8 Weirdest 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Pizza Combos Taste Tested
We, like everyone, love humankind's crowning achievement: pizza. So this week, Cracked is dishing out pieces of pizza history and deep-dives into the food G.O.A.T.
As a kid, I was told that I'm very impressionable. If it happened on TV or in the movies, I wanted it to happen to me. Cracked enabled me to feed my indulgences many years ago when I tried a bunch of fictional cocktails from movies and TV. But this week, we're talking about pizza. And who better to consult about the best fictional pizza concoctions than the Ninja Turtles. Of the mutant teenager variety.
Our green buds have ordered just about every ridiculous variety of pizza one could possibly imagine. After cataloging every one of them, I put a poll out to my friends, asking them to choose which 8 of the 24 worst-sounding flavors would be the most interesting for me to review. I now realize that many of those friends are, in actuality, sworn enemies who only wish to watch me suffer. But I don't back down from a challenge just because it's challenging. I rush
head stomach first into it without giving it a second thought …
Jelly Beans and Sausage - From the episode Slash: The Evil Turtle from Dimension X
We'll get started with the most requested of the hellish pizza concoctions taken from a poll of almost two dozen responses. By and large, Jelly Beans and Sausage soared above the rest, pulling in nearly double the number of votes than the next most popular choice. Taken from the episode Slash: The Evil Turtle from Dimension X, this pizza recipe is brought up right at the top of the show during an argument between Raphael and Michelangelo.
I'm a little amazed that Raph even had to tack on "before you go to sleep" to the complaint. Why would that combination of food be a thing in the first place? Instead of arguing with a bunch of reptiles from 35 years ago, I powered through and attempted to woof down the first of eight objectionable food fusions.
The Taste Test:
It is a stellar time of year to get jelly beans, so we're off to a good start already. I enjoy jelly beans and have never shied away from a handful. Not even from the novelty ones that taste like dirt or urine. Or urine-stained dirt if you eat two of them at the same time. Pair that with sausage pizza, one of the classic pizza toppings, and we should be in good shape. I cooked up a pie at home and will be decorating each slice with the requested toppings before reheating it. This is to make sure I really get the entire essence of the flavors cooked into the pizza to deliver a fair but lightly biased review on the end result.
I attempted to make the slice look as cartoonish as possible and used a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans with over 29 flavors if you can believe that. The flavors I ended up picking were watermelon, cotton candy, lemon, pina colada, and a red one that was either very cherry or sizzlin' cinnamon. All of the sausages were standard sausage flavor.
The cooking process melted the candy's outer shell, leaving a stain on the cheese that boasted most of the colors of the rainbow. It's definitely an aesthetically pleasing slice of pizza, but I'm not here to showcase my culinary excellence even though it is clearly off the charts.
My first bite was both jelly bean and sausage, which was just fine with me. The sausage and pizza were obviously great, as there is nothing outlandish about that combo. And aside from burning my hand on an especially spicy jelly bean right out of the oven, I have no harsh words on the bean front.
The jelly beans take nothing away from the taste. I don't eat pineapple pizza but based on my knowledge of what both pizza and pineapple taste like, that essentially seems to be what this is. But where pineapple on pizza will only ever produce pineapple pizza, jelly bean pizza can be whatever you want it to be. Coconut. Buttered popcorn. Diarrhea. Whatever you're into. I'm not here to 'yuck' anyone's 'yum.' I'm here to scarf down the rest of this incredibly versatile slice and then move on to whatever horrors await me next.
Goulash - From Turtles on the Orient Express
Turtles on the Orient Express is an episode of TMNT so popular that they went and remade it back in 2017 with Kenneth Branagh and Penélope Cruz.
This episode takes place on the titular Orient Express and sees the gang of green foiling Shredder's plans to crash the train into an oil field and presumably jack up gas prices. While chasing the bad guys, Michelangelo runs into some locals cooking a pot of goulash, which is how this slice of pizza ended up in my life.
The Taste Test:
Here's the thing about goulash: it rules. You can sign me up for spicy beef stew and macaroni any day of the week. Pair that with pizza, and I could foresee no issues with this next entry on the list. We're not dealing with the battle between salty vs. sweet this time, as both of these dishes separately fall into the same dinner food kingdom. The biggest concern going into this treat would be the sogginess factor involved. Goulash is a stew, after all. Stew, by its nature is a damp food. I think 'stew' is actually short for "it's too wet to eat without a spoon." But don't quote me on that.
