This quick and easy arugula pizza recipe is perfect for a light Italian lunch or dinner. What really sets this pizza apart from other white pizzas is the nutty and peppery flavor of the fresh arugula. It’s a perfect recipe for a healthy pizza, especially when arugula is in season.
To help make this an even easier recipe, I opted to use a store bought pizza crust. But if you want to use fresh pizza dough, I have instructions for that too below!
Arugula Pizza Recipe Overview
Have you ever heard of having a pizza with arugula? Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned by Giada, Martha Stewart and other TV hosts. But, there are actually lots of ways to make an arugula pizza.
I have a section below for variations and ideas for you to check out. But this is a white pizza with arugula, meaning it doesn’t use tomatoes or tomato sauce. Instead, it uses a delicious creamy and smooth ricotta cheese as the base.
If you’ve never had a ricotta-style pizza, wow are you in for a treat! This arugula topped pizza is full of simple Italian flavors that taste amazing.
It’s also a meatless recipe, making it vegetarian, even though that wasn’t my goal per se.
What is Arugula?
Arugula is an annual herb, meaning when you grow it, it only grows for one season. Its scientific name is Eruca sativa and is part of the mustard family, Brassicaceae. This explains why it has a slightly spicy and peppery flavor!
The type I grow is called Rocket arugula and I’m guessing because it grows so quickly. I grow mine hydroponically indoors so I have it available all year round.
You can buy fresh arugula leaves in the grocery stores. Look in the mixed salad section and you’ll see it in its own plastic package, usually as fresh baby arugula. Sometimes it’s mixed with spinach leaves.
I top the pizza with the fresh arugula so we don’t lose any of the flavor. You can also mix the arugula with an olive oil and vinegar mix to coat and then serve it on top for an even more powerful one-two punch of flavor!
Here are some recommended equipment that will help make this recipe easier.
Pizza pans. I suggest using stainless steel pizza pans.
Pizza cutter. Here’s one that is very similar to the one I use. I don’t think there’s any need to go crazy for a cutter, but there are lots of options for the pizza enthusiast.
Ingredients for an Arugula Pizza
My arugula pizza uses just a few simple ingredients that are packed with flavor. Here’s what you need. Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Pizza Crust. You can use store bought pizza crusts, homemade pizza dough, or storebought pizza dough. I talk more about this below.
- Ricotta cheese. Make sure to get whole ricotta, not skim. It has more flavor and is smoother.
- Minced garlic.
- Extra virgin olive oil. This is used twice during the recipe.
- Roasted red pepper. Sliced or dice the pepper. Keep it easy and buy these in the jar, whole.
- Red onion. Red onion is delicious with arugula, giving it a nice Mediterranean flavor. Use regular onion if that’s all you have.
- Fresh arugula leaves.
- Salt and black pepper. Optional.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps for making this delicious arugula pizza recipe.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 425F or according to the instructions for your pizza dough or crust.
Step 2. Place the pizza crust in a pizza pan. If you don’t have a pizza pan, a cookie sheet will also work fine.
PRO TIP: If using pizza dough, rub olive oil on the bottom of the pan as this will help the fresh dough crisp up.
Step 3. Mince the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. The garlic will flavor the olive oil when mixed. Brush the top of the pizza crust with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
Step 4. Spread the ricotta over the pizza leaving about a ½ inch for the edge of the crust.
Step 5. Top with the red pepper and red onion. Add a dash of salt and black pepper, if you want.
Step 6. Drizzle any remaining garlic oil on top of the pizza.
Step 7. Bake the pizza in the oven using the middle rack. Cook for 13-15 minutes or according to package instructions. The edges of the crust should be golden brown.
PRO TIP: If using fresh dough, I recommend precooking the dough for about 10 minutes before adding the ricotta and vegetables.
Step 8. When done, top with the fresh raw arugula leaves. To have them wilt just a little, let it sit in the oven for about 1 minute. You don’t want the arugula to dry out and lose its flavor.
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
There are lots of various ways to make this recipe. What I’ve provided is what I like but here some additional great alternatives.
- Add slices of prosciutto at the end when the pizza is done or 1 minute from being done.
- Add in chopped fresh cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, figs, or other vegetables.
