Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homemade Pizza with Swiss Chard Pesto and Toppings

Yay to pizza! Thank you Niki for choosing No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Topping Pizza for this Food Matters Project Monday! In my book, homemade pizza is not junk food at all… It’s a perfect all-in-one meal: grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy.

Making pizzas at home is a special thing between DFJ and me. The first few times we started hanging out, he would make pizzas on Friday nights and we would devour an entire thing or even two with wine. It’s one of the best ways to say goodbye to a grueling week and start celebrating the weekend.

So, Mark Bittman recommends not overloading your pizza with too many toppings because it can affect the doneness of your dough. There are too many things that I want on my pizza and I want them all! The solution to my problem was simple: combine all the other things that can be put together and turn it into pesto. Hello Swiss chard, tomatoes, garlic, and smoked gouda! The first flavor that you taste in this pesto is the gouda, then you get the slight bitterness of the Swiss chard, and a peppery kick at the end. This pesto can serve as a dip for crackers, bread, crudités, chips, what have you. The No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with just this pesto and some fresh basil as a topping will be enough to make me one happy camper.  

Swiss Chard Pesto (enough for 2 medium sized pizzas)

1 tbsp olive oil
3-6 cloves garlic, pressed
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 Swiss chard leaves, roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup smoked gouda, shredded and firmly pressed in cup

Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant. Toss in the tomatoes and cook until their juices start coming out, about 2 minutes. Toss the Swiss chard and cook until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and the gouda and stir together for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and move everything in a bowl to cool down. Puree in a blender or food processor and set aside to use as a pizza sauce. 

Let’s talk about the pizza dough…

Having made this dough once before, I was iffy about making it again because it didn’t turn out very well the first time. Oh, it was totally worth my while giving it another try! The reason why this dough failed to impress the first time was because I added too much water. Make sure to add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the right consistency is achieved. I actually added a little too much water again but countered this by adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Also, this is supposed to be a no-knead dough, but baking bread has trained me to have to touch and feel the dough, so I did it anyway and it didn’t hurt. *Wink.* When I was ready to bake, I cut the dough in half and formed one half into a ball. Then I poured about 1 teaspoon of olive oil on the palm of my hand and spread it on the pizza stone and the outside of the dough ball. I placed the dough in the middle of the pizza stone and gently spread the dough. Since I used a pizza stone, it took 14 minutes for the pizza to be done in an oven preheated to 500 degrees F.

This dough is soft, chewy, thin but not floppy, and has a lovely sour tang, the result of having it sit for 10 hours… so if you like a sourdoughish pizza dough, give this one a try! Visit Niki’s blog for the full recipe of this yummy dough and visit the Food Matters Project website to see the pizza creations that the other members did.

These are the toppings that went on my pizza:

a generous layer of Swiss chard pesto (recipe above)
mozzarella cheese pieces, torn
portobello mushroom slices
red bell peppers
chorizo (on the other half, for DFJ)
fresh basil leaves (torn and scattered all over after the pizza was baked)


Reveling in life’s simple delights… homemade pizza. Thank you, Mark Bittman!


  1. Next time I'm going to a) read the recipe, ha, and let it rise for the correct amount of time, and b) use your trick and knead it a little!

  2. Fresh basil is the best!

  3. Homemade pizza really is the best and can be seriously healthy! I'm always guilty of overloading my pizza with toppings. But your pesto sounds like the perfect solution!

  4. Funny, we both had a his + hers pizza!

  5. Oh yum. don't know what I would do without pesto. But homemade pesto? That sounds simply wonderful :)

  6. Yum! Pesto so totally belongs on pizza :-) I actually made a spinach pesto for my pizza too.

  7. This looks like it was loaded with flavour!! Yum!

  8. That swiss chard pesto sounds incredibly delicious :D

  9. This pizza is making my mouth water. Looks awesome!

  10. Oh Margarita! It looks beautiful!

  11. I always overload my pizza! I don't want to do it but eventually I end up like this! Yours looks very balanced and the pesto is a great idea! I am a sucker for pizza!

  12. I definitley added too much water! Your pizza has such a nice shape and it looks much more manageable than mine. Definitley trying again this weekend ;)

  13. The swiss chard pesto sounds delicious, and would be great on other things! Your pizza came out great and round--ours was not as pretty!

  14. Oh my gosh I never thought about adding gouda to pesto, but it sounds amazing. I looove gouda. I can't wait to make this pizza again using my pizza stone!

  15. Your dough is absolutely gorgeous! I used pesto too, but never thought of trying it with chard! Great idea!

  16. I love the idea of mixing some of the toppings into a pesto, I'll have to give this a try sometime.

  17. What a gorgeous looking pizza... I love the idea of the pesto and swiss chard together... must be a wonderful combo :)


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