When it comes to a classic meal that everyone can appreciate, there is rarely something that is as dearly loved as pizza is. With as many people around the world who like pizza as much as they do, it should come as no surprise that there are countless different variants of pizza as well.
Something that you may not realize is that there are so many different variations on a basic pizza that you could potentially have pizza as a meal every day but have it be a different pizza, and you wouldn’t get tired of it.
Out of all the variations of pizza that there are, one variation that a lot of people don’t really give a lot of consideration to is the sauce on the pizza. Sure, people change the toppings on their pizza all the time without a second thought.
However, it is very rare that people choose to go separate ways from the traditional tomato sauce that almost all pizzas are known for.
In fact, the only real deviations that are commonly known include the classic white sauce that some people use as an alternative to tomato sauce and chocolate spreads on a dessert-focused variant of pizza.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that there are many, many more variations of sauce that you can choose from and there are even many recipes out there that don’t use any sauce whatsoever.
When you are planning to make a pizza, you might want to think about some of the alternatives to tomato sauce that you could use to spice your pizza up a little bit more.
Some of these alternatives can even be cheaper than traditional tomato sauce, allowing you to have a variety of meals on a tight budget.
Why Use Something Different?
There are plenty of reasons why you might decide that you don’t want to have pizza with tomato sauce. Some people may have a sensitivity to the family of plants under the name of Solanaceae, better known as nightshade.
These plants include potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. As such, traditional pizzas would not be suitable for people who have an intolerance to this family of vegetables.
Other people may simply have a craving for something different in their lives. Just about every pizza out there uses some sort of sauce and it is almost guaranteed to be tomato sauce. Thankfully, if you are in the market for something different, your options will be widespread.
And finally, some people might not be in the mood to have sauce on their pizzas. There are plenty of points in life where you may not feel as if you are in the mood to eat something in particular; for some people, this may take the form of not wanting to have sauce on their pizzas.
As mentioned before, there are still plenty of variations of pizza that you can choose from even if you aren’t in the mood for any sauce.
Choosing a Sauce That Isn’t Tomato-Based
If you are still in the mood to have some type of sauce on your pizza, there are quite a few that you can choose from, depending on what you are in the mood for.
One of the most common alternatives is bechamel, which is more often known simply as “white sauce.” Many pizzerias will offer this as an option or you can make it yourself by creating a roux with flour and butter, then cooking it with milk and other seasonings.
If you are in the mood for a healthy, herby pizza, a very easy alternative that you can try is pesto. You can either make your own pesto to your own tastes and preferences or you can choose to purchase a jar of pesto from most grocery stores.
From here, you can usually just spread the pesto onto the crust as you would with traditional tomato sauce.
If you want something that carries more nutrients than typical tomato sauce, then you may want to consider covering your pizza with hummus instead.
Hummus is rich in protein and other nutrients, allowing you to have a healthy meal without wasting your tomato sauce. Hummus often goes well with onions, olives, peppers, and some feta cheese.
If your problem with tomato sauce is that the sauce contains tomatoes, you can create a replica sauce that tastes similar to marinara sauce without relying on anything from the nightshade family.
Here, you will need pumpkins and beets as well as some garlic and basil, mixed together into a paste that resembles the sauce that typically goes on pizza. For most people, this mock marinara sauce tastes close to the real thing, allowing you to not have to worry about missing out on the taste most people love.
If you want something that is tangy and savory, you may want to consider creating a soy-miso sauce. As the name might suggest, this sauce is made from two tablespoons of white miso and one tablespoon of soy sauce.
You will want to add an extra tablespoon of brown sugar to make sure that the sauce has the right consistency to it but in the end, this sauce complements tangy toppings such as the infamous pineapple on pizza.
Some other sauces that you don’t necessarily have to make but can help your pizza stand out amongst the crowd include hoisin sauce, curry sauces, Thai chili sauces, and similar sauces.
If you want to create something sweet or potentially even a dessert, you could consider using fig jam or a chocolate spread as the base for a different kind of pizza.
Also, keep in mind that there are other toppings to consider that may not be a sauce.
Choosing a Pizza Topping That Isn’t a Sauce
If you are interested in creating a pizza that doesn’t even rely on a sauce, then there are still plenty of options for you to consider.
Typically, with these pizzas, you may have to take a little more care to make sure that the toppings to your pizza can stick without the sauce to bind them. This may be an extra step in the cooking process but for these unique pizzas, it will be well worth it to do.
