Pistachio Pesto Pizza

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Pizza with tomatoes on top

Pizza again? Some families just can’t get enough. But if your tongue has tired of the same old red sauce and cheese combo and your palate needs to a perk-up, you can break out of the standard routine with Pistachio Pesto Pizza.

Top down view of a pizza with tomatoes slices on top

Pesto is a rich, colorful replacement for the traditional tomato sauce, but then you can go a step further and experiment with the idea of what to put in your pesto. In this case, we’ve followed Alton Brown’s lead:

– We’ve tossed out pine nuts

– We’ve tossed in pistachios

– We’ve forgotten the basil altogether

The result is fresh, chewy, and cheesy. Once you make this unique pesto, the pizza comes together quickly.

Top down view of 2 slices of pizza on a marble cutting board with a jar of pesto

A thought about the pizza dough. Homemade is fantastic. However, I typically get mine at my local food co-op in the freezer section or in the deli at Fred Meyer. The ingredients in the frozen product from Essential Baking Company are straightforward so I feel good about using this “convenience” food: organic unbleached wheat flour, water, organic whole wheat flour, sea salt, yeast. I’d say it’s pretty close to making dough from scratch, except easier and faster.

A slice of pizza being lifted out of the whole pizza

Make pizza night interesting by giving this a go. Dinner will still look familiar, just with a slight twist. A tasty, green, herbaceous twist.


What special pizza topping do you use to step out of the ordinary?



Pistachio Pesto Pizza

A slice of pizza being lifted out of the whole pizza

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A creative take on the common pizza slice. Fresh herb and pistachio pesto will liven things up for your palate.

  • Author: Veg Girl RD
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian




  • 1 pound pizza dough (I used Essential Baking Company’s The Essential Pizza Original Pizza Dough)
  • 1 recipe Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto (see recipe below)
  • 4 ounces low moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated on a microplane grater
  • 1 large tomato, sliced or diced (about 1 cup)

Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley (it’s OK to have a few stems)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (it’s not OK to have a few stems)
  • 46 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, shelled
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil



  1. Preheat oven to 450° and if you have one, place pizza stone on center rack.
  2. Remove thawed dough from wrapper, set on a floured surface and let rest for 30 minutes. While dough is resting and oven is preheating, make pesto.
  3. Roll dough into a ¼-inch-thick circle or to match the size of your pizza stone (mine is 13 inches across). Place dough on pizza peel (if you’re going to bake on a pizza stone) or large baking sheet/pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal, to keep it from sticking.
  4. Spread pesto over dough to within 1/2 in of the edge. It’s going to be a pretty thin layer and I find that a small offset spatula is perfect for spreading if you have one. Sprinkle with cheeses.
  5. Use peel to scoot pizza onto stone or place baking sheet/pizza pan in the oven. Bake time will vary, but start checking after 8 minutes. It may take up to 14 minutes. You want the cheese and crust to both be golden brown.
  6. Cut into 8 slices.

Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto

  1. Put all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated and pesto is thick and spreadable.


The pesto makes about 1/2 cup and is adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe. Because you’ll probably have extra herbs on hand anyway, you could double the pesto so you’d have the fixings for a quick pasta dinner the next time you were in a hurry to get dinner on the table. I’ve also used it here with great results:  Focaccia with Spiced Pears, Pesto and Brie.

In the interest of calories, I’ve kept the cheese on the lighter side which means your pizza won’t be as ooey-gooey as you’re used to. That’s why I specify using a microplane grater if you have one. It helps a small amount of cheese go a long way over a big surface.

The recipe calls for unsalted pistachios but you could use salted if that’s what you have. I might just add less salt to the pesto to compensate.



  • Serving Size: 2 slices
  • Calories: 570
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 975 mg
  • Fat: 27 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg

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