Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Caprese Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Pesto

Caprese Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Pesto

Pizza gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, but homemade pizza is nothing like the kind that is delivered. By building your own, you control the ingredients and can create a pizza that is much lower in saturated fat and sodium than popular fast food pizza chains.
caprese pizza

This is a variation of our pizza base recipe. Caprese salad is one of our favorite summertime sides. Tangy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and sweet balsamic are all great ingredients in the summer, so why not throw them on a pizza? Rather than baking the ingredients onto the pizza, we leave them fresh for a different taste and texture. Try this caprese pizza for your next pizza night!

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for Pesto Caprese Pizza

Try making homemade pizza dough! If you don’t have time to make your own, see if you can buy raw dough from your favorite pizza shop or a local grocery store. Look for a true dough ball – not the kind in a tube.

Stretch your pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven and quick clean-up. You can also use cornmeal underneath the dough to help it not stick to the pan or stone. Use a generous amount of cornmeal if using this method.

Because the dough doesn’t have any toppings while baking, prick holes in the crust to keep it from puffing up in the oven. Don’t skip this step!

Brushing olive oil over the crust before cooking keeps the dough from drying out too much in the oven. Use a pastry brush for even distribution.

A pizza stone is truly the best way to make a crispy pizza crust. If you are a pizza lover and enjoy making your own, it is definitely worth the investment!

Make homemade pesto using our pesto base recipe to take your pizza to the next level! 

This is a great recipe for kids to help make! Let them help spread the pesto and add their own toppings. Make two, mini 6” pizzas by dividing the dough in half. Make pizza night a family cooking night!

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Pizza Dough: substitute a cauliflower crust, gluten-free crust, or pre-made pizza crust. You can also make a caprese flatbread pizza on pita or flatbread, or try making a caprese naan pizza. If using pre-cooked crust or flatbread, follow manufacturer heating instructions.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute avocado or canola oil.
  • Pesto: substitute sun-dried tomato pesto or any other homemade or store bought pesto.
  • Mozzarella: substitute ricotta or goat cheese for a different flavor.
  • Tomatoes: substitute halved cherry tomatoes.
  • Basil: substitute fresh Italian parsley or dried oregano.
  • Balsamic Reduction: substitute aged balsamic.

Caprese Pizza Recipe Variations

Feel free to add the toppings before baking, but know that you will no longer get a fresh, caprese salad on top. Instead, your pizza will be more similar to a Margherita pizza (still delicious)!

Make a chicken caprese pizza by adding pre-cooked shredded or diced chicken on top after cooking.

Want more pizza recipe inspiration?

Use our pizza base recipe as a guide to make it your own, or try out some of these tasty variations!

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

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Health Benefits of Caprese Salad Pizza

Pizza gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, but homemade pizza is nothing like the kind that is delivered. By building your own, you control the ingredients and can create a pizza that is much lower in saturated fat and sodium than popular fast food pizza chains. This recipe features pesto, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

Pesto

Pesto is a healthy spread that is loaded with flavor and nutrition. It contains nuts, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation. Additionally, certain nutrients require fat for absorption; using extra virgin olive oil in homemade pesto can help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck!

Mozzarella Cheese

Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein which are both important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Cheese is high in saturated fat, and while research is currently challenging the belief that full-fat dairy products are harmful, we still suggest trying to limit them until we know more. With that said, try to stick to the suggested amount in the recipe.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C & lycopene. Lycopene is a phytonutrient that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer.

Basil

Green herbs, like basil, not only add a pop of freshness and great flavor to a dish, but they add nutrition too! Herbs are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and help fight diseases. 

Learn more about health benefits of different foods in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions for Caprese Pizza with Pesto

Start your meal with a large side salad, and then serve a side of roasted vegetables with the pizza for a beautiful Whole Life Plate. Caprese pizza also makes a great appetizer!

How to Store Leftovers

This pizza is best eaten the day it is cooked to get a warm crust and cold toppings. Leftovers can be placed in the refrigerator, but the crust will begin to get soggy over time, so it’s best not to store it for too long. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days for best quality.

Rather than warming leftovers, we recommend eating them cold!

Looking for our best pizza and pesto recipes?

Check out these tried and true recipes!

Italian Pizza Dough

Pesto Base Recipe

Vegan Basil Pesto

caprese pizza

Caprese Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Pesto

This is a variation of our pizza base recipe. Caprese salad is one of our favorite summertime sides. Tangy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and sweet balsamic are all great ingredients in the summer, so why not throw them on a pizza?
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 1 12″ pizza

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pizza dough round (8-10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • cup pesto
  • 4-ounce fresh mozzarella cheese ball, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic reduction
  • 5-6 large basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions
 

Pizza Stone Instructions

  • Place pizza stone on bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 500°F. Heat one hour before cooking for the crispiest crust.
  • Stretch pizza dough into a 12” circle on a piece of parchment paper. Brush with oil. Prick the stretched dough in about 5 different places with a fork to keep it from bubbling.
  • Using a pizza peel, slide pizza crust with parchment paper onto stone. If you don’t have a pizza peel, a baking sheet without a rim or an upside down baking sheet will work. Cook for 6-7 minutes until the crust begins to turn golden brown.
  • Remove crust from oven. Spread pesto onto the center of the crust, leaving a plain border. Arrange mozzarella and tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

If you don’t have a pizza stone:

  • Preheat oven to 500ºF.
  • Stretch pizza dough into a 12” circle on a piece of parchment paper.*  Brush with oil. Prick the stretched dough in about 5 different places with a fork to keep it from bubbling.
  • Place pizza crust and parchment paper onto your pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until crust begins to turn golden brown.
  • Remove crust from oven. Spread pesto onto the center of the crust, leaving a plain border. Arrange mozzarella and tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

Because the dough doesn’t have any toppings while baking, prick holes in the crust to keep it from puffing up in the oven. Don’t skip this step!
Keyword Caprese Pizza

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