These Homemade Pizza Rolls with Pesto are one of my favorite family recipes to keep on hand in the fridge or freezer for quick dinners, especially on nights when the kids have activities. They have a veggie right in the mix and the cheese and pizza flavor make the whole package a bit hit with the kids!
Homemade Pizza Rolls with Pizza Dough
Pizza dough is a staple in our house because it’s inexpensive to buy at the store and it’s so versatile. In just a few minutes you can stretch it out into the base for these pizza rolls. We like to use whole wheat pizza dough, but you can really use whichever type you prefer.
Pesto Pizza Rolls
Pesto counts as a vegetable in our house and it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to get my kids to eat kale. When you blend kale with Parmesan and olive oil, it magically transforms into a delicious spread that pairs amazingly well with pizza dough and cheese (or pasta, of course). These homemade pizza rolls are so delicious that your toddlers may actually enjoy eating their veggies!
How to Make Kale Pesto
We always grow too much kale in our garden and this recipe gives me a very convenient way to serve it up to my family that requires no coaxing or encouraging (or me eating another kale salad!)—because these rolls just taste like pizza! All you do is put the ingredients into the blender, blend until smooth, and then spread it onto the dough.
You can of course use a bunch from the store or a bag of pre-washed and chopped kale. Or, take a shortcut and look for the kale pesto that Trader Joe’s recently started selling.
How to Make Pizza Rolls from Scratch
After you roll up the dough (which can be store bought or homemade—we like this Pizza Dough Recipe, which we do with 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose, and simply mix it together in a bowl), you simply slice and bake in a muffin tin. So easy! They’re perfectly portioned for a toddler’s mealtime (though my big girl and husband can eat 2-3 in one sitting!).
Pizza Rolls with Salami
I don’t always include meat in our pizza rolls, but salami is an easy add since it’s already sliced thinly and you don’ t have to cook it. You can omit it if you don’t have it on hand or if you have vegetarians in the family.
Homemade Baked Pizza Rolls
Whether you make these homemade pizza rolls as a make-ahead option for pizza night or stash them into the freezer for those days when you are out of lunch ideas, I think you and the kids will love them. In many ways, they are even easier to make than regular pizza and once you do the rolling and slicing once, you’ll be a total pro. Plus: It’s so nice to serve up veggies that are actually fun to eat.
(If you’re craving more traditional pizza flavor, check out my homemade pizza rolls with Spinach and Cheese which have classic red pizza sauce.)Print
You can use store-bought pesto if desired in place of the homemade version below.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, almonds, or pine nuts
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
- 13-16 ounce pizza dough
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces thinly sliced salami, optional
- To make the pesto: Add the kale, lemon juice, Parmesan, garlic, sunflower seeds, and ¼ cup olive oil to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, and adding more olive oil as needed to make a smooth consistency. (If your blender came with a stick, use it to help press the kale down!)
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and grease a muffin tin.Use your hands to stretch the dough into an 11×16-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.
- Spread enough pesto over the dough to cover, then sprinkle on the mozzarella. Add salami if using. Starting on one long side, roll the dough up carefully.
- Use a serrated knife to cut into 12 even slices. Place each slice into a prepared muffin cup, and bake for 18-20 minutes until the dough is baked through, the cheese is melted, and the tops are golden. Remove from pan, using a knife around the edges if needed, and let cool slightly before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge or in a zip-lock freezer bag with as much air removed as possible in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve from frozen, place on a plate and microwave for 30-60 seconds or until warm
Homemade Pizza Dough: Add 2 teaspoons instant yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let sit 5 minutes or until the yeast is puffy. Stir into a large bowl with 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for about an hour before using.