Kale Pesto Pizza on the Grill

  • Author: Simple Green Smoothies
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course


Grilling pizza makes it so, so easy to pull dinner together in a few minutes—faster than you can say, “Delivery!” The recipe calls for pre-made, uncooked pizza crust, or even make individual pizzas by using smaller flatbreads.




  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup packed Tuscan or curly kale leaves
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated (OPTIONAL))
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt (to taste)


  • Flour (for dusting)
  • 1 pound ball whole wheat pizza dough
  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • OPTIONAL: 1 halved cherry tomatoes or 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • OPTIONAL: 1 cup kale (chopped)


Kale Pesto Instructions

  1.  Place pine nuts and garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add the kale, basil, and Parmesan. Pulse again until finely chopped.
  2. With motor running, add the olive oil through the feed hole in a slow steady stream. Stop and scrape down sides as needed. Season to taste with sea salt. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Tip – to keep the top of the pesto from darkening, drizzle with a little olive oil.

Pizza Instructions

  1. Preheat gas grill for 10-15 minutes on high heat, or start a charcoal grill and allow coals to get very, very hot. After the grill has heated, turn off half of the burners or move charcoal to one side to create a direct heat side and a cooler, indirect heat side.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. Roll the dough into a circle or oval that is about 1/4” thick. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes, or longer if the dough shrinks back and doesn’t hold its shape.
  3. Transfer the pizza dough to the grill on the indirect heat side. Close the grill and allow the crust to grill until the bottom is barely cooked, about 2-3 minutes. There should be some grill marks on the bottom. Check the crust frequently as cooking times may vary according to differences in grills.
  4. Turn the pizza crust over. Spread the pesto on the crust in a thin layer; you may have a little more than you need depending on how big the pizza crust is. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and add the tomatoes and kale, if using. Close the grill and allow to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbling, between 3-5 minutes. Check frequently to make sure it’s not burning – it may cook more quickly than that.
  5. Remove pizza from grill – long handled tongs or a large spatula works the best. Place on a cutting board and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Serve hot


NOTE: Typically you’ll find uncooked pizza dough near the cheese or bakery sections of your grocery store. A pre-baked pizza crust or four small flatbreads may also be used. Lightly warm the crust or flatbreads on the grill, then flip over and add the toppings. Proceed with recipe. Remove from grill when cheese has melted. It will take less time than if using raw dough.