If you consult with a pizza expert, especially those familiar with Italian-style pizza, you’ll mostly hear that the secret to a good pizza lies in the dough, and that it should not be overstuffed with ingredients.
However, what makes pizza one of the most popular and loved dishes on the planet (if not the ultimate favorite) is the fact that it allows you to experiment with many different ingredients and toppings.
In this guide, we will go over some of the most underrated pizza toppings that will change the way you eat your pizza forever!
When you think about it, adding bacon as a topping on pretty much any savory dish is hardly ever a bad idea.
Many people tend to stick to prosciutto or pepperoni for their pizza toppings, as these are the well-known, safe choices.
However, if you’ve never tried bacon on your pizza, this is the time to break out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Bacon will give your pizza a perfect dose of smokiness and a complex savory flavor. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t add too much, as you don’t want the bacon to release all its fat and take over the entire flavor profile.
2. Ground beef
Speaking of underrated meat choices for your pizza, ground beef is definitely a topping that not a lot of pizza lovers tend to use.
Ground beef is generally an excellent choice if you’re a fan of bolognese and you simply can’t decide between having pasta or pizza – so you can just have the best of both worlds!
We recommend preparing your ground beef topping beforehand by browning it in a pan – perhaps even with some diced onions, carrots, and celery for more texture and flavor (and that authentic bolognese taste).
You may also add some diced tomatoes and parmesan cheese to finish off the ground beef sauce. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and fresh basil for an aromatic, highly flavorful result.
If you’re in a rush and you don’t want to use fresh tomatoes, tomato puree is the best substitute for tomatoes which will provide the same amount of acidity and freshness this topping needs.
We feel like not a lot of people realize how different kinds of mushrooms can completely elevate your pizza and add the much-needed texture and aroma.
In many cases, when you see mushrooms on a pizza, they’re white button mushrooms, which are generally very neutral and mild-tasting.
While there’s nothing wrong with having white mushrooms on your pizza, we recommend surprising your palates with chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, or even shiitake for a more intense aroma and flavor.
If you like pickles on your sandwiches and in your salads, we’re quite positive you’ll also enjoy them as a pizza topping.
Pickles will provide a touch of acidity and sourness that can counterbalance the complexity and depth of the cheese, especially if you’re using a very aromatic cheese high in fat.
Sliced pickles can also add a textural component and more crunch to your pizza, which is always a plus.
You may think that greens have no business being on your pizza, but arugula (also known as rocket) will definitely change your mind.
While some greens may turn out bland and even bitter when cooked, arugula will provide just the perfect dose of freshness and crunchiness.
Depending on your preference, you can add arugula beforehand, or once you take the pizza out of the oven, to preserve most of its aroma and flavor and prevent it from overcooking and drying out.
When it comes to this combination, all we have to say is – don’t beat it till you’ve tried it! Adding an egg as a pizza topping will add an extra dimension of texture and flavor you didn’t know you needed on your pizza.
It can pretty much be incorporated into any pizza, regardless of your meat and cheese choice. We recommend adding a fresh egg on top of the other ingredients on your pizza, instead of frying the egg beforehand.
We believe that adding your favorite veggies to your pizza is an excellent way to brighten up the flavor profile and improve the overall texture.
Peppers are one of those vegetables you can incorporate in pretty much any dish, as they will elevate the aromas and flavors without being too dominant.
If you like your pizza more on the spicy side, you can add your favorite chili peppers such as jalapenos. Neutral peppers such as bell peppers, on the other hand, will add a dose of crispiness and sweetness.
When it comes to olives, many people prefer to snack on fresh ones instead of incorporating them into savory dishes.
We believe that olives deserve a spot in baking as their flavor and aroma seem to intensify when they’re properly cooked.
If you’re looking for a savory, yet refreshing topping for your pizza, chop up some olives and sprinkle them on top. You may also incorporate chopped olives into your pizza sauce if you really want their intense saltiness and fruity aroma to shine through.
Keep in mind that you can also add whole olives to your pizza, but we recommend pitting them beforehand so you don’t end up biting into a pit!
9. Pesto sauce
It may be hard to imagine a pizza without tomato sauce, but once you try replacing it with pesto sauce, you may change the way you eat your pizza forever.
Pesto is a perfect choice for those of you who enjoy the freshness and dominant aroma of herbs such as basil, coriander, parsley, and chives.
And in case you feel like this is too big of a change for you, you can still use the tomato sauce on your dough, then add the pesto on top for a refreshing herbal note.
This article was contributed by Michael Cook, Director and Founder of My Conscious Eating www.myconsciouseating.com