Growing up in Medford, MA, my dad only consumed home-cooked pizza, spending a large portion of his free time aboard The Mobile Pizzeria, my grandfather’s self-started pizza truck. This truck represented his father’s business and would accumulate for him a host of fond, deep memories. As my grandfather Joe’s protégé, my dad ended up learning the tricks of the trade in the pizza business.

I naturally have become a pizza snob because of my dad's insistence on home-cooked pizza. However, I remember one night when my mom decided to make naan pizza, topping the circular pieces of Indian bread with fresh vegetables and cheese from the fridge. She demonstrated how homemade pizza can be adapted through its form and preparation.

Take-out, school and frozen pizza can have excessively high amounts of oil and grease, and its price can skyrocket with each topping added. Many of us can understand the annoyance of having leftover bread, vegetables, and other food items that we just can’t seem to incorporate into a meal. To fix these issues, I suggest homemade pizza infused with a creative twist.

Not all of us are pizza artisans with the skills needed to craft our very own pizza dough, a daunting and in reality challenging task (even my dad will attest). Here I outline a few of the ways that one can feed many mouths, consume a classic treat, and avoid take-out pizza through creativity, efficiency, and thriftiness.

Utilize ingredients already in the house.

egg, bacon, cheese, toast, bread
Mikayla Baiocchi

Having leftover bread, whether it be sandwich bread, tortillas, French bread or loaves, Scali bread, etc. is a common phenomenon in many households. Use these surplus carbs as bases for homemade pizza. Channel the childhood days of French bread pizza, but take it up a notch. Cheese is usually a product that is readily accessible and in-stock in fridges.

Pizza sauce can be purchased from the supermarket and is rather inexpensive. Unused vegetables, including tomatoes, spinach, peppers, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms, are commonplace, as well as meats that may be in the fridge, like bacon, prosciutto, and sausage. Concocting homemade pizza presents an efficient way to benefit from these extra products rather than disposing of them.

Break down the conventional image of pizza to allow for more creative (and oftentimes more satisfying) forms of the Italian treat.

Separating pizza from its typical form as a circular piece of crust with commonplace toppings can open of a world of possibilities, and the local supermarket can assist. Possible homemade pizza foundations include:


pie, mozzarella, pepperoni, pastry, crust, dough, cheese, pizza
Paige Marie Rodgers

A way to transform the favorite breakfast sandwich bread; the bountiful flavors of bagels will yield bountiful pizza opportunities! This is the adult version of Bagel Bites that we all know and love.


meat, tapioca, pancake, vegetable, bread
Christine Chang

Ever thought of applying these thin, yummy wraps to a non-Mexican setting? These make for a lighter homemade pizza that are great as hors d’oeuvres, snacks, or personal pies.

English Muffins

These dainty breakfast pastries can make for some yummy pizza bites.


tomato, pizza, cheese, meat, vegetable, sauce
Christine Chang

This Indian bread can usually be purchased at the supermarket in the bread section. It typically comes in packs of two or three slices, but sometimes can be purchased as one large piece conducive to making a large homemade pizza.


Commonly known as the ‘pocket’ bread served with Greek salad and Mediterranean cuisine, this bread, sold at all major supermarkets, can act as a pizza base or serve as a potential ‘internal’ pizza pocket.

Employ interesting ingredients.

Natsuko Mazany

Many of us envision pizza with red sauce, cheese, and various conventional toppings. But with contemporary cuisine infiltrating restaurants and the global food industry, pizza and its form are evolving. What better time to invert the stereotypical image of pizza and achieve a whole new world of culinary possibility.

Use all kinds of cheeses, typicals pizza cheese (mozzarella) is not obligatory. Any kind of cheese that may be in the fridge will work: American, swiss, provolone, cheddar, asiago, parmesan, etc. Mini mozzarella balls or strips work wonders, as they spread across any hot pizza base as they melt.

No pizza sauce in the house? Pizza, tomato, marinara, or any sauce can be purchased at the supermarket inexpensively. Can’t get to the store? Go for a white pizza. Compensate for the sauce by adding more cheese, vegetables, and other toppings, or don’t compensate at all. Bleu cheese dressing and other soft, spreadable cheeses like Boursin cheese can supplement well.

Don’t be afraid to use ingredients that may seem strange for a pizza. Deli meats and poultries like ham, turkey and chicken can offer protein kicks. Any vegetable can work, including unconventional pizza toppings such as squash, asparagus, green beans, onions, carrots, cabbage, etc.

Time of day is trivial: wake up and you’re hungry? Make a breakfast pizza with eggs, ham, and sausage, transforming the shape of the traditional morning sandwich. In a sweet mood? Make a dessert pizza with virtually any form of bread and use toppings such as chocolate sauce, marshmallow, cookies, or brownies, peanut butter, fresh fruit, or oats.

chocolate, tart, strawberry
Jessica Lee

Vegan? These revolutionary pizza-making ideas are a convenient way to make pizza enjoyable for those who do not eat animal products. Vegan pizza is rare in the takeout market (but not impossible to find) and with store bought pizza. Purchase vegan cheese at the supermarket and bring in a variety of vegetables to craft an appropriate pizza.

Choose your own level of grease and create a healthier, personalized pizza for you.

avocado, salad, arugula, sandwich
Alexandra Capello

For a healthier, carb-minimal option, use eggplant or other vegetables as bases and add cheese and other traditional (or nontraditional) toppings. If freshly cut vegetables are used, they must be pre-cooked, which can be achieved with some fresh olive oil and a little time in the oven or on the stove.                                   

Want that oily feeling and taste without excessive grease? Use extra virgin olive oil, or regular olive oil, ‘good’ fats that are a nice replacement for vegetable oil, butter, preservatives, and other more calorie-laden fats that limit the healthiness of a pizza.

Use the oven to cook pizzas and avoid the microwave, which not only makes bread hard but also overcooks vegetables and other toppings, and does not yield the freshest pizza.

fish, herb, asparagus, vegetable
Liz Tadie

Pizza is a typical childhood favorite because of its simplicity, which yields its irresistible taste. No doubt, the prominence of pizza in my family has created a passion for the food and its varied possibilities. My mom’s efforts in defying the traditional pizza have also made me recognize how food and creativity can coexist, while intersecting with thriftiness, health, and convenience.

Pizza can be upgraded and molded into various forms via the opportunities of home-cooked pizza. Yet the willing chef must not feel daunted by the task, they must think beyond a fixed list of ingredients or methods of preparation. Aside from its grease and cost, take-out pizza always travels to a destination, eliminating its fresh, ‘straight-out-of-the-oven’ taste.

Why surrender to this? By thinking outside the (pizza) box, one can prepare enticing, inventive pizza by using fresh ingredients already in the house, keeping an open mind, and getting rid of the idea that home-cooked pizza can only be produced by dough experts. Allow freshness, efficiency, and originality with home-cooked pizza, satisfying the craving for this classic dish.