Grilled Bruschetta / Spinach Pesto Pizza with Fresh Basil!

27 Jul

This turned out. so. good. So many rich flavors coming together!

Inspiration hit me at 9:30 this morning and I just HAD to start making something! I quickly threw together a simple pizza crust recipe (adapted from the recipe book that came with my handy Zojirushi bread machine), pushed a couple buttons and had 45 minutes before it would be ready. In those 45 minutes, I walked to the grocery store down the street, picked up $30 worth of goodies and fresh produce and made it back with 6 minutes to go on the dough timer!

I stuffed the Vitamix full of the spinach pesto ingredients, but didn’t blend until I really was ready to use it (after the crust was cooked!)


While the grill was preheating, I lobbed off a portion of the large amount of pizza dough (the rest ended up in the freezer for a future recipe) and created a rectangular shape (about 12″ x 8″) that wasn’t as thick as a normal pizza, but not thin-crust either. I had subbed Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for the majority of the all-purpose flour in the recipe and noticed it was a little harder to work with (see Notes). Once prepared, I grabbed a brush and a small bowl of canola oil and generously covered one side of the crust with it (so it doesn’t stick to the grill!) The crust doesn’t need to fully cook while it’s on the grill this first time–it will have some more time to finish after the topping are put on. Left it there for a few minutes, brushed more oil on the uncooked side and flipped. Take off the grill and bring it back inside!

I quickly chopped some Roma tomatoes up, removed most of the seeds and mixed them with some Olive Oil, minced garlic, salt/pepper and balsamic vinegar. Blended the pesto until paste-like and was ready to make the pizza! WAIT. Forgot a very tasty ingredient! I picked some fresh basil from my little indoor garden (6 basil plants really give you a lot) and using scissors, cut the leaves in strips. Assembling the pizza goes as follows: dump pesto paste onto pre-grilled crust. spread around the green gloriousness. spoon the bruschetta on top (don’t worry about the balsamic vinegar, it won’t make it mushy). dramatically drape the strips of fresh basil over the bruschetta. done! Now head all this back over to the grill to heat it up a little bit longer and then you’re ready to eat! Delicious! So many fresh flavors coming together with the tangy balsamic vinegar and creaminess of the pesto. Who needs cheese? 🙂

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Adapted from Zojirushi Bread Machine Recipe Book)

  • 1 1/4 cups Water (I add a couple tablespoons more just because I’m at higher altitude…and using whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (Used garlic-infused OO)
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour (Used 2 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry dough and 1 c. all-purpose. See Notes)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (Used honey! Agave nectar would work well too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (or 2 tsp rapid rise yeast)
  • A few dashes of any spices you think would add lots of flavor (i.e. oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, etc)

I used a bread machine so I took the easy way out on this one. Pretty much just set it and didn’t have to worry about it. Any basic pizza dough recipe (like this one) will walk you through how to do it the harder traditional way 🙂

Spinach Pesto

  • A couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves (or make a more traditional pesto with basil!)
  • Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts or Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients into a blender or food processor. I recommend blending this into a thick paste, rather than leaving it chunkier. It spreads much nicer this way!


  • 5-6 Roma tomatoes (depending on how large your pizza is!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar

Roughly chop the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with olive oil (just enough to coat, not soak), minced garlic, salt&pepper. Add in balsamic vinegar slowly, to taste. I love the strong flavor of it, so I probably used 1/8+ cup. The longer this stuff sits, the more the flavors blend and start to taste amazing! If you actually use this as an appetizer, add the fresh basil directly to it and put it on some crusty bread! Yum.


  • My whole wheat crust didn’t hold up quite as well as I’d hoped. Tasted great, but easily fell apart on the grill. I might lessen the ratio of whole wheat flour to all-purpose and see if that works better. Also might try adding a bit more oil or some gluten to it. Very tasty, little too fragile.
  • This meal was a little heavy for mid-day, since now all I want to do is nap. Might be better suited for dinner or make a lighter crust!
  • A balsamic reduction drizzled over the top of this would have been a superb addition, as it would have contrasted nicely with the fresh colors and added a bit of tangy sweetness.

This pizza was gobbled up quickly! None left! I’ll just have to make it again sometime soon…


10 Responses to “Grilled Bruschetta / Spinach Pesto Pizza with Fresh Basil!”

  1. veronica gantley July 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Yummy Pizza Stephanie. I would never have thought of that combination. Pesto is great this time of year with all the basil in our gardens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Stephanie July 28, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      thanks for the kind words! 🙂 fresh basil is such a wonderful thing to have, especially since it can be so expensive to buy at a grocery store! i try and put it in as many things as possible!

  2. cakewhiz July 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    the bruchettas i make are so different than yours. that spinach basil pesto is a nice tasty touch to these bruchettas.

    • Stephanie July 28, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      what type of bruschetta do you make? i’m always up to try something new or more authentic! 🙂

  3. Xperimental cook July 28, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    Looks great! If you want to add intense garlic flavor and an even darker shade of green to your pesto you can replace the garlic for garlic whips. Anyway looks delicious just the way it is!

    • Stephanie July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      i just had to google what a garlic whip was…so interesting! can’t say i’ve ever seen any in stores around me. but i love garlic and i’m intrigued! thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

  4. vegobsession chick July 28, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    I will have to try your pizza dough! This looks delish!

    • Stephanie July 28, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      i was pleasantly surprised at how much lighter the dough turned out than a regular whole wheat crust. just watch out for a slightly dry dough (i think gluten might help) 🙂

  5. Richa August 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    oooooh.. i love love this idea of a grilled pizza topped with pesto and bruschetta.. that just looks super fabulous!

    i think the dough needs some gluten..
    use whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour,.. or add 1 teaspoon or 2 of vital wheat gluten and it wont crumble!! this is such a fun picnic dish! love it!


  1. YBR-Your Smoking Hot Recipes of July 2011! - August 3, 2011

    […] **Elin, Elinluv’s Tidbits Corner, Pasta En Papillote **Stephanie, Hamburger Eats Me!, Grilled Bruschetta / Spinach Pesto Pizza with Fresh Basil **Priya, Bon Appetit, Stuffed Pepper with Cracked Wheat Upma **Laura, Sprint 2 the Table, […]

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