What do salad and pizza have in common? They are both highly customizable foods that each have their own following. There are pizza aficionados who love making, eating, and creating different styles of pizza.
And there are salad-obsessed diners who can’t eat a meal without a pile of fresh greens and herbs. But what happens when you combine the two? You get a salad on pizza, a tasty and healthy way to make our favorite food, pizza.
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Don’t make the mistake of confusing salad on pizza with pizza salad. Pizza salad is basically adding pizza ingredients to a salad. Or as beloved actress and American treasure Drew Barrymore did on Instagram, scraping the pizza toppings off and throwing those in a salad, and tossing the crust. While that is a good option if you are cutting carbs, this post is about salad on a pizza.
Why Put Salad on Pizza?
There are a lot of reasons to put salad on pizza. Some people like a salad on pizza simply for the fresh taste, crunch, and acidy dressing. Others follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and prefer to omit the meat and dairy toppings from their pizza.
And some people put salad on their pizza as a way to get the best of both worlds, a decadent pizza with fewer calories.
We like a salad on pizza for all of the reasons above. Salad on pizza turns pizza into a texture extravaganza with creamy cheese, tangy greens, and crispy, chewy crust; it checks all our boxes for a good meal.
3 Ways To Put Salad on Pizza
There are a lot of different ways to make your pizza a salad. One of the things we love about it is the endless possibilities, and you can always try new things and different combinations. So far, in our own taste testing, these three ways to eat salad on pizza are our current favorites, and we think you will like them too.
All of these pizzas start with homemade pizza dough, store-bought dough, or packaged flatbread. We prefer a thin crispy crust when we make a salad pizza, but you can choose your favorite pizza dough to use as a base.
1. Arugula with Lemon Pizza
Arugula is one of the most underrated pizza toppings. If you haven’t heard of arugula, sometimes called ‘rocket,’ it’s a green leafy goody with a peppery taste that is great in salad and complements a pizza in so many ways.
The key to using arugula on pizza is to dress it with a bright-flavored lemon vinaigrette. We like to use a simple vinaigrette that is made with the following:
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
This is a simple vinaigrette. Normally a lemon vinaigrette has Dijon and honey and a few other things, but since we are preparing it with pizza, we want the arugula flavor to come through, so that’s why it’s basic recipe.
The other ingredients:
- Pizza dough/crust
- Tomato sauce
- Package of arugula
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
- Fresh mozzarella
- Prosciutto Crudo
Start by taking your favorite pizza dough roll out and brush olive oil on the crust, then par-bake at 450ºF for three to five minutes. Remove from oven, spread tomato sauce and torn pieces of fresh mozzarella.
Bake again for another five minutes. Remove from oven and add prosciutto crudo and top with arugula mix. The prosciutto adds a little saltiness to contrast the acid and peppery arugula, and the fresh mozzarella has a creaminess that pulls it all together.
If you are vegetarian, you can skip the prosciutto and use olives or capers for that salty contrast.
2. Chopped Salad Pizza
Chopped salad is a salad where all of the ingredients are chopped and the same small size. The idea is you get all the flavor in every bite. For this chopped salad, we keep the classic Italian pizza flavors. This one reminds us of the classic salad pizza at one of my family’s favorite pizzerias growing up, Godfathers Pizza.
- 6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped radicchio
- ½ cup of roasted red peppers
- 1 cup of fresh mozzarella mini pearls
- ½ cup marinated artichokes
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- 3 pepperoncini or banana peppers
- ½ of pepperoni
- ½ cup of salami
Chop all of the ingredients, except the mozzarella minis, roughly the same size. Mix the dressing and toss in the mozzarella minis. Next, top a cooked pizza crust that has tomato sauce with salad. You get a salad and all of the best pizza flavors mixed together.
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ¼ cup of white wine vinegar
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings
- Salt and pepper to taste
If that sounds like a lot of prep work, you can always make the lazy version. No shame in shortcuts. The lazy version of this is to open a jar of giardiniera, drain and chop the veggies. Mix with lettuce and some of the giardiniera brine, and the mozzarella pearls.
3. Coleslaw with Pulled Pork Pizza
Coleslaw probably brings back memories of Memorial Day barbecues and picnics, but this tangy salad is more than a picnic staple. We wish we could take credit for the yummy combo of coleslaw and pulled pork on pizza, but the truth is we had this coleslaw and pulled pork pizza in a pizzeria, and we fell in love with the taste and decided to make it at home.
It all starts with pulled pork. You can make your own or buy prepackaged pulled pork, sometimes packaged as ‘carnitas.’ The same with coleslaw; you can make your own or use a store-bought coleslaw.
This is the coleslaw we like to use:
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped spring onions
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
We like this coleslaw because it has both mayo and vinegar for a tangy, slightly creamy coleslaw.
Start with your favorite pizza dough and roll it out. Brush on olive oil and par-bake at 450ºF for five minutes. Then, spread on barbecue sauce. Sprinkle on a handful of grated low-moisture mozzarella. Add pulled pork evenly on the pizza. Put back in the oven for another five minutes. Take out and add coleslaw and serve.
If you like your coleslaw to have a crunchy texture, then add the dressing right before serving. And if you prefer it less crunchy, mix dressing in and let sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.
You don’t have to use the same barbecue sauce that is in the pulled pork on the base. So if you have chipotle pulled pork, you can use a milder sauce for the base or vice versa.
If you don’t eat pork, you can use shredded chicken in barbecue sauce or chicken tinga. If you are vegetarian, you can use vegan pulled pork, which is made with jackfruit and is widely available. Or try various fruits on pizza in general.
There you have our three favorite ways to use salad on pizza, from simple lemony greens to crunchy chopped salad to decadent pulled pork and coleslaw. These delicious salads on pizza are some great ways to get more vegetables in your diet and pizza in your day.
What is your favorite way to have salad on pizza?