These Pizza Topping Ideas Really Deliver

Including the underrated MVP combo: pepperoni and peanut butter.

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Back when everyone was stockpiling yeast and baking loaves of sourdough, I discovered a love for making pizza dough from scratch. It's cost-effective, only requires a few ingredients (read: flour, yeast, oil and salt) and, thanks to my KitchenAid mixer, takes almost no effort. Plus, it's the perfect canvas for experimenting with different flavor combinations or for making use of whatever odds and ends are left behind in the fridge.

That said, more often than not, I found myself resorting to the same basic toppings: mozzarella and marinara. While there's nothing wrong with this classic combo, my weekly pizza nights were starting to feel a little stale. Fortunately, the Food Network Kitchen app came to my rescue with its bounty of pizza classes and topping ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:

Taco Salad Pizza

In this class, Catherine McCord tops her 'za with some of your typical Taco Tuesday fillings, plus gives it a special vegetarian twist — with plant-based ground meat! While the crust is in the oven, she cooks up the "meat" with onions and taco seasoning. Then, right before serving she piles on the lettuce, avocado, sour cream and cilantro.

Chicken-and-Chorizo Alfredo Pizza

When in doubt, follow chef Jordan Andino's lead and draw inspiration from a tried-and-true Italian-American dish. He sauces his pie with creamy homemade alfredo, then takes the white pizza to new heights with the unexpected addition of crunchy fried chicken and spicy chorizo. At the end of the class, he adds a drizzle of ranch dressing for extra oomph. You won’t miss the marinara one bit.

Peanut Butter and Pepperoni Pizza

While this combination might sound unusual, I can confirm it tastes delicious. Inspired by a dish at one of her favorite restaurants in Minnesota, Gabriela Rodiles convinces us all that peanut butter, pepperoni and pizza are, in fact, an ideal match. She finishes the pie off with fresh jalapenos and hot honey for a spicy kick.

White Pizza with Prosciutto and Dates

In this class, chef Dan Kluger proves that Medjool dates are meant for so much more than baked goods, smoothies and devils on horseback. Here, he scatters the dried fruit on top of a fontina-and-Parmesan-covered crust. Once the pie comes out of the oven, he balances out the sweetness of the dates with pleasantly bitter radicchio and salty prosciutto, making for a dish that's perfectly balanced in flavor and texture.

P.S. You can also find classes that ditch the crust and showcase brilliant ways to turn pizza flavors into dips, muffins, fried rice, you name it.

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