Greetings from Seattle, where it’s always raining. Or at least, that’s how it seems – as I write this on Wednesday, it’s been raining for almost a week straight. A dreary shade of grey tints everything, including the photos I attempted to take of this pizza. There’s absolutely no good light in our apartment right now. The photos are less than stellar, but this kale pesto veggie pizza was so delicious that I couldn’t not share the recipe with you, especially with St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.
St. Patrick’s Day has become one of my favorite holidays over the years. I have never been one for excessive partying, but I’m also not one to say no to a good pint of Irish beer. It’s a holiday that is celebrated with corned beef, Guinness, and all things green – what’s not to love?
If you’re not a fan of corned beef and cabbage, you can still celebrate with this vibrantly green kale pesto veggie pizza. I promise you that it will go just as well with a pint (or two) of Guinness!
The best part of this pizza is the kale pesto. Thanks to kale, parmesan, pumpkin seeds, and garlic, it has a bold flavor with an impressive nutritional punch. Unlike marinara sauce, the pesto is the right texture so that your pizza crust stays crisp, not soggy. Since it’s as versatile as it is delicious, this kale pesto can be used on pasta, sandwiches, or grain bowls as well.
The pizza is then topped with cremini mushrooms, green bell peppers, and fresh mozzarella. Mushrooms are one of my favorite toppings for a vegetarian pizza because they add a meaty texture and savory taste – meat lovers won’t notice any sausage missing. The bell peppers add an extra pop of green and the mozzarella melts well over the thicker texture of the pesto.
For the crust, I made a sourdough crust adapted from King Arthur Flour, which I share in the recipe below. You can also use a regular yeasted recipe (this recipe is my favorite – I use whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose) or a pre-made crust. If you have sourdough starter on hand, you must try a sourdough pizza crust. The tangy flavor of the sourdough compliments the flavor of the sharp parmesan and meaty mushrooms.
I prefer a thinner crust pizza, so I roll and toss my dough until it’s thin enough to cover medium baking sheet. The combination of the larger surface area and a high baking temperature creates a deliciously crispy crust.
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) sourdough started (fed or unfed)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup (5.5 oz.) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ~1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1.5 cups kale, washed and stems removed
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- Pizza crust (pre-made or recipe here)
- Kale Pesto
- 8-10 cremini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, cleaned, stems and seeds removed, and chopped
- 4-6 oz. fresh mozzarella, depending on desired level of cheesiness
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let bloom for 5 minutes. You could use instant yeast and skip the blooming step.
- Combine the starter, water-yeast mixture, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir into a shaggy dough and then let rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Knead the dough with a stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand for 5 minutes, or until a smooth and sticky dough forms. The dough should spring back when you push your thumb into it.
- Lightly grease the mixing bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm area for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.*
- Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the seeds and kale and broken down and a pesto forms. Store any leftover pesto in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper. Roll or toss the pizza dough out to the desired thickness and place on the lined pan.**
- Evenly spread the kale pesto on the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2 to 1 inch border for crust.
- Evenly spread the cheese across the pizza and then top with the mushrooms and green pepper.
- Bake for 6 minutes, then turn your oven to broil and bake for another 5-6 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.***
- Let the pizza cool for at 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
- *You can prep the pizza dough in advance and then keep overnight in the fridge - the cool temperature will halt the yeast and prevent over-proofing.
- **I used a 10 x 15 inch baking sheet.
- ***If your oven doesn't have a broil setting, continue to bake at 500 degrees for 6-7 more minutes.
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Yes or no on corned beef and Guinness?
Do you prefer thin crust or thick crust pizza?