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.
Celeste@The Whole Serving
All Hail to the Kale, I love a good Kale pizza and adding pesto to the mix takes it to another level. This one will be on my favorite’s list.
Oh my goodness…..fabulous. Just fabulous.
As always, this was amazing. We make individual naan pizza so everyone can choose their own toppings. I used pepitas and cashews because that’s what I had. I will be using the leftover pesto as dip to snack on. Thanks again. We use your recipes daily and let me tell you the weight loss journey and increased energy levels are real for both me and hubby.
The pecans in that pesto sound amazing! I love the look of this beauty!
Tessa |Salted Plains
You’re speaking my language. ;) Another reason I need to work on a gluten-free pizza dough! This looks awesome, friend!!
We had a bumper crop of pecans this Fall, and this pizza looks like a yummy way to use them! Next on my dinner list.
Would you say that the kale pesto tastes enough like regular pesto to fool non-kale converts? Or is it a totally different animal?
I was going to ask the same thing. My husband is NOT a fan of the kale, though he loves most other greens. I also wondered if a different green, such as spinach, could be a worthy substitute. I know there are spinach pesto recipes out there. I love the idea of using pecans as the nuts!
I used spinach, kale, cilantro and parsley. it tastes amazing. I recently bought a cilantro and sunflower seed pesto. I think with all the lemon and garlic and oil etc the greens become not as significant
Arugula would definitely work great! I have never made pesto with spinach, but that’s probably worth a shot, too.
I wouldn’t use spinach because it contains a ton of water and would surely make your pizza soggy. I think the kale pesto masks the kale taste. It’s topped with kale as well though, maybe leave that out and top with another veggie he does like. The kale pesto was great- I used pecans to make it and loved it!
This looks incredible. I’ve already decided to pick up kale on my way home so I can eat this for dinner. As always, your pictures are stunning. Thank you for creating a pizza with pesto for sauce! I love vegetarian pizzas and this one is sure to be phenomenal.
Daisy @ Simplicity Relished
Ooh YES!!! Always looking to add to our pizza recipe repertoire!
This pizza is making me super hungry! Thanks for the dinner inspo:)
I just made a version of this with your recipe, but using puff-pastry instead of pizza dough (because that’s what I had in).
I found the pesto to be a little bitter before I put it on the pizza (or tart in this case) but once it had cooked for 12 mins this bitterness was gone – I don’t know if this was due to the cooking or due to the addition of mozerella and pecorino cheese? Anyway, it was delicious and I especially loved the crispy kale on top of the pizza – next time I’ll make more of that!
Note: I don’t recommend making this with puff-pastry – it was mostly pretty soggy. I’ll try the proper recipe another time with pizza dough.
Thanks again for another great recipe Kate.
You have done it this time. That is a fantastic recipe!! I love, love, love kale and cannot wait to get my hands on some good organic kale to try this. Thanks a bunch!!!
I think I nearly cried when I saw this recipe. It looks amazing! I cannot wait to try it!
Update: Totally made this today. It. Was. Phenomenal. SO DELICIOUS!! Who knew Kale could taste so amazing on PIZZA??? Thanks Kate! You’ve done it again!
Yay, thanks Erin!!
Pesto pizza is one of my favorites!
Looks great, really want to give it a try, can you recommend an easy way to remove the thick ‘ribs’ from the kale?
Jessie @ Chasing Belle
Pecan in pesto?? My goodness are you creative! I can’t wait to try this out!
Mamma MIA, Kate! I love this pizza recipe, not just because of the kale either! Great way to sneak in more vegetables in a creative and delicious way!
Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
Well isn’t this a pretty pizza??! And it just so happens, I love kale…
This looks delicious – can’t wait to give it a try!
Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
Kate I am exactly your kind of people! Life has to include both kale and pizza! And when the two come together, well, that’s a special kind of magic! I’m sorry but we are having perfect, sweltering summer weather here at the moment, and basil is growing in abundance, but you can be sure this pizza will be just as welcome while we are sticking close to the A/C loungeroom this weekend!
