We make pizza once a week in our house for a ritual we love called Pizza Friday. Most often we're pulling bits and bobs from the fridge to make the most of leftovers as pizza toppings, but every once in awhile we make a special grocery run for pizza ingredients. These grocery-run pizzas feel special because we can pick out ingredients for everything from the crust to the cheese — and often these items stray from our routine of cheese pizza with leftovers.
Here are 10 of our favorite grocery store upgrades for pizza.
1. Dry Polenta
Cornmeal is great at keeping your pizza crust from sticking, but cooked and cooled polenta can actually replace your pizza crust for a hearty, gluten-free take on pizza. Keep the other toppings simple with a sprinkle of cheese, herbs, and some halved tomatoes.
Get the recipe: Polenta Crust Pizza
2. A Tin of Anchovies or Anchovy Paste
A tin of whole anchovies or anchovy paste is my favorite upgrade to our no-cook pizza sauce. You don't need much — one filet or a teaspoon of paste for a whole batch of sauce makes the sauce meaner, creamier, and even more tomato-like. For you anchovy-lovers: Have you ever tried a white pizza with anchovies and charred green onions on your pizza?
Try it here: How To Make Homemade Pizza Sauce
3. A Nice Balsamic Vinegar
Use that balsamic vinegar you keep on hand for salad dressing and glazing vegetables as a fancy flourish for finished pizzas. Balsamic vinegar is especially at home on pizzas topped with greens, like this prosciutto and arugula flatbread.
Get the recipe: Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
Putting eggs on pizza is always a brilliant move. I'm a huge fan of whole eggs cracked on top of green pizzas (think: pestos, arugula, or even spring onions) and then cooked in the oven, but I've also developed an affinity for scrambled eggs on breakfast pizza!
We have strong opinions: You Should Be Putting Eggs on Your Pizza
My husband loves a meat-lover's pizza and it took me too long to realize that I could make it at home without having to make meatballs from scratch. Store-bought fully cooked meatballs are at their very best on a pizza at home. Pro tip: Coat the meatballs with a little pizza sauce before baking to keep them from drying out.
6. Jarred Pesto
Do you need an alternative to red pizza sauce that you can keep in the fridge for a long spell? Are you interested in a sauce that makes just about everything it touches taste better? Pesto is your new pizza best friend.
It's delicious here: Grilled Pesto Chicken Flatbreads
7. Fruit (Not Just Pineapple!)
Hawaiian pizza gets a bad rap for its pineapple topping, but sometimes a deeply savory pizza needs a little sweetness. If pineapple isn't your thing, you can still get in on the fruit action with toppings like grapes, nectarines, or fresh figs. If you don't have fresh fruit on hand, consider a swipe of fig jam on the crust of a pizza topped with the likes of salty prosciutto and peppery arugula.
Try it! Grape and Taleggio Flatbread
8. Smoked Cheese
If you want to add some smoky flavor to your pizza without actually grilling your pizza, then smoked cheese is the way to go. Smoked cheddars and Gouda will give you the most melty goodness and pair perfectly with chicken, red onions, and barbecue sauce for a classic BBQ chicken pizza.
Get the recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza
Technically pepperoni falls in this category, but don't just stop there. Most dried or cured meats make for incredible pizza fodder. Prosciutto, pancetta, salami, and country ham are some of our favorites. And you don't have to pile them all on one pie — use them as a salty finishing touch to vegetable-laden pizzas too.
Get the recipe: How To Make Awesome Pizza at Home
10. Vegetable Noodles and Ribbons
Hear me out on this one: When testing our veggie supreme pizza I was delighted to discover that ribboned carrots looked as good as they tasted on the pizza. Since then, I've skipped the prep of peeling my own carrots for the convenience of vegetable noodles from the produce department. Slender twirls of carrots, sweet potatoes, and even beets are fair game since they cook up quickly in the hot oven.
What are your favorite grocery store topping for homemade pizza?