Pesto Chicken Pizza with Artichoke Hearts

PESTO CHICKEN PIZZA WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS

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I was looking for a way to get more veggies in my diet and what is more green than pesto?! Even so, I wasn’t in the market for a heavy pasta meal, wanting to go a bit lighter, I decided to make a quick and easy pizza.  I made this recipe without the baked pesto chicken on top, so it was truly vegetarian,  but will definitely add the bird next time I make this dish.

This is a very easy, very flavorful recipe. The pesto has that garlic, lemon and basil flavor  and the pine nuts add that standard pesto nuttiness.  My pesto is a baby spinach-basil pesto and takes about 5 minutes to make. Super easy and delicious. You can, of course, make a pizza crust, but I took an out and bought one of the pre-made, thin crust variety to really increase the easy factor.

This would be a very simple one to throw together after working all day. Leave comments if you make changes or variations – I’d be interested in trying them out!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ¾ cup basil
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (or sub Fontina cheese if in season)
  • ½ cup red onion diced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • Thin premade pizza crust

MAKE PESTO:

Mix spinach, basil, cilantro, garlic parmesan, toasted pine nuts, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and zest  with two Tablespoons of Olive Oil in food processor. Blend until smooth, adding the rest of the Olive Oil as you blend.

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BAKE CHICKEN BREASTS (if making non-vegetarian version):

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
  3. Place chicken and pesto in medium bowl; toss to coat
  4. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
  6. Remove from oven to rest for 5 minutes
  7. Slice into strips – set aside

MAKE PESTO PIZZA

  1. Preheat oven at 450.
  2. Coat pizza crust with Olive Oil
  3. Bake pizza crust for 5 minutes on pizza stone
  4. Cover crust with pesto sauce
  5. Layer with ½ red onion
  6. Layer Mozzarella cheese on top of pesto layer
  7. Sprinkle rest of red onion on top
  8. Pat dry excess oil on artichoke hearts – lay on top of cheese layer
  9. Add chicken to top layer (if you used chicken)
  10. Lightly sprinkle with red pepper flakes (don’t go too heavy!)
  11. Salt and black pepper to taste
  12. Lower oven to 425
  13. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling – may brown on sides due to the parmesan cheese

Comments, questions, requests are welcome!

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