April 26, 2016

Vegan Pesto Pizza With Roasted Tomato

This pesto pizza is one of my favorite dinner recipes.
Makes 8 slices

Having pizza night this week? Trying whipping up this deliciously light vegan pesto pizza! This pizza recipe is incredibly fresh and flavorful thanks to the roasted tomatoes, homemade vegan parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and pumpkin seed pesto. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make at home, making it perfect for a quick weekday dinner or a special weekend treat.

Being Italian, I am a HUGE pizza lover. Growing up, my dad made pizza on a weekly basis– a thin, chewy crust with pesto or a light red sauce and a handful of toppings on top. It’s still my most requested meal from my dad when we go visit him. 

I know I’m spoiled by my Italian family, but it’s actually really easy to replicate it at home. The key to making delicious pizza is simplicity. 

I love to make this pesto pizza and probably make it at least once or twice a month. It is just that good and that easy to make. It is also a much healthier option than any frozen or take-out pizzas and won’t leave you feeling weighed down. 

You can easily knock out this recipe in just 40 minutes total since we are using a premade pizza crust in this recipe. It tastes just as good as a homemade crust and makes this recipe twice as easy to make!

Note: For a complete list of ingredients and instructions on how to make this red pepper sauce recipe, keep scrolling down until you see the recipe card! 

basil, nutritional yeast, and pumpkin seeds in food processor

Is pesto vegan-friendly?

Traditionally, pesto is made with parmesan cheese, but this pesto is totally vegan! To mimic the umami flavor of parmesan cheese, I rely on my homemade parmesan with cashews, almonds, and nutritional yeast.

The coolest thing about pesto is that you really don’t even need a recipe. Just a seed/nut, herb or other green, fresh garlic, salt and a glug or two of oil. 

On the blog alone, I have 3 delicious pesto recipes made with different types of herbs and nuts. 

  1. Arugula pesto
  2. Avocado pesto
  3. Walnut pesto

Proof that even without basil, pesto is still amazing!

What brands of pesto are vegan?

If you are going to use store-bought pesto, then be sure to read the label on each jar. Some favorite brands include:

  • Gotham Greens (my favorite) 
  • Organico
  • Biona
  • Amore Pesto Paste

Do you always use pre-made dough or make your pizza dough yourself?

One last thing to chat about–pizza dough. I live by Trader Joe’s handmade dough because it’s perfection.

Sure, I could make my own and I sometimes do when I want to be extra fancy, but it’s honestly not needed. TJ’s makes the best pizza dough and it comes in three flavors: white, whole-wheat, and herb.

Whole-wheat is usually my favorite, but the herb one is also fantastic, especially on pizzas like this! If you like trying different pizza doughs, then you will love TJ’s. 

If you don’t live near Trader Joe’s (and for that, I am really sorry), then either use a homemade crust or another brand. Or, you can check with your local pizza places because they often have dough that they will sell. 

vegan parmesan cheese being sprinkled over tomatoes

Quick and Easy Tips On How To Make Vegan Basil Pesto Pizza

Even though I love gooey, cheesy pizza, there is something really fun about creating a vegan pizza. Almost a double-dog-dare-ya to myself. Can I make a pizza that’s just as good without the cheese? Challenge accepted and won!

This vegan pesto pizza is a delicious pizza that anyone would enjoy, vegan or not! It is full of flavor and tastes deliciously fresh and light, unlike other types of cheese pizzas.

It doesn’t take hardly any time at all to whip up and only requires a bit of prep work, making it a great option to help you avoid ordering out pizza.

Here are a few useful tips to help you make a delicious basil pesto pizza!

  • To make this pizza recipe even easier to make, make the vegan parmesan cheese ahead of time. It is dry and will last a long time as long as it is kept in an airtight container.
  • The pesto can also be made ahead of time! Though I wouldn’t recommend making it any earlier than a day or two before you plan to use it. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to keep it from going brown and store it in the fridge.
  • If you don’t have shelled pumpkin seeds, you can also use other nuts like pine nuts or sunflower seeds.
  • You can use granulated garlic instead of the fresh garlic cloves for the pesto if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand. It won’t be as flavorful, but it will still come out tasting pretty great. 

My Best Hack For Making The Best Vegan Cheese Pizza

The key to this pizza is thin slices of tomatoes that caramelize on top of the pesto and a generous shake of my vegan cheese mix.

