Arugula Pesto Pizza with Herbed Ricotta

It’s Monday morning and we’re kicking the week off on the right foot with this fresh, herby and cheesy arugula pesto pizza. And goodness me are you going to love it.

Recipe for arugula pesto pizza. With herbed ricotta, walnuts and lemon zest! Fresh, herby and cheesy!

Well, at least we fell head over heels for it. This may have something to do with the fact that I am on a pesto bender. I tend to forget about any sort of pesto all winter long and then bam! Summer hits and I can’t stop making it.

We also know that I have a very all or nothing personality when it comes to food and get on kicks like no other. So there’s that too.

Which would also explain why I decided it was a good idea to make four balls of my herbed whole grain pizza dough last week. Because clearly one batch wouldn’t do and I needed to be prepared for a pizza emergency of epic proportions? On the plus side I do now have enough dough in my freezer for four large pizzas, so that’s cool.

And yes, this dough making extravaganza was after I tested today’s recipe multiple times. I guess we can officially say I’m also on a pizza bender.

Recipe for arugula pesto pizza. With herbed ricotta, walnuts and lemon zest! Fresh, herby and cheesy!

But. Let’s discuss this pizza specifically. Because oooo baby is it good.

Lately I have been all about pizzas that don’t have traditional red sauce. It just doesn’t interest me at the moment. So here we start with an arugula pesto, which you’ll smear all over the dough just like you would a regular sauce. It has a touch of that sort of spicy kick from the arugula – but nothing crazy.

We’ll quickly mix together ricotta cheese with fresh basil and parsley and a few other seasonings. This mixture is then dropped in small spoonfuls over the top of the pizza (which we’ll sprinkle first with some mozzarella).

Some chopped walnuts are added as well and then into the piping hot oven the pizza goes!

Recipe for arugula pesto pizza. With herbed ricotta, walnuts and lemon zest! Fresh, herby and cheesy!

After the pizza bakes up and makes the house smell all awesome, we’ll sprinkle a touch of lemon zest over the top for some brightness and then finish with a few handfuls of arugula, for even more freshness.

Resulting in a fantastic pizza that you may in fact polish off between two people. Not that we know anything about that.

Recipe for arugula pesto pizza. With herbed ricotta, walnuts and lemon zest! Fresh, herby and cheesy!

And now I feel like pizza again. Those four balls of dough in my freezer may just be put to use sooner rather than later.

Arugula Pesto Pizza with Herbed Ricotta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: 1 large pizza
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 batch arugula pesto
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese, strained if watery
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ⅓ cup raw walnut halves, chopped
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups lightly packed arugula
  1. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place a pizza stone in the oven and allow the stone to heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes (if you can do 30, even better!).
  2. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and allow to relax for about 10 minutes (but no longer than 30). Roll out and shape the dough and then transfer to a piece of parchment paper cut to about the size of your pizza stone that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto recipe linked above. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, add the ricotta, basil, parsley, honey, salt and red pepper. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  5. Brush the pizza dough all over lightly with the olive oil. Scoop the pesto onto the dough and smear evenly all over, leaving a border around the edge. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pesto, then drop the herbed ricotta in small scoops all over the top. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
  6. Transfer to the oven (put the parchment paper with the pizza directly on the pizza stone). Bake for about 10 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle with the lemon zest and top with the fresh arugula. Slice and serve!
As with all pizzas, feel free to adjust the amounts of the toppings to your own taste.

Prep time includes time to preheat the oven and allow the pizza stone to heat.

If you do not have a pizza stone (I highly recommend them for homemade pizza though!!), you can place the parchment with the pizza on a large baking sheet instead and then bake as directed.

Cookie Monster Cooking


Psssst. Looking for more cheesy recipe goodness? Check out the pasta recipe I created for Oh My Veggies!

Get it here! —> Cheesy Broccoli and Pepper Baked Orzo

Cheesy Broccoli and Pepper Baked Orzo