Wood Fired Pizza with Red Pesto and Grilled Chicken

September 7, 2017

This is a sponsored post for HemisFares™ brand that is available exclusively at Kroger family of stores.  All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Wood Fired Pizza with Red Pesto and Grilled Chicken

Wood Fired Pizza is a summer staple at our house. There is just something about a super crispy caramelized crust fresh off the grill that makes eating a pizza more like a life-changing experience. The better pizza places in the world know that a good, hot fire is the secret to amazing pizza and we’re applying all of those principles to these backyard gourmet wood fired pizzas. The crust is homemade, but incredibly simple.  I personally feel like the crust is the key to amazing pizzas and I tried several variations before I landed on one that seems made for the grill. Side note- my crust recipe calls for olive oil and I’ve been in love with the olive oil I used on my grilled flat iron steaks a few weeks ago.

Wood Fired Pizza with