As a kale lover I can’t wait to make this.
Need this is my life!! Kale pesto is the best!
This pesto was excellent the next day on toasted ciabatta slices, sprinkled with grated pecorino and broiled! I can’t wait to try it on pasta!
Do you think broccoli rabe would be a good substitute for the kale in this pesto? I’ve got more than I know what to do with!
You know, I think it would!
I did it and it was delicious! Thank you for the inspiration!
I made this last night and it was delicious and really easy. I used wholewheat flatbreads and cooked them at 425F for 8 minutes. I added sliced mushrooms and sage to one of the pizzas which was great too. Another winner!
We really liked this a lot. Thanks for the recipe, Kate! The crunchy, salty kale on top was just excellent.
Spelt flour instead of whole wheat for the crust (all we had)
Sliced fresh mozzarella
Chili-infused oil for the crunchy kale topping’s marinade, to ensure a spicy kick
I love the idea of eating three slices of pizza while also consuming a healthy serving of nutrient-rich kale. This is winning all around!
Can I just start by saying kale pesto is everything this time of year! My house smells SO good right now as my pizza is coming out of the oven right now! Thank you for another easy and delicious recipe. Love and light cookie and kate
My roomie, her dog and I all rate this pizza as 5 stars!
I made the pesto from this and it was fantastic! I did a pasta with some mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and added in the pesto. It was so good! I am going to try a little today mixed into a chickpea and wild rice soup. This is going to be a new to go in my kitchen.
Happy to hear it, Sarah!
I love this..kale pizza two ways…and also dreaming of beach vacations!
sisters, jeans & messy buns
Oh, so good!!!
There’s something about crispy kale on pizza…can’t wait to try your version!
That’s one way to get the toddler to eat kale! Looks great.
Yes – made this tonight and it was very good. You really wouldn’t know there were 4 cups of kale in this recipe. I liked it!
Thank you, Jane!
Delicious. Even my husband liked it. Mine turned out just like the picture. Kate, you never disappoint!
Thank you, Ruth! :D
I am making this today. Haven’t read all the entries…. do you ever put parmesan in the pesto or is purposefully without cheese?
Hi Mary, I left the Parmesan out of this pesto because I didn’t feel it was necessary with all the mozzarella on top. Feel free to add some if you’d like!
Made this today on a very snowy day with my boyfriend. It was so easy and so fun to make. He isn’t a huge kale fan, and this was a great way to introduce him to it. The pizza was delicious, Kate. You’ve helped me cut out almost all meat from my diet because of your endlessly creative blog with such delicious recipes.
Thank you so much, Chloe! Happy to hear it. :)
We made this last night and all I kept saying was ‘how good is this pizza!’ I’m not a big pizza fan at all, but this ticked all the boxes for me. Another great recipe Kate. Thank you.
Hooray! Thank you, Naomi!
This recipe is so creative! I can’t wait to try it.
Brian @ A Thought For Food
Loving these flavors in the pesto! This is one pizza recipe I need to make!
This sounds so delicious. I LOVE kale and pesto so this seems like a marriage made in heaven – add in pizza and what’s not to love?
I need to try this asap!
Made this tonight. SO deliciously incredible. Thank you!
Thank you, Sally! :)
This was amazing. My husband raved about it, which is great for a non-veggie lover. Thanks for the fantastic inspiration!
Awesome! Thank you, Jessica!
Carnivore approved! My husband LOVED this pizza. The pesto is delicious as well as the crispy top layer of scattered kale. This recipe is a keeper!
Thank you, Juniper! Happy to hear it!
Made this with a gluten free pizza crust in a pastry pan it was amazing. Thanks for the great recipe ideas! I made this with baby kale and baby spinach for kale beginners.
Thank you, Dan! So glad you liked it!
Wish I could give this recipe more than 5 stars, it was so DELICIOUS!! Made it tonight with the addition of some grilled / chopped shrimp and sliced mushrooms. My husband and I could not stop raving about how fabulous it was as we devoured the entire pizza! YUM!! Definitely adding this to our regular pizza rotation!
