Enjoy a healthier pizza night this week with this homemade Chicken Pesto Pizza with Fresh Avocado featuring a whole wheat crust.
It used to be that one of my children requested Costco pizza on a weekly basis. And on a weekly basis, I said no.
Though it was once a our “go-to” pizza for almost two decades, our (hubs’ and mine) recent adventure in calorie counting has struck Costco pizza from the list. With one slice topping 500 calories, it’s just not worth it to us. Especially when I can make a personal-size pizza with whole wheat crust for fewer calories. Not only is my version less fattening but it tastes better and contains much more nutrition.
So, now that homemade pizza is a regular thing, the aforementioned child requests pizza on a weekly basis. Like our Pan Pizza, or my Supreme Pizza Recipe he gets really wigged out if I have something different on the meal plan.
Good thing I know how to make a healthier pizza.
In our calorie education hubs and I learned to measure out toppings, like cheese or chicken. We realized that we were just as satisfied with an ounce of cheese as we were with several handfuls. Who knew?
Not only is measuring a great way to reduce calories, but it’s also a fair means to using less and thereby saving money. One of our favorite healthier pizzas is this Chicken Pesto Pizza with Fresh Avocado.
With a whole grain crust, pesto sauce, chicken, and lots of fresh vegetables, it’s a winner! I love adding avocado to a pizza after it’s been cooked. Gives it a nice dose of healthy fat and a boost in flavor. Have you tried it? You must!
Ingredients for this chicken pesto pizza
- Pizza dough – You could buy it, but I am begging you try and make it yourself. It’s a great way to save a few coins, but also super easy! And did I mention fun? We used my Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe and it was deeeelicious.
- Pesto – Often I make my own pesto or this Rustic Basil Sauce, but on a Friday night when I’m tired, I’m happy to lean on Costco’s Pesto. It’s delicious and a great deal. Feel free to use your favorite pesto-type sauce.
- Chicken – Got leftover chicken? It’s a perfect use for this pizza. Just diced it up and use on top!
- Bell pepper – We used a red bell pepper, but any color works here.
- Red onion – Slice up some red onion for color and flavor.
- Tomato – Dice up one fresh tomato to top the pizza as well. It may help to remove the seeds if it’s extra seedy and juicy.
- Mozzarella cheese – Shred some mozzarella, because every pizza needs cheese right? I like to buy my mozzarella not pre-shredded. It’s always a bit cheaper to buy it whole and shred it yourself.
- Avocado – Top your pizza after it’s baked with a some diced, fresh avocado!
How to make this crazy good chicken pesto pizza
Prepare the oven and pans. Preheat the oven to 475. Spray two 12-inch pizza pans with non-stick cooking spray or line two baking sheets with .
Shape the dough. Form the dough and stretch to fit the prepared pans. You can make two medium pizzas or 4 small personal size pizzas.
Layer it on! Divide the pesto evenly over the rounds, spreading to the edges. Layer on the toppings: chicken, vegetables, and cheese.
Bake, baby, bake. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is crisp and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and slice. Top the pizzas with fresh avocado.
Chicken Pesto Pizza FAQ’s
What temperature do you cook homemade pizza on?
You want to cook your homemade pizza at a high heat- somewhere between 450 and 500 degrees. When I don’t grill pizza, I cook it at 475 degrees.
Keep in mind that not all pans can sustain such high heats, so be sure to check that your pans are safe for higher temperatures. If you use USA pans, bump the heat down to 450 and cook it a minute or so longer.
These pizza tools are some of my favorites.
My pizzas take about 10 minutes to cook at high heat. You want to bake the pizza until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp.
Do you cook pizza toppings before adding to the pizza?
For this chicken pesto pizza, you do need to cook the chicken first. For the rest of the toppings, you don’t need to cook them. Simply place them on raw. They will cook in the oven. The avocado does NOT get cooked but gets sprinkled on top before serving.
If you prefer, you can precook the vegetables to eliminate some of their water content. That’s up to you.
Why is my homemade pizza soggy?
Again, watch how many vegetables you put on the pizza. Too many and you might end up with a soggy pizza.
Another possible pizza cooking mistake could because your oven wasn’t hot enough. We cook ours at 475 degrees or on a very hot outdoor grill.
Can I use store-bought pesto?
Absolutely. We did or you can make your own!
Can I use store-bought pizza dough?
I love making my own pizza dough because it’s quick and economical. But if you want to save some time, then use store-bought pizza crust!
If you have leftover slices, just let it cool and wrap any slices up and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Or you can freeze any leftover pizza for up to 3 months! Just reheat in the oven. You could also freeze the whole pizza unbaked! Just freeze without the avocado. Then bake as normal, frozen, and top with fresh avocado.
How to make this cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Whether it’s chicken, pesto, or avocado, track prices and stock up on great priced items.
- Shop Costco. Costco has the best price on shredded mozzarella as well as pesto. I buy the big five pound bag of cheese and divide it into smaller bags to store in the freezer. The jar of pesto lasts several weeks and we make all the pesto things when we buy a jar.
Tools I use to make this recipe easy:
This is a pretty straight-forward dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment. However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
I actually have an arsenal of favorite pizza tools that make the Friday night pizza experience super quick and simple.
Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe:
- A kitchen scale – to weigh flour quickly, much more quickly than when I use a measuring cup.
- A KitchenAid mixer – I used to use a bread machine, until the 4th — or was it the 5th? machine in 14 years broke. My KitchenAid, circa 2004, has served me well since then.
- A large plastic cutting board – I use this to work my dough.
- A bench knife – for dividing the dough easily into portions.
- Round pizza screens – I have a collection of different sizes that work really well for me.
- A pizza wheel – I have a Pampered Chef pizza wheel that has lasted me over ten years
Chicken Pesto Pizza
- 1/2 batch Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/4 red onion sliced
- 1/2 bell pepper (any color) julienned
- 2 cup chicken (cooked and cubed)
- 1 tomato diced
- 12 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded) (3 cups)
- 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 475. Spray two 12-inch pizza pans with non-stick cooking spray or line two baking sheets with . Form the dough and stretch to fit the prepared pans. You can make two medium pizzas or 4 small personal size pizzas.
- Divide the pesto evenly over the rounds, spreading to the edges. Layer on the toppings: chicken, vegetables, and cheese.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is crisp and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and slice. Top the pizzas with fresh avocado.
Originally published October 10, 2012. Updated April 22, 2017.