You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t list pizza among their favorite foods. Even those who have changed their diets to observe gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free existences still crave the doughy, saucy, cheesy delight that is pizza.
The wonderful thing about this dish is how versatile it is. While most people have a favorite combo (Neapolitan, pepperoni and extra cheese, Hawaiian style, or garlic alfredo), it’s so easy to experiment with different toppings, sauces, and even gluten-free dough alternatives.
You can always go back to classic standbys, but it’s fun to branch out on occasion, and you almost can’t go wrong. What sauces, toppings, and flavor profiles are trending in pizza for 2022?
Tomato-based marinara remains the sauce of choice for pizza in general, but options like flavorful pesto, creamy alfredo, and even BBQ or wing sauce can completely change the flavor profile and give your pizza a kick in the pants.
For 2022, look for the addition of sauces that feature balsamic vinegar for a flavor explosion, as well as spicy harissa, which has been gaining traction in all corners of the restaurant industry.
Melty mozzarella makes for the gooey consistency many pizza aficionados prefer, but in the coming year, you’ll likely see a lot more off-the-beaten-path cheeses, including non-dairy options.
Chèvre (goat cheese) is becoming more popular across the board, and while it doesn’t necessarily melt like mozzarella, it will soften and even crisp a bit on the edges when cooked, adding unexpected tang and texture to pizza recipes.
When paired with pesto, peppery arugula, jammy figs, and toasted cashews, goat cheese makes for a truly tasty departure from your everyday fare.
In other topping news, wild mushrooms are taking the culinary scene by storm, so it’s only natural they’d make an appearance on pizza pies.
And as for meaty additions, more pizzerias now offer meat-free alternatives like Beyond sausage and pepperoni, which are surprisingly similar to meat in both flavor and consistency.
Gluten-free crust still isn’t terribly easy to come by in restaurants, and even when you can find the option (at Domino’s, for example), it can be dry and tough. It’s also frequently cooked in the same ovens as gluten crusts, so it's a hard pass if you have celiac disease.
You’re better off experimenting with your own dough at home. Just swap in a good gluten-free flour (believe it or not, Pillsbury makes a really good multi-purpose substitute) or simply pick up a crust mix (like the one from Bob’s Red Mill). If your local supermarket carries Udi’s products, you might even have access to a ready-made crust.
International Flavor Profiles
After being stuck at home in quarantine for a couple of years, it seems most people are eager to get out and explore the world again, even if it’s only through cuisine. The demand for international recipes and ingredients has exploded, with adventurous diners looking to other continents for culinary delights.
When it comes to pizza, the fastest-growing areas seem to be Thai, Vietnamese, and Mexican flavor profiles. Spicy additions of all kinds are also increasing, including sriracha (Thai), jalapeños (Mexican), and harissa (the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa).
Finding your favorite pizza is a personal choice, but considering it’s one of the easiest food types to switch up, it’s no wonder professional chefs and home cooks alike are always finding ways to reinvent pies. For 2022, consider new sauces, meat alternatives, and spicy additions to take your standard pizza into the new year.
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