Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza in a cast-iron skillet next to a brown and white towel (with logo overlay)

Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza

Try a healthier take on pizza with this delicious and hearty sausage pizza that uses a kale pesto sauce topped with onions and cheese.

Pizza has always been one of my favorites foods. I can’t tell you how much pizza I ate while I was pregnant with my boys. But when Justin found this recipe for a sausage and kale pesto pizza from the Southern Living magazine he wanted to try, I was hesitant. I like my pizza with red sauce, a whole lot of cheese, and nothing else.

We weren’t sure we would be able to make the recipe at first. It requires a skillet that can be cooked in the oven, and I don’t have any cast iron skillets yet. I looked up the non-stick pans that I have. They are oven safe up to 450F. The original recipe says to cook at 500F but since the pans can’t go that high we did 450F and it worked out fine. Now that I have cast-iron skillets, I have no problem with meals like this.

A few weeks ago I told a story about Justin getting some fresh home-made sausage from a friend. There was still a bit of it left, so we used that up in this recipe. We had also bought some kale for another recipe so we had a bunch of extras.

The original recipe says to purchase a pre-made pizza dough, but I used our homemade pizza recipe to make my own dough. By substituting whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose flour I was able to make a whole-wheat crust as suggested.

Step by Step

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450F. Brown the sausage in a large skillet. This one won’t go in the oven, so you can use any skillet. Crumble the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink in the middle. Then remove from the skillet and place on a plate lined with towels.

Don’t wipe the pan out, and add two tablespoons of oil with the sliced onions. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are brown and softened. This usually takes about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.

In a food processor, combine the kale, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, two tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Process this until it is smooth and makes a pesto.

Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then sprinkle with the cornmeal so that it coats the pan as well. The cornmeal gives the crust a slightly sweet flavor that went really well with this meal.

Stretch the dough out so that it covers the pan, including the sides, to create a deep dish crust for the pizza. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the crust for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts to bubble up.

Quickly spread the kale pesto over the crust then top with the sausage and onions.

Cover with cheese. The original recipe called for feta cheese, but I don’t like feta, so I used only the mozzarella. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper over the pizza, and brush the exposed edges of the crust with more olive oil.

Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.


Originally Published On: April 3, 2017

Last Updated On: November 7, 2019

Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza in a cast-iron skillet next to a brown and white towel

Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza

Try a healthier take on pizza with this delicious and hearty sausage pizza that uses a kale pesto sauce topped with onions and cheese.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kale, pesto, pizza, sausage
Servings: 8 servings
5 from 8 votes


  • 1 pizza crust (whole-wheat)
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion (sliced)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


  • Preheat the oven to 450F or 500F (whichever your skillet can handle)
  • Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink
  • Meanwhile, cut the onion into thin slices
  • Remove the sausage from the pan and place on a towel-lined plate
  • Without cleaning the pan, add two tablespoons of oil, the sliced onions, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until brown and softened then remove from the heat
  • In a food processor, combine the kale, basil, parmesan, garlic, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until smooth
  • Heat an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cornmeal and swirl to coat the pan
  • Stretch the dough over the pan to cover the bottom and sides of the pan
  • Cook dough over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to bubble
  • Quickly spread the pesto on the dough, then top with the cooked sausage, onions, mozzarella cheese, and crushed red pepper
  • Brush any exposed crust edges with oil
  • Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted
Click the buttons below to share and print this recipe
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 527 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 1193mg50%
Potassium 256mg7%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 1120IU22%
Vitamin C 12.7mg15%
Calcium 286mg29%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Related Posts

Shop This Recipe

When making any recipe, it’s essential to make sure you have the correct equipment. The following items are hand-selected for this recipe and are all items I have personally used and/or recommend.

These are affiliate links. See disclosures for more information.

53 thoughts on “Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza”

  1. This looks amazing. My hubby is not a fan of pizza sauce so I think this would make him very happy. I have to check to see if I have a Ian that can go in the oven now. Hmmmm maybe a idea for a Christmas present (early) lol

  2. I love pizza and sausage! It looks so delicious. Just by looking at the pictures really makes me hungry and crave for it.

  3. Ohhhhh my yum! This looks incredible and I am already writing down a grocery list to make this on the weekend. We are having company and although I don’t like to “test” a new-to-me recipe when we have someone different around the table, this one looks too good, and is perfect for a weekend dinner! We have a vegetarian in the home so would love if you had a great option for swapping out the sausage with something veggie friendly. I’m thinking to marinate some tempah? What do you think?

  4. Trần Quốc Hưng

    How amazing those pizzas are! It is such a fabulous recipe for my family and friends in the weekend! But I think I will change some ingredients in these pizzas to make my own recipe! Anyway, thank you so much for the suggestion!

  5. This looks like a pizza that i would love. I am a huge veggie person and so that kale would probably be amazing.

  6. Too funny! We just had pesto pizza at a restaurant and we were talking about how great it would be to know how to make one at home. You are the best!

  7. My daughters were saying this morning that they want me to make pizza for dinner. I wish, I had read your post earlier, I would have made your recipe for them. It looks healthy and delicious. I will make it next time.

  8. Ok, a cast iron skillet has been on my wishlist for ages. Bu now that I know you can make pizza in it, I have to get one ASAP. This looks so good!!!

  9. O my yum!!! Pizza is my all time favorite!!! Love switching the toppings up, so I will definitely be giving this combo a try! Sounds delicious

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Improve your cooking today

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve your skills, the Intro to Cooking guide was made for you! Sign up to receive a free copy, which also includes 7 simple yet tasty recipes. Plus you’ll receive new recipes in your inbox every week. Yum!

Make sure to check your inbox (and spam folder) for your confirmation email, which includes the link to download your Intro to Cooking guide.

Pasta All-In
Banana BreadBanana Bread covered with oats on a slate serving plate next to a brown towel and a bread knife on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

Wait! There's more great recipes...

Stop cooking the same recipes every week. Sign up and you’ll receive new tasty recipes in your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll also receive an Intro to Cooking PDF so you can quickly improve your cooking skills.

%d bloggers like this: