try it with something more pungent than your usual mozzarella for an even bigger, amazing-tasting surprise. We like goat cheese, aged Parmesan, or even crumbled gorgonzola!
Olives – pitted varieties of all kinds – add that extra salty bite to your pizza and lend an earthy flavor that cuts nicely through the acid of the tomato sauce and richness of the cheese.
Image ©iStock.com/Lauri Patterson
Spinach on a pizza tastes good, and so does arugula. They come fairly standard as toppings in most pizzerias these days. But if you like leafy greens, try buttery, mild Swiss chard next time you make your own pie. It’s delicious and extra healthy, and goes with pretty much ANY other toppings you like, too! Pine nuts go especially well with chard, too.
A pizza is not just a great meal – it can be a delicious and special dessert as well! Try topping the baked crust (regular dough, or your favorite cookie dough) with chocolate sauce, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or just some chocolate shavings, then add some mini marshmallows, roasted nuts, chopped candy, or sliced fresh berries or bananas. If using plain pizza dough, sprinkle some brown sugar on the crust before baking to add a sweet, caramelized crunch.
Fruit can serve as a sophisticated (but super easy), different sort of topping for your next pizza meal, even if it’s a savory one. Figs and plums go perfectly with creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions, and salty prosciutto. A drizzle of honey or balsamic vinegar adds a tasty sweet or acidic kick as well.
TIP: If this isn’t the sort of fare your kids love, you can still treat yourself to a grown-up meal while feeding the kids their favorite take-out pie. Just ask the restaurant if they’ll sell you a ball of pizza dough so you can quickly shape, prep, and bake your own pizza at home.
Image ©iStock.com/Rick Grant
Ham comes in many forms, and pretty much all of them work well on pizza with cheese. Try Italian prosciutto, or German speck, which taste a bit smoky. Regular Virginia or French ham will taste amazing, too. You don’t need much to pack a big punch, either; just a few large slices, lightly crumpled up on top of the cheese before baking.
Yup, even the old standby canned tuna fish works perfectly as a pizza topping. In fact, in parts of the Mediterranean region, it’s very common. I love the meaty, salty, and somewhat surprising flavor the fish adds. And I also love that it’s cheap – and something I always have on hand in the pantry. Try it with sliced black olives and onions, too.
What’s your favorite unusual pizza topping?
Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.