It's time to change up that boring pizza routine and Pesto Pizza is just the one for the job! With an herby and irresistible pesto sauce, stretchy fresh mozzarella cheese, and a gorgeous pop of color thanks to those tomato slices on top, this homemade pizza does not disappoint.
Pesto Pizza definitely qualifies as gourmet and is better than delivery by a long shot. But don't let that scare you. This thing is crazy easy to make! Great for date night-in or entertaining at home, and especially perfect for Summer!
WHY THIS PESTO PIZZA IS AWESOME
This Pesto Pizza Recipe is the perfect mix of homemade and store-bought convenience! It was created for foodies who want to enjoy beautiful homemade flavors, weeknight or not.
So, if you don't have the time to dedicate to making homemade pizza dough from scratch, but you do have a spare 10 minutes to make the most amazing pesto you've ever tasted, this recipe is for you.
You'll find no pizza dough recipe, but rather, directions to the freezer aisle.
Instead of taking the time to make pizza crust from scratch, grab yourself a premade, high-quality, pre-baked crust from the freezer aisle. You'll need to plan ahead by about 20 minutes or so as the crust needs to thaw before you add your toppings and pop it into the oven!
Note, you will find better tasting, more high-quality pizza crust in the freezer aisle than those pre-packaged and sitting at room temperature or the stuff you roll out of a can.
ABOUT THE SAUCE
There really is no comparison to a homemade pesto sauce made with fresh basil. So, while you can easily purchase pesto from the grocery store, I highly recommend you try making it on your own. It is Pesto Pizza, after all, it's kind of the star of the show. Homemade pesto is extremely easy to make and takes less than 10 minutes to whip up in the food processor!
The pesto sauce recipe you'll find below makes enough for only one pizza. If you're planning to make multiples, use this creamy pesto sauce recipe instead!
The sky's the limit when it comes to topping off your homemade basil pesto pizza, but to keep things quick and easy, I recommend fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and some extra basil for garnish.
Nothing beats fresh mozzarella cheese on a pizza -- nothing. Consider this your go-to cheese for a stretchy, Insta-worthy cheese pull out of your very own kitchen. Fresh mozzarella has a milky, soft, and subtle flavor, which is especially ideal for this pizza, allowing that homemade pesto sauce to shine!
The acidity of the sliced tomatoes is a compliment to the pesto sauce, and both brighten up the pizza look-wise and flavor-wise.
If you'd like to continue decking out your Pesto Pizza even further, here are a few more yummy topping options for you:
- Ricotta Cheese
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Marinated Artichokes
- Black Olives
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Fresh Arugula
- Pine Nuts
- Shaved Proscuitto
- Pre-Cooked, Sliced Chicken
The fun part of making pizzas at home is getting to customize them to your exact palate and preference. Have fun, get creative, and doll up as many pizzas as you'd like!
HOW TO MAKE PESTO PIZZA
- Dethaw the crust.
- Make the pesto sauce.
- Prep the cheese.
- Assemble the pizza.
- Bake, garnish, and serve!
1. DETHAW STORE-BOUGHT CRUST
As mentioned above, you'll want to plan ahead by about 20 minutes and get that pizza crust to dethaw before you add any toppings.
Once your pizza crust is at room temperature, you can move on to your toppings.
2. MAKE THE PESTO SAUCE
To make the pesto sauce you'll add basil leaves, a garlic clove, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
Then drizzle in either olive oil or avocado oil, and blend until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Set the sauce aside and prep your cheese.
3. PREP THE FRESH MOZZARELLA CHEESE
This part (like all parts of making Pesto Pizza!) is insanely easy. When it comes to fresh mozzarella, no graders are necessary.
This cheese can easily be torn apart into bite-size shreds with your very own hands. The catch? You will need to press out as much excess moisture from the mozzarella cheese as you can before adding it to your pizza.
To do this, lay a double layer of paper towels down on your work surface, place your mozzarella shreds on top of the paper towels, and place another double layer of paper towels on top of the shreds. Gently press down with your hands until the paper towels begin to feel damp.
This step will not remove all of the moisture from the mozzarella cheese, but it is still an important step, and one very much worth taking!
4. ASSEMBLE THE PESTO PIZZA
To assemble the pizza, add about a half cup of your basil pesto sauce across the pizza crust, taking care to leave a bare 1-inch ring around the perimeter of the crust. Then sprinkle about ⅔ of the mozzarella over the sauce and scatter sliced tomatoes across the cheese.
Add the remaining mozzarella over the tomatoes. Then, brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil and sprinkle a scant pinch of Kosher salt over the oil.
5. BAKE THE PESTO PIZZA
You can either bake the pizza directly on the rack or on a pizza stone placed directly in a 450°F preheated oven. Either way, you'll need to be sure that there is a large rimmed baking sheet underneath to catch any drippings that may fall from the pizza.
Between the tomatoes and the mozzarella, it's a lot of moisture, and you will absolutely need something underneath to catch the drippings.
Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
Then, remove the pizza from the oven, and garnish the top with any extra fresh basil and dollops of the remaining pesto sauce. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing, serve, and enjoy!
6 MORE ITALIAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Salmon Pasta
- Lasy Homemade Lasagna
- Pomodoro Pasta
- Chicken Primavera
- Homemade Fettucini Alfredo
Pesto Pizza is incredibly delicious and shockingly simple. From the stretchy mozzarella to the herby pesto sauce, it's one for the books!
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1 garlic cloves
- Heaping ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Generous pinch teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup avocado oil or high-quality olive oil
- ½ cup pesto sauce, plus about a ¼ cup, separated
- 1 frozen, pre-baked pizza crust, dethawed
- 1 ½ cup fresh mozzarella, torn and pressed dry with paper towels
- 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Generous pinch Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (optional)
Add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until all of the ingredients are finely minced and a paste-like mixture forms.
With the food processor on, very slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven 450°F and place a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil on the bottom rack.
Spread a ½ cup of the basil pesto across the pizza crust, leaving a bare 1" ring around the perimeter of the crust.
Sprinkle about ⅔s of the mozzarella over the pesto and scatter the tomatoes across the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the tomatoes.
Brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil and sprinkle the brushed area with Kosher salt.
Place the pizza centered on a rack or on a pizza stone placed directly above the rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and use paper towels to dab any excess water away from the top of the pizza. Garnish with dollops of the reserved ¼ cup of pesto and fresh basil. Cool for about 10 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Makes about 2 cups.