I moved forward with spreading a healthy amount of this Americanized Hungarian treat, making sure to cover the entire landscape with the stew to ensure it could not be escaped. All the parts of the goulash become crispy after their trip through the oven, but the slice still ends up a bit soggy due to the liquid involved. Nothing worse than soggy 'za.
Aesthetically, not too much has changed about the pizza. Goulash and pizza share the same color pallet, so it was easy to stuff the whole sloppy mess into my mouth. The juices from the 'lash had sunk into the crust, leaving you tasting its melody of spicy, hearty goodness the entire time. The soup bits themselves, such as the meat, macaroni, and veggies, blend well with the sauce and cheese. I thoroughly enjoyed my homemade goulash pizza and bet it could be even better if a professional made either or both of the ingredients. If you're on the fence about getting the full goulash pizza treatment, it couldn't hurt to just order a cup and dip your pizza into it.
Peanut Butter and Clams - From Green with Jealousy
I am not a praying man, but I did ask Jesus several times not to allow this combo in the article when voting was underway. I don't even enjoy allowing both of these ingredients in the same sentence, so I desperately turned to Google to see if there was any precedent for this snack beyond Ninja Turtles. It turns out that New Haven, Connecticut is famous for White Clam Pizza which they've been making for decades. With that kind of longevity, they may have cracked the code on clam pizza, and I can't tell you what a relief that was. But then I remembered the peanut butter.
Light spoiler alert, but this isn't the only pie that will feature peanut butter, so despite how I'm feeling about it, there is no time like the present to jump in and get this over with.
The Taste Test:
This topping duet is mentioned in the TMNT episode Green With Jealousy, but I'm about to be green. In the face from thinking about this pizza. First off, let's call shenanigans because the pizza in the image above is clearly pepperoni; there is not a glimpse of either of these stupid toppings in view. You can blame lazy animators, but I have a feeling not even the Turtles would agree to try this one on screen. And they live in the sewer, for heck's sake.
Look. I will admit it here, I am not a clam fan. If it's not in stick or chowder form, I will usually pass by any marine life on a menu. The thought of coating my dislike in peanut butter and woofing it down isn't a pleasant one, but, as a consummate professional, I will eat this dirty pizza because I made a promise when I was four years old that I would always do whatever the Ninja Turtles told me to do.
Note to self and to all of you out there: don't do what the Turtles say or do. I don't care what it is; eat gross pizza, fight crime, stay away from drugs. In one small slice of pizza, they have proven themselves to be unreliable role models. Good lord, this was a bad slice of pizza.
Before you go blaming the clams, I have to defend them. They tasted, dare I say, fine after their time baking in the oven. They were not the worst part about struggling through this. The peanut butter I slathered onto the full slice had somehow simultaneously melted and thickened, which, as it turns out, really messes with anything else you're attempting to taste. Overwhelming, hot peanut butter is the name of the game for this slice. I purposely swallowed the first two pizzas and was pleasantly surprised. I accidentally swallowed some of this pizza, and it ruined my goddamn life.
The end result was a soggy, oily mess with a staggering amount of peanut flavor. Next time I am in Connecticut, I will be looking up that clam pizza. Otherwise, my only other takeaway from this pizza is that Leonardo in that image above doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Some leader.
Tea and Toast - From The Making of Metalhead
When this style of pizza was first brought to my attention, I could not for the life of me understand why it existed. Such a random pair of toppings that I felt for sure someone had made a mistake. After watching it, though, the combo makes sense. See, this episode starts off with all four turtles showing the acute signs of being sick as dogs while April is forced to take care of them.
I honestly felt for the turtles at this point in the game because my body is also rebelling against me at this time due to the range of trash food I am feeding it. And what helps you feel better when you're sick from pizza poisoning? Tea and toast, of course! But just because the flavors make sense in the episode's context doesn't mean it is going to do me any favors.
The Taste Test:
It feels like the very idea of these toppings is worse than the actual execution will be, but I've been wrong before. Tea and toast is an age-old pairing, and I'm certainly no stranger to dipping a warm, buttery piece of toast into my tea when the mood calls for it. We're just adding cheese, pasta sauce, and dough this time.
This is such an odd idea for a slice of pizza that is never actually shown on the show. Probably because not even the animators could figure out how to engineer this thing. I was flying blind for this one, but I think you'll agree my execution was fair.
