Maybe it's because I'm a mom. When we order pizza for dinner - for the fifth night in a row or whatever - I feel compelled to make sure my Texas teens are eating some sort of vegetable along with the cheesy pie.

I do this as much for myself as for them. There's something about eating a side dish of veggies that makes chowing down on pizza - for the fifth night in a row or whatever - more acceptable.

Most times my kids end up knocking back a few baby carrots or a bowl of romaine lettuce (just the lettuce, nothing else, not even salad dressing). It all got me to thinking about the various accoutrements to pizza.

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What's the healthiest way to round out a pizza round? What nutritious options might balance out the guilt over inhaling several buttery bread crusts smothered in cheese and greasy bits of meat?

The classic Caesar salad, standard crudités tray, and a bottle of ranch dressing often show up in accompaniment to pizza in Texas, but there are so many more ways to work nutritious plants into a meal.

If salad is your preference, try antipasto or quinoa. If you want to branch out on the dip options, consider pesto or bruschetta. Roast up a platter of peppers and onions, then pile on your slice.

Some of my personal favorite pizza sidekicks can be found at Vagabond Pizza in Abilene. The Vagabond Salad with its house balsamic vinaigrette - along with an order of the house pickles - are a scrumptious delight to the tastebuds. I usually spring for some Basil Butter too, for finishing off the wood-fired pizza crusts.

For dozens of other ideas about ways to work veggies into your pizza party, peep this list at Patio & Pizza. However you decide to incorporate some vegetables, savor the pie and the plants.

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Gallery Credit: Google Maps

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