Pesto Pizza Bread and Carapelli Olive Oil

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carapelli. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s funny to look back and think what foods I love now that were not a regular part of my diet growing up. Foods that I’d never heard of, that weren’t even a part of my food vocabulary, if you will. Avocados come to mind, and things like couscous and tabouleh. And although I don’t think of myself as particularly old, even olive oil was not really a regular component of my diet until my early teens. I may have had it on the rare occasion that we ate in an Italian restaurant, but as a child, food at home was cooked in butter or vegetable oil. Now there is hardly a kitchen in the western world that doesn’t keep a bottle of olive oil at the ready. I know I certainly couldn’t do without my extra virgin olive oil.

When I was invited to taste Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I knew I had to come up with a great recipe to showcase it. As part of this campaign, I learned things I never knew about olive oil. For one, I had no idea that good olive oil should be sipped and tasted much like wine. Master tasters use special small round blue glasses to gauge the quality. The round shape of the glass allows the taster to warm the oil in the palm of their hands, and the blue conceals the oil’s colour, as colour is never a good indicator of quality. Then the oil is swirled in the glass to release the oil’s esters, and then sniffed for aroma. It is sipped with a slurp to bring in a bit of air while tasting, to help emulsify the oil and spread it around the mouth. When swallowed, good olive oil should leave no aftertaste. I had no round blue glass, but I poured some of my Premium 100% Extra Virgin into a shot glass, and followed these four S’s. I warmed the glass in my palm first, then I swirled to release the aroma. I sniffed the glass and found the oil had a robust olive scent that seemed both fruity and slightly salty at the same time. But when I slurped it in, it was incredibly smooth, with no salty or peppery flavour present. And once I swallowed, there really was no aftertaste or even oiliness in my mouth. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted olive oil this way, and I really have nothing to compare it to, but it was surprisingly good on its own.

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I am so intrigued by this process and would love to attend a true olive oil tasting. Carapelli has three varieties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, including their Premium 100% Italian, the Il Numerato, and the Organic line. It would certainly be a real treat to try to distinguish the subtle flavor differences of these first rate oils. Carapelli, located in Florence, Italy, is a leader in quality olive oil and was the first to promote bottled extra virgin in Italy. They also instituted a quality certification program that actually exceeds the strict requirements in both Europe and the United States. They have been producing olive oil since 1893, and it’s hardly a surprise that they now rank as Italy’s top producer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

After my little taste test, I had my husband whip up a batch of his special pesto. All of my kids adore this pesto, and I can get even my pickiest eater to consume a big meal if I slather it on pasta or pizza. Since pasta isn’t exactly a regular part of my diet these days, I began thinking of what low carb items I might make with the homemade pesto. Pesto has long been our favourite pizza sauce, and I’ve seen some wonderful recipes for breads with pesto lately. A cross between pizza and bread was what I really wanted, so I decided to create an almond flour bread that was topped with our favourite pesto pizza toppings.

The Results: This bread is fantastic and is infinitely versatile. It’s very much like pizza, but with a thicker, more bread-like base, and the toppings are only limited by your imagination. I originally wanted to go with prosciutto, mushrooms and sundried tomato, but I knew that the mushrooms and tomato wouldn’t appeal as much to my kids. So I went with the basics, and stuck with cheese and pepperoni. It was a hit with everyone. I knew as I put it into the oven that it would be. As long as the base turned out well, I couldn’t really go wrong with those ingredients.

Now, I will tell you that besides the wonderful Carapelli Olive Oil, my husband’s pesto recipe does contain a secret ingredient. Which is not going to be so secret anymore because I am going to give you the recipe here. It’s a little trick he picked up from Cook’s Illustrated to keep the pesto looking fresh and green, and I really think it helps to intensify the flavor. I suppose you could use any old pesto for this bread, but I personally give my stamp of approval to this particular recipe!

Pesto Pizza Bread

Pesto:

¼ cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup Carapelli Premium 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup packed baby spinach (the secret ingredient!)

