Attention kale lovers! I have a pizza for you. Everyone else, please shield your eyes and forgive me for the very green pizza on your screen.
I’ve had this idea for a while now—kale pesto pizza with golden mozzarella and crispy kale on top—and it is finally reality. A very tasty reality, of which I am looking forward to eating again for lunch.
As any good vegetarian blogger should be, I am obsessed with pesto, and basil is awfully expensive this time of year. I say “this time of year” like it’s nothing, but it’s snowy, icy, below freezing and gray outside. I’m currently questioning what I’m doing with my life and daydreaming about beach vacations.
As I was saying, kale pesto is a great, affordable option this time of year. I made mine with pecans and I love the subtle, sweet pecan flavor in every bite.
You could also use walnuts in your pesto, or pepitas for a nut-free option. This vegan pesto would be fantastic on pasta if you need to warm up with a bowl of warm pasta.
More Green Pizzas to Make
- Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza
- Broccolini Almond Pizza
- Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Balsamic Red Onions
- Butternut Ribbon Goat Cheese Pizza
- Strawberry, Basil and Balsamic Pizza
Kale Pesto Pizza
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 large or 2 smaller pizzas 1x
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Italian
This kale pesto pizza recipe is a perfect weeknight meal! Kale lovers will appreciate the crispy kale on top, too. You can change up the toppings if you’d prefer, though! Recipe yields one large, 12-inch pizza or two smaller, 9-inch pizzas.
- 1 batch easy whole wheat pizza dough or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) grated low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup lightly packed kale, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Optional garnishes: red pepper flakes
Kale pesto (yields about 1 ½ cups, which will probably leave you with extra)
- 3 cups packed kale, preferably the Tuscan/lacinato variety, thick ribs removed and roughly chopped (about 1 small bunch)
- ¾ cup pecans or walnuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, depending on their size
- ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. If you’re using a baking stone or baking steel, place it in the oven on the top rack. If you’re using my dough recipe, prepare dough through step 4. If you’re using store-bought dough, check the instructions of the package. It might need to rest at room temperature while you work on the pesto.
- Make the pesto: In a food processor, add the kale, pecans, lemon juice, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground black pepper. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt or pepper if necessary.
- Prepare the pizza dough as directed. If you’re using my pizza dough recipe, I’d make two pizzas. If you’re using store-bought dough like me, I’d roll it out into one large pizza. I like to roll out the dough on pieces of parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven. For best results, roll the dough out as thin as reasonably possible while maintaining an even surface level.
- Top pizza(s) with an even layer of pesto (you may end up with extra pesto, which would be great on pasta or as a sandwich spread, etc.). Sprinkle cheese over the top. Lastly, 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 so it’s covered with a light, even layer. Distribute the kale evenly over the top of the pizza.
- Transfer one pizza to the oven, either on a baking sheet or onto your preheated baking stone. 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. If desired, top pizza with a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Slice and serve.
Recipe adapted from my Super Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto and Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza.
Make it nut free: Substitute pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for the pecans.
Hi Kate, new to your site just tonight. Love the recipes. Can’t find any nutritional info which is very important since I am a diabetic. Please advise. When I click on “Nutritional Info”, nothing comes up. Help.
Welcome, Bev! For the nutritional information, you need to make sure you have cookies enabled as this is a plug-in on my site. I hope this helps!
Thanks Kate, that must be a problem as I do have them blocked.
For you, will unblock, ha ha.
Just made this for dinner – so freaking good! <3
Thanks for letting me know you loved it, Meg!
Husband and toddler approved! We made it with pizza dough one day and had enough pesto left, and enjoyed it so much, we made “french bread pizza” on the weekend. Yum, yum!
Win! I love that, Sarah. Thanks for sharing.
Great recipe, I was wondering if you had the metric units for it?
I don’t, sorry! I know others have had luck with the converter table through myrecipes.com.
I made the pizza using a tortilla. Made the pesto as per the instructions.for the pizza topping I sauteed some onions and mushrooms the rest according to your recipe except I am a big cheese eater so I put more cheese. I will surely make it again it is delicious. Because the tortilla is already baked it only took about 5 min with the oven set at 425. This is so good and quick to make. Thank you
Thank you for sharing, Cecile!