First things first; if you want to start out simple, you don’t really even have to change the ingredients of your pizza that much. If you pick out the right cheese, a healthy helping of extra cheese can create a cheesy dough with all the toppings that you want on your pizza without the sauce getting in the way.
For many people, this will be the alternative to use if you don’t want to alter the flavor profile of your pizza too much.
If you like the idea of using cheese as a base for your pizza, one of the best kinds of cheese to use is ricotta cheese. With a thin layer of this type of cheese (mixed with some lemon and basil for more flavoring), you will easily be able to add whatever toppings you want to your pizza while still retaining the texture of a sauceless pizza.
If you cannot handle dairy products, it is possible to create a mock ricotta with macadamia nuts that will have a similar flavor and effect.
Another easy replacement that you could consider is a simple garlic and oil spread. While this could be argued to be a “sauce” because of the consistency of the oil, it doesn’t carry the same weight to it as most sauces do.
Instead, it is a flavorful addition to your pizza and the oil will help any other additional toppings that you want to add stick to the dough so that you can still have something that resembles a pizza when it comes out of the oven.
If the idea of oil and some spices sounds like a good topping that doesn’t cross the border into being a “sauce” on your pizza, you may want to consider zaatar. This is a Middle Eastern blend of spices that combines sumac, thyme, and other spices into a strong and tangy flavor profile.
Mixed with a bit of olive oil to help the spices spread onto the pizza dough, this can be a wonderful topping to your pizza that isn’t quite a sauce but can be just as flavorful as one, if not more so.
Another topping idea that borders between being a sauce and being simply a way to flavor the dough of the pizza is to create a balsamic glaze. This glaze is created by boiling down a quarter-cup of balsamic vinegar to the point that it is almost a syrup.
This can be brushed over the dough not only to add some rich flavor to the pizza itself but also to further help any other toppings that you might be interested in adding to stick to the pizza.
Onions can also make a surprisingly good base for a pizza that a lot of people aren’t aware of. For this topping, you will need to take the additional time to caramelize enough onions to cover the entirety of your pizza.
However, once this step is done, you will have a savory base for just about any toppings that you think would go well with slow-cooked onions and pizza dough.
Something unique that you may be interested in trying is adding some chicken directly onto the dough of the pizza. Do keep in mind that this particular topping will work much better with naan bread rather than traditional pizza dough.
For this, you will want to prepare something known as tandoori chicken.
To prepare the chicken, you will want to marinate the chicken with tandoori seasonings and some additional yogurt to get the flavoring and texture just right. Once they are sufficiently marinated, you will want to cook the chicken pieces alongside onions to further enhance the flavor.
Then you can simply put the chicken pieces onto the bread (or pizza dough) and you will have a unique spin on traditional pizzas that most people wouldn’t even think of when thinking of a sauceless pizza.
Do You Have to Add a Sauce?
A lot of people are under the impression that to create a good pizza, there has to be a sauce. Even more people believe that this sauce has to be tomato sauce or another popular variant of sauce that people add to their pizzas. However, this is far from the case.
Whether you cannot eat traditional tomato sauce on pizzas or you just aren’t in the mood for any sauce, your pizza can be whatever you want it to be. Unless you are trying to faithfully recreate traditional pizzas, there is no reason to add a sauce to your pizza if you find that you do not want to do this.
In fact, some of the best, more unique pizzas out there do not have any sort of sauce on them, such as tandoori chicken pizzas.
Some people add the sauce on their pizzas to help reach the flavor profile they are looking for. Other people appreciate the texture of the sauce. This can go both ways, though, and some people may not appreciate the liquid texture of a sauce on their pizza.
One thing to keep in mind is that some certain toppings that you may want to add to your pizza may not stick to the dough very well if you do not want to add any sauce to the pizza whatsoever.
More often than not, when you are ready to take the pizza out of the oven and the slices have all been cut, the toppings will simply fall off with there being virtually nothing to connect them to the dough.
Because of this aspect, some people will add the very basic cheese to their pizza to create a surface for the toppings of the pizza to attach to. Likewise, some people will do that with oil and other spices. This creates enough of a platform for the toppings to stick to without altering the texture of the pizza in any way.
By the time the pizza gets out of the oven, the oil will have cooked into the dough, leaving you with a truly sauceless pizza for you and your family to enjoy.
A sauceless pizza is just one of the many, many different variants that you can choose from when you are planning on making your own pizza.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.