Hooray!!! Thank you, Tracy!
With two vegiterian daughters I make pizza almost once a week. This was there favorite of any pizza I have made for them !!! Thank you !!
Woohoo, thanks Mark!
I love the kale on kale! Kale is one of my fave pizza toppings (along with cripsy brussels!) and such a wonderful idea to layer with a kale pesto. Those layers of green are beautiful!
I give your recipe a thumbs up! I’m not a fan of kale, but the kale-pesto sauce was great on the pizza I made tonight!
Thank you, RK! Happy to hear it!
You rock at developing recipes that are not only nutritious but absolutely delicious too! I’m going to serve this pizza at my Super Bowl party. I think I will slice it into easy to pick up bite size squares. Please post Super Bowl party recipes! I love your style:)
I’m so glad you suggested Super Bowl recipes, Anya! Roundup coming Wednesday. :)
Oh my! This looks amazing. What a brilliant idea. I made chard pesto last year but will definitely try kale pesto! And on pizza too..yum!
I tried this and loved it! We made a couple changes. I didn’t have mozza so we used Jarlsberg. Amazing! And we did a white flour pizza crust. We will make this many times I think! Thank you for the wonderful recipes, Kate!
Thank you, Kerridwen! Glad to hear you enjoyed the pizza.
I used cashews in the pesto (husband has a weird nut allergy). I also used a store bought crust and smoked mozzarella.
Your recipes never fail! Yum!
Great ideas! I was just looking for smoked mozzarella at the store and couldn’t find any. Glad you enjoyed the pizza!
Made this for dinner last week. It’s a keeper and I’ve already suggested it to a number of my friends. Such a great idea to use the kale in the pesto.
I’m fixing kale tonight with sweet potatoes, mixed beans, and more in a Moroccan Tagine. Wondering how long the pesto would keep in a jar in the fridge as it might be worth making a double quantity while I’m about it?
Yummy!!! Enjoyed it while watching the Super Bowl. Added mushrooms and used Udi’s GF pizza crusts. My 3 yr old son helped me add the oil while making the pesto and he loved licking some pesto off a spatula. Delish! Hubby loved it, too!
Was a little afraid; kale pizza……was hard for me to imagine it to be any good. But I like pizza and I love kale. So decided to give it a try. And OMG…this is amazing!
My favorite kind of pizza from now on for sure!
Thank you so much for this recipe Kate!
(Really glad I found your blog!)
The pesto was amazing! I used an ezekiel sprouted tortilla for the crust and added my own toppings after the pesto. I never thought of kale as a pesto before! I just made up my own “pesto” recipe today with kale, garlic, lemon, pecans, raisins, olive oil and a handful of garbanzo beans. Ha ha ha it was great too. You got me all inspired! Thank you for your delicious and nutritious recipes! :-)
This pesto is unreal. First made pizza pittas as per the recipe,with roast butternut squash on top too. Then today for lunch I had it with wholewheat pasta, roast butternut squash, rocket (arugula for the americans) on the side and a poached egg on top. It felt like a restaurant meal, the delicate sweetness from the peacans really takes it up a notch. A new staple recipe for me, thank you!
I’ve been wanting this since I saw the post. I prefer to make things from scratch, but due to time constraints, broke down and got a store crust. I used pecans in the pesto. This came out even better than I’d anticipated…thanks for another great recipe! I’ve made a bunch from your site.
forgot to add my 5-star rating!
This seems like the right opportunity to try cauliflower pizza crust for the first time! Thanks for the recipe!
When I read “weeknight meal” I was like, “nah, this is going to take longer.” But, it actually was super quick (I didn’t make the dough) and probably the best pizza I’ve ever made. It looks pretty too :)
I made this last night and it was just SO GOOD. Such a simple and great idea.
Thank you for this truly amazing pizza!
I made this tonight after eyeing it on my reading list for months! Loved every bit of the prep – making pesto (so easy), shaping the dough (my fav), shredding cheese – makes it so easy to through it all together and bake a pizza with great nutty, garlicky flavor – with just a small kick from the red pepper flakes. Thanks for yet another great recipe which I know I’ll repeat!
