If you think of asparagus as only a side dish, think again! It can be the star of the dinner table when used as a pizza topping! I’ve paired it with pesto, Italian cheeses and crispy prosciutto for a fantastic 30 minute dinner!
It was only a matter of time before I added asparagus to pizza! Not only have I been talking about asparagus all month with my newest Produce Spotlight: The Ultimate Guide to Asparagus, but I have also shared my best tips and foolproof formula for roasted asparagus.
And over the years, I’ve added all sorts of veggies and even some fruits to pizzas here including potato pizza, artichoke hearts on Greek pizza, cranberry flatbread, apple mini pizzas, roasted grape pizza and zucchini pizzas to name a few.
So this week I set about creating a super easy pizza to whip together with store bought dough, pesto and asparagus. I also added on some strips of prosciutto for those of you who eat pork (it is still delicious without it for those of you who don’t’!) Here is what I came up with and I am so excited for you to try it too!
Ingredients For This Recipe
Flour for dusting
To roll out the pizza dough and to prevent it from sticking to your hands, the rolling pin and the work surface you will need a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
You will also need a sheet of parchment paper for this recipe. In a pinch, if you do not have parchment, you can use the instructions for cooking the pizza in an oiled pan (on the bottom rack of the oven) in this recipe for potato pizza.
We can get pretty great store bought pizza dough near here so I buy my dough. I have also used this crust recipe from King Arthur, and it is pretty good though not as chewy.
Set it out on the counter (wrapped or in plastic so it doesn’t dry out) about an hour before dinner so that it will be relaxed and easier to roll out.
I have massive amounts of homemade pesto in my freezer that I use to make pizza and pasta all winter and spring. Store bought works great too.
I used store-bought shredded Italian cheese blend. It is a combination of Provolone, Mozzarella and Cheddar. Some of these blends (also called pizza blend) also include Parmesan. You can use shredded part-skim low moisture mozzarella to save a few extra calories.
If you like, you can also add on shaved Parmesan or Romano once the pizza comes out of the oven.
You’ll need a half bunch of asparagus (8 oz.) I like the finer thin spears for this pizza because they cook to the perfect texture in the time that the pizza browns in the oven.
Snap of the pithy ends of the stalks. Cut it into 1-inch lengths, for about 1 1/2 cups of pieces.
For a fun variation, leave them whole and arrange like spokes from the center of the pizza.
If you are vegetarian, you can omit this. If not, the prosciutto adds a nice element to make this springy pizza even more special. Simply tear it into pieces or chop and peel them apart. I used two slices and that was just the right amount.
If you can’t find it and want an alternative, you can use two strips cooked and crumbled bacon instead.
How To Make This Recipe
Before you begin, arrange the oven rack in the center of the oven. If you have a pizza stone set that on the rack. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Let it come up to temperature for a half hour (especially important if you are using a pizza stone.)
You will also need a sheet of parchment paper to cook the pizza on. It also helps you move the assembled pizza around easily.
Roll Out The Dough
If you have left your dough out on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour it should be relaxed and relatively easy to work with.
- Flour your work surface and the ball of dough. Then roll it out to the size of your sheet of parchment.
- Keep redistributing the flour and slide the dough around on the surface as you work so that it doesn’t stick to the work surface. I also like to flip it over once or twice as I roll to make sure both sides are floured.
- You can also use your hands to pinch and stretch the dough by hand. Use the back of your hands (knuckles) instead of finger tips to prevent it from breaking.
- If you have large parchment (like from a roll) roll the dough into a 14-inch circle. If you use half sheet pan sized pre-cut parchment (12-inches wide) roll it only as wide as your parchment and make it oblong.
Transfer Dough To Parchment and Onto Board
In case I have not mentioned this yet, the trick to getting this pizza crispy on the bottom is that we are going to bake it directly on the rack! To get it onto the rack (or onto the pizza stone if you are using one) we will build our pizzas on the sheet of parchment! (We will also cook it on the parchment too, but we’ll get to that in a second.)