For all of the article's entries, I cooked the pizza about 90% of the way before slicing it up. Then each new topping went back in the oven to cook for a bit before coming out. I started out this slice by cooking everything separately first.
Then, I sprinkled the tea onto the slice. Since the episode gives no indication about how these toppings are supposed to work, I dropped some additional tea leaves on top of the cheese before trimming the toast up and laying that on top. The whole sandwich went into the oven before tasting. The time in the oven made the toast extra crispy while also causing some of the butter to nestle itself on top of the cheese. It was good! The whole thing was very tasty. The different textures were pleasant, and I did not even taste the tea leaves (despite my best efforts).
So the slice itself tasted fine but would do little to cure the turtles of their Turtlepox. I don't know a ton about ninja turtle physiology, but it may work better if Michaelangelo had actually brewed the toast and pizza into a tea. How would such a thing taste? Would it have any medicinal function? Would it even be drinkable? I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't figure out the answer to those questions.
So I did.
Okay, so the tea was no good. Tasted like someone heated up dirty sink water. But that wasn't my assignment. I'm here to let you know if I enjoyed the tea and toast pizza, and the answer is: sure.
Marshmallow and Pepperoni - From April Fool
It is interesting that this pizza model comes from an episode called April Fool because it would appear I am the fool. I allowed others control of my destiny, and now my mouth tastes like a sandwich served in a cup of ocean water. But, lucky for me, I get to enjoy what may be the closest thing to a normal slice of pizza on this list. And the only obstacles that need to be conquered are marshmallows.
Nobody hates marshmallows unless you're a Ghostbuster. But much like the Ghostbusters, I will defeat these marshmallows using only the power of my mouth and some fire.
The Taste Test:
Looking at some of these pizza toppings makes me wonder how the turtles are ever in any kind of shape to fight. Globs of marshmallows and toppings like chocolate fudge on top of an already greasy dough is a quick map towards diabetes or, at the very least, a mild heart attack. But the turtles are super-powered, and I was famously not doused in a mysterious ooze to gain the gifts that allow me to eat this way. I am just a man, and the only ooze I deal with is the sugary kind that is dripping off of this here slice of pizza.
The only thing the marshmallow ooze transformed me into was satisfied. This slice was excellent from top to bottom. I used mini-marshmallows since I thought they would work better on a single slice vs. the larger ones. That decision turned out to be the right one because they make such a sweet, crunchy, and tasty part of this pizza.
We already put marshmallows on sweet potatoes, so it stands to reason that this should be fine. The sweetness of the mallow and the strong, spicy pepperoni meshed together quite splendidly. If Master Splinter didn't entertain his green son and give this slice a taste, then should he really be called 'master?'
Peanut Butter/Pepperoni/Double Yogurt Topping - From Funny, They Shrunk Michelangelo
Funny, They Shrunk Michelangelo is an episode of TMNT from 1990 and a riff on 1989's Honey, I Shrunk the Kid. Like the original film, this episode deals with a machine that makes Michelangelo the size a turtle is supposed to be for once. I vividly remember this episode from childhood because the image of Michelangelo eating a gigantic pizza is burned into my head.
Due to oven constraints, we did not include "Giant Pizza" on our list of pies to try … this time. Maybe someday, I will realize my dream of an oversized pizza you can roll yourself up into like a sleeping bag. Until then, I guess I will settle for this yogurt pizza.
The Taste Test:
Oh, look, everyone! It's our old friend: Freaking Peanut Butter on Pizza! Hooray. I'll start off with a note for all you culinary enthusiasts out there: yogurt and ovens don't play nicely together. There's not a ton of information out there about what happens when you cook yogurt in the oven. So allow me to get a high-up result on google for when someone asks, "What happens when you cook yogurt in the oven?" IT MELTS! IT MELTS ALL OVER THE OVEN, AND THEN YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT UP.
With that out of the way, it should be noted that pepperoni and peanut butter cook just fine in the oven. Of course, that doesn't mean it will taste any good, but as long as I'm being thorough here.
To make this slice, I slathered the peanut butter on the top as I did earlier when clams were involved. Pepperoni and a blob of yogurt came next, and that whole thing went into the oven and then subsequently messed up the oven. After a brief cleanup operation, I added the second scoop of yogurt and gave it my first bite. Unsurprisingly, that first bite then went immediately into the trash.
