15 Alternatives to Tomato-Based Pizza Sauce
15 Alternatives to Tomato-Based Pizza Sauce
Whether your customers are allergic to tomatoes or are eager for change, offer them something new on their pizzas with these 15 pizza sauce alternatives.
Originating from Geno, the capital of Liguria, Italy, pesto sauce is a combination of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, cheese, and olive oil. The olive oil blends all the different tastes and textures perfectly together. Typically, cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo are selected for pesto recipes, but you could experiment.
Pesto has a rich flavor and pairs well with fresh tomatoes (for those who aren’t allergic), basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese on pizza. You could use mushrooms, onions, black olives, and chicken as additional toppings or just use one topping at a time. Either way, these ingredients pair well with a freshly made pesto sauce.
For information on preventing allergic reactions, learn the common food allergens here.
2) Bechamel or White Sauce
Typically made with white roux and milk, Bechamel is an ideal substitute for tomato-based sauces. You can make it as rich or flavorful as you like by adding butter and seasoning. While it traces its origins to several different countries, it is commonly used in foods in France. France, Italy, and Greece often use salt and nutmeg to season their white sauce.
Ideal toppings are chicken, various cheeses, and herbs. Red pepper flakes add flavor to any pizza and are commonly used in pizza recipes that call for white sauce.
Alfredo and white sauce are not the same. While white sauce is made with flour, roux, and milk, Alfredo sauce calls for garlic, cheese, and heavy cream. It does not call for any type of flour. This type of creamy and cheesy Alfredo originated in America, but a similar predecessor was brought to us from Rome, Italy.
Compatible toppings include chicken, bacon, tomatoes, herbs, and spinach (Check out the different types of bacon you can use here).
When representatives from our various brands come to visit, we often order chicken alfredo pizza from Bellacino’s in Bluefield, West Virginia. It has lightly cooked onions and is always the first pizza we run out of it. It’s amazing served warm or cold.
4) Olive tapenade
Tapenade is made of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, and anchovies. Invented in France, it is flavorful and serves as an ideal pizza base for toppings such as fresh vegetables, basil, or beef. Olive tapenade pairs well with zucchini and eggplant. You can also use bolder cheeses with it as it is strong enough not to be overshadowed by their taste.
For storage solutions for pizza topping, check out our Prep Tables Buying Guide.
5) Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue sauce is often used with beef, chicken, or pork. It can be served as a condiment or mixed with the meat for sandwiches, subs, or to stand on its own as a main dish. Barbecue sauce by itself is used for basting or as a marinade. With this type of versatility, there’s no wonder it makes such an excellent pizza sauce!
There are many types of barbecue sauce, but it often contains vinegar, salt, and pepper. For more about different types of barbecue, read our blog “A Guide to the Major Barbecue Styles in the United States.”
As a pizza sauce, it pairs well with any of the meats mentioned above, practically any vegetable, and even pineapples!
Not everyone realizes hummus can be used for more than a dipping sauce. It tastes wonderful as a pizza sauce because of its flexibility. It pairs well with practically any vegetable, bean, or cheese. You can add chicken or beef for extra protein.
Invented in the Middle East, hummus is made of cooked and mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
7) Pumpkin and Beet Marinara
If you’re avoiding tomatoes and still desire a red base for your pizza, this sauce is perfect! Puree the pumpkin and beets together for a rich red color and sweet flavor. You can add garlic, basil, and various spices to make it taste like traditional tomato-based marinara. You can use any topping that you would on a pizza with a traditional tomato-based sauce.
For inspiration, read the 10 Most Popular Pizza Toppings in America.
8) Carrot-Harissa Sauce
Wise Bread recommends pureeing the carrots then blending them with harissa, garlic, and spices for the best flavor. With the right spices, you can make it quite spicy. This contrasts well with its usual sweetness from the carrots.
Tracing its origins to North Africa, it is often used as a dip or sauté for vegetables. It pairs well with chili peppers, cauliflower, and beans. You could consider using these as pizza toppings.
Americans dip their pizzas in ranch. Why not use it as a sauce? Originating within America, ranch sauce is made from buttermilk, mayonnaise, salt, garlic, onions, mustard, and herbs. You can use sour cream or yogurt to substitute the buttermilk or mayonnaise if preferred. It works well with toppings like beef, chicken, bacon, and practically any vegetable. And cheese just makes everything better. Peppers, onions, and tomatoes are common vegetables used.
10) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
You can always keep your pizza simple by using extra virgin olive oil as the base of the pizza. Who said an actual sauce was needed? Just cover the crust with the oil and add your toppings of choice. Vegetable pizzas are excellently prepared this way.
Not all pizzas have to be savory. For an extra fun dessert, make a sweet crust and cover it with Nutella. Nuts, chocolates, caramels, sprinkles, or any fruit imaginable would make excellent toppings. For something simple, you could use apples or bananas.
12) Garlic and Oil
Another simple tomato-based sauce alternative is to finely chop garlic and mix it with olive oil before spreading it atop your pizza. This is excellent with any vegetable or meat.
13) Balsamic Glaze
When you blend balsamic glaze with a sweetener and cook it, you create a balsamic glaze. Potential sweeteners are honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar. It has a syrupy texture and is often thick. Instead of as a base, the balsamic glaze is often used as just that on a pizza – a glaze. For this type of pizza, you’ll start with the crust, add your cheese, meats, vegetables and then drizzle the glaze atop.
Check out Yes To Yolks for a pizza recipe that combines balsamic glaze with a savory white sauce.
Tasting sweet, nutty, and tart all at once, this sauce is made of roasted red peppers, pureed walnuts, and spices. It has much the same appearance as traditional pizza sauces but offers much more flavor. It originates from the Middle East and is excellent with black olives, peppers, and cheese.
Invented in Italy, gremolata contains grated lemon zest, minced garlic, and parsley, sometimes olive oil and seasoning. It is easy to make in a blender or food processor! Feasting at Home has a flavorful recipe we think would be fun to try on pizzas. It pairs well with meat, fish, roasted vegetables, and cheese. Specific vegetables to consider using are radicchio, asparagus, cauliflower, peppers, and squash. Goat cheese is complementary to its flavor.
To learn the differences between traditional pizza and pasta sauces, read Pasta vs. Pizza Sauce.