My husband and I made this pizza last night. We made it exactly as the instructions, but added chicken under the cheese. This is our new favorite pizza!!! Next time we plan to add sun dried tomatoes to it as well. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
You’re welcome, Katie!
This turned out great! My daughter has tree nut allergies so I substituted raw pumpkin seeds and it was fantastic!
I was wondering if there was any vegan replacement for the mozzarella? Thanks!
You could use a vegan cheese replacement? There isn’t a direct 1:1 that I’m aware of.
Best pesto I’ve had! Pizza was delicious!
Delicious!! Browned Tofukey Italian sausage to put on top. Added lemon zest to pesto. Sooooo good.
Made this last week along with several other recipes from your blog and cookbook including portobello & poblano fajitas, thai green curry with spring vegetables, and the best vegetable lasagna. All of them were delicious and we are looking forward to making more of your recipes this week:) thank you for sharing your passion with the world!!
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This looks great!
Will it work with frozen kale? Or, not so much?
Hi Maggie! You could try it, but I’m not sure how it will thaw then cook. Let me know!
Yum!! Another wonderful recipe
I made this recipe tonight for dinner and loved it! Very easy to make. I did need to add more salt and lemon juice to the pesto, where I also used pistachios instead of walnuts. I also used red pepper flakes liberally, but then again I like things with heat. Will definitely make again.
Just wanted to say I make this all the time.
Sometimes I mix it up, but it’s always delicious.
This is my favorite way to eat kale now! Super delicous!
This is a great way to eat kale! I’m glad you love it.
One of my absolute favorite pizzas I’ve ever had. Not bitter at all from the kale. I make it for friends all the time and its a favorite.
I made this last night, very tasty! I had extra kale in the fridge so I thought this would be perfect, but I didn’t have quite enough. So I saved one cup for the topping, had two cups for the pesto and added green onions in place of the other cup. Yes, I got that idea from your stuffed shells recipe, and it added such a great flavor. I also tossed some halved cherry tomatoes in with the oil. This had to be my new favorite pizza, aside from that brussel sprouts you make.
This is one of our favorite pizzas!! I added ribboned butternut squash from your arugula pesto and squash pizza and it was a Fall masterpiece! Truly exceptional.
Thank you, Ashley! I’m excited you loved it!
This was wonderful! I made it just like the recipe and added black olives and halved cherry tomatoes with the kale topping, as a personal choice favorite for pizza. I will definitely make it again.
Thank you for sharing, Shirley!
Made this tonight and we absolutely loved it! We used your whole wheat pizza dough and it was deliciously crunchy and thin. Can’t wait to make this again!
Wonderful to hear, Jenny!
I was looking for something different and thought I’d try this for my family. Wow! It’s delish! Made individual size using soft tortilla shells for the crust. Everyone loves it. Thank you!
This is delicious! I used the Ricardo pizza dough recipe and gouda instead of mozza and it was one of the most impressive pizzas I’ve ever made. So so good.
Please show the actual amount of potassium and phosphorus in your recipes. I, and many other people, must restrict both in my diet and the percentage given is just not helpful as we have to add up the amount we are consuming every day.
Hi Lee, I’m sorry to disappoint. I try to provide as much information as I can. Nutrition Disclaimer
I made this last night (after being a saved recipe for years!) and I LOVED it! I’ve made so many of your recipes over the years, all amazing, but this one was unique in that it actually was super quick to make. I used trader Joe’s pizza dough and then made the pesto, and it came together quickly & effortlessly. So delicious too – the kale wasn’t bitter at all!
I’m glad you finally made it! Thank you for sharing, Samantha.
Love this pizza. It’s one of my favorites!
It’s a great favorite to have, Julie! Thank you for your review.
This is so good. The pesto recipe is perfect for someone who is vegan and gluten free
I love this recipe, as do my kids, 3yo & 4yo. I have been making it quite often for about a year. My kids beg me for “green pizza.”
I cannot believe I LOVE THIS!! KALE!? I almost never review recipes but this pizza deserves it! I made this for my family and even my picky 2yo loved it. Thank you! It’s a new favorite!