Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew “Ricotta”

Just the title— I know!

This recipe is actually inspired by a dish I ate while in San Francisco a few weeks ago. On our way to hike Muir Woods National Park, my siblings and I stopped in Sausalito for lunch and found this gem of a place: Bar Bocce. Bar Bocce is a bar/restaurant set right on the beach— and I mean right on the beach. Like you can order food and have it brought to you ON in the beach. How cool?! Did I mention they also have a bocce court? I guess that’s why they’re called Bar Bocce. Ahhh jokes.

Anyways, my sister and I decided to split their Crispy Kale White Pizza topped with garlic basil pesto and as soon as it came out, we were literally drooling. It was crunchy, nutty, crispy, and oh, so flavorful! I swear we devoured the whole thing in mere minutes. And as soon as this happened, I said, “I MUST recreate this when I get home!” And that I did.

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

So I knew I wanted to start with a whole wheat crust (I just used Trader Joe’s) and my current favorite pesto, this sunflower seed basil pesto. Super simple and reasonably cheap to make. Done and done. And then I knew I wanted to add those crispy kale chips just like on the original. But I’m not a big cheese person, so I decided to go with a cashew “ricotta” instead of your typical dairy cheese. I’m not vegan, but I still LOVE the taste of cashew creams and cheeses, so I knew this would be a great excuse to experiment!

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

This was my first time making my own cashew ricotta, but I was so pleasantly surprised! All it took was a few simple ingredients and my Ninja, which definitely made this experience very easy. If you haven’t invested in a high speed blender yet, definitely add it to the top of your list. I went years without one and now I don’t know how I did it!

So back to this pizza. We’ve got the whole wheat crust. Check. Sunflower seed basil pesto. Check. Crispy kale chips. Check. Cashew ricotta. Check! Now pop it in the own and go…. to…. town.

Direct quote from my boyfriend: “This is one of the best vegan pizzas I’ve ever had!” Sold.

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew "Ricotta"

Crispy Kale Pesto Pizza with Cashew “Ricotta”

Serves 6-8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish


for the crispy kale

  • 2 cups kale leaves, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper

for the pesto

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

for the cashew

  • 1/3 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours (or overnight)
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • pinch garlic and onion powder

for the pizza

  • your favorite whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)


For the crispy kale
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place torn kale leaves into a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Massage the oil into the leaves to make them a little tender. Bake the kale leaves for 12 minutes on large baking sheet, turning once or twice, until crispy.
For the pesto
Step 2
In the meantime, add sunflower seeds into your blender or food process and blend until broken down. Add in basil leaves, 3 garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then blend until it reaches your desired pesto consistency.
For the pizza
Step 3
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Use your hands to stretch and form the pizza dough into a large rectangle and place onto a pizza stone or a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Top the pizza dough with a layer of pesto, covering the whole pizza except the crust area. Top the pesto with all of the crispy kale leaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Step 4
While the pizza is baking, make your cashew ricotta by placing cashews, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, and spices into a high speed blender. Blend until all ingredients are combined and the ricotta has a fluffy, yet slightly chunky texture. I had to add a little more water to mine to get my desired consistency. I also had to stop and scrape my blender bowl many times throughout this blending process.
Step 5
Last, pull the pizza out of the oven, top with dots of cashew ricotta, then bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until your pizza is completely cooked through. Slice it up and eat away!


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


    • Thanks so much Liv! It was definitely the best vegan pizza I’ve ever made 🙂

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