Simply Cooking: Comforting homemade pizza


(Graphic Illustration by Trin Bonner | The Collegian)

Sierra Grimm, Arts and Culture Reporter

Comfort food: We all have that one craving we jump to when we are looking for something easy, familiar and delicious. It’s that food you think about going to bed, daydream about, wake up thinking about and then crave at random times. Mine is pizza.

More specifically, though, it is homemade pizza that you can dip into balsamic vinaigrette. I have come to believe the flavor bursts more when it is homemade. Plus, you can use the toppings you love and not waste any ingredients, meaning no more pineapple. That’s right: Regarding the never-ending debate if pineapple belongs on pizza or not, for today’s recipe, pineapple does not belong on this pizza. We’re also going full-on vegetarian with only a few simple ingredients.


However, this recipe can be catered to the meat lover’s needs as well. When we devour the pizza, though, it will not be the normal triangular slices. This is a dipping pizza: a mouthwatering, perfectly balanced, savory dipping pizza with balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil — yum. It was a random combination that one day I was craving, and it so happened to elegantly work. Let’s get cooking already.

I am sure there are several ways to make homemade pizza dough that are also scrumptious, but to cut the prep time down even more, I use the easy and convenient Trader Joe’s garlic and herb pizza dough then top it with my favorite toppings and sauce. Pop it in the oven, and it’s done in 18 minutes. It’s that easy.


Trader Joe’s garlic and herb pizza dough

1 mozzarella block

2 garlic cloves (diced)

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup pesto sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinaigrette



  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Let the dough sit out for 15-20 minutes at room temperature. While that sits is the perfect time to prep the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Wash 1 cup spinach. Pat dry.
  4. Chop and finely dice two garlic cloves.
  5. Thinly slice your mozzarella block. Seven pieces should be good enough.
  6. Remove dough from the bag and knead it with your hands to get the dough warm and flexible.
  7. Place dough on a pizza tray. Flatten out as thin as you can get it.
  8. Evenly spread 1/4 cup pesto sauce over dough.
  9. Add mozzarella then the washed spinach.
  10. Sprinkle diced garlic evenly on top.
  11. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the bottom of the pizza is golden brown or to your liking. I like mine a bit crunchy, so I keep it in for 20 minutes.
  12. In a small serving bowl, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette. Whisk together.
  13. Remove pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool off.
  14. Cut the pizza in half. Then, instead of cutting in triangles, cut longways to create dipping pizza sticks (1 inch wide, to be precise).
  15. Grab your balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil dipping sauce, and dip away.

Reach Sierra Grimm at or on Twitter @csuram5