Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fresh Tomato Pesto Pizza

Last week at Meijer, I picked up two containers of FREE cherry tomatoes by combining a weekly special with a coupon.  We used the first container of tomatoes on our salads all week, but I had that second container still sitting on the counter just waiting to be created into something budget friendly, easy to fix, and a family favorite.

I received a post from The Pioneer Woman Cooks on tomato bruschetta that inspired me to create a similar dish for our dinner last Friday night.  I saw a picture of the very same little cherry tomatoes on her counter that were sitting on mine.  She chose to use her tomatoes to make bruschetta.  I chose to use mine for a fresh tomato pesto pizza.

Sweet basil, robust garlic, tender tomatoes, ooey gooey cheese. . . .yum

The result?  A light dinner that was perfect for our on the go sports night between basketball practice and gymnastics team practice for the two big girls.  It was like a taste of summer in the depth of the January cold.  The best parts?  It cost under $3, came together in about 20 minutes, and everyone ate it without complaining! 

My mom had a big harvest of fresh basil this past fall and she brought down a huge bunch of it when they came to visit in October.  It was way too much to use up fresh, so we did the next best thing.  We whipped up a batch of pesto with some olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic.  Then we divided up the pesto into smaller freezer containers so we could enjoy that fresh made taste throughout the year.  I'd need about 1/2 cup to make the base for our pizza. 

Here's the other ingredients gathered on the counter, ready for recipe creation.  (I forgot to put the pesto container on the counter before taking the picture.) 

I chose to make my own pizza crust this time, but you could use a premade crust, a refrigerated roll out pizza crust, a loaf of frozen bread dough, or even tortillas or pita breads.  Over the years, I've used all of these for pizza crusts depending what I had on hand or what I could get for very low cost using store specials and/or coupons.  I also chose to use a mix of white and wheat flour this time in the crust and the results were quite good.

After you have your crust rolled out on the pan, spread a thin layer of pesto over the top.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and pepper to bring out the flavors.  Layer on your sliced tomatoes, top with cheese, and you're ready to go.  (You could also add chicken; we just didn't have any leftover because the kids ate so much of the shredded chicken earlier in the week!)

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand a few minutes before cutting.  Serve with a plate that is 2/3 full of fruits and vegetables for a well balanced meal.


  1. My mouth is watering looking at that picture!

  2. yum! I've been making my own pizza crust for our weekly Friday pizza/movie night for the past few weeks. This week I'm trying pioneer woman's pizza crust recipe - she says it's best if it sits in the fridge 24 hours to 3 days prior to use.

    1. Let me know how it turns out. Is it the one from artisan bread in 5 min a day? I just saw that one in Better Homes and Gardens. A mom at Gymnastics also told me about her wheat crust. I need to get her recipe, too.

  3. I'll let you know how it is -- making it for dinner tonight. I have been using an easy recipe for pizza crust that I found on my sister used PW's crust recipe (from her website) for pizza roll this week and said how good it was! I like that I can make it up a day or two ahead and keep it in the frige until I need it!