Autumn is truly a magical time. The weather cools down. Halloween ushers in a string of beloved holidays to round out the year. And perhaps best of all, we get to savor all those wonderful fall flavors — the true essence of harvest and the bounty of all those crops we worked so hard to raise and grow throughout the long summer months. There are wonderful melons and squash to use and enjoy. Hearty and rich herbs, all color and variety of apples, and — of course — countless pumpkins begin popping up everywhere. Fall means special flavored coffees, wonderful pies and baked goods, incredible autumn-inspired sandwiches, and so much more!
Even a classic delivery staple like pizza can easily take on the incredible tastes and flavors of the autumn months. In fact, there may be no better food out there to enjoy the taste of fall with than a good pizza. For the next few months, say goodbye to your go-to Supreme or Meat Lover's pizza, and welcome in fall with a pizza that truly fits the season. Whether you're making your own flatbread or rustic dough from scratch, using store-bought ingredients, or even doctoring up a frozen pizza before you put it in the oven, there are dozens of ways you can quickly and easily create a delicious fall-inspired pie — a pizza that will send your taste buds soaring and impress anyone you might be cooking for. We're here with some autumn-inspired inspiration to get you started.
Read more: 38 Best Pizza Toppings Ever Ranked
Add Diced Pumpkin Or Pumpkin Puree To Your Pizza
Nothing says fall like pumpkins. These gorgeous orange members of the winter squash family are the traditional symbol of autumn and pop up all season long, whether it's the pumpkin spice-flavored coffee at your local Dunkin', Halloween jack-o'-lanterns, or traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. And while you may not automatically think "pumpkin" when you're craving a slice of pizza, the flavorful squash can be an excellent addition to any pie.
One of the easiest ways to work pumpkin into a homemade pie is to simply substitute canned pumpkin puree in place of traditional pizza sauce. From there, continue making your pizza as normal, adding ingredients like crispy bacon, onions, and goat cheese. If you like a bit of heat, spicy sausage can be a perfect compliment to the mild tang of pumpkin. You might also consider throwing some toasted pecans on your pumpkin pizza for added crunch, or even drizzling on some balsamic glaze after the pizza comes out of the oven for a sweet and vibrant finishing touch.
You can add pumpkin flavor to pre-made pizzas as well. Start with a hearty meat-based pizza that's packed with ham, sausage, or prosciutto. Then, before you put the pie in the over, just add a handful of diced, frozen pumpkin pieces spread generously over the top of the pizza. Bake the pizza as normal, and serve with some pumpkin ale and a peppery arugula salad. Delish!
Throw On Some Apple Slices
Like pumpkins, apples are another classic symbol of the autumn months. And also similar to pumpkins, apples can be an excellent fall addition to any pizza, pairing beautifully with the entrée to create a delightful fusion of savory and sweet flavors.
You can make a wide variety of homemade apple pizzas starting with just a basic plain crust. On top of that dough, you might layer slices of brie cheese plus thin slices of your favorite sweet apple (like Golden Delicious, Ambrosia or Honeycrisp) for a creamy, tangy snack or crowd-pleasing appetizer. For something a bit heartier, consider slices of Red Delicious, Gala, or Fuji apples plus grated sharp cheddar cheese or Gouda and salty, savory prosciutto or lighter diced, grilled chicken breast. Throw on some toasted walnut pieces for added nuttiness and crunch, or sprinkle on some fresh sage leaves to add an earthy, aromatic quality to your pizza.
If you prefer to doctor up a premade pizza, just pick up your favorite plain cheese or Margherita pizza plus a couple of your favorite type of fresh apple. Slice the apple thinly, and spread it evenly over the pizza. If you want, add a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon to further bring out that apple flavor. Finally, drizzle a small amount of honey over the apple-topped pizza, and bake as normal. Cook until the apples are soft and lightly golden and the honey has begun to caramelize.
Sprinkle Some Corn On Your Pie
Fresh corn on the cob is the quintessential early fall veggie we all love. It's a classic comfort food and can be both hearty and sweet, combining all the qualities we like best in a side dish or entrée. That natural sweetness and satisfying crunch of corn also make it an ideal ingredient for any autumn-inspired pizza.
If you're the type to make your own pizza dough, one of the most interesting ways to add corn to your pizza is to knead some kernels directly into your dough before you roll it out. This simple technique adds wonderful texture — and the candy-like sweetness of corn — throughout any pizza you might whip up.
Alternately, to use your corn as a topping, consider making a Southwest-inspired pizza. Top your pizza crust with as much corn as you want plus black beans, diced tomatoes, diced onion, olives, and even cooked ground beef if you want an especially hearty taco-inspired pizza. Complete your creation with some Mexican herbs and spices and a handful of cheese, and then bake to golden perfection.
For prepared pizzas, you can easily add a handful of frozen corn kernels to almost any frozen pie you might buy. They taste especially great paired with a barbecue chicken pizza or even a simple goat cheese and caramelized onion vegetarian pizza. Depending on how much corn you add, just be careful when putting your pie in the oven so those kernels don't fall off!
