For some, a pizza should always have at least three ingredients: crust, sauce, and cheese. The beauty of pizza is that it comes from a history of making exceptional food with what’s on hand, so you don’t have to stick to just one recipe.
You can even completely remove the pizza sauce from your pizza, and it’ll still be a pizza!
The No-Sauce White Pizza
If you really want to go without any kind of sauce, you can make a white pizza recipe. A white pizza, by definition, would be any pizza without a sauce, although a particular blend of cheese gives it the common name. It’s a frequently seen dish around the pizza-eating world, especially for anyone who can’t enjoy tomatoes.
Preparing a white pizza can be done roughly the same way as a normal pizza: covering a roughly circular spread of flattened dough with a layer of cheese followed by the other toppings.
The pizza sauce adds moisture and flavor, but it doesn’t affect the cooking time as much as the dough and cheese do. Both thin crust and deep dishes can work well for white pizza, so pick your favorite.
That lost moisture and flavor does need to be avenged, though. Ricotta cheese is a soft, smooth cheese that spreads even when cold, and it’s the go-to addition for white pizzas.
The extra creaminess of the Ricotta compensates for the lost moisture, then seasonings and toppings are used to make up for the flavors of the tomato sauce. As with any other type of pizza, you can add whatever toppings that you wish to a white pizza.
The brown spots of caramelization on the top of a properly baked white pizza are beautiful, and adding no toppings at all makes a delicious form of cheesy bread. Toppings that go well with richer sauces are also excellent, like a few sliced mushrooms or fresh herbs.
Dipping Sauces for Pizza
While white pizzas are perfectly fine to eat, they can be slightly dryer than a pizza that comes with sauce, especially if you forego the Ricotta. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though.
Instead of putting the sauce on the pizza, you can put the sauce on the side. Where before you had a single pizza with a tomato-based sauce, now you have something more like crazy bread loaded with toppings plus the freedom to dip and dunk as you please.
Common dipping sauces you might find at a restaurant include marinara, ranch dressing, and garlic butter sauce. Feel free to try any sauce, but these are some of my favorite.
Marinara sauce has many of the same qualities as pizza sauce as far as flavor, but the consistency is generally thinner with a few more chunky bits mixed throughout. It’s usually included as a dipping sauce for breadsticks or cheesy bread, but it also works for dipping pizza.
2. Garlic Butter Sauce
There are a couple of different ways to make garlic butter sauce, and all of them are decadently rich concoctions of fat and flavor. Each dip will cling to the pizza and your tongue.
You can keep it simple and use butter, garlic, and salt as your only ingredients. It will solidify back into solid butter if you let it cool for too long, but the warmth of the pizza should help if that happens.
Alternatively, add a bit of broth to the garlic butter mixture. It won’t be quite as rich, and the broth will either stop or slow it from solidifying depending on how much you add.
3. Olive Oil Dressing
Olive oil dressing has some of the same richness as garlic butter sauces, but it’s a bit faster to prepare and doesn’t require any additives to keep it from solidifying. Pour the oil, add a flavored vinegar or two, and sprinkle in some seasonings.
Whisk it about, and you’ve got a brand new olive oil dipping sauce for your pizza. I’ll admit to making unique sauces when we order out for pizza and I want to add a personal touch to the meal.
Adding some lemon juice and a heap of dill makes a sauce that is perfect for a Greek-inspired pizza with feta and gyro meat on it.
The first time I tried ranch on pizza was thanks to an included salad bar, and I haven’t looked back since that day. I like to mix in a helping of red pepper flakes or hot sauce to give it a kick.
At home, it’s easy to whip up a batch of ranch with personalized seasonings to go with a specific blend of toppings. The recipe is similar to olive oil dressing, but you’ll add a bit of mayo and sour cream to thicken and smooth out the texture.
Alternatives to the Traditional Pizza Sauce
While no-sauce pizzas are an option, you can also swap out the sauce for a different blend to create an entirely new pizza. Like toppings, there are no rules that you strictly have to follow, but the following sauces have proven to be popular menu mainstays.
1. Marinara Sauce
As I said earlier, marinara and pizza sauce are slight variations on the same thing. When making a white pizza, you might be doing so to show care to someone who can’t or won’t eat tomatoes on pizza. Making a batch of marinara on the side will let everyone have the eating experience that they crave.
2. Barbecue Sauce
The sweetness and tang of barbecue sauce can make a pizza’s flavors pop. I was uncertain the first time I tried a barbecue chicken pizza from a local pizzeria, but I was hooked the moment I took a bite.
The consistency is a little bit different than pizza sauce, but it’s close enough that the flavors are the real change. My favorite variation includes Canadian bacon and spicy peppers.
3. Cream Cheese Sauces
For even more dairy in your pizza, try a sauce made from cream cheese. The richness melts throughout every bite. It does have a touch more sweetness to it than Ricotta or Mozzarella, but that works in its favor when creating spicier pizzas.
The cream cheese mellows out the heat while letting the flavors shine through. You’ll often see it in pizzerias with jalapeno peppers mixed into the cheese.
Pesto is a blended sauce that’s traditionally made from pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, basil, and other seasonings. Hummus has a similar texture and recipe, but the differences between the two go beyond pesto’s green coloring.
Unlike other alternatives to pizza sauce, it’s not nearly as rich or heavy on dairy, so it sits lighter on sensitive stomachs. Try something like a Margherita recipe with a pesto base to see if you like it.
5. Alfredo Sauce
Fat and salt are two of the most important flavor components, and Alfredo sauce is their manifestation. Cheese is mixed into a blend of melted butter and heavy cream, eventually forming a thick sauce.
While there is some variation depending on how the sauces are made, an Alfredo sauce will likely have the highest fat and caloric content. Even most barbecue sauces will have a lower calorie count despite ten times the sugar content or more.
And it’s worth every single calorie. Just be sure not to stick with the obvious choice of chicken as a topping, or you’ll miss out.