Vegetable Toppings and Their Preparation – Top 10 Pizza Veggies(Recipes and Vegan Alternatives)

There are numerous ways of making your pizza more exciting. That is one of the main reasons why so many people love it in the first place. My years in the kitchen have taught me that the magic of a great pizza lies not just in the dough or the sauce, but also in the vibrant flavors and textures of the toppings.

My focus today is on vegetables we can use, either as the main topping or only as an additional spreading that will lead to a more unique taste. Here are my favorites.

1. Onions

Caramelized Onion Topping

I particularly love using both white and red onions for their distinct tastes. White onions become incredibly sweet and tender when cooked, while red onions offer a milder flavor with a hint of sharpness.

For the perfect onion topping, I recommend slicing them thinly and either caramelizing them to enhance their sweetness or roasting them to bring out a deeper, more nuanced flavor.

Roasted Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • 150g goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Toss onion slices in olive oil and roast until tender. Spread onions over crust, add goat cheese, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.

Vegan Alternative: Substitute the goat cheese with a vegan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without dairy.

2. Arugula

Arugula Topping

Its bold, peppery flavor elevates the pizza with a fresh and slightly spicy element. I love how its crisp texture contrasts with the melted cheese and warm crust. Adding arugula to pizza is simple yet transformative – it’s best added fresh after the pizza is cooked to preserve its vibrant color and crunch.

Pairing it with milder toppings like mozzarella or ricotta creates a harmonious balance, while a drizzle of olive oil can enhance its peppery notes.

Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Place crust on a baking sheet, add mozzarella, and bake until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, top with prosciutto and fresh arugula, and drizzle with olive oil.

Vegan Alternative: Replace the prosciutto with marinated artichoke hearts or sun-dried tomatoes for a rich, savory flavor. Use vegan cheese or a sprinkle of crushed walnuts for added texture. Also, instead of classic tomato, you can experiment with some innovative sauce.

3. Kale

Kale Topping for pizza

Kale on a pizza is like adding a burst of health and flavor in every bite. Its earthy and slightly bitter taste provides an excellent contrast to the richness of cheese and sauce. For the best texture, I like to lightly sauté kale in garlic and olive oil before adding it to the pizza.

This softens the leaves and brings out their natural flavors. Mixing kale with other toppings like mushrooms or caramelized onions can create a delightful blend of textures and tastes.

Garlic Kale and Mushroom Pizza

  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Sauté kale and mushrooms with garlic in olive oil. Spread over crust, top with cheeses, and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Vegan Alternative: Use a vegan cheese blend or a cashew-based cheese sauce. You can also add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy, nutty flavor.

4. Eggplants

Eggplants Topping for pizza

Their meaty texture and ability to absorb flavors make them a perfect addition. I prefer using thinly sliced or diced eggplants, lightly sautéed or roasted with a dash of olive oil, garlic, and herbs.

This method softens the eggplant and imparts a rich, smoky flavor. Pairing eggplant with tangy feta or creamy mozzarella creates a delightful contrast in flavors and textures.

Rustic Eggplant and Feta Pizza

  • 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • 150g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and roast until tender. Arrange on pizza crust, add feta, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with basil before serving.

Vegan Alternative: Use a vegan feta made from tofu or almonds. For the base, choose a vegan pizza crust and consider adding a drizzle of balsamic reduction for extra flavor.

5. Bell Peppers

Red, Green and Yellow Bell Pepper

I love using a mix of red, yellow, and green peppers, sliced into thin strips. Lightly sautéing them enhances their sweetness, making them a perfect complement to both mild and strong-flavored cheeses.

Bell peppers are not just delicious; they also bring a visual appeal to the pizza, making it a feast for the eyes.

Tri-Color Bell Pepper Pizza

  • 1/2 cup each of red, yellow, and green bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Sauté bell peppers until slightly softened. Spread over crust, top with mozzarella and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Vegan Alternative: Swap the mozzarella for a meltable vegan cheese. Enhance the flavor with a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs or a drizzle of vegan pesto.

6. Spinach

Spinach Topping for Pizza

Spinach is a wonderful way to add a fresh, tender element to your pizza. Its mild, slightly earthy flavor pairs beautifully with creamy cheeses and rich sauces.

For the best results, I use fresh spinach leaves, adding them to the pizza during the last few minutes of baking to preserve their color and texture. Spinach not only adds nutritional value but also a delightful contrast when paired with robust toppings like sun-dried tomatoes or olives.

