Wholemeal pizza with kale pesto, 44p.

I make a lot of pizza for the kids as a treat – and don’t feel at all guilty about sneaking wholemeal flour into the base and vegetables on top. I thought I’d go the whole hog with this one, and dollop kale pesto on top, a whole year after the ‘kale pesto’ row with a certain columnist at the Daily Mail.

For the pizza: (Served 1 adult plus 2 children):

210g wholemeal flour, 15p
7g dried active yeast, 4p
125ml warm water
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or sunflower), 2p
1 tsp sugar, >1p
½ tsp table salt, >1p
3 tbsp tomato puree, 11p
125g ball of mozzarella, torn or grated, 50p
70g cream cheese, 18p

For the kale pesto (you’ll use around 1/6 of it in the pizza, so the rest can be frozen or kept in a jar in the fridge…)

50g hard strong cheese, grated, 63p
1 fat clove of garlic, roughly chopped, 2p
100g raw kale, chopped, 50p
50g sunflower seeds (optional, but great), 43p
100ml oil, 13p
1 tbsp lemon juice (bottled is fine), 3p
A splash of water to loosen

Pour 70g of the flour into a bowl with the yeast and stir together slowly as you add the warm water. As soon as it’s come together, add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, and stir again until everything is combined. This should take less than a minute. Tip the dough on to a floured surface and knead until it’s springy.

Pop it into a floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to rise – wholemeal flour can be a bit stubborn so I give mine around an hour and a half to puff up to double its size, and usually put it in the boiler cupboard or somewhere else warm.

Meanwhile, to make the kale pesto, put the hard cheese and garlic into a blender. Add the kale, sunflower seeds, oil and lemon or lime juice and blitz until smooth-ish (add water to loosen if necessary). Dust the bottom of your baking tray with semolina, if you have it, or flour if you haven’t.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a square 2–3mm thick. Spread the tomato puree on to the base, add some mozzarella, and dollops of the pesto. Add a few splodges of cream cheese and drizzle the top with a little oil.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden and crispy.

As ever, my costings are worked out based on Sainsburys, and the Basics range where available, and were correct at the time of publication. For a more detailed list of prices and calculations (and a nose at what I actually buy to make the most out of my grocery shopping), click here:

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack


My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.

This blog is free to those who need it, and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it, and would like to keep it going, please consider popping something in the tip jar, and thankyou.



  1. I’ll look forward to making the kale pesto – if you’ve received criticism from the Daily Mail about it (sorry, I detest that rag, so don’t know what the journalist – I use the term loosely – said) it is bound to be ultra delicious.

    • OH KALE PESTO, THAT’S SO POSH, AS IF POOR PEOPLE WOULD EAT THAT, THEY WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT KALE IT, IT’S FAR TOO FAR OUT OF THE REACH OF NORMAL POOR PEOPLE, YOU’RE SO MIDDLE CLASS JACK, AND YOU SAID YOU HAD TO USE FOOD BANKS. Was about the gist of it, I think? Jack got so angry about it, it was brilliant (well, everyone else got angry about it too, but Jack’s anger is v eloquent).

      • wow, how terrible. i cannot see how anybody could mock you for making KALE PESTO – nutritious and great value, it’s the food of the people! it’s unbelievable the world these days! and those chavs with their white vans, their flags, oh, it’s enough to put you off kale for a whole day!


      • I know what kale is and I’m poor…. A month ago I planted two perennial Daubenton kale plants so I can now make kale pesto for the next six years ….many thanks Jack

  2. Ooh this sounds lovely…and just by chance I happen to have the ingredients for it too…Happy Days! Thanks Jack for another scrummy recipe x

  3. Jack, love the idea of Kale pesto. Can you chuck it in the freezer to keep (I do this with normal pesto as it always goes off if I leave it in the fridge), and if so, how long do you reckon it would keep for? Thanks!

  4. I found the only way I could get the bargain basket parsnips used up is to blend them into a tomato sauce with puree and stick on a pizza. Parsnip pizza? It sounds more bizarre than it tastes. The kids eat it obliviously and needs must in harsh times.

  5. What I really don’t get about this whole Kale pesto row is that simpleton LJ’s perception that Kale is posh. It has been around for hundreds of years, is an Irish staple (Colcannon), costs almost nothing and is still often grown to feed animals. Therefore it is about as posh as turnips.

  6. Great recipe, Jack. I’ve adapted it to use up some spinach that needed using up and it tastes fantastic! I’ve frozen most of it in ice cube trays so that it’s on hand to use later. By the way, I’m poor and grow kale in my allotment, it’s a good winter plot filler. Keep up the good work

  7. Jack,

    Thanks for this! Sunflower seeds are something I would not have considered, and they worked beautifully. I spread the pesto over farinata, but I am lazy!


  8. I’m going to try this one first for my 10 year old daughter who’s just decided she wants to be vegetarian. I’m a single mum, 2 kids from a working class (poor) background but I’m lucky enough to have 2 gardens and even if I didn’t I’d get containers. Seeds are cheap 😉

Leave a Reply