Recipe Review

I Tried Drew Barrymore’s Pizza Salad and Now I’m a Pizza Salad Fangirl

published Oct 1, 2022
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Credit: Justine Lee

I’m more than a big fan of Drew Barrymore — I just about worship everything she does. I’ve watched the movie Fever Pitch countless times (despite my nonexistent baseball knowledge) and was devastated when a certain streaming service canceled Santa Clarita Diet. I even have a necklace that says “My Girl Drew,” a nod to the Charlie’s Angels reference that kicks off the song”Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child. (True story: The queen herself saw said necklace while I was at a taping of her show and told me that she’s going to make a “My Girl Justine” necklace. We’re best friends now.)

It should go as no surprise that I keep up with Drew on TikTok. In my opinion, the social media platform has been made better by her presence. But the comment section of her recent pizza-eating video shows that not everyone agrees. In the viral video, Drew scrapes off the toppings of a perfectly good slice of pizza onto a plate and eschews the crust in favor of making a salad.

To quote a few outraged folks: “How dare you do this to pizza,” “DREW PLZ SAY SIKE,” “Just eat the pizza!” Comedian Mike Birbiglia said, “Drew I’m filing a lawsuit on behalf of pizza,” followed by three cry-laughing emojis. For me to give my own two cents, I knew I had to test out the controversial technique for myself. What follows is my journey of trying Drew Barrymore’s Pizza Salad.

How to Make Drew Barrymore’s Pizza Salad

It really couldn’t be more simple. First, grab a slice of supreme pizza and, using a fork or knife, scrape off all the toppings and sauce onto a plate. Next, add your favorite mixture of salad ingredients. I used romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, marinated artichokes, cucumbers, red onions, and black olives for my take on a pizza-place salad. Drizzle with dressing (it looked to me like Drew used a pesto vinaigrette, so I used a pesto vinaigrette.) Toss to combine and presto pesto! You’ve got pizza salad.

Credit: Justine Lee

My Honest Review of Drew Barrymore’s Pizza Salad

This is exactly what Drew touts it as: a pizza in salad form. I’ll admit I was hesitant about the pairing of warm pizza topping on cold salad, and yet it was easy to embrace. The crisp vegetables don’t wilt or succumb to the weight of the cheesy, saucy pizza blanket. Instead, the freshness of the salad cuts against the richness of the pizza topping, and vice versa. Seeing that the supreme pizza and my salad mix contained almost identical vegetables (onions, olives, tomato), it made sense why they were great served in unison. You’d love pizza salad if you like to add warm cheeses or dressings into your salads.

Credit: Justine Lee

On the topic of bread, I totally understand where Drew is coming from, and think it’s OK to acknowledge there are instances where a lower-carbohydrate meal may be necessary for someone’s well-being. For the purpose of experimentation and to fight food waste, I immediately followed up scraping off the toppings from the pizza slice by creating makeshift croutons with the upper crust. I took a pair of kitchen scissors, cut off the topping-less bread, and snipped it into crouton-sized pieces right over the prepared salad. With the crispy-doughy bits, I realized what I had in my hands was now a pizza panzanella, and it tasted delightful.

I wouldn’t call this my new go-to salad. But if I ever find myself with a very sad slice of leftover pizza and my crisper drawer only contains bits and bobs of vegetables, I would make this again.

Tips for Making Drew Barrymore’s Pizza Salad

  1. Make sure the topping is warm. Otherwise, the tomato sauce won’t really cling to the vegetables and the cheese won’t be gooey, meaning that overall, the salad won’t really taste like a pizza. I’d argue that’s when you should file a lawsuit (to yourself) on behalf of pizza.
  2. Hold the judgement! Unless you can scientifically prove to me that pizza tastes the best in its purest form, I don’t think you should knock Drew’s hack for pizza salad. It’s a pretty clever way to eat fresh veggies, while sneaking in some warm and cheesy goodness.