I made this for dinner last night – it was SO delicious and my whole family loved it! It was my first time making a pizza myself, and was very easy. I can’t wait for lunch today to eat the leftovers :)
This was exceptional. I added mushrooms and a few diced hot pepper rings. I think artichokes would go well too. Had the leftover pesto on pasta with just Parmesan which was amazing as well. I’d just caution that you may not need the whole amount of the olive oil in the pesto, so don’t add it all at once without testing.
This was amazing, I’ve been considering becoming vegetarian and I think this recipe has swayed me to become one, doesn’t seem quite so difficult with yummy food like this. I used walnuts and made the crust from scratch. Really, really good! Thank you so much, love all these recipes!
I made this the other night in a desperate attempt to finish a bag of kale and it was fantastic. The pesto is so easy and incredibly flavorful. Thank you for helping me find a tasty way to get through 4 cups of kale!
Just made this with tomatoes (not kale). Wish I had seen your recipe. Trying to use my garden as much as possible.
I will be saving your page.
So amazingly satisfying. Added kalamata olives, and it worked really well. Tomatoes would’ve been great too, but didn’t have any.
This pizza is incredible! Your dough recipe is now my go-to pizza dough. So easy and quick. I used walnuts instead of pecans and added some sun-dried tomatoes on top and my whole family is obsessed with this pizza. The slices freeze and reheat really well too. Thanks!
This is such a great recipe! So easy, and the pesto is delicious. I never knew that pesto could be so easy to make.
Thank you so much for this recipe. This is delicious! I made this pizza by the recipe, other time added also crushed fresh tomatoes and sliced of mushrooms. Once on a dinner table –>it’s gone fast. Kids liked it too.
This kale pesto recipe was ah-mazing! I made my pizza on garlic naan bread and used smoked mozzarella. Thank you for an easy and inspired dinner! :)
Thank you so much, Dani! I loooove smoked mozzarella.
Totally delicious! Looked amazing coming out of the oven.
Nice! As to fresh pesto, basil will root easily from cuttings placed in water and can then be planted on a pot. I have basil growing in front of a window that get some sun. As long as it is watered I grows just fine. A couple of plants can keep you fed all winter. (I live in Minnesota.)
Thanks, Carmen! I want to try that now.
Divine. I make this all the time.
Made this pizza tonight, it was fantastic!! The lemon and the garlic in the pesto really come through. I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust and it was good but didn’t seem to cook all the way, it was a little chewy and slightly doughy, it was far from crisp. I followed the directions on the package, and left it in for 15 minutes. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the dough nice and crisp?
Thank you so much for your blog, everything I have made so far as been delicious!
So excited to try this! The butchers daughter has a pizza very similar to this that I LOVE, going to try it this weekend.
Hi! All my family so love your kale pizza:)
I would like to know if I can freeze de kale pesto…?
Thank you to answer, and for all your original recipes!
Thanks, Sophie! I’m glad. I haven’t tried freezing the kale pesto, but I have had good luck freezing other pestos, so I think that would work well!
Oh yum! I still have kale growing (I live in the south so my salad greens have a long growing season) and stumbled across this while searching for new kale recipes. I love pizza but I’m not a huge fan of traditional pizza with red sauce. From the whole wheat crust to the kale pesto, this is sooooo good! I did add a few pieces of goat cheese, simply because I had it in the fridge and, let’s face it, goat cheese makes any green pizza better! Great recipe, Kate!
I’m gonna have to agree on the goat cheese thing, Cat! And lucky you, to have such a long growing season. I’m glad you enjoyed the pizza!
This was delicious! I had a bunch of baby Tuscan Kale from my CSA to use up. I love that the pesto didn’t have a bunch of added Parmesan. Can’t wait to tell my friends about it and make it again! Thank you.
Awesome! And yes, this recipe lets the greens shine :)
Delicious! I’ve made this pizza twice, and it’s a hit with my husband and my friends. I mix up some garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt and olive oil to brush around the edges of the pizza crust. It’s simply divine!
