Pizza

Why Salad Pizza Should Be the Next Big Thing

I learned a lot of things in college. On campus, I learned about the politics of energy use in South Africa, how to parse a chapter of James Joyce, and how to swallow a shot of vodka without grimacing.

Off campus, in an Italian restaurant just off the town's main square, I learned that salad is better on top of pizza.

Here, servers bustle about, depositing steaming plates of rigatoni in a balsamic cream sauce and bowls of minestra soup overflowing with cannellini beans. Well-executed classics like braised short ribs share menu space with brown butter chestnut agnolotti. You can order homemade linguini, hot with Calabrian chili, or sip a glass of wine and eat slices of honey-drizzled bruschetta slathered in sheep’s milk ricotta and call it dinner.

But if you did that, you’d miss the real star of the show.

Run your finger down to the pizza section of the menu. Skip the margherita, even though it’s very good. Don’t be tempted by the smoked mozzarella, potato, and pancetta option either. You’re here to try the insalata di pizza, a brilliant mash-up of salad and pizza.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Salad pizza is not new. I've been making and eating pizza this way for eons. Love it. Flat bread, crunchy chewy crust, with a bunch of either mixed greens or arugula, fresh tomatoe, good olive oil, squeeze of lemon, ground pepper, a shaving of parmigiana reggiano and enjoy. Buon Appitito”
— Virginia M.
Comment

Let me clarify: This isn’t just a pizza with greens on it. The salad and pizza are made separately, but then the salad is heaped on top of the hot pizza, allowing some of the greens to wilt just slightly while retaining their crunch and coolness. This is a marriage made in heaven.

You don’t need to choose between a hot, cheesy pizza and a crisp green salad. You can have both at the same time—and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Photo by Posie Harwood

I love the original insalata di pizza, the one that first stirred my "pizzalad" passions. I use a basic pizza dough. I top it with a garlicky ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan layer. I toss together a bowl of mixed greens, radicchio, and sun-dried tomatoes dressed in a light balsamic vinaigrette. Sometimes I add grilled chicken or whatever vegetables I have on hand.

But salad pizza is a very loose concept that can be tweaked to suit any mood or taste. Consider the basic formula—a giant salad mounded atop a finished pizza—a starting point for your favorite combinations. Break apart the dish into its components: Think of a salad you like and a pizza you like, and try pairing it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

So here is my call to action: Make salad pizza. Make it for Sunday dinner at home. Make it for your friends. Bring it to work. Instagram it. Spread the gospel. Call it #pizzalad if you want, or #sizza. Or #saladpizza.

What's your perfect salad pizza combination? Share with us in the comments!

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

17 Comments

Cuocopazzo April 27, 2016
Although this may seem innovative, there is a pizzeria near me that has been making Caesar salad pizza, baked ziti pizza, and creamed spinach pizza for decades. Gotta love those Long Island creative pizzaioli!
 
Author Comment
Posie (. April 27, 2016
Yum Caesar salad pizza!! Where is this??
 
GsR March 28, 2016
Up to this point, I always though that pizza wan just about perfect. And even bad pizza is good. You however just proved me wrong. Salad with pizza? You just proved you CAN ruin pizza!
 
HalfPint March 30, 2016
Well, the Italians don't seem to think so: http://www.saveur.com/article/Travels/The-Cult-of-Piadina
 
GsR March 31, 2016
Well, they are simply wrong
 
Sharon March 27, 2016
Not exactly a stunning revelation for many of us. In our house, pizza has ALWAYS been accompanied by a brightly colored mesclun salad, tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. You can plop it on top of the pizza or eat it alongside, which I prefer. The point has always been that no one is allowed to load up on nothing but mega-carbs & cheese and call it a meal. No way. The now adult kids can't even imagine pizza without a salad. It's all they've ever known. Sopped up the vinaigrette with the pizza crusts! Yep. Feed 'em right and they'll stay on that path for life.
 
Virginia M. March 27, 2016
Salad pizza is not new. I've been making and eating pizza this way for eons. Love it. Flat bread, crunchy chewy crust, with a bunch of either mixed greens or arugula, fresh tomatoe, good olive oil, squeeze of lemon, ground pepper, a shaving of parmigiana reggiano and enjoy. Buon Appitito
 
Antonia A. March 27, 2016
This is no newcomer. It was the pizza prepared by my grandmother that I ate as a child (and I'm an old lady now myself). It was a summer dish, when greens were fresh in the garden—and sometimes served with the addition of thinly sliced Italian cold cuts. I was stunned the first time I saw and tasted what my friends had been eating.
 
Ttrockwood March 26, 2016
A not as elegant version is available in lots of nyc pizza shops-i'm not a fan of theirs (which inexplicably often includes ceasar dressing) but have enjoyed versions i make at home
 
Smaug March 25, 2016
I've been telling musicians for years, your limitations define your vocabulary. I'd say the same to cooks; if you're willing to call anything you dream up pizza, the word loses any meaning.
 
1234cake March 24, 2016
This Eggplant, Harissa, arugula salad pizza is basically my favorite food. http://www.thefirstmess.com/2013/03/13/crispy-vegan-eggplant-harissa-flatbread-recipe/
 
Peony March 24, 2016
I had an absolutely delicious version of this at Nick's Pizza in Oakland a few months ago. It was one of the best pizzas I've ever had.
 
HalfPint March 24, 2016
There's a min-chain in the San Francisco Bay Area called "Tomatina" and they serve this salad pizza. They call it "piadine". And it is very good. Cool crisp salad on top of fresh from the oven pizza crust. What's not to love?
 
Joy H. March 24, 2016
I love taking the house salad from BAR in New Haven and putting it on top of their signature mashed potato pizza!
 
Sarah J. March 24, 2016
SO SMART.
 
Shelley M. March 24, 2016
Not to be a pain, but salad greens on top of pizza have been around for a while. Have an old copy of Martha Stewart Living with just that on the cover.
 
Author Comment
Posie (. March 24, 2016
Totally, it definitely has been! I've seen it in magazines for awhile, but for some reason it rarely shows up in restaurants and on menus, given how many creative pizza restaurants exist, and not often in the form of a BIG bowl of salad heaped on top of a hot pizza. Glad you've been a fan for awhile!