Add Cubed Squash To Your Pizza
For a more elevated and sophisticated take on an autumn-inspired pizza, you can't go wrong by topping any pie with rich, savory, yet earthy chunks of butternut squash. This sweet, nutty veggie can be intimidating to some — but don't let that pale oblong shell scare you off. Inside lurks some of the most delicious fall flavor around. Plus, butternut squash's inherent sweetness and light creamy texture meld seamlessly with pizza's savory components, making it an ideal addition to almost any type of pizza.
Best of all, you can add butternut squash to your pizza in a wide variety of ways. If you roast your squash before prepping your pizza, you can mash the fleshy interior of the squash and use that puree as your pizza base in place of tomato sauce. Or, you might simply choose to use fresh or frozen cubes of butternut squash and sprinkle them over your pizza just as you would any other topping. Either option works beautifully!
Butternut squash pairs well with ingredients like ham or sausage, salty prosciutto, creamy goat cheese, tangy Gorgonzola, and all forms of bacon. For a plant-based pizza, you can also partner it with fresh arugula, caramelized onions, and almost any fresh herb — rosemary and sage are especially great options. For the full fall experience, serve your butternut squash-infused pizza with a mixed green salad and a nice glass of spiced apple cider or your favorite hard cider. Yum!
Get Fruity And Top Your Pizza With Some Cranberries
Cranberries don't always get the respect they deserve. They're a wonderful fall flavor, bursting with tartness — and they have far more uses than just as a side for bland turkey breast. Fresh or canned, for example, cranberries can be a game-changing ingredient to add to the top of any fall pizza.
Start your pizza by grabbing a can of whole berry cranberry sauce (not the jellied variety that Grandma likes to slice into logs before serving). Then simply spread a few spoonfuls of the cranberries over your pizza crust, top with cheese, and bake. You can swap grated pizza cheese for thin slices of brie if you'd like. Pair them with fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of honey for an incredibly satisfying light meal or snack. For a heartier version of the same pizza, add even more cranberries to your rolled out crust, and pair them with a generous amount of cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage. Finally, add your cheeses and herbs and bake as before.
Since cranberries will never escape their link to Thanksgiving, you might even consider making a turkey-and-cranberry-inspired pizza a day or two after the holiday to help you use up all your leftovers. Start with any plain pizza crust, add a layer of tomato sauce, and then top with whatever leftovers you have on hand: chunks of turkey, stuffing, veggies, and, of course, cranberries. Pile your pizza high, and then bake until crispy.
Top Your Pizza With Slices Of Pear And A Drizzle Of Honey
Similar to apples, pears are another wonderful fall flavor — and can make an incredible addition to a number of different autumn-inspired pizzas. To get started, you'll need the right fruit — something firm and dense that will stand up to the heat of the oven yet still ripe and sweet to provide that amazing pear flavor. Bosc, Anjou, and Red Bartlett pears are all ideal choices.
Once you have your pears in hand, cut them in half to remove the core, and then slice the fruit into thin segments. You'll only need one or two pears max for most pizzas. To prepare a pie where pears are the star of the meal, simply rub some olive oil on your prepared pizza crust, and then add layer after layer of beautiful ripe pear slices. For a sweeter and more concentrated pear flavor, you might also consider sautéing or caramelizing the pear slices before adding them to the pizza. To do so, melt some butter in a pan, add the pear slices, and then cook until they turn slightly golden brown and soften.
To finish your pear pizza, you can consider a variety of toppings. For a sweeter dessert-style pizza, drizzle some honey over the fruit and toss on a few of your favorite chopped nuts. For a more savory option, use bacon and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese or prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, and fresh arugula. Then just bake and serve!
Load Up On Caramelized Onions
Whether you want a rustic flatbread pizza, something on a crispy thin crust, or a classic sourdough pie, caramelized onions can be an incredible addition to any fall pizza you might be planning. You may not even want any other toppings — sometimes onions alone can be enough!
To prepare any pizza featuring caramelized onions, you first need to caramelize your onions to perfection. Opt for yellow or sweet onions — both types naturally contain more sugars that are essential in the caramelization process. Begin by thinly slicing the onions. Next, heat a generous amount of butter or olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to help draw out their moisture, and let them cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Be patient! Caramelization takes time — let your onions cook for at least 30 to 45 minutes, or until they turn a rich, deep, golden brown.
To prepare an onion-packed pizza from scratch, top your crust with a generous helping of the onions plus ingredients like goat cheese, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, or Gruyère cheese. You can also add caramelized onions to any pre-made frozen pizza before putting it in the oven to cook. They're great on all types of pies but shine especially brightly when paired with barbecue chicken or any plant-based pizza that's piled high with spinach, broccoli, or other garden greens.