Hot, watery yogurt is already no fun, but then it mixed with the hot peanut butter, and that was the end of that. I should have figured the peanut butter would ruin this one. The yogurt I used was plain, non-fat Greek yogurt which can double as sour cream if you're watching your weight. So pepperoni pizza and plain yogurt should go great together. So, much like middle schools do when a kid has a severe allergic reaction to something, I am blaming this one on the peanut butter. No more goddamn peanut butter! Please!
Tuna, Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly - From Raphael, Turtle of A Thousand Faces
So this next one also has peanut butter.
Major kudos to the writers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because they totally nailed how liberal teens are when it comes to eating revolting food combinations. Not that I am pre-judging this slice as one I expect to taste like hot edible mud. But I am being as realistic as possible to stave off disappointment after this pizza takes up residence in my mouth.
The Taste Test:
It seems like 'tuna pizza' would be no problem. Peanut Butter and Jelly pizza? Not great, but still doable. But it is the fusion of the three tastes that brings me pause. So to hype myself up for the first bite, I forced myself to look at it as a single-piece charcuterie board. I've got my grapes, cheese, tomato, nuts, and fish selections. The crust accomplishes the job of the various breads. That correlation may not mean anything to you, but as I mentioned at the top, I am very dumb and able to be convinced of anything. The charcuterie metaphor lets me view this entry as a respectable treat rather than slop I am about to shove into my mouth.
If you guessed that the peanut butter would ruin this one, good on you for picking up on context clues! You are already one-up on me, who actually thought this one might be okay. However, this time, the peanut butter brought along some friends to help mess up my night. We can't blame everything on the peanut butter when the tuna fish had the audacity to suck just as much.
This slice was layered with peanut butter on the bottom, a layer of dry tuna from the can, and a swirl of grape jelly on top. But what I tasted was peanut butter-flavored tuna fish. No mozzarella, no sauce. Not even the jelly permeated the combo of peanut butter and tuna. It was an unpleasant experience which I ended as quickly as possible to prepare for one final slice followed by several days of fasting. Food just doesn't seem to interest me at the moment, or ever again.
Chocolate Fudge/Sardines/Chili Pepper/Whipped Cream - From Donatello Trashes Slash
I've tried dessert pizzas once or twice, and they're just delightful. If memory serves, they were cream cheese-based with chocolate chips, sprinkles, and all sorts of goodies. Do you know what they didn't have on them? Freaking sardines and peppers.
For this to work, I went out to the store and grabbed a tin of sardines ... just like that! I've never bought sardines in my life, and all I had to go on was what cartoons showed me. Imagine my surprise when I saw the tin there on the shelf! Larger than life! As if it was plucked right from Looney Tunes and placed in my hands!
But my glee was short-lived because I knew that eventually, I would have to open this tin, and then all bets were off. So not only do I have to refer to this spicy fish slice as dessert pizza, but furthermore, it will be the second-best dessert pizza I've ever had.
The Taste Test:
This was three separate pizzas in the show, but we're so efficient that we're doing it in one! So I loaded my slice up with sardines and a sprinkle of red chili pepper flakes. I put that into the oven and let it cook the disgusting little fish a bit before continuing.
When it came out of the oven, I topped it off with chocolate fudge and a spritz of whipped cream.
After a long sigh, followed by an even longer sigh, I tried this one out. The struggle started immediately as the cool whip wanted to slide off the hot pizza. The first bite was manufactured to allow me to try just the whipped cream and chocolate on the pizza before getting to the sardine. And it was good! Like, surprisingly okay! I probably wouldn't make a habit of adding them to my pizza going forward, but it didn't destroy me. However, the next bite contained an entire sardine head along with a generous helping of the red chili pepper. That bite was not so fun.
I believe my exact quote on the matter was a guttural "AAAAAACKKK," followed by several minutes of spitting into a trash can and scrubbing my tongue with a Brillo pad. It turns out I do not enjoy sardines. But I know there are people that do. So I have a hard time calling this one a failure because of a common ingredient I happen to not enjoy. Not my cup of tea, but if you take away just the sardines, I'll hop on board.
… with a bit of …
I think it is about time to return to my roots, drink a couple of Flaming Moes and work on forgetting the more unpleasant parts of this evening.
Erik Germ is on the Twitter. Special thanks to the community at PlanetScum.live for subjecting him to this pizza.