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 ½ ounces grated parmesan cheese

6 tbsp mayonnaise (optional, for creaminess)

Bread:

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup flax seed meal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup Carapelli Premium 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pizza Toppings:

¼ cup sliced pepperoni

½ cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup finely grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 inch square pan.

For the pesto, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place nuts, garlic, basil, spinach, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Add parmesan cheese and mayonnaise, if using, and process until thoroughly combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

For the bread, whisk together almond flour, flax seed meal, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, breaking up clumps with the back of a fork. Add eggs and olive oil and stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Spread ½ cup pesto over top of the bread. Sprinkle with pepperoni and cheese. Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 6.25 g of carbs and 2.7 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.6 g.

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Comments

  1. Cassie//Bake Your Day says:

    This looks amazing…I love how the bread soaks up the pesto. Pesto is so mouthwatering!

  2. In your pesto recipe you have spinach written twice and no basil…I'm assuming you meant for that first 3 c. of spinach to be basil?

  3. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I love pesto! I would put it on everything if I could. :-)

  4. Chef Dennis says:

    Great looking bread Carolyn! Icould never be without my olive oil, At Dibruno's in Philly, thats how they sample the oils from different regions in Italy,its amazing the difference in taste. Hope you get to go to a tasting soon, you would love it!

  5. Hi Claire…yes, I did mean for that to be basil, thanks for catching that (and Sylvie too, who emailed me). Sometimes you edit and edit a post, but you just don't see things like that.

  6. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    can't way to try this! Have a super weekend!

  7. thesmartcookiecook.com says:

    This looks incredible. I love anything pesto, or pizza for that matter, so this is a fantastic combo! I love that it's gluten free so anyone can enjoy it.

  8. I never heard of sipping olive oil, so interesting. I like your pizza bread made with almond flour, looks like it rose really nicely.

  9. Turmericnspice says:

    I love pesto …. This looks amazing

  10. Christine's Pantry says:

    Great looking bread. I'm never without my olive oil, got to have it.

  11. Foodness Gracious says:

    I love taking a shot of olive oil on occasion but your right, it has to be good quality. Your pizza looks fantastic and if you can come up with a low carb pasta my daughter and me will love you forever! :)
    Take care..

  12. The Mom Chef says:

    I've never even had a desire to take a shot of olive oil (any oil for that matter). I'm glad you did it for me!

    The bread is beautiful. I'd love a slice with a good, spicy spaghetti.

  13. Ashley@Bakerbynature says:

    An olive oil tasting sounds so intriguing; I seriously go through about a bottle every two weeks, so I would love to have a greater knowledge of it. As for this Pesto Pizza Bread – it's 8 am and I'm dying for a big slice of it!

  14. Pretend Chef says:

    I have never heard of sampling olive oil that way. This was a great review of that olive oil. Makes me want to search for it and get a bottle. This pizza looks so delicious. I'd love this for dinner tonight.

  15. Oh, this is one beautiful bread, Carolyn!!! And so yummy, too! (and I did note your PERFECT slices…so lovely).

  16. I love how you turned this pizza bread into something very unique and delicious!! I love the way you made it and photos so beautiful too!!!

  17. This is amazing, I love pesto and olive oil. I will need to try this recipe! I am a firm believer in quality olive oil and after reading this I will be on the lookout for this brand. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Veronica Gantley says:

    This would be great this weekend. I have extra pesto from over the summer stashed in my freezer. I bookmarked this for later. My family adores pizza. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

  19. healthyfoodietravels says:

    Ohh, I haven't had pesto in too long. I'll use this wonderful looking recipe as an excuse to whisk up a a batch!

  20. Diane {Created by Diane} says:

    looks delicious, I love pesto!!!

  21. Cake Duchess says:

    We really love pesto and yours is perfect. Gorgeous pesto pizza. xo

  22. Great recipe. It's so unique. Me and mini-me went to a oil and sauce bar on our day trip in September. Was the coolest place ever. Looks just like an upscale bar and they have bread out for dipping. You can sample anything you like. So we sampled everything in the store and didn't need to eat lunch till dinnertime. Lol! I love your recipe, as always you knock it out of the park.