Garnish Plain Pizza With Brussels Sprouts And Almonds
Brussels sprouts have undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, shifting from something most of us loathed as children to becoming a beloved fine dining essential. The secret is all in the prep — boiled, frozen Brussels sprouts were never going to taste that great. But when you pan fry these delicate, bitter mini cabbages or roast them gently in the oven or even grill them on a kebab, they take on incredible flavor and can become truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
No wonder then that Brussels sprouts can also be an incredible fall pizza topping. You can go the simple route and just toss a few leftover cooked sprouts on top of any plain cheese pizza along with some sliced almonds — as shown above — and you'll still end up with a great meal. Or, for something a bit more involved, you might plan an entire pizza around the veggie. One quick and easy option is to sauté a generous amount of Brussels sprouts and mushrooms together until they're tender and slightly caramelized. Then simply spread this mixture over your pizza dough and top with goat cheese before baking for a rich and earthy pie. Cooked Brussels sprouts and crumbled bacon are another ideal pairing any pizza lover with devour.
To add Brussels sprouts to a premade pizza, just buy a bag of shaved Brussels sprouts — or dice up your own — and then spread the greens generously over the pie before you bake it.
Add A Few Slices Of Exotic Fig
Figs are one of the true delights of fall, packing a mildly fruity and slightly nutty flavor that some have described as similar to honey. Unfortunately, finding fresh figs in markets can sometimes be tough. It's worth it to make the search, however, as nothing tastes quite as wonderful as a fresh fig.
In addition to eating the fruit on its own, fresh figs can be an amazing topping for autumn pizzas. Simply brush a bit of olive oil on a pizza crust, and then add slice after slice of fresh fig to the dough. Round out your pizza with some cheese (mozzarella, goat cheese, or Gorgonzola work well), prosciutto or thinly sliced ham, fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or basil), and a light drizzle of balsamic glaze or reduction.
Can't find fresh figs? Repeat the same technique with dried figs or even frozen figs that have been thawed and drained. Or, use a fig jelly instead. Just spread the jelly directly on your pizza crust in place of the olive oil and then add your toppings as normal.
Because of their sweetness, figs are also an ideal option for a dessert pizza — serve one at your next brunch! Just top your crust with the figs plus creamy cheeses like mascarpone or goat cheese, chopped nuts, honey, and fresh herbs. You can even sprinkle chocolate chips, shavings, or chunks over the pizza — paired with figs, they make a divine combination of flavors!
Go Hearty With Sliced Eggplant And Autumn Peppers
From pop-up farmers' market stands to backyard gardens, the autumn months always mean an abundance of fresh, wonderful veggies. And some of that produce is easier to use than others. What do you do if you have a surplus of fresh bell peppers, for example, or you see a bunch of beautiful eggplants for sale at your local co-op? Plan an incredible savory fall pizza, of course!
Start your homemade veggie pizza with a hearty pre-made crust capable of absorbing extra moisture released as your produce cooks. Add a layer of tomato sauce to the crust, and then pile your pizza high with thin slices of eggplant, bell pepper, mushrooms, red onion, and even artichoke hearts if you have them.
Next, add a generous helping of cheese. Gorgonzola, Fontina, Havarti, and Gouda are all great options with robust flavors that stand up well next to fall produce. Finally, top your plant-based garden harvest pizza with fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, or thyme. Sprinkle on a few black olive slices or some chunks of sun-dried tomatoes if you'd like, and your pizza is ready to go into the oven. Bake until all your veggies are tender, and the cheese topping has begun to turn a vibrant golden brown. For the perfect taste of fall, serve your pizza with herbal tea or a favorite craft beer, a small side salad, and a warm bowl of creamy butternut squash soup.
Or Just Throw Some Pumpkin Spice On Your Pizza And Call It Day!
Can't be bothered to make your own pizza? Or just don't have the time or energy yet still craving some of those incredible fall flavors we mentioned previously? You're in luck! For the absolute easiest way to add fall flavor to any pizza — even one you've had delivered — all you need is a jar of pumpkin spice.
Used to flavor everything from pumpkin pies (of course) to coffees and lattes to baked goods, oatmeal, waffles, and even pancakes, pumpkin spice is a catch-all blend of all of our most popular fall flavors in one convenient package. A typical bottle contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and sometimes allspice or cardamom. And despite what you might be thinking, pumpkin spice can be an amazing topping for any premade pizza. You can sprinkle a bit directly over plain cheese or vegetable pizzas before baking. Be careful — a little goes a long ways. Or, grate some mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle pumpkin spice on top of it. Toss well, and then spread the cheese over your prepared pizza before baking. This helps to ensure the spice is evenly distributed across your pizza.
And if you do choose to make your own pizza, consider sprinkling some pumpkin spice into your tomato sauce or white sauce before spreading it on your crust. Both are easy and delicious ways to further infuse any pizza with the wonderful flavors of fall! Happy pizza making!
Read the original article on Mashed.