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5 Ingredient Series: Personalized Pizzas

Four kids add different vegetable toppings to their own pizzas.

After a long week, the best thing to have on Friday nights is pizza! Ordering take-out or delivery, while convenient, might not be the most affordable option. So, make it at home! Homemade pizzas can be a crowd favorite because they are customizable for each person. Like it spicy? Add red pepper flakes. Vegetarian? You can take the meat off and add extra vegetables. Love a crispy crust? Bake your pizza a little longer. Here’s how to get started:


When we think of pizza dough, we think of the classic dough that needs plenty of time to rest and rise until it is pillow-y soft and stretchable. But work, kids, and other obligations can make it hard to spend that much time preparing a meal. What can you use instead?


  • Bagels (for an extra crispy option, get bagel thins instead)
  • English muffins (whole wheat) 
  • Tortillas (If you like your crust to be paper thin and crunchy this is the option for you!) Pre-cooked pizza dough
  • Pre-made pizza dough (These are found in the refrigerator section but will take a little more time to prepare.)
  • Naan or flat bread

Once you have figured out your base move on to the sauce. 


The most common sauce for pizza is marinara sauce. It’s tangy, a little bit sweet, and has a few basic herbs. This sauce is usually in the sauce aisle where you can also find other tomato sauces, pestos, and alfredo sauces. Marinara and regular pasta sauce are similar in ingredients but marinara will have fewer herbs than pasta sauce. If you have pasta sauce in your pantry this would be a great option. If you are not a fan of tomato sauce here are some other options for you:

  • Pesto - You can make it homemade with just a few ingredients or buy a jar from the store.
  • Barbecue sauce - This is a great option if you like chicken and pineapple on your pizza!
  • Olive oil and garlic - If you do not like sauce at all on your pizza, a tablespoon of olive oil and garlic is a great alternative. 

Once you’ve decided what type of sauces you prefer, cheese is next.


Most pizzas use mozzarella, which is mild in flavor and stretchy when melted. Mozzarella can come in a ball in the specialty cheese aisle, it can be shredded or sliced in the prepackaged deli aisle. You can also use cheddar cheese, parmesan, or goat cheese. Really, any cheese you already have at home can work on pizza.


Toppings are where you can have fun! Try out different flavor combinations and use MyPlate to help add nutrition and variety. Here are some toppings to try out:

  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Pepperoni 
  • Sausage
  • Chicken 
  • Pineapple (canned, fresh, or frozen) 
  • Olives
  • Artichokes
  • Peaches (canned, fresh, or frozen)
  • Onion (any color or flavor)

The possibilities are endless. Here are a few combinations to get you started. 

  • Your choice of dough, tomato sauce, crumbled pieces of goat cheese (or feta cheese), mushrooms, and spinach.
  • Your choice of dough, barbeque sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, chicken, pineapple, onion (optional).
  • Your choice of dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, spinach, peppers, pepperoni. 
  • Your choice of dough, garlic olive oil, mozzarella, spinach, tomato, artichokes. 
  • Your choice of dough, garlic olive oil, mozzarella, fresh peaches, purple onion, spinach.


Preheat your oven to 400° F. For pre-made dough, follow the instructions on the package. It might tell you to pre-bake the dough before adding toppings. Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings, then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the package says. The temperature and time will vary depending on the type of pizza base you use and how well cooked you like your crust to be. Carefully pay attention to the oven, so your pizza doesn't burn. 

Pizza is such a flexible meal; you may not even have to pick up extra groceries before you get started. Grab your favorite ingredients that you already have at home and get creative. 


Emma Fellabaum
April 3, 2024