Wonderful! That sounds delicious, Crystal.
Amazing recipe! Easy, healthy, yummy! What could you ask more! Did mine with mushrooms, tortilla bread for a lazy weeknight dinner and it turned out great.
Thank you for sharing it!
You’re welcome, Valerie! Your version sounds excellent.
Made this pizza last night and my husband and I really liked it. I’ll be making it again in the future! Super easy, too. :)
Great! Thanks, Kelli.
Oh my goodness. Wish I could give more than 5 stars to this one! So easy and so tasty!
Aw, so kind, Naomi!
Congratulations on the new cookbook–it’s great!!
Question: on your recipe for kale pesto, can arugula be substituted for the kale?
Great recipe! Highly recommend for kale lovers like myself!
I made this and it was so yummy and easy. I have a tree but allergy so substituted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds for the pecans. Later in the week used it in a quinoa and salmon dish. Very versatile!! Thanks!
You’re welcome, Debbie! Sounds delicious.
This recipe is AMAZING. I have so much kale in my garden right now, and was searching for great recipe where I could use a lot of it. This is it! So good, and my 1.5 year old devoured it. She was even eating spoonful’s of pesto out of the bowl. Gah! I will be making this again very soon.
Fresh-picked kale sounds heavenly, Maria! This seems like the perfect use for it.
Any chance this could be made on the grill instead of turning on the oven?
I don’t see why not!
I had a whole bunch of leftover Kale and rushed home last night to make this recipe. OH. MY. GAH. It’s incredible!! This is the only pizza I’ve ever had where I felt wonderful after eating it. I’ve been making at least one Cookie+Kate recipe every weekend, from Love Real Food and from here. I’ve never enjoyed cooking so much! I even cooked my parents one of the first vegetarian meals we’ve had together (the spicy sweet potato and green rice burrito bowl) and they raved over it. Hoping to make it to your event in NYC next week! Thanks Kate!
I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! I don’t have a proper food processor, so making the pesto was arduous, but in the end worth it. Everything else came together really easily – made a Jim Lahey-inspired white/wheat crust – and I did sprinkle with pepper flakes. I pretty much only cook for myself, so I’ve frozen most of the slices, but I’m really pleased with this recipe and will surely come to it again! I’d love to serve it at a party. :)
Yummmy! My two-year-old, ten-month-old, husband, and I enjoyed this pesto. Thank you!
Made this tonight, and it was delicious. Even my husband who’s somewhat dubious of kale and my toddler loved it. With enough cheese and garlic, even kale gets the two thumbs up from those two. We’ll be making it again.
So great to hear, Savitha! Thank you for the review!
This was the best pizza recipe yet! The kale was actually crispy:-) And we are in love with all your recipes we’ve made so far from “Love Real Food”. My Mom also purchased your book and loves it.
You make our taste buds dance<3<3<3 Thank you Kate!
Fantastic, Jeannine! Thank you for sharing. I very much appreciate the support. Taste buds dance, I love that!
Who would have thought vegan pizza would be so delicious? Pesto? Kate-once again you’re a genius!
Genius, I wouldn’t go that far ;) Ha, thanks for loving my recipes! I appreciate the review, Sheryl.
This kale pizza is not only super tasty and super easy to make, its the most powerful Super power food I have ever made (have to admit I used a lot more kale just because I had it and didn’t want it to go to waste. I have had this meal for 3 days in a row now, because I made 2 pizzas and it tastes so good. out mountain biking today, my legs were so strong, it was the super food Super Pizza. Thank you for that recipe.
Yes, all due to the pizza ;) Love it! Thank you, Ute.
I forgot to take a picture before it was entirely devoured, but it was excellent!!!!
That sounds like a great problem! Thanks for sharing, Cindy.
I loved this and my entire family loved it as well. Kale pesto is a brilliant idea. It was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend this recipe.
Thanks for sharing, Monika!
Awesome! I make it every week now because my teenage daughter can’t live with out it!
I love that, Alex! Thanks for the review.