Vegan Pesto Arugula Pizza

One podcast I’ve been listening to for years and years is called Stuff You Should Know, or ‘SYSK’ for short. It’s hosted by two guys who have in-depth discussions on various random topics like exploding manholes, fainting goats, and yogurt. The way they engage and dive into each topic has kept me entertained for years. Recently, they resurfaced an old episode where they dived into everything you would ever want to know about pizza, and ever since then I can not stop thinking about pizza. Yes, it’s on my mind 99% of the day anyway, but my obsession was heightened thanks to that podcast. 

So, I made a pizza. A Vegan Pesto Arugula Pizza, to be exact. It’s pretty delicious and 100% vegan, because I believe that a good pizza doesn’t need to have cheese to still be really good. Although technically, according to SYSK, a cheese-less pizza is a tomato pie not a pizza, but I won’t be splitting hairs on this topic, thanks. 

For me, the most important part of any pizza will always be the crust. There are some people who don’t enjoy pizza crusts, and I’ve never been willing to share breathing space with those people. Homemade pizza crust is so easy to make, and you likely have the ingredients that you need for it already in your kitchen. Homemade pizza crust is so. worth. your. time. 

The next best thing about this pizza is the pesto. In the first pizza recipe I  blogged about (Veggie Pesto Pizza) I explored the idea of dousing an entire pizza in homemade pesto, and that was an idea that really paid off. Homemade pesto takes just a few minutes to make, but requires a bit more planning since you may not have everything needed to make on a whim (unless you have a garden and grow nuts and basil from the ground, and if you do DM me your address thank you). But, as I’ve been saying for a minute, getting these ingredients and making them for yourself is worth it. 

Other good things that are going on in this pizza include: roasted broccoli, roasted asparagus, marinara sauce, fresh basil, and handfuls of arugula. Yum. This pizza may just knock your socks off, and we’ll both be okay with that, right?



Pizza Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast (active will take longer to rise)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
  • Olive oil/nonstick cooking spray
  • Garlic salt
  • cornmeal


  • 3 cups basil moderately packed
  • juice of one small-medium lemon
  • 1/3 c nuts (pine nuts if you’ve got heavy pockets, otherwise walnuts and almonds are good substitutes)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil


  • About 2 cups marinara sauce (preferably homemade)
  • Broccoli florets, chopped and roasted in a 475 oven for about 15 minutes
  • Artichokes, chopped and roasted in a 475 oven for about 15 minutes
  • Arugula
  • Any leftover basil leaves from the pesto



  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Pulse until evenly chopped. Slowly add in the olive oil through the top of the processor. Pulse until evenly combined, but not completely smooth.

Pizza Dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (preferred), stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. Add olive oil, salt, and 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until combined with your hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon if not using a mixer). Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too wet, add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead in mixer on medium-low speed or by hand for 5 minutes.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  3. About 15 minutes before your dough is ready, preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in middle rack of your oven for 30-60 minutes at 475 degrees F.
  4. After dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two equal balls and cover with a towel for 15 minutes. You can freeze one of the balls at this point if desired.*
  5. Carefully remove your pizza stone/baking pan and GENEROUSLY grease the entire surface with olive oil or with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
  6. After dough has been resting 15 minutes, roll each dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface or parchment paper into a 12-inch round circle. Transfer pizza dough to your baking sheet or pizza stone then pinch edges to create a rimmed crust. Lightly brush the top of the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust.


  1. Top with warmed marinara sauce, broccoli, and artichokes. Bake for 12 minutes at 475F degrees.
  2. Take the pizza out of the oven and immediately top with handfuls of arugula (add a lot because it will wilt), pesto, and basil leaves. Eat up!

Adapted From: Carlsbad Cravings and Good in the Simple

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