- Top with fresh arugula and spinach leaves. This is a great combo and why stores sell them together.
- Add in a mix of cheeses, not just ricotta. Try some fresh mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, provolone, Romano, Parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle some quality balsamic vinegar on top.
If you have your own methods for making this pizza let me know in the comments below!
About the Pizza Dough
You can make this pizza using store bought crusts or pizza dough or make your own dough. Here’s the pros and cons to each.
To save time, I recommend using a store bought pizza crust. I buy organic ones online at Thrive Market. If you like to order your food online and like organic selections, I recommend checking out a Thrive Market membership. It’s well worth it.
These crusts are usually denser than using a regular fresh dough ball, and that helps it to not get soggy.
Store bought Pizza Dough
Sometimes local grocery stores will have premade pizza dough balls in the freezer section, where they keep frozen rolls and bread. Let the dough thaw and get to room temperature before using in this recipe.
Roll it out so it fits the pizza pan. If you want a thinner pizza then use two pizza pans and adjust the recipe measurements accordingly.
Homemade pizza dough
I don’t want to brag, but I have a wonderful basic and simple Italian pizza dough recipe that I use for many of my homemade pizzas like my Romano pizza. The only issue is that for last minute lunch or dinner plans, a ready-made crust is just quicker.
How to Store Leftovers
This recipe for arugula pizza makes for a great leftover snack or lunch. Store the slices of pizza in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also store the pizza in the freezer, but I don’t really recommend this since the ricotta may not keep its creamy texture.
Ideas for Side Dishes
Here are some ideas for what to serve with your arugula pizza.
An Italian simple green salad works great with recipes like this one.
A protein-packed Italian chickpea salad is always refreshing and filling.
A cherry tomato caprese salad is easy and quick and perfect for hot summer days.
Similar Recipes You May Enjoy
If you like white pizzas like this one, then you’ve got to also try these.
Ricotta spinach pizza is full of flavor and easy to make.
Bianca pizza is simple and uses 4 different types of Italian cheeses.
My recipe for white broccoli pizza is delicious! I bet even your kids would love it!
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my arugula pizza recipe. I’d love to hear how you like and if you made any changes to make it your own. Leave me a comment below or give a star rating to let others know you liked it!
- 1 pizza crust (store bought) see notes if using fresh pizza dough
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese whole ricotta is best. Use 1/2 cup if a smaller pizza size.
- 1 roasted red pepper, cut into slices (from a jar)
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/8 tsp salt optional
- 1 cup fresh arugula
- Preheat oven to 425F or according to your package instructions for the pizza.
- In a small bowl, mince the garlic and mix with the olive oil and brush this mixture evenly over the top of the pizza.2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove, minced, 1 pizza crust (store bought)
- Place pizza in a pizza pan.
- Spread the ricotta on the pizza, leaving about 1/2 inch or more for the edge of the crust.3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- Top with the roasted peppers, red onion and sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper over top. The s/p is optional.1 roasted red pepper, cut into slices, 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced, 1/8 tsp salt
- Place pizza on the middle rack, and cook for 13-15 minutes or according to package instructions.
- When done and crust is golden brown, remove from oven and immediately top with the fresh arugula.1 cup fresh arugula
- For homemade pizza dough, follow the same instructions above, but I recommend pre-baking the dough for 10 minutes so you have a nice bottom crust. You can use my own homemade pizza dough recipe here. You will probably need to adjust quantities as this will make a larger pizza.
- This pizza is very flexible. You can adjust quantities to suit your tastes. I love mine with just the ricotta, keeping it simple and not overly complex. But feel free to sprinkle some other cheeses such as Romano or Mozzarella – just reduce the amount of ricotta you use to accommodate.
- Ricotta made with whole milk is best because of the creamier texture.
- I add the arugula after the pizza is done cooking. I like the fresh leaves. But you can also add it about 2 minutes before the pizza is finished cooking to help them wilt a little. If you add them in the beginning then they will dry up and not hold much flavor at all.
- Feel free to add additional vegetables and toppings. You can also chop your vegetables instead of slicing them like I do. Mix it up, have fun, and be creative!
- For visual step by step instructions – see the post above.