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Garlicky Kale Pizza

May 1, 2014

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

We all have our weaknesses. Some foods inspire an insatiable hunger slash lack of control. (And some foods are even designed to do just that.)

Paula and I invented/discovered this pizza a few weeks ago and — although it says below that it “serves four” — we practically polished off the whole thing, just the two of us.

Not that this is a quality you should look for in your food, but rarely have I felt such little control in the face of something that I’ve cooked myself.

Making Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

Lack of control when facing down an open bag of Cheetos? Yes. Orange flavored tic tacs? Also yes. A homemade dinner that’s at least 50% kale? There’s a first time for everything.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

Paula works full time AND goes to classes at night. So as a full-time graduate student, I have a lot more unstructured time to waste on the internet than she does (and a lot of that time is “wasted” reading food blogs).

Making Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

I feel bad that she doesn’t have as much internet downtime as I do, but I know that someday the tables might be turned… And in the meantime, I constantly rub it in by e-mailing her about 10 times a day with links or thoughts or recipes, usually with a subject line like: “we have to try this!”

Chopping Kale for Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

Once she finally gets the chance to read them, she files the recipe e-mails away and we try them eventually, maybe several months later or… never. It’s only the rare recipe that we rush to make immediately.

Ingredients for Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

(I also save recipes I want to try in my Pepperplate account; the ones I send to Paula usually involve some sort of yeasted baking, which is really her department.)

Making Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

Earlier this month, I had a little recipe epiphany, and I wasn’t even reading a food blog when it happened! I wrote to Paula:

Subject line: sorry so many e-mails…

“i am in the middle of writing an e-mail to my [dissertation] committee, but i just wanted to send you this before i forgot — a recipe idea i want to make soon, maybe for the blog:
garlicky kale pizza, where we cook kale with garlic like usual, then put it on a pizza over sauce but under cheese!”

She wrote back from work, “OMG YUM.” So that settled it: this was a make-immediately situation.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

I’d been envisioning a saucy, tomato-y pizza, with the garlicky kale sandwiched in there, under some melted mozzarella, but Paula had a different better idea: white pizza! After all, white pizzas are at their best when they are garlicky, and when it comes to garlic, this pizza means business.

Paula even begged me to title this post “Destroy All Vampires Pizza.”

Making Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

I’ve enjoyed the occasional super-garlicky delivery pizza, with whole cloves scattered over the pizza and smushed onto the top. Garlic cloves baked onto pizza get charred yet almost creamy; they taste amazing and you certainly wouldn’t have any issues with vampires, but those pizzas are just a little too potent for me… especially after the fact when you have garlic breath for the next 48 hours.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

This pizza uses a different strategy — the one Paula dreamed up. The pizza dough is brushed with a quick garlic-infused olive oil. So there’s really only 2-3 cloves of garlic on each pizza, but with the help of a little salt and chili flakes, it tastes like so much more. (The kale’s also been sauteed/steamed in olive oil and garlic, so that helps.)

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

A little freshly grated Parmesan acts as the glue between the kale and the crispy pizza crust, and it’s all dotted with goat cheese, which gets just a little bit melty as it weighs down the kale.

Rolling out the pizza crust for Garlicky Kale PIzza

We tried all this out on a new-to-us recipe for pizza crust, from Deborah Madison. The crust has a mix of white and whole wheat flours, with a nice crumb that puffs around the edges, whether you shape the dough by hand or with a rolling pin — and it’s sturdy enough to stand up to all of the toppings.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

The first time we made this, we were both blown away by how good it was. I kept eating it far past the point of fullness, even after the pizza got cold.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

Paula went into another room to skype with friends right after dinner, and that left me alone with the pizza. I very carefully cut myself just one more small piece, brought it over to the couch, and opened my laptop. A minute later, I found myself walking back into the kitchen to get one more little piece. And then I did that at least five more times.

