The pizza recipe ideas listed below showcase ingredients available during winter and early spring, whether fresh or from your pantry or freezer. For the crust, make your pizza on halves cut from a baguette or crusty loaf of bread, purchase frozen bread dough to use for pizza crust, or take a little extra time to make your own classic pizza dough or healthy whole wheat pizza dough. You can also assemble pizza and then freeze them unbaked to pop in the oven for hot homemade savory pie on a busy weeknight.
Pizza toppings for winter and early spring
Sausage or Pepperoni: tomato sauce (homemade or straight outta the can), chopped raw garlic, dried oregano, salt and freshly ground black pepper, sliced Pepperoni or chopped and cooked Italian sausage, and grated cheese. Vegetarian option: Replace sausage with drained canned or cooked dry beans (such as cannelloni or pinto).
Forager’s Fantasy: nettle or sorrel pesto, plain yogurt, shaved mushrooms, bamboo shoots, dandelion greens (or chickweed or watercress), and chives. Meat options: Any cooked game meat sausage or wild seafood is a nice addition.
Mushrooms and greens: white sauce (homemade or straight outta the jar), roasted garlic, dried thyme, (optional—a few gratings of nutmeg), sautéed sliced mushrooms, sautéed spinach or bitter greens. Meat or cheese options: Cooked diced bacon, steamed and shelled clams, or feta cheese would be delicious.
Sun-dried tomato and corn: pesto, shredded cooked potato, slivers of sun-dried tomato, frozen or canned corn, pickled hot peppers, raw or roasted chopped onion, goat or feta cheese, and fresh cilantro or chives. Meat options: Cooked diced bacon, ham, shredded smoked pork or barbecued chicken, halibut, or scallops would be wonderful.
Smoked salmon and jalapeno: white sauce (homemade or straight outta the jar), sliced pickled jalapeno, thinly sliced leeks or green onions (or sea beans), and smoked salmon. Meat or cheese option: spicy cooked sausage and/or goat cheese pairs beautifully. This one makes a great cocktail appetizer baked in a small round and cut in thin slices.
Garlic and Herb: white sauce (homemade or straight outta the jar), sliced raw or roasted garlic, freshly chopped parsley, chives, and mint, and a hard grating cheese like Parmesan, Manchego, or Asiago. Meat options: Almost any meat is a nice addition, including cooked sausage, chicken, or salmon.
Savory apple or pear, cheese, and nut: drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the dough and then add small dollops blue cheese, very thinly sliced fresh pear or apple, and chopped hazelnuts. Meat options: Try diced ham, cooked poultry including turkey, chicken, or duck, any cooked game meat, or even leftover pate.
Dessert pizza: plain yogurt, sliced fresh pear or apple, and frozen berries drizzled with honey. Or, try cooked mashed pumpkin, sprinkled with cinnamon, chopped nuts, and chopped apple. Another idea is Camembert style cheese and cranberry sauce. Bake dessert pizza as you would any savory pizza. Serve warm and, if you prefer, top with a scoop of ice cream.
Tips for making homemade pizza
Tips for toppings: Use just a few tablespoons tomato sauce, just a sprinkling of garlic and herbs, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup toppings (vegetables, meat, and cheese) spread evenly over a medium (10- to 12-inch) pizza. Overloaded dough will remain soggy and undercooked, even after baking. With pizza toppings, less is more.
Baking pizza: Preheat oven to highest setting (450-550°F). Assemble pizza on a very lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Place the baking pan on the lowest rack in the preheated oven. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until hot and bubbly in the middle of the pizza (not just around the edges).
Freezing pizza: Place assembled pizza (on a pizza pan or baking sheet) in the freezer. When solid, wrap pizza with plastic to protect fillings, and then seal in a zipper-style freezer bag (or wrap with foil). Freeze up to 1 month—6 months if you have a deep freeze and the pizza is well wrapped. Bake frozen pizza and expect to double the cooking time.
Pizza is a favorite American family meal. Try several of these homemade pizza recipe ideas and use them as a springboard to create new ideas from fresh seasonal produce, your pantry or your freezer. With these recipe ideas, homemade pizza can be a group activity where everyone gets to choose their own toppings.