Do you love to make homemade pizza? Tomatoes and pesto are an amazing pairing and Tomato Pesto Pizza might become your new favorite go-to at home!
I will go out on a limb and say that pizza is one of the country’s favorite food groups and yes, it is indeed a food group in my book. That said, we have all eaten a lot of it and while the wild and outlandish flavor combos are delicious, sometimes the basics are best.
What is Tomato Pesto Pizza?
Tomato Pesto Pizza is an easy vegetarian pizza topped with fresh tomato, mozzarella, and feta cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and toasted pine nuts. It is zippy, cheesy, doughy, and flavor-packed.
Why You’ll Love Tomato Pesto Pizza
First and foremost pizza is absolutely delicious, but this one definitely boasts some benefits!
- Interactive: You can get the whole family involved with decorating and topping the pizza or pizzas depending on how many folks you are feeding.
- Customizable: Have a food allergy? Skip an ingredient. Really love your pizza super cheesy? Add some more! Work with the ratios that make your palate and your stomach happy.
- Quick & easy: No waiting around for the pizza to get delivered because it’s fresh out of your oven.
For this recipe, you can get as involved or not involved as you want. Many of the items here can be store-bought at your local grocery store, but if you are feeling ambitious, you can make them at home.
- Pre-made Pizza Crust/Flatbread or Pizza Dough – I personally love Stonefire flatbreads. They are packaged with the intention to be frozen, so I can buy a handful, freeze them and use them for a quick, weeknight meal. For a store-bought pizza dough, they’re actually really flavorful.
- Marinara Sauce – Tomatoes stewed with garlic, herbs, and onions. Easily purchased at the store or made at home if you have a little bit more time. My 30-minute marinara is easy and perfect for this recipe.
- Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese – Fresh mozzarella or regular mozzarella both have a lot of water content. If you top a pizza with either, you run the risk of a soggy slice. Using low moisture lowers that risk considerably.
- Feta Cheese – Salty and tangy, this Greek cheese can be bought in blocks or in crumbles. I prefer crumbles only because it makes topping this pizza super easy. You could also use parmesan cheese if you’d like.
- Spinach Leaves – Mild when raw, cooked spinach’s flavor is more robust as is the nutritional value. Baby spinach leaves are easy to find and great to top this recipe.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Ripe tomatoes that are dried in the sun to intensify their flavor and to give them a chewy texture. Purchase them simply dried or packed in olive oil depending on what your store carries. Either is fine.
- Roma Tomatoes – Also known as the plum tomato, these fresh tomatoes are great because of their firm texture which softens in the oven.
- Pesto – Easily found in the store OR made at home with the help of a food processor. I prefer fresh pesto, but store bought is just fine too!
- Pine Nuts – These have a soft texture and sweet flavor. To keep them fresh and their lifespan in your kitchen long, be sure to keep these in an airtight container in the fridge OR in the freezer to prolong their lifespan in your kitchen.
Fun Fact: These same toppings can be used for calzones, French bread pizzas, or even on pasta!
How to Make Tomato Pesto Pizza
Pizza might seem daunting to make at home, but it is actually super easy!
- Preheat the oven. A hot oven is step one to a successful pizza. Remember that if you are using a pizza stone, you have to preheat it too. Think of it like cooking steak – the hot stone is going to “sear” the dough giving you a crisp crust.
- Prep the dough. Whether you are using a pre-made frozen crust or flatbread or working with dough, now’s the time to get the dough to the shape of your choosing. Do your best to get the thickness of the dough even so everything cooks at relatively the same speed. Make sure your work surface is a lightly floured surface.
- Top that pie! Start with a layer of marinara to serve as a base for the other toppings. Then layer on the rest. I like to end with the Roma tomatoes.
- Bake. Baking time will depend on the crust/flatbread/dough you are using but generally will take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. If it is your first time using the product or working with the dough, keep an eye on things. You will know when your pizza is ready because the cheese will be all gooey and the crust will have a golden brown hue.
- Take the pizza out and finish topping it. The pesto would lose some of its zest and zing in the oven so it is best to put on last as are the pinenuts which are already toasted. Letting it rest for 5 minutes before slicing will ensure you get perfect slices vs some that have more toppings than others. We’ve all been there!
There are lots of ways to customize this pizza depending on how fancy you want to get.
- If you have the time, try making your own fresh pizza dough from scratch.
- Vary up the tomatoes! Cherry tomatoes and golden tomatoes are a great substitute (or addition) to the Roma tomatoes.
- I LOVE onion and it would not be out of place on this veggie pizza. Add it before it goes into the oven so it has a chance to soften and sweeten. Red onion or yellow onion would be perfect.
- Get creative! Feel free to customize by adding something that sounds great to you or your family. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken or chicken breast, throw it on top. Other options include fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes, fresh spinach or your favorite pizza toppings.
Storing & Freezing
Make Ahead: Not much to do here unless you are making certain elements of this recipe from scratch i.e. the dough, the marinara, the pesto, etc.
Storage: If you find yourself with an extra slice or two, you can easily pop them in a ziploc bag or wrap them tightly with cling wrap and keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Reheating: Preheat the oven to 350 and heat the pizza on a baking sheet. If you have a pizza stone or a cast iron pan, preheat that in the oven and warm the pizza there. It will help pep those slices right back up. That is of course, unless you like to eat your pizza cold. No judgment here.
Freezing: Freezing pizza is great! I like to wrap the slices individually in saran wrap and then pop them in a ziploc freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to two months.
Tips for Making the Perfect Pizza at Home
Check out my tips for making your next pizza night a perfect one!
- Use a pizza stone and make sure you preheat it in the oven. The stone will get rid of some of the moisture, making sure your pizza crust is nice and crispy.
- Dust the pan or the pizza stone with a little bit of cornmeal. It not only helps to achieve a crispy crust, but it also makes it easy to get the pizza on and off of the work and cooking surfaces.
- Refrigerate dough before baking, it is much easier to work with a cold dough than a room temperature one.
- Stretch, don’t roll your dough. You don’t have to toss it in the air like at a pizza parlor but use the stretching method.
- Rotate your pizza while cooking. All ovens have cool and hot spots, for best results, rotate at 180 degrees at least halfway through cooking.
Questions About Tomato Pesto Pizza
This variety of pizza is also known as Pizza Genovese and is named as such after the region in Italy, Genoa, where pesto originated.
Absolutely! It is super versatile and using it instead of tomato sauce creates a delicious version of this recipe.
Yes! Pizza Genovese in the city of Genoa specializes in this variety of deliciousness.
More Pizza Recipes
Tomato and Pesto Pizza
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you using fresh dough and pizza stone, preheat pizza stone in the oven.
- Arrange crust, flatbread or dough on work space.
- Evenly spread marinara sauce over crust, top with mozzarella cheese, spinach, feat, sun dried tomatoes and roma tomato slices.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.
- Remove and top with dollops of pesto and sprinkle with pine nuts. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!