Arugula Pesto Pizza with Zucchini

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings (one 13-by-18-inch pizza)
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For the arugula pesto:

1/4 cup hazelnuts

3 cups baby arugula

1 cup fresh parsley

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the pizza:

1 Prebaked Pizza Crust, recipe follows

6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (preferably buffalo mozzarella), drained and sliced

1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Torn fresh basil, for topping

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Prebaked Pizza Crust:

4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon rapid-rise instant yeast

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl


  1. Place a pizza stone or inverted rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack and preheat to 500 degrees F. Make the pesto: Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes; let cool. Transfer to a food processor and add the arugula, parsley, garlic and capers; pulse until almost smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil and process until combined. Add the parmesan and pulse to combine; add 2 tablespoons water to loosen. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Assemble the pizza: Keep the prebaked crust on the baking sheet. Spread with the pesto and top with the mozzarella. Arrange the zucchini in overlapping rows on top. Sprinkle with the parmesan and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer the baking sheet to the hot pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with basil; season with salt and pepper.

Prebaked Pizza Crust:

  1. Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in 2 cups warm water (about 105 degrees F) and 2 tablespoons olive oil with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough rises slightly, about 1 hour.
  2. Using lightly floured hands, transfer the dough to a generously floured surface and knead several times until it just starts becoming smooth and elastic, about 1 minute (do not over-knead). Transfer to a lightly oiled large bowl. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, place a pizza stone or inverted rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack and preheat to 500 degrees F.
  3. Brush two rimmed 13-by-18-inch baking sheets (not nonstick) with 3 tablespoons olive oil each. Place one piece of dough on each baking sheet. Prepare the pizzas one at a time: Cover the dough with plastic wrap, then press firmly with your hands to fill the baking
  4. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the baking sheet to the hot pizza stone. Bake until the crust starts browning, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully loosen the crust from the pan using a spatula. Top and bake, or let cool, lightly wrap in plastic and set aside up to 8 hours.

Cook’s Note

You can make the pesto up to 1 week ahead; cover and refrigerate. You can bake the crust up to 8 hours ahead: Let it cool, then loosely wrap the whole baking sheet in plastic. (If you need only one pizza, wrap half of the unbaked dough in plastic and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, let rest for 4 hours at room temperature and drizzle with olive oil before stretching.)

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