This pesto pizza with zucchini and spinach is the epitome of late summer dining. We’re on the cusp of fall and I’m beginning to crave warm, comforting foods — but I’m not yet willing to give up the rich and effortless flavors of summer produce and herbs. Enter this pizza: olive oil-marinated zucchini spirals, fresh spinach, and two types of cheese (mozzarella and feta) over a pesto base. It’s deeply flavorful, but using relatively small amounts of each ingredient keeps it from becoming overwhelming. You can use store-bought pizza dough if you want to keep this meal as simple as possible, but you could also make my healthier homemade pizza dough. It comes together in a food processor in minutes and requires no additional rising time. It has a pleasantly yeasty flavor, stays somewhat chewy in the middle, and crisps up beautifully around the edges. The same goes for the pesto — if you have a basil plant that’s still thriving, make your own! You can freeze any that remains and enjoy another taste of summer once cooler weather comes around. If you don’t yet have a go-to pesto recipe, I highly recommend the one Giada De Laurentiis uses here.
Preparing the pizza
You’ll only need to take a couple preparatory steps before you’re ready to pop this pizza in the oven:
- Marinate your zucchini. This step sounds more intense than it is. Before you roll out your dough, just toss your spiralized zucchini with a splash of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt, and pepper. This adds flavor to the zucchini and also ensures it doesn’t dry out in the high-temp oven.
- Brush your pizza pan and rolled out dough with olive oil. Are you sensing an olive oil theme here? I recommend brushing your pan with a tad of EVOO to prevent sticking and help the bottom of the pizza brown. I also brush a little on the rolled-out dough itself before topping. Be sure to get the edges too, for a nice and brown crust.
The other ingredients require no preparation. The raw spinach wilts beautifully on the pizza without any advance cooking required. And of course, the mozzarella and feta melt and brown easily like it’s their job.
I love this pesto pizza with zucchini and spinach because it’s hearty without being overwhelming. None of the ingredients takes over the pizza, so you’re able to taste each one individually. Pair it with my no-frills side salad with white wine vinaigrette, and dinner is served!
Let me know what you think of this pizza in the comments below — I hope you make and enjoy it in all of its late summer glory.Print
Pesto Pizza with Zucchini and Spinach
This pesto pizza with zucchini and spinach is the epitome of late summer dining. A unique combination that brings out the best in summer herbs and produce.
- Prep Time: 7 minutes
- Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 1 12-inch pizza 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 1/2 batch of my healthier homemade pizza dough, or store-bought dough of choice
- 2–3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1–2 cups spiralized zucchini (see notes)
- 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade basil pesto
- 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced and torn into pieces
- A few fresh basil leaves for garnishing, optional
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnishing, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven.
- Toss your zucchini with about 1 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare pizza dough as directed. Roll the dough out as thinly as possible and try to keep an even surface level throughout. (Even height is more important than perfect roundness.)
- Brush a round pizza pan or sheet pan with about 1 tsp of olive oil to prevent sticking. Transfer rolled-out dough to pan and brush top of dough with the same amount of olive oil.
- Top dough with pesto, zucchini, spinach, and both cheeses.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until edges of pizza are brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and top with basil and parmigiano if using. Cut into 8 slices and serve.
- If you use my healthy homemade pizza dough recipe, keep in mind that you will only use half. The dough recipes makes two pizzas, and this recipe is just for one.
- Every oven is different, so keep an eye on your pizza. If your crust is browning too much, transfer the pizza to a lower rack. If it’s not browning enough, move it up higher.
- The amount of spiralized zucchini to use is based on both personal preference and the width of your zucchini noodles. Mine were rather bulky, so I used closer to 2 cups. If your noodles are finer, you may not need as much volume to cover your pizza.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 224
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 427 mg
- Fat: 12.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 19 g
- Fiber: 1.8 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 10.9 mg