Lift up the dough and set it on the parchment. Make sure to pick it up onto the backs of your hands so it doesn’t rip. Stretch it back into shape on the parchment.
Spread The Pesto: Use a silicone spatula to spread the pesto all over the pizza dough leaving a 1-inch border along the edge.
Add Shredded Cheese: Spread the Italian cheese blend or mozzarella over the pesto in an even layer.
Top with Asparagus and Prosciutto: Add the asparagus and then place the prosciutto on top (so it will crisp up!)
How To Bake the Pizza On Parchment
Now that your oven is preheated and your pizza is built, it is time to get it in the oven!
- Pull out the oven rack (or the rack with the pizza stone.)
- Bring the cutting board (with the parchment and pizza on it) right up over the rack.
- Gently pull the parchment (with the pizza on it) off the board and let the parchment and pizza rest directly on the oven rack (or pizza stone if using.) (I know this is a little strange if you haven’t done it before, and don’t worry the parchment won’t burn!)
Tips For Baking Directly on The Oven Rack
- If the edges of the pizza droop down on the sides over the rack, you can adjust it by pulling the parchment to the side to minimize the edges from drooping.
- Also angling the parchment and pizza on a diagonal slightly will minimize edge droop.
- If your pizza edges do droop on both sides, let it bake for 2 minutes to firm up slightly, then open the oven and rotate the pizza about an 1/8th of a turn or so that the edges will be propped up by the oven rack.
To Remove the Pizza From the Oven
To get the pizza out, you’ll just reverse the process, using your cutting board, pizza peel or cookie sheet. Pull the parchment with the pizza on it up onto the board. If necessary, use tongs to help it along.
While the pizza is still hot, cut it into wedges.
- To add additional flavor, add on shaved Romano or Parmesan if desired.
- You can also zest a lemon over the pizza for a bright burst of citrus flavor.
- If you like spice, add on crushed red pepper and/or Freshly ground pepper to taste.
More Asparagus Recipes
- Nothing beats the simplicity of turning on the grill in the springtime for grilled asparagus!
- Another 30 minute meal highlighting asparagus is my Asparagus Panzanella recipe.
- If you have never had raw asparagus before, try this shaved asparagus salad with chevre and hazelnuts.
- This Roasted Asparagus Salad with Chevre and Hazelnuts is served over butterhead lettuce with a creamy Greek yogurt dressing.
- This Sesame Roasted Asparagus with Asian sesame dressing on it is an easy warm salad to serve as a side dish.
- This chilled Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette is a great make ahead side dish.
- For additional recipe tips and information, check out my Produce Spotlight: The Ultimate Guide to Asparagus
Thank you so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please let me know by leaving a star rating and review.
This asparagus pizza has pesto and prosciutto and is ready in only 30 minutes. The key to a crispy crust is baking the pizza on parchment directly on the oven rack (or on a pizza stone if you have one.)
Flour for dusting
1 pound pizza dough, whole grain if desired, room temperature
¼ cup pesto
1 ½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend or part skim mozzarella
8 ounces raw asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 ½ cup cut)
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto torn into pieces, optional
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. If using pizza stone, place it on the rack. Preheat to 475 degrees F. (If using pizza stone preheat 30 minutes.)
- Lightly flour your work surface and either roll or shape the dough with your hands into a 14-inch circle. Transfer to a large piece of parchment paper set on a pizza peel, cutting board or flat cookie sheet. Spread pesto evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with Italian cheese blend or mozzarella. Top with asparagus and prosciutto (if using) into pieces and scatter on top.
- Slide the pizza on the parchment onto the oven rack or stone and bake until the edges of the pizza are golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and cut into slices and sprinkle with parmesan if using.
The pizza bakes on the parchment either directly on the oven rack or on the pizza stone. The parchment will not burn but may darken slightly. If you do not have parchment, you can make this pizza on an oiled sheet pan. Bake it on the bottom rack of the oven to help crisp the bottom of the pizza.
- Serving Size: 1/6 pizza
- Calories: 326
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fat: 14 g
- Carbohydrates: 34 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 16 g