Shredded Lettuce On Pizza Is Always A Red Flag

A pizza crust can serve as a vehicle for people to apply everything that makes up their ideal pie. Classic toppings that no one thinks twice about include mozzarella cheese, cured meats, and plenty of vegetables, but others certainly spark controversy, like pineapple and American cheese slices (yes, really), which are found on Altoona-style pizza. However, as always with food, to each their own. Yet, if there is one pizza topping you should be wary of, it's shredded lettuce.

Restaurants sometimes include lettuce on top of a pizza to add a cool crunch to the hot pie, or to complete a specific flavor profile. For example, California Pizza Kitchen has a California Club pie that is finished with romaine lettuce tossed in mayo to mimic the popular club sandwich. The issue arises when lettuce comes into contact with heat or even warmth; it wilts quicker than an ice cream cone in the Sahara. Suddenly, those cool, crunchy greens become a sad, limp topping tragedy.

There are very few occasions when it's considered okay to serve wilted lettuce, and they pretty much all involve salads served with warm bacon dressing. Of course, if you happen to have some sad, droopy lettuce in your crisper drawer, you can always try rehydrating it using hot water, provided it isn't slimy or smells bad. But when it comes to pizza, it might just be better to save the salad greens for the side.

Wilty as charged

Despite its high likelihood of going limp, lettuce on pizza isn't considered an anomaly. Many reputable pizza parlors top certain creations with arugula dressed in olive oil and lemon juice to give the pie a peppery, bright flavor. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to try something new beyond the classic pizza combo. So, if a lettuce-topped pizza catches your eye, just be sure that the greens are added right before it's served, and that it hasn't been pre-made and sitting under a heat lamp, which will not only ruin the flavor and texture of the lettuce, but will probably make it taste awful.

When your pie arrives, start eating it straight away, and don't be surprised if the lettuce starts to go limp by the time you dive into your second slice. Unless the pizza is served cold, it's practically an inevitable occurrence. Greens are more likely to be found as a topping on novelty pizzas rather than on classic types. For example, aside from the aforementioned club sandwich-inspired pie, other flavors where you might expect to see shredded lettuce include taco pizza, BLT pizza, and maybe cheeseburger pizza. As far as leftovers go, just accept that the lettuce won't survive a trip through the microwave, oven, or air fryer. It might be best to embrace the concept of cold pizza in this case.

Classic pizza flavors without the wilt

If you order a lettuce-topped pizza in a restaurant, the entire pie is likely to come topped with the greens. However, if you're making pizza at home and love the crunch of iceberg lettuce, consider keeping it on the side and adding it to slices as you eat them. This is a great way to keep the lettuce crisp, cool, and fresh throughout your meal. Another way to satisfy your pizza flavor craving — and get your veggie servings in — is to prepare an actual salad that includes your favorite pizza toppings.

Chop up some crunchy romaine and top it with chunks of pepperoni or salami, cubes of provolone or mozzarella, bell peppers, mushrooms, tangy banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, and some crunchy croutons. With this option, you get the best of both worlds: all the wilt-free lettuce you desire, accompanied by an unmistakable essence of pizza.