Great Pizza Sauce Alternatives

When it comes to traditional foods in America, pizza ranks at the top of the list. While the common combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a host of assorted toppings is very Italian in origin, its prevalence and popularity in America have given it a solid foundation as an American staple. Much of this is due to the tomato sauce used as a base. Found in every pizza place around the country, nay, the world, fresh marinara is now synonymous with pizza.

But it’s not alone. Here are several other alternative bases found in a variety of different pizzas both here in America and throughout the rest of the world.

Alfredo Sauce

Commonly found on pasta, Alfredo sauce, made primarily with a base of butter and parmesan cheese but often mixed with a number of other spices and meats such as shrimp or chicken, is often used as a base on a pizza. One of its most common uses is a chicken Alfredo pizza, which can be found as a specialty pizza in many restaurants, and a white pizza, which is merely a pizza loaded with garlic and other spices but served with a creamy Alfredo sauce.

An Alfredo sauce for a pizza can be made in a variety of different ways, with recipes of all kinds littering the Internet for your consideration. It’s often thicker than marinara, and contains a much higher fat content, so use it sparingly or wisely (or simply hit the gym the next morning and burn off those extra calories).


Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a cheese and spice-based sauce typically comprised of garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and a variety of different cheeses. It can be bought pre-packaged or made at home by combining all the ingredients and crushing them together with a mortar and pestle. When served on a pizza, a thin layer is often applied to the crust, and it’s often topped with mozzarella and chicken to make a chicken pesto pizza. Other toppings often used in conjunction with pesto sauce are red and green peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms.


Barbecue Sauce

Ah, the mother of all sugary, sweet, and sour sauces. Barbecue sauce is a rare pizza base, found almost entirely on a BBQ chicken pizza. Any variation works, but the toppings are almost always BBQ chicken and onions, with some other toppings thrown on for good measure. Many pizza delivery places offer it as a special pizza, though one can likely be ordered if it’s not, as these restaurants typically have all of the toppings available in the store for a variety of other uses. You might have to pay a little extra, but it’s absolutely worth it.


Curry Sauce

If you’re looking for a little ethnic flavor, curry in both red and yellow varieties works for a curry chicken or vegetarian curry pizza. It’s paired best with sharper cheeses, and brings a bit of spice to pizza night. Like the Alfredo sauce, there are a number of different recipes and combinations available online, so don’t feel you have to be pigeonholed by pre-packaged sauces and toppings.


Buffalo Sauce

Buffalo chicken pizza is one of my favorite traditional pizza alternatives. It’s nice and spicy and thanks to the chicken, loaded with protein. Due to the versatility of this type of pizza, you can use a variety of buffalo sauces, from thick buffalo sauce used primarily on chicken wings to Frank’s Red Hot (my buffalo sauce of choice). You can even mix it up by marinating and cooking the chicken in the sauce while using ranch or bleu cheese as a base, effectively combining all the elements of wing night into the perfect pizza night. Once it’s baked simply drizzle buffalo sauce on top and you’re ready to go.


Olive Oil

Nice and simple, olive oil is a great base alternative and a common way to make a variation on the white pizza. After all, a white pizza is simply a pizza without marinara sauce, so olive oil and maybe a little bit of garlic topped with fresh mozzarella is the way to go. Sure, it might not SEEM like you’re eating a pizza, but pretty much anything on top of baked, circular dough is a pizza...right?

These are just a few examples of the types of sauce alternatives you can use on your pizza. The beauty of pizza is that it’s versatile - mixing and matching sauces and toppings and cheeses is the best way to fully enjoy this classic and make it your own special creation. So experiment! A simple web search will help you find dozens of different base options, as will a cursory search of this site. So get going and make pizza night a night to remember!

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM