This skillet zucchini pesto pizza has a crispy yet chewy crust. With layers of tangy basil pesto, mozzarella, zucchini and ricotta it’s perfect for summer!
I sound like a total dieting cliche when I say this but, pizza and ice cream have been my “cheats” of choice this summer.
First meal after my cut was over last month? Half a pie from the local pizza place down the road.
Nothing fancy, just a good old NY style cheese pizza.
Paleo brownies were demolished afterwards as well for good measure. I’d been thinking about that pizza meal for over a month and it was every bit (and more) as delicious as I’d imagined it would be.
Since then, the only thing I find myself either completely giving into or rearranging all the carbs and fat in my day to accommodate?
Could I be more basic?
But, back to pizza.
I’ve done the skillet pizza thing before and I’m a fan.
The skillet gives the crust the BEST texture. And as long as you know how to clean a cast iron skillet properly afterwards, it’s so worth making this way.
In my opinion, it’s completely unrivaled by a pizza stone or baking sheet. Although, this fall hummus pizza is a close runner up for a recipe that uses a pizza stone.
A crispy bottom and sides but still chewy and doughy center is pizza crust perfection and that’s exactly what you get when you cook it in a cast iron skillet.
I actually prefer this method (it’s way less clunky) to the one from the whole wheat chorizo spinach skillet pizza of a few months ago.
There are times when the original tomato sauce pizza craving is fierce but most times, I’m gonna have to pick white pizza over red pizza.
And if I’m eating stromboli, I’ll always choose a white ricotta dip over marinara sauce.
The dollops of creamy ricotta (or even better, creamy garlic scape pesto made with ricotta) just steal my cheese loving heart.
The thing that sets this white pizza apart from the rest though is the pesto.
This is not just your average basil pesto, folks.
Nope, it’s a tangy bright, slightly nutty, slightly salty, not too oily spectacular spread made possible with a secret ingredient, rice vinegar.
Instead of the typical small squeeze of lemon (or lemon zest like in this ramp pesto recipe) or other acid pesto sometimes gets, I decided to go full on tang with a generous amount of the basil and oregano seasoned rice vinegar.
It brings an almost “pickled” taste to the pizza crust and thinned out as a drizzle on top, you can add even more for a bright and refreshing pop to every cheesy bite.
Next time, I want to try quick pickling the zucchini slices in the vinegar beforehand too. The more tang, the better.
Or even throwing some fermented vegetables on top – yum!
Long live pizza!
Love this skillet zucchini pesto pizza recipe?
Try other pizza recipes such as my Roasted Eggplant Fennel Pizza with Whipped Garlic Feta, Sage Chorizo Sweet Potato Naan Pizza and Spring pea and lemon pesto pizza.
Skillet Zucchini Pesto Pizza
For the pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons Nakano Basil and Oregano Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the pizza
- favorite store bought or homemade pizza dough This whole wheat pizza dough: is my go-to for homemade
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 large zucchini thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- red pepper flakes for garnish
For the pesto
- Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Process for a few seconds until finely chopped and combined.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down sides as needed and continue processing until desired consistency. You can add a bit of water to thin it out if you’d like.
For the pizza
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Place olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet and turn to coat the entire surface.
- Place dough in the skillet and shape so that it fills the pan and goes up along the sides a bit.
- Spread about 1/4-1/3 cup pesto on the dough, leaving a small perimeter around the dough plain.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella on top of the pesto then lay the zucchini slices on top.
- Dollop the ricotta all over the top of the pizza and garnish with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
- Turn a burner on the stove top to medium-high heat. Once hot, place the skillet on the burner and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom sets and the oil starts to bubble up along the sides of the dough.
- Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook for another 10-12 minutes until starting to turn golden brown on the edges and completely set in the middle.
- Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes in the skillet before using a spatula to gently remove.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the leftover pesto into a small bowl. Thin out with water or Nakano Basil and Oregano Rice Vinegar (or a combination of both) until you get a consistency that you can drizzle on top of the pizza.
- Drizzle pesto mixture on top of the pizza, slice and serve hot.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Nakano.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.