To do this, pulse the ingredients together and keep a jar of it in the freezer for whenever you need a bit of cheesy flavor. I prefer the freezer so it doesn’t go bad and can be kept in a bigger batch. But, it will also keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

I love this stuff! It’s my secret weapon in quite a few of the vegan recipes in my cookbook, and no one knows the difference. It tastes like parmesan, but is more heart-healthy!

Two slices of vegan pesto pizza on cutting board

How To Make Healthy Vegan Pizza With Pesto And Roasted Tomatoes

For the full steps, be sure to scroll down to the recipe card. 

  • First, preheat the oven. Next, stretch the pizza dough on a pizza stone or pan. Set aside.
  • Place the pepitas, basil leaves, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt and pepper into the base of a food processor. Then, pulse until combined. Next, drizzle some olive oil into the processor and season with more salt and pepper.
  • Spread the pesto over the pizza dough and layer the pesto with the sliced tomatoes.
  • Then, wipe out the food processor and add the cashews, almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt. Next, pulse until combined.
  • Sprinkle the cheese over the pizza and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Finally, remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle with more cheese, and top with crushed red pepper flakes if desired.

What To Serve With Pesto Pizza

This vegan pizza is delicious and light while still being hearty enough to leave you feeling full and satisfied.

I love to eat this pizza all on its own but, it’s also great alongside a refreshing side salad. This Italian chopped salad or my DK house salad are both great options that are full of flavor. 

one slice of pesto pizza with tomatoes

More Vegan Pizza Recipes

If you try this recipe, then let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge. I absolutely love seeing your creations. Finally, happy cooking! 

Print
two slices of pesto pizza

Vegan Pesto and Roasted Tomato Pizza

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Category: pizza, vegan, vegetarian, pesto
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian, American

Description

This healthy vegan pesto pizza recipe is rich with robust flavors from roasted tomatoes, homemade vegan parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and pumpkin seed pesto. If you’re looking for quick, easy, and delicious, then you will love this pesto pizza! 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Category: pizza, vegan, vegetarian, pesto
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian, American
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Category: pizza, vegan, vegetarian, pesto
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian, American
Scale

Ingredients

  • Prepared Pizza Dough (I use Trader Joe’s pizza crust or this recipe)

Pumpkin Seed Pesto:

  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced tomatoes (from about 2-3 large tomatoes)

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  • 1/2 raw cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (or almonds with skins off)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stretch the pizza dough on a pizza stone or pizza pan and set aside.
  3. Place the pepitas, basil leaves, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt/pepper in the base of a food processor and pulse together until combined, about 8-10 times. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Spread the pesto over the pizza crust and layer with thinly sliced tomatoes.
  5. Wipe out the food processor and add the cashews, almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt. Pulse until very fine and combined, should be the texture of parmesan cheese.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the pizza and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, sprinkle with more cheese if desired and crushed red pepper flakes for spice!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge


More Vegan Pizza & Flatbread Recipes:

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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  1. I’m sorry if this has already been asked and answered, but is there something I could substitute the oil with? Or leave it out? Thank you!

  2. I hate the idea of Veganism. It’s a pain in my a**. The only reason I put up with it is because I love my wife.
    This recipe was probably the best thing I’ve made since she jumped on the vegan train.
    I give it 4 stars because it needs dairy.
    Hope my 2 cents counts for something.

  3. Hi! I am looking forward to trying this recipe tonight! I was wondering if you had the nutrition facts on this recipe? I am using MyFitnessPal and would like to be able to put it into the food diary. Thank you so much!

  4. Haven’t tried the Parmesan recipe but am going to! Is it necessary that the almonds don’t have skins? I’m ok if it’s not white like Parmesan but is there another reason to use slivers versus whole non-skinned almonds?

    • Hi Debbie! Hope you love the parmesan recipe as much as I do 🙂 I use blanched almonds for color, but it should’t change the taste. Let me know how it works out using regular almonds!

  5. Hey Alex! Planning to make this gorgeous simple pizza this weekend with an arugla salad for a dinner party on the patio. It is perfect, just what I was looking for, can’t wait to try that pesto! I am so in love with your vegan parm recipe!! Do you know if I make a bunch of this to keep on hand (parm) will it keep? If so whats the best way…fridge…pantry? Thanks!!

    • Yes! I make a batch of it and keep the rest in a mason jar in the freezer. It’s good for 6 months (ish) in the freezer.

  6. Absolutely delicious! Made this for my husband, and the Priest of our church. They both kept saying how delicous it was. It is also very filling.