When it comes to pizza, the staple toppings are pepperoni, bacon, ham, maybe some green peppers, mushrooms, and hot peppers. Don’t forget the extra cheese! For some, there are toppings that are fairly popular, but debatable as to whether or not they belong on a pie, like pineapple (the great debate continues!) and chicken.
But beyond the usual topping options you’d get at your run-of-the-mill pizza joints, there are some interesting, and unexpected, items that make great toppings, and are actually quite delicious.
When you think figs, you probably think dessert. Or maybe you like to pop dried ones in your mouth as a relatively healthy snack. But figs can go great on pizza.
If you’ve ever had bacon-wrapped figs, you can pretty much guess what it would taste like. A hint of sweetness pairs well with the standard salty toppings on a pizza, providing a burst of contrasting flavours in your mouth. They’re perfectly paired with some fresh prosciutto, bacon, and maybe even goat cheese instead of (or in addition to) standard mozzarella.
Barbecue chicken pizza is a pretty common option for those looking for a change from the regular beef and ham. But this type of chicken can add some Indian flare to a pizza.
If you made this dish the night before for dinner and have leftovers, consider adding it to your pizza pie. It will make for an interesting flavor combination. When you think about it, chicken, tomato, cheese, and dough really pair well together. And adding Indian spices to the mix just makes it even tastier.
As noted above, goat cheese is an ideal pairing with an unusual topping like figs, or the less unusual prosciutto ham. But you can pair goat cheese with other toppings, too, for a fancier pizza that will take you to gourmet territory.
Consider adding crumbled goat cheese to a pizza that also includes pesto sauce instead of tomato, and sliced beets. The taste might not be what you traditionally think of as pizza, inching closer to flatbread territory. But it will be delicious, nonetheless. (Photo: The Spruce Eats)
When you think about it, apples appear in lots of dinner dishes, especially those containing pork. So it would stand to reason that cooked apples could potentially taste delicious on a gourmet-style pizza, too. Remove the skin, cook, slice, and voila! A party in your mouth!
Another great partner for goat cheese, a goat cheese and apple pizza might sound puzzling at first, but really, try it. If you feel like you need some kind of meat in there as well, add pulled pork to fully wake up your taste buds as you bite into this non-traditional pie.
Switch to breakfast pizza and add eggs to the mix. Many of the same toppings you’d put on pizza go great in omelettes, too, from ham and bacon to green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, so why not bring the omelette to the pizza?
It’ll give you an extra boost of protein with dinner, and taste like a dinner omelette with tomato sauce and a soft crust. Consider it your dinner omelette burrito, deconstructed to be sliced instead of rolled up.
Strawberries on pizza? If pineapple can do it, why not? Strawberries really could work when added with the right other toppings. These delicious, juicy fruits would go well on a pizza pie with chicken and/or bacon (why not spring for both?) and sweet onions.
It will make for an interesting cross between dessert and dinner, but will be delicious nonetheless. One bite and you’ll be re-thinking those boring pepperoni and cheese or ham and pineapple pizzas you’ve been ordering for years.
If you can put beef, pork, ham, bacon, and chicken on a pizza, why not seafood as well? Mini cooked shrimps can add an interesting ocean flavor to your pizza, combined with the standard tomato sauce and cheese, or other toppings if you want to go full-on seafood flavor, like a cream-based sauce. But remember, cocktail sauce is made using tomato-based ketchup, so it isn’t a completely foreign concept to pair shrimp with tomato sauce.
Consider adding shrimp to a meat-based pizza for a land and sea or surf and turf, themed concoction. The taste might not be for everyone, but for shrimp lovers, it’s a sure winner. Plus, if it’s seafood you crave, shrimp well smell a lot better than anchovies!
Make a Mexican-style pizza by adding sour cream to one that already contains common ingredients found in Mexican-style dishes like burritos, tacos, enchiladas and loaded nachos. This could include tomatoes, cheese, jalapeno peppers, ground beef and/or chicken, and green peppers. Sprinkle some taco seasoning on top for good measure.
A dollop of sour cream on the slice can quench your craving for Mexican when your significant other, roommates, family, or friends wanted pizza instead and you were outnumbered. Why not indulge in both? Mind. Blown. (Photo: Serious Eats)
Back to the seafood theme, fried foods and pizza sort of go hand-in-hand, so why not combine them? Take some fried calamari rings and put them atop your pizza for an interesting combination of flavors and textures. If you want to get serious about it, just add cooked calamari rings, no fried coating needed.
Like the shrimp, this one might not suit everyone’s taste buds. But for the person who loves calamari and loves pizza, it’s a combo worth trying. (Photo: Photosandfood.ca)
Just like the apples and strawberries proposed here, and the tried and true pineapple (again, not for everyone but a popular topping, nonetheless), peaches are one of those foods that can just work on a pizza, again, with the right partner toppings. The sweetness of cooked peaches would pair well with prosciutto, offsetting its intense saltiness.
Go completely the other way, and consider using peaches for a dessert pizza, combined with Nutella or your preferred kind of sauce, some figs, and a generous dollop of fresh cream. Pizza, after all, doesn’t always have to be for dinner.