But, like I said, this recipe is 50% kale, and 100% delicious, so I have no regrets. I just have garlic breath.

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

 Print this recipe. (PDF)


Garlicky Kale Pizza
(Pizza Dough adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.)

(Makes two 12-14″ pizzas; serves 4)

Active time: 1 hour; Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

Pizza Dough Ingredients:
~ 2 tsp. active dry yeast
~ 1½ cups warm water
~ 2½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup reserved for kneading
~ 1 cup whole wheat flour
~ 1½ tsp. salt
~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Pizza Ingredients:
~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil (for cooking the kale)
~ 1 clove garlic, minced (for the kale)
~ 2 bunches curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
~ ⅓ cup water
~ ⅓ cup olive oil
~ 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. chili flakes
~ 1½ tsp. sea salt (or 1 tsp. kosher salt)
~ 1½ -2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan (a heaping cup)
~ 4-5 oz. goat cheese
~ pine nuts, to sprinkle over the pizza (after adding the kale)

How to make it:

1. Make the pizza dough: Stir the yeast into the warm water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, combine flours and salt. Add olive oil, then add foamy yeast and water and mix with a rubber spatula until the flour is fully hydrated. Sprinkle some of the reserved flour onto a clean surface, and turn out dough onto the flour. Knead for 8 minutes, adding flour as you go, as necessary. The dough should be wet, but not too sticky. Spray a large bowl with some olive oil and add the ball of dough. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.

Making Pizza Dough for Garlicky Kale Pizza         Making Pizza Dough for Garlicky Kale Pizza

2. Once the dough has risen for 35 minutes, put a pizza stone in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 500 degrees. Once it’s risen for 45 minutes, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With a dough scraper, cut dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into a large circle — I used a rolling pin as well as just stretching it out by hand. Par-bake each crust, one at a time, on the pizza stone for 5 minutes.

3. While the dough is rising, prepare the kale. To cook kale, warm 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large stockpot over very low heat, add the 1 clove garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then start adding the chopped kale. There will likely be too much kale to fit in the stockpot at first, so stir the kale to coat it in olive oil, then cover the pot for a minute or two, before stirring again, and adding a little more kale. Repeat for about 5 minutes, until you’ve fit it all in. Then add ⅓ cup water and increase the heat just a bit (but still keep it pretty low). Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, lifting the lid to stir several times while cooking, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Chopping Kale for Garlicky Kale PizzaSauteed Kale for Garlicky Kale Pizza

4. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the ⅓ cup olive oil over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, then add the minced garlic, chili flakes, and salt and heat, stirring, for 2 more minutes (the garlic should sizzle but don’t let it turn brown or burn). Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Ingredients for Garlic-infused Olive OilGarlic-infused olive oil for Garlicky Kale Pizza

5. Once the first pizza crust has been par-baked, use a pastry brush to spread half of the olive oil mixture across the dough, making sure to evenly distribute the minced garlic. Sprinkle half of the grated Parmesan over the dough, then top with half of the kale. (It’s fine if the kale still has a little moisture on it from steaming in the stockpot, since that will keep it from getting too charred or crumbly when the pizza goes back into the oven.) Distribute half of the goat cheese over the top of the pizza. Then return to the oven for 7-8 minutes (check on it earlier, since ovens can vary). Repeat with the second pizza. Serve warm.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

Related recipe posts:

Kale & Fried Eggs Over Rice Grilled Summer Squash Pizza Tuscan Kale Salad Kale Curry with Homemade Paneer
Kale & Fried Eggs Over Rice Grilled Summer Squash Pizza Tuscan Kale Salad Kale Curry with Homemade Paneer
60 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2014 8:41 am


  2. May 1, 2014 8:44 am

    Healthy Anda very delicious looking pizza Alison!

  3. May 1, 2014 9:08 am

    This sounds INCREDIBLE. I love kale, and that pizza crust looks so fluffy and light and delicious!!

