We make a LOT of homemade pizza in our apartment—so when I say this one has become our new favorite, that's saying a lot.
But once you bite into a warm slice of this pizza, you'll understand why. The bold, nutty pesto acts as a flavorful base, making fresh mozzarella the only cheese you need. Perhaps the best part is the chopped kale on top, which becomes deliciously crispy in the fiery hot oven.
Though you can make one large pizza, we suggest splitting the dough in half—that way, you can eat one pizza tonight and save one for tomorrow. Because the only thing better than pizza night? Two pizza nights in a row. Enjoy!
Kale Pesto Pizza With Crispy Kale
Makes one large, 12-inch pizza or two small, 9-inch pizzas
For the pizza:
- 1 pound store-bought pizza dough (or make it yourself!)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup lightly packed kale, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the pesto (makes about 1 1/2 cups, so you'll likely have extra)
- 3 cups packed Tuscan kale, thick ribs removed and roughly chopped (about 1 small bunch)
- ¾ cup pecans
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and adjust the rack to the second highest position. If you're using a baking stone, place it in the oven to heat. If you don't have one, turn a rimmed baking sheet upside down and place in the oven to heat. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
For the pesto: Add the kale, pecans, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and a few twists of black pepper to the bowl of a food processor. With the food processor running, drizzle in the oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Stop to scrape down the sides as necessary, and add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper to taste. The pesto has a strong, slightly bitter flavor on its own, but it works perfectly once baked with cheese and toppings.
If you're using our homemade pizza dough recipe, form two 13-inch rounds, following the instructions here. If you're using store-bought dough, roll into one large pizza. You want to roll the dough fairly thin, as it will shrink back a bit and puff up in the oven. It may help to roll it on a large, well-floured cutting board.
Top the pizza(s) with a layer of pesto. You likely won't use up all of the pesto—save whatever's leftover for these baked eggs, or for flavoring farro and other grains. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss 1 cup chopped kale with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Rub the oil into the kale, then distribute the kale evenly over the top of the pizza.
Remove your baking stone or baking sheet from the oven and slide the pizza on. If you're having trouble transferring the pizza, slide it onto a piece of parchment paper and slide the parchment paper onto the baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese on top is bubbly (about 10 to 12 minutes on a baking sheet, or as few as 5 minutes on a baking stone). Repeat with remaining pizza, if necessary. Top the pizza with a light sprinkling of red pepper flakes, if desired. Slice and serve.
Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate.