Homemade crust and fresh basil pesto come together to create a delicious pizza that everyone will love! This Pesto Chicken Pizza is sure to be your family’s new favorite meal!
This summer Isaac and I started dreaming about the little garden we hope to have in our backyard next spring. I can’t wait to grow our own squash and zucchini, tomatoes, spinach and who knows what else. Nothing beats the taste of garden fresh produce, especially when it’s the literal fruit of your hard work. This year, since we didn’t have the raised bed ready, I decided to plant some tomatoes in pots and grow rosemary and basil in a repurposed wooden box. And since I was very pregnant and then distracted taking care of a newborn and toddler, the herb plants grew a little out of control. When I *finally* remembered to trim back the plants I had SO MUCH basil that I had no idea what to do with it… so I decided it was time to try making my own pesto.
And y’all… Turns out that was the first of many batches of homemade pesto!
I’m not the biggest fan of pesto, but when it comes to the homemade stuff, I can’t get enough! It’s so fresh and delicious, and so stinkin’ easy to make. Since we grew our basil it was super cheap, and man – freshly picked basil is amazing.
If you don’t have an overgrown basil plant, you can definitely buy basil at the store, but I will warn you that the cost can really add up. Instead invest in a basil plant (that you can grow indoors during the winter!) – it’s inexpensive and super easy to take care of. Win win win!
And one of the recipes I decided to make with our pesto was this yummy Pesto Chicken Pizza. Between the homemade pizza crust (which is also very easy to make) and fresh pesto, you can have the taste of a pizzeria without having to leave the house! This pizza recipe has become a staple in our house, and I am so excited to share it with you today.
For the pesto
You can either make your own or buy a jar at the store. Both will yield similar results, but lemme tell ya… homemade is so much yummier and fresher! :)
For the crust
We’ve tried soooo many different pizza crust recipes since quarantine started, and this is one of my favorites. I like baking them in a cast iron skillet to get a nice crust! This sheet pan recipe is also great if you’re wanting to bake your pizza in one go.
Or you can buy a frozen crust. But homemade dough is so easy to make! If you haven’t tried it yet you need to. Trust me.
Homemade crust and fresh basil pesto come together to create a delicious pizza that everyone will love!
Pizza crust (we love this recipe)
For the Pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
2–3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed down
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil
4 cups mozzarella, shredded (freshly shredded is best!)
1 cup baby spinach
2–3 cups cooked chicken
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Make the pizza crust according to the recipe, then let it rest in a greased cast iron skillet. We use a 12 inch skillet and a 10 inch skillet.
While the dough is resting, make the pesto.
In a food processor or blender, pulse together the pine nuts, basil, garlic, cheese and salt until a paste forms. While the machine is running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil. A thick sauce will form as it emulsifies. Add more olive oil if the sauce is too thick.
Once the dough and pesto are ready, assemble the pizza!
Spread the pesto on the dough according to taste. I like to start with less and add more as I go (you won’t use all of the pesto recipe for the pizza). Spread the spinach on top, then sprinkle 3 cups of cheese. Add the chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes, then top with the remaining cup of cheese.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes – until the dough is golden brown on the crust and the cheese is bubbling. Let it cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve!
Use the leftover pesto for a recipe like my Italian Pesto Pasta!
Rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken are perfect for this pizza.
Looking for another yummy pizza recipe? Check out my BBQ Pork Flatbread Pizza! Yum.