As a beloved dish in countries across the globe, pizza is one of the most popular foods around. This universally cherished dish dates back to Naples, Italy in the 18th century. It was there that pizza truly came into being as a convenient and inexpensive food for the busy working men. These original pizzas were up for sale from street vendors and would even be eaten for breakfast.
The toppings on early pizzas in Naples were quite simple, including garlic, salt, basil, and tomatoes. Nowadays, pizza toppings range from the understated to the outrageous. A plain cheese pizza is still the favorite of many individuals, but you can find restaurants that serve gourmet pizzas topped with all kinds of cheese, meat, veggies, and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to pizza toppings; dessert pizza and pizza topped with pasta have even been created.
From thin crust to thick crust to deep dish and more, pizza comes in all different forms and varieties. You’ll find that many people have strong, contrasting opinions on what type of pizza is the best and why. But, in all of its many forms, pizza comes down to a delicious crust, savory sauce, and gooey melted cheese.
Despite the worldwide love for pizza that’s been around for centuries, you may be looking for satisfying alternatives to the traditional pizza. Whether for health or dietary reasons or if you’re simply looking to try something different, the quest for a great pizza alternative is a common one in society today.
Here, we’ll review five fantastic alternatives to pizza for you to try today. These substitute pizzas don’t skimp on flavor or deliciousness; you may even find that you prefer one of these options to the typical slice of pizza.
Read on to learn all about the benefits and drawbacks of these well-known alternate pizza varieties.
1. Cauliflower Crust Pizza
One of the most popular health-friendly alternatives to traditional pizza is pizza made with a cauliflower crust. Cauliflower pizza is gaining popularity as both a make-at-home healthy pizza option and a dish in restaurants–and it’s not hard to see why! Cauliflower has a mild flavor that makes it a suitable base for any pizza topping.
To make a pizza crust out of cauliflower, you simply need to use riced cauliflower or cauliflower florets that have been broken down in a food processor. You can also purchase pre-made cauliflower crusts that are often frozen at your local grocery store or health food mart.
Benefits of Cauliflower Pizza
As another way to enjoy pizza flavors, cauliflower crust pizza offers a host of fantastic benefits.
- Instead of a flour-based crust, cauliflower crust is made from a vegetable. So, you can enjoy a slice of pizza and get in one of your daily servings of vegetables. For diet-conscious individuals or those looking to lose weight, this is a wonderful benefit.
- Due to the fact that cauliflower pizza skips the dough-based crust and replaces it with cauliflower, it’s far lower in calories than traditional pizza. One cup of chopped cauliflower contains less than 30 calories, while pizza crust made from a flour-based dough can have as many as 100 to 200 calories.
- People following a gluten-free diet can enjoy cauliflower pizza without having to worry about dietary issues. This pizza alternative has a gluten-free crust and won’t upset the stomachs of those who are sensitive to gluten.
Drawbacks of Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower pizza is a popular pizza option today, but that doesn’t make it a perfect meal compared to traditional pizza. Read on to learn the main drawbacks of this variety of alternate pizza.
- As aforementioned, cauliflower has a mild flavor and can complement a range of other ingredients. But, that also means that it’s less rich in flavor. Cauliflower simply doesn’t provide the same satisfying crunch as a dough-based pizza crust.
- For a homemade alternative to pizza, a cauliflower crust takes a notable number of steps to whip up. You’ll need time and energy to create this veggie-based pizza.
2. Portobello Mushroom Pizza
For a light and uniquely flavored pizza alternative, reach for the portobellos! Portobello mushrooms make a delicious base for all of your favorite pizza toppings and replace the traditional carb-filled crust with a satisfying veggie. It’s healthy, diet-friendly, and tasty–that’s everything you could want from an alternative to traditional pizza.
To make a portobello mushroom pizza, take a portobello mushroom cap and place it on a baking sheet with the underside facing toward you. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt before adding your favorite toppings and baking in the oven.
The size of a portobello mushroom creates a wonderful personal-sized pizza. You can make one or two for yourself as a snack or small meal, or whip up a whole tray of them to feed your family or impress guests at a dinner party.
Benefits of Portobello Pizza
Portobello pizzas are a common alternate type of pizza because of the benefits that these little pizzas offer. Read more about the great aspects of this dish below.
- Mushrooms have a distinct, savory flavor that makes them a favorite ingredient in all types of dishes. So, portobello mushroom pizzas provide the delicious mushroom flavor in place of a carby crust. Consider adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the mushrooms before adding toppings for an extra punch of flavor.
- For health-conscious individuals, portobello mushroom pizza is a fantastic light alternative to typical pizza options. It provides a serving of vegetables in place of a regular crust to boost the health benefits of your meal.
- With a mushroom in place of a dough-based crust, portobello pizza is a low-calorie pizza option for diet-conscious individuals. If you’re dieting or looking to lose weight, consider this alternate type of pizza as a fun, tasty meal or snack.
- Portobello mushroom pizzas are entirely gluten-free, making them an excellent option for anyone with Celiac disease or who chooses a gluten-free diet for weight loss.
- A portobello mushroom is an ideal vessel for any topping of your choice. The cap, when flipped so that the underside is facing up, acts as a cup and can hold a great deal of sauce, cheese, meat, veggies, etc.
Downsides of Portobello Pizza
While portobello mushrooms are a savory and unique alternative to a standard pizza, there are downsides involved. Below are the main shortcomings of using portobello mushroom caps in place of pizza crust.
- A portobello mushroom pizza isn’t as hearty or filling as a traditional slice of pizza. It’s missing a serving of carbohydrates, which is great for some diets but isn’t the best option for everyone.
