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This Healthy Topping Is the Biggest Pizza Trend Right Now

This *literally* might be the perfect pizza.

Pizza is a classic that has never been more popular, and just because it's summer slim-down time doesn't mean you have to give it up. In fact, says the New York Times, there's a new pizza topping on the rise that totally utilizes the greatest ingredients of the season. You probably haven't heard of trying this, but it might make for your best pizza ever.

Read on to learn the pizza topping that's currently trending, and that delivers loads of nutritional benefit (as well as some cool recipe options). Also check out 50 Best Easy (and Fast) Dinner Recipes.

Introducing "salad pizza."

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Never heard of salad pizza? You have now. With a piled-high abundance of greens complemented by tangy cheese and a nice plant-based protein, the New York Times invoked this pizza topping from California Pizza Kitchen's tricolore pizza… but we might bet it was authentic Italian cuisine that first sparked C.P.K.'s inspo.

RELATED: The Best & Worst Menu Items at California Pizza Kitchen

What's the difference between salad pizza and veggie pizza?

Man hold useful bunch of spinach in hand closeup on kitchen background
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The difference between salad pizza and classic veggie pizza is the foundation of this topping: Greens, and a lot of them. Chicken and ham are said to be the most popular pizza toppings in the world right now, but with so much flavor and such great health benefits, greens like these could definitely gain on those meats. (Plus, they're friendly to your non-meat-eating friends!)

One ripe reason salad pizza is so genius…

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Summer is the prime time of year to play around with the salad pizza concept. That's especially true if you look to Italians living in regions like Abruzzo, where arugula grows freely along some footpaths in summer, or Genoa, where basil and pine nuts are the base for the world's best pesto. Spinach from the garden, farmer's market, or grocer would work brilliantly, as would kale or watercress. Also, got a handful of basil? You go on… and so can it. (Check out 13 beginner-friendly herbs for starting your own windowsill garden.)

There's so much to love about salad pizza.

parmesan cheese
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So much, meaning its versatility. The New York Times recipe called for grated parmesan, but sliced buffalo mozzarella, asiago, or even cheddar would be great. Also, fontina? Fontina was practically invented for salad pizza.

RELATED: We Tasted 5 Frozen Cheese Pizzas—and This Is the Best

And then there's the plant protein.

Cannellini beans
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A good salad pizza's got it all: The greens, the cheese, and in this case, cannellini beans. The smokiness of the bean brings flavor, while the protein is a boon for salad pizza's nutrition value. Fava beans and chick peas would also be natural additions to salad pizza. Just be sure to give them a rinse and pat them dry if they come from a can.

Don't be shy with those veggies.

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You could really glorify this approach with Roma tomatoes, artichokes, olives, bell peppers, hot peppers… the veggie blends are endless with a salad pizza.

Here's the trick to making a salad pizza.

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The secret to making a salad pizza is to separate the baking from the tossing—that is, bake the pizza on its own, and then top it with your salad after it comes from the oven, the grill, or wherever you bake it.

See why else salad pizza is a must-try in One Major Effect of Eating Salads Every Day, Says Science.

Also, is it just us..?

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…Or do you suddenly feel the need to have your own outdoor pizza oven? Now that's Italian.

Check out 30 Foods That Taste so Much Better Grilled, and sign up for our newsletter for the trending food and wellness news you need.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more
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