This white pizza with salad is a simple and easy entrée or appetizer made by topping pizza dough with fresh mozzarella, a tangle of lemon and oil-dressed baby arugula or other greens, and a shower of Parmesan.
Delicate spring salad meets classic white pizza in this white pizza with salad. Our kinda spring detox. A tangle of your favorite greens—whether baby arugula or spinach or fill-in-the-blank—gets dressed with a simple lemon and oil vinaigrette and is piled atop a crisp crust and gooey buffalo mozzarella. For when you want to indulge yet feel like you need a little virtue as well. –Renee Schettler Rossi
White Pizza with Salad FAQs
Believe it or not – buffalo mozzarella is made from the milk of water buffalo. (Stop it. we’re as gobsmacked as you are!) Not an American buffalo/bison, mind you. The animal known for this amazing cheese is the bufala Mediterranea Italiana. The cheese is creamier, softer, and more flavorful than the cow-milk variety, with a unique tanginess. You can substitute cow’s milk mozzarella for this recipe and it’ll work just fine, but note that your final product will have a more mellow flavor.
Arugula is fresh, tart, somewhat bitter, and peppery. Choose smaller, younger leaves for a milder flavor. Arugula is also called ‘Rocket’.
White Pizza with Salad
- Baking stone (optional)
- 9 ounces store-bought or homemade pizza dough
- 3 ounces mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella)* shredded or torn into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic or more, if desired, very thinly sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1/2 to 1 1/4 cups fresh watercress, pea shoots, baby spinach, arugula, or other baby greens
- Juice from 1/4 to 1 lemon
- Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C) for 1 hour. Slide a baking stone or a large cast-iron skillet turned upside down in the oven to preheat. [Editor's Note: Yikes! Be certain your oven is clean prior to cranking it that high. Otherwise it's going to smoke. Trust us.]
- Stretch the pizza dough to a diameter of 12 inches (30 cm).
- Scatter the mozzarella and garlic evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch (3-cm) border around the edge. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over the pizza.
- Carefully slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Place the watercress, pea shoots, baby spinach, or other baby greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice to taste and gently toss to coat each leaf.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Top it with the mound of greens and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pizza, slice it into wedges, and dig in.
*How To Use Buffalo Mozzarella For This White PizzaIf using buffalo mozzarella, after you tear it into pieces, place it in a colander or a strainer and set aside over a bowl to drain for at least 10 minutes to prevent your crust from becoming soggy.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This green pizza recipe makes a simple and delicious dinner. I love white pizza and the greens on top make it a complete meal.
I found it easiest to assemble on a piece of parchment paper, then I slid it onto the stone from an overturned baking sheet. After 1 minute I pulled the parchment paper out from under the crust so it could crisp on the stone.
I might use one less clove of garlic next time, but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t find buffalo mozzarella so I used regular fresh mozzarella that I found at the supermarket.
Loved this. The perfect spring and summer pizza. The combination of the salty Parmesan, lemony pea shoots, and soft mozzarella was fantastic. Do search out the mozzarella di bufala; it makes all the difference. It’s pretty wet, and it melts and spreads completely when baked, so I think simply tearing it with your fingers would be far simpler and yield the same result.
I will be making this pizza again.
I was drawn to this recipe for its simplicity. It sure is easy to want to add all of your favorite toppings to a homemade pizza, but I love the use of just a few high quality ingredients that really work well together.
I used our local grocery store’s fresh pizza dough as the base and then topped it with thinly sliced garlic, shredded fresh mozzarella cheese, and olive oil. Mine was done after 15 minutes, but with the oven at 500°F, it’s important to check on the pizza after about 10 minutes just to make sure you’re not overcooking the crust. The cheese was all melted and a bit browned in spots, which was lovely.
I topped the cheesy pizza with baby kale, fresh lemon juice, and some pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. (Also, I couldn’t resist not adding a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes to the pizza as well). I loved the freshness of the baby salad greens lightly seasoned and drizzled with oil and lemon juice—the acidity of the lemon plays well with the tender greens, and the gooey bites of cheese in each and every bite was over-the-top delicioso. I loved this pizza and would like to try it again with maybe some green olives or cubes of pancetta added to the mix as well.
California pizza, you say? Count me in, dude. This is a great option for a lighter pizza, if you’re in the mood for such a thing, and you don’t even have to serve a side salad—it’s all right there in the mix. Surfs up.
Dressing the salad greens before piling them on top of the ‘za is a great touch, and the lemon juice is awesomely fresh. I was somewhat sparing with both lemon and oil so as not to overwhelm the natural flavor of the watercress, spinach, and arugula. I liked that the amount of oil, lemon, and Parmesan were left to personal preference. I didn’t squeeze the lemon bone dry and used a dainty drizzle of oil. (Let’s talk about those greens. If I was doing it again, I’d tear or shred that watercress a bit. It was a hot mess to eat.)
I thought the garlic and mozzarella amounts were great. I tried using a mandoline to slice the garlic. It worked to a point, but honestly, for so small a task, a sharp knife is a better (and possibly safer) bet.
Truth One: My oven doesn’t run to 260°C. I set it to 240°C and I heated it for half an hour.
Truth Two: I was using a baking sheet and not a pizza stone. The pizza took 10 minutes to bake under these conditions, though would of course be quicker at the full temperature. I didn’t use the Lahey pizza dough recipe found on this site this time, but it’s still the best pizza recipe I’ve ever made, and I’d 100% recommend it.
I tend to really like white pizza, and when I taste something like this, I wonder why I make or eat anything else.
I used my go-to pizza dough from this site, which couldn’t be easier to make. Stir together 4 ingredients in a bowl, wait overnight, and in my mind, you have the perfect pizza dough. The problem with the dough, cheese, and garlic all being the same color was that I found it difficult knowing where I had placed all of the garlic slices, and ended up having extra slices which I wasn’t sure where to place. I was concerned that the garlic would be overpowering, however, it wasn’t pronounced.
The slices seemed to melt into the pizza. This could be because I cut the garlic very thinly with a truffle slicer. My pizzas baked at 475°F for 6 minutes. They were crisp on the bottom and tender in the middle. I put baby spinach leaves on one pizza and baby arugula on the other. We preferred the pizza with the baby spinach leaves. All of the ingredients melded together giving us a clean, pure taste that didn’t weigh us down. Make a nice salad to have alongside it, pour a glass of wine— red, white, or rosé—and you’re in for a delightful evening.
I found this to be very enjoyable. I used the Jim Lahey pizza dough recipe with the dough sitting overnight to proof. The greens I used were a 50-50 mix of baby kale and arugula. Instead of lemon juice I used a white balsamic reduction that added a sweetness to the greens.
It took a little convincing for me to get my mushroom-and-sausage-pizza-loving tasters to try this white pizza. But I have to say, they loved it. The garlic bite, the mellow cheese, the sharpness of the arugula—yum!
Timewise, it was a little over a half hour to roll out the dough and bake it. (I made the dough the day ahead.) I ended up “shredding” the mozzarella with my hands. I was concerned that 3 ounces cheese wouldn’t be enough, but it was plenty, and despite being a garlic lover I felt the 3 cloves were plenty. The greens and lemon added a nice bite to the pizza.
Originally published April 7, 2015
So grateful for the note on making sure your oven is clean before turning it up that high!! My smoke alarm is super sensitive and I knew it would go off no matter what… But it was definitely worth it. The pizza was delicious. I used arugula as the fresh greens because I love the nutty flavor with mozzarella.
Lovely, Vera. And you’re welcome. Am glad my ear-ringing experience with smoke alarms is not unique to me. Misery, as they say, does love company!