    • May 1, 2014 9:34 am

      Yes, the crust is great! It’s pretty thick (while still being airy and light), too — we probably could have rolled it out even thinner to make slightly larger pizzas, but we limited ours to the size of our pizza peel.

  4. May 1, 2014 9:15 am

    I will definitely try this soon! I also have VCFE. :-) Looks so amazing… and we have tons of kale this week.

    • May 1, 2014 9:35 am

      Isn’t it a great cookbook? I got my copy as a gift from a friend who loves to cook (the same friend who also bought me my first cast iron pan as a gift — I owe her so much!).

      If you have tons of kale then I hope you will definitely give this pizza a try! Let me know how you like it. :)

  5. May 1, 2014 9:52 am

    Looks delicious, I’m pretty sure it would only serve 2 in my house too…maybe even just 1!

    • May 1, 2014 10:12 am

      Yeah, I should probably put a disclaimer about serving size into the recipe itself… :)

      (I mean, it is a LOT of food for just 2 people… but it’s also really hard to stop eating!)

  6. May 1, 2014 10:40 am

    Looks yummy

  7. May 1, 2014 11:00 am

    Allison, this is stunning. I’m definitely making this. It’s right up my alley and I love Deborah Madison. Thanks for sharing this. I like garlic so much that I eat it as a bulb, roasted with olive oil. My mom used to threaten that no one would ever date me because she’d open the door to my room and the smell would be emanating from my pores. Tmi? This pizza is perfect! I love the way you eat.

    • May 1, 2014 5:11 pm

      Thanks, Amanda!! I always look forward to reading your comments when I see that you’ve left one. :)

      That’s funny that your mom got on your case about how much garlic you eat… obviously you just have to date someone who eats just as much as you! A whole bulb roasted with olive oil sounds delicious but intense! I bet you’d love the restaurant chain in Japan called Ninniku-ya — they are garlic-themed restaurants, where almost every dish is garlicky (and they also serve whole roasted bulbs to spread on their garlic toast/bread). I’ve been to them in a few different cities, and I’m a big fan.

  8. May 1, 2014 11:09 am

    Ohhhhh yum. This sounds so perfect. And I’m exactly the same way – the walking back to the kitchen for just “one more” little slice, until everything is gone! Beautiful pictures, as always!

    • May 1, 2014 5:13 pm

      Thanks so much! Yeah, I definitely get like that for sweet stuff, or for crackers or snacky things during the day if I’m working from home, but I’ve never done it as much AFTER DINNER as I did with this pizza!

  9. May 1, 2014 11:45 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a meal that was 50% kale before and wanted to try it – until now!

  10. May 1, 2014 11:50 am

    Ohhh this looks delicious! Will absolutely be trying this recipe!

  11. May 1, 2014 1:49 pm

    who cares about garlicky breath when you had SUCH a happy meal? Sounds delicious!

  12. May 1, 2014 2:56 pm

    Finally someone has put kale on pizza

  13. sarahjmir permalink
    May 1, 2014 4:33 pm

    I think this means that I can officially think of pizza as a health food ;)

  14. May 1, 2014 5:52 pm

    OMG YUM!

  15. May 1, 2014 5:53 pm

    I love it…internet downtime. That’s funny. Oh my ! This pizza is brilliant. Top of my list! Great concept with the garlic oil and using kale would make me continue to eat it without any hangups at all. Lovely post…you two.

  16. MyKabulKitchen permalink
    May 1, 2014 6:51 pm

    I love white pizza, and this just looks delicious, the more garlic the better!

  17. May 1, 2014 9:02 pm

    White pizza is my favorite. love the garlic oil and kale. Delicious

    • May 3, 2014 4:53 pm

      Thanks, Cheri! Yeah, I’m often tempted by white pizzas (even though I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite, since I’m also such a tomato person… but this one is so good).

