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Beyond Pepperoni: Pizzas From Beyond the Pale

Beyond Pepperoni: Pizzas From Beyond the Pale

Photo credit: StockFood / Frank Wieder

When it comes to America’s universal “too tired to cook” mantra, we often slip into POAS (Pizza Ordering Autopilot Syndrome). And when faced with a near-infinite number of ingredient combinations, it’s tempting to go for a tried-and-true default pie from the standard list of Italianate meaty classics and American-style salad bar vegetables.

So to get you thinking outside the crust, here are a few outstanding pies that depart from the usual “pepperoni and mushroom” conventions.

Hangover Brunch Pizza

Though the whole “cold pizza for breakfast” makes double sense for lazy folks (easy AND delicious!), more ambitious morning people can bake up this homage to the farmer’s breakfast in flatbread form. From bottom to top: thin crust, white gravy, scrambled eggs, crumbled breakfast sausage, roasted red peppers and (of course) tater tots FTW.

Squid Ink Pizza with Octopus Salami (Bibiano Osteria Enoteca, Washington DC)

Although it would be pretty simple to pull in a Japanese variant of squid ink pizza for novelty’s sake, we’ll spotlight this limited-edition pizza baked up for’s DC Pizza week a few years back. The squid ink acts as both sauce and food coloring for the darkened crust, which is topped with cured octopus and red chiles.

Red Beans and Rice Pizza (MidCity Pizza, New Orleans LA)

In New Orleans, red beans and rice is the traditional Monday meal, so it was just a matter of time before some of the new-jack pizzaiolis adapted the dish to suit their needs. A creamy layer of long-cooked beans (with rice mixed in) tops the crust, with green pepper and onion added for a little crunch. (And as the local news clip reflects, folks in New Orleans don’t always embrace the transformation of a classic.)

The Vatican (Home Slice Pizza, Austin TX)

Though not a pizza in the strictest sense, this double-secret off-menu item might be one of the more interesting pizza-like devices around. Like its namesake “country within a city,” the Vatican is a full Italian-style submarine sandwich BAKED INTO a meaty calzone. The calzone crust forms a crisp dome over the sandwich, which is topped with sausage and pepperoni—the turducken of the pizzeria world.