A traditional pesto contains cheese—either Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano—but, here, for a lighter vegan-friendly take, I leave the cheese out with great results. Topped with seasoned raw zucchini ribbons, this pizza offers a nice combo of fresh vegetables and a baked pesto topping. If you’d like to make a cheesy pesto, add ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the food processor after adding the olive oil. I use all kinds of nuts to make pesto, from the traditional pine nuts to pistachios, walnuts, and even sunflower seeds. Feel free to experiment!
- Yield: 4 Servings
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 lemon, zested and halved
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups (about 2 ounces) loosely packed fresh mint leaves plus 1
- tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 medium-size zucchini, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- Flaky salt
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 475°F. Lightly grease a half sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside. Put the pizza dough on a lightly oiled cutting board and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
- Combine the garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to roughly chop and incorporate. Add 2 cups mint leaves and ½ cup olive oil and process until the mixture forms a paste. Scrape the pesto into a medium-size bowl.
- Coat the pizza dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place it on your work surface. Roll the dough into a rustic oval shape, about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick, then place it in the sheet pan. (If your dough is soft enough, you can also simply stretch it out in the pan.) Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the zucchini in a medium-size bowl and toss with the remaining tablespoon mint, the remaining tablespoon olive oil, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. With a spatula to help, pop the pizza out of the pan and slide it onto a cutting board. Top with the zucchini, squeeze a lemon half over the top, slice into pieces, and serve.
- Spread ⅓ cup pesto over the pizza (I like to let my toppings run all the way to the edge of the crust, but you can leave a border of ¾ inch bare if you like). Bake the pizza until the dough is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.