Pistachio Pesto Pizza

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Homemade pistachio pesto pizza on a cutting board

Pizza is always a favorite in this house, but sometimes it’s fun to mix the basics up a bit to break out of the routine. 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, I’ve tossed out the pine nuts, tossed in pistachios and forgotten the basil altogether. (The creative credit really goes to Alton Brown.) The result is fresh, chewy and cheesy. Once you make the pesto, the pizza comes together quickly.

Two slices of pesto pizza on a plate with fresh tomatoes

A few notes on ingredients:

  • I got my pizza dough at my local food co-op in the freezer section. The ingredients 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.
  • I used a yellow heirloom tomato, but I’m sure a red one would offer a colorful contrast to the pesto sauce.
  • If you have any leftover fresh herbs from the pesto, you could sprinkle a handful over the top of the cheese for added color.
  • I know the specific recommendation to use a microplane grater seems unnecessary, but I really like the surface area you can cover with just 1 ounce of cheese when you grate it this way. The teeny tiny cheese shards really spread the flavor around for fewer calories and fat.
  • If you like this Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto, I’ve used it in another recipe with great results:  Focaccia with Spiced Pears, Pesto and Brie.


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



Pistachio Pesto Pizza

Two slices of pesto pizza on a plate with fresh tomatoes

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




  • 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, diced (about 1 cup)

Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto

  • 1 clove garlic, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (it’s OK to have a few stems)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, roughly chopped (about 46 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 (Once shelled, I quickly toasted the nuts until fragrant. I am aware that this is probably overkill.)
  • 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 12½ inches across). Place dough on pizza peel or large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (to keep it from sticking).
  4. Spread pesto over dough to within 1/2 in of the edge. Sprinkle with cheeses.
  5. Use peel to scoot pizza onto stone or place baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until cheese and crust are both golden brown. 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.


Pesto makes about 1/2 cup and is adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe.


  • 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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