  18. May 1, 2014 11:13 pm

    Looks so good! I will have to try out the recipe!

  19. May 1, 2014 11:34 pm

    omgggg dying. can’t wait to try this recipe. please never stop dreaming up these amazing creations

  20. May 2, 2014 9:22 am

    I…don’t think I can saute kale. Seriously, I’ve tried like 5 times, and every time I get a burned, crunchy mess or a slimy, soggy pile of goo. But I want to be good at it–it’s just sauteeing a dang vegetable!–so the next time I try it, I’ll use these measurements and see how it goes.

    • May 3, 2014 5:12 pm

      Oh no! That’s so sad! The way I cook kale is really a combination of sauteing and steaming it… (I described how I do it in a little more detail in the recipe here.)

      And I’d say it’s more about the process than about the exact measurements/proportions, especially since I’ve given my ingredients in terms of super vague “bunches” of kale.

      Anyway, if I were you I’d at least try it one more time — maybe the 6th time’s the charm!

  21. May 2, 2014 9:49 am

    This is my first visit to your site, and it is beautiful! What a terrific pictorial lesson, and this pizza sounds terrific. Brava!

  22. May 2, 2014 12:51 pm

    I will be back to you just as soon as I try a vegan, gluten-free version. This looks SOOOO good!

  23. May 2, 2014 3:32 pm

    Ohhh this looks amazing! And healthy too! Reminds me of my absolute favorite, white pizza (with a super healthy twist!). I will have to give this a try!

    • May 3, 2014 6:58 pm

      Thanks, Erica! Yes, I originally wanted to make a garlicky kale pizza that used tomato sauce and mozzarella, but then we ended up turning it into a white pizza instead… and I’m so glad we did! (Although the other one would probably be pretty tasty, too.) Hope you do get to give it a try — enjoy! :)

  24. May 3, 2014 2:07 pm

    How absolutely delightful and I need to try this RIGHT NOW!

  25. afracooking permalink
    May 4, 2014 10:34 am

    Wow – this pizza looks amazing! So fresh, so tasty!

    • May 8, 2014 9:16 am

      Thanks! Yes, it really is fresh and tasty. I love salad-y pizzas and topping pizza just out of the oven with some fresh greens that will wilt just the right amount, like arugula, but since kale is so much heartier, you can actually cook down SO MUCH of it, and it stays bright green and appealing — it’s a much better way to squish even more greenery onto a pizza.

  26. May 5, 2014 8:25 am

    This looks unbelievably delicious! I want to try it with cannellini beans!

    • May 8, 2014 9:18 am

      Thanks! Oo that sounds lovely. I like the kale+cannellini bean combination, too. I don’t think I’ve ever put beans on a pizza, but I’d never put sauteed kale on a pizza until this recipe — there’s a first time for everything!

  27. May 6, 2014 10:26 pm

    Oh I have new-found love for kale and this looks like another great place to use them. I think maybe i’ll turn the kale and garlic into pesto, too… feel 2-degrees healthier already.

    • May 8, 2014 9:22 am

      Oo yes, kale pesto. Besides straight up garlic(/oil), pesto is the other thing that can really take white pizzas above and beyond!

      Now I want to try this pizza, smeared with kale pesto, then topped with more kale — yes, I’m getting excited about a “double kale” situation, the way other people get excited about “double meat” or “double cheese”…

  28. May 7, 2014 9:43 am

    Love this recipe idea, Allison! And the layer of oil and garlic on the crust would taste amazing:)

    • May 8, 2014 9:48 am

      Thanks, Peri! The oil/garlic layer on the fresh-baked crust really added a lot of flavor — if I hadn’t already cooked the kale before the pizza crust came out of the oven, I would have been tempted just to eat the crust+garlicky oil on its own!

  29. June 24, 2014 9:26 pm

    This looks delicious! I bet it would be tasty on the grill as well! Yum, I may just give that a try. :)


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