- Portobello mushrooms are small and don’t provide the classic slice of pizza that’s so well loved by people around the globe. With a portobello mushroom, you’ll get a personal-sized pizza.
- Portobello mushrooms aren’t always consistent in size. One day, you may find very large portobello mushroom caps at the grocery store that will make substantial pizzas. But, another day, the mushrooms available could be quite small. Consistency can be an issue when you’re trying to make a specific recipe (especially if it’s for a dinner party, potluck, or other special occasions).
- Portobello mushrooms tend to become soft and tender when baked; not crisp and crunchy like a typical pizza crust. So, with this alternative to pizza, you won’t get the same satisfying crunch that so many people love.
3. English Muffin Pizza
Instead of a traditional flat pizza crust, you can top a toasted English muffin with sauce, cheese, and your favorite meats and veggies. After baking for a few minutes in the oven, you’ll have a portable, miniature pizza. It’s an easy-to-make alternative to pizza that’s both satisfying and convenient.
Benefits of English Muffin Pizzas
- English muffin pizzas are fun finger food for kids of any age. Your children will love choosing their own toppings and tucking into these mini pizzas for lunch, dinner, or even an afternoon snack after school.
- English muffin pizzas are an affordable recipe for budget-conscious individuals. The cheap nature of this pizza alternative makes it an awesome recipe for college students and young adults who are just starting out in their careers.
- It’s quick and simple to make an English muffin pizza–doing so takes only a few minutes. So, you can have fun making this recipe with your kids, or whip it up as an enjoyable dinner during a busy weeknight. We all need a few super simple recipes in our back pocket for times when schedules get crazy, and an English muffin pizza can be one such recipe.
Drawbacks of English Muffin Pizzas
English muffin pizzas offer several benefits and only a few drawbacks, including:
- English muffins are relatively small, so this pizza alternative generally makes a better snack or lunch than a hearty dinner.
- The airy pockets that give English muffins their distinctive chewiness provide a different texture than typical pizza crust. While this chewy texture will be loved by some, it may not hit the spot when you’re craving a slice of pizza.
4. Pizza Bagel
The pizza bagel is a popular and well-loved dish among kids, teenagers, and adults alike. It makes a great alternative to a traditional pizza and can be prepared quite quickly.
A pizza bagel is simply a bagel loaded up with pizza toppings and baked until the cheese is melted. Bagel joints sometimes include pizza bagels on their menus, but you can easily prepare them at home as well.
Benefits of Pizza Bagels
Pizza bagels are fun to make, fun to eat, and offer a range of fantastic benefits for those seeking an alternative to pizza. The main benefits of pizza bagels are listed below.
- Pizza bagels make an awesome portable snack or meal. You can easily pack one for your child’s school lunch (or for your own lunch) and you’ll be set until dinner.
- Pizza bagels are incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is take a bagel, spread on pizza sauce, sprinkle on some cheese, and add any toppings you like. Then, bake it in an oven or toaster oven until the cheese has melted. This super-quick lunch or dinner is sure to be a family favorite.
- Pizza bagels offer the chef a great deal of freedom when it comes to flavor. First off, there are many varieties of bagel available. From whole wheat to garlic to sesame to everything and more, you can switch it up when it comes to your bagel so that your taste buds never get bored. Plus, you can use any combination of sauce, cheese, and toppings you like. Pizza bagels can be absolutely anything you want them to be!
- Pizza bagels are a fun meal to prepare with kids or at a party. Set up a toppings station so that everyone can add exactly what they want to their pizza.
Drawbacks of Pizza Bagels
Pizza bagels are a popular snack, and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the benefits listed above. But, there are also downsides to this recipe, such as:
- While many pizza alternatives cut down on calories compared to traditional pizzas, bagels are actually quite high in calories. The high-calorie content of a bagel is important to keep in mind for those who are dieting or following a weight loss regimen.
- The iconic hole in the middle of a bagel makes it difficult to load on sauce, cheese, and toppings. You may find that some of the cheese and toppings fall through the hole in the baking process and make for a trickier clean-up on the baking tray.
5. Pita Bread Pizza
A classic type of bread in Mediterranean cuisine, pita bread makes an excellent crust alternative for pizza. Pita bread’s circular shape makes it a fitting choice as a base for your go-to pizza toppings, from meats and cheeses to veggies and more. You can even create a delicious Mediterranean-themed pita bread pizza with feta cheese, olives, green peppers, lamb, and more.
Benefits of Pita Bread Pizza
Pita bread pizza provides a selection of benefits that you just won’t get with traditional pizza. The main benefits are listed below.
- Pita bread is a lighter choice than traditional pizza crust (especially thick crust and deep dish options). When baked, pita bread will crisp up, become crunchy, and offer the satisfying texture of a thin crust pizza.
- Pita bread has a distinct, rustic flavor that many people may prefer over typical pizza crust.
- Since you can purchase pre-made pita bread at your local grocery store, pita bread pizzas are quick and easy to make. You can whip some up for a quick lunch or dinner whenever you’re tight on time.
Downsides of Pita Bread Pizza
While pita bread pizza makes for a tasty meal or snack, it does fall short compared to traditional pizza in a few ways. These downsides are:
- Pita bread is somewhat thin and provides a texture that’s significantly different from a traditional pizza crust. Individuals who enjoy thick pizza crust may not feel satisfied with a pita crust or may not enjoy the texture of a crisped pita bread.
- Pita bread, similarly to other pizza alternatives, doesn’t create the traditional pizza slice. You’ll have an individual-sized pizza when you use pita bread for the crust, which isn’t desired by everyone.
Lee, Alexander. “A History of Pizza.” History Today, 7 July 2018, www.historytoday.com/archive/historians-cookbook/history-pizza.