  23. Eliotseats says:

    Love pesto and I just used the last of my basil to make a batch to freeze. I hope I can make it to next summer without fresh basil!

  24. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    Pizza bread sounds fantastic, this looks delicious!

  25. Island Vittles says:

    Another creative recipe that noone would ever know is gluten free! Cheese and pesto is all I ever need on my pizza, but I'll take the pepperoni too! Theresa

  26. Emily @ Life on Food says:

    I have gone to a few specialty stores to taste olive oil but always with bread. Interesting to sip it. Your pizza bread looks great! And I have never seen Mayo in a pesto. I must try that out.

  27. Lindsay Coleman says:

    I made this tonight and it was FANTASTIC!
    I did alter it slightly, though, to suit what I had on-hand. I used 3Tbsp kerrygold butter and 5ish Tbsp olive oil. For the toppings I used about 1/4c no sugar added pasta sauce, red onion slices [like on focaccia], and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
    I must say, it's delicious.
    THANK YOU for this recipe as I will be making it- and variations of it- for a lonnnng time. :)

  28. That looks absolutely wonderful! Enjoying your blog posts. I never heard of tasting olive oil that way. I happen to have some of that brand so will give it a try.

  29. purabi naha says:

    Awesome bread! And the olive oil sounds great!! Loved your blog.

  30. Jersey Girl Cooks says:

    Looks delcious! I use so much olive oil I should purchase stock in it!

  31. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says:

    Pesto on pizza is wonderful, love this.

  32. Biren @ Roti n Rice says:

    Your pizza sounds really good, especially the crust and pesto! My son is on a GF diet and I will have to try this recipe soon.

  33. Carolyn, this pizza bread is exactly what I need this week! I needed a recipe using pesto, and here it is! How lucky can I get?

    By the way, great info on olive oil! I might just actually look for a tasting around San Fran!

  34. Wow, I love that layer of pesto you can see! It looks super taste. Like the kind of thing I would eat one too many bites of!

  35. Hello there, I am just about to put this in the oven. The pesto, I made on Sunday for another dish and it is still lovely green! Thanks for the 'secret ingredient'.

    I did wonder about the serving size and do you have the carb count on it?

    TIA and I am enjoying your blog very much…a hop and a link de link and I arrived here!

  36. I made this tonight and it was fantastic. Also a big hit with my kids! I used some wild garlic pesto I've had in the freezer since spring. :0)

  37. Catherine H. says:

    This was quite good. Excellent bready texture and the saltiness of the soaked-in pesto was a plus. However, I found the 8X8 pan simply too small. The bread rose very well, so we ended up with very thick pieces with minimal toppings. I cut the remainder in half (horizontally) for lunch the next day and found that that made a much better proportion of toppings to bread. Next time I will probably use a 13 X 9 pan. thanks for this recipe–I can never have too much pizza!

  38. Hi Catherine,

    I can see why you would like it that way too. More like pizza. I really wasn't going for pizza, but a bread. But you do as you want to, if you like it that way, I am all for it!

  39. Had this tonight and loved it, but being short on time, I subbed in Trader Joe's pesto sauce, and added some sliced tomatoes before i put the cheese on…wonderful flavors! The texture of the crust reminds me of corn bread…with a few tweaks this would make a great base for a southwest flavored dish…:)

  40. I am in love with this recipe — it looks so delicious and different! I really want to try this as soon as possible! What could I substitute for the xanthan gum?

    • Carolyn says:

      You could probably skip the xanthan gum altogether. The flax in the recipe will help hold the bread together.

  41. Jennifer says:

    Other than a change of flavor…is there any reason I couldn’t substitute a garbanzo/fava flour for the almond?

    Also, I’m thinking after I try it as written with the pesto, I’m going to experiment with hummus. Mellow Mushroom used to make a “Greek” pizza with hummus and mozzarella, banana peppers, olives, tomatoes, and grilled chicken that was incredible. I’m thinking it would totally work with this recipe! :)

    • Experiment away! the only foreseeable issue with bean flour is less fat/moisture content than almond. You may need to up the oils and liquids a bit.

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