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Nutmeg, pinch

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Spread ricotta over crust, sprinkle with nutmeg, and bake for 10 minutes. Add spinach, top with Parmesan, and bake for another 5 minutes.

Vegan Alternative: Replace the ricotta with a tofu-based vegan ricotta, seasoned with a pinch of nutmeg and black pepper. Use vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast for topping.

7. Zucchini

Zucchini

Thinly sliced or grated, zucchini can be lightly sautéed with a hint of garlic or used raw for a fresher taste. It pairs wonderfully with tangy goat cheese or mozzarella, adding a subtle charm without overpowering other ingredients. For an extra touch of flavor, a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil or thyme works wonders.

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pizza

  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • 150g goat cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh thyme for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange zucchini slices on crust, top with goat cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with thyme before serving.

Vegan Alternative: Substitute goat cheese with a vegan cheese alternative. Consider adding a sprinkle of lemon zest or vegan parmesan to enhance the flavors.

8. Mushrooms

Wild Mushrooms Topping

Mushrooms are a classic pizza topping, beloved for their earthy flavor and meaty texture. I prefer using a mix of varieties like cremini, portobello, and shiitake for depth of flavor. Sautéing mushrooms beforehand helps to release their moisture and concentrate their flavor.

They work beautifully with robust flavors like caramelized onions or with simple, fresh ingredients like parsley and garlic, creating a harmonious balance on the pizza. Fresh are my favorite choice, but canned mushrooms can be a decent alternative as well.

Wild Mushroom and Garlic Pizza

  • 2 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • Mozzarella and Gruyère cheese
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Sauté mushrooms and garlic in olive oil. Spread over crust, top with cheeses, and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Vegan Alternative: Use a blend of vegan cheeses like mozzarella and cheddar alternatives. Add a touch of truffle oil for an extra gourmet touch.

9. Broccoli

Broccoli Topping Pizza

 

Its slightly bitter, earthy flavor complements a variety of cheeses and sauces. I recommend blanching the broccoli florets briefly before topping the pizza to ensure they are tender yet still crisp.

Broccoli works great with creamy toppings like ricotta or with sharper flavors like sun-dried tomatoes, creating a delightful textural and flavor contrast.

Broccoli and Ricotta Pizza

  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Spread ricotta over crust, add broccoli, top with Parmesan, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Vegan Alternative: Use vegan ricotta or a creamy cashew-based sauce as the base. Top with vegan Parmesan or a drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil for extra zing. Broccoli Florets are among the most popular vegan toppings.

10. Brussels Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

When roasted, they become wonderfully caramelized and tender, with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Thinly sliced or halved, they pair exceptionally well with smoky flavors like bacon or pancetta, and add an incredible texture to the pizza.

Their unique taste and appearance make for a pizza that’s not only delicious but also visually stunning.

Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza

  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 100g pancetta, diced
  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Roast Brussels sprouts and sauté pancetta until crisp. Spread over crust, top with mozzarella, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Vegan Alternative: Swap the pancetta for smoked tempeh or vegan bacon bits. Use a vegan mozzarella alternative and consider adding a sprinkle of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.

FAQs

What are 3 unusual pizza toppings?

Unusual pizza toppings include pear slices, which add a sweet and juicy flavor, squid ink, offering a unique marine taste and dramatic color, and chocolate, used in dessert pizzas for a sweet, rich twist.

What are the 3 best toppings for pizza?

The three best toppings for pizza are classic pepperoni, known for its spicy and slightly smoky flavor, mushrooms, offering an earthy taste and meaty texture, and onions, which add a sweet and tangy complexity to any pizza.

What is the most common pizza topping in Italy?

In Italy, the most common pizza topping is mozzarella cheese, celebrated for its mild flavor and perfect meltability, often paired with fresh tomato sauce and basil for a classic Margherita pizza.

Do you bake pizza before toppings?

For traditional pizza, you usually do not bake the crust before adding toppings; instead, you top the raw dough with sauce, cheese, and other ingredients, and then bake everything together to achieve a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Last Words

I’ve always found that the real magic in pizza making comes from playing around with different toppings, and veggies offer such an incredible range of flavors. Take the caramelized onions, for example – they add this amazing sweet and tangy kick, or the Brussels sprouts, which are a total game-changer when roasted. Honestly, whether you’re pretty handy in the kitchen or just starting out, trying out these veggie toppings is going to take your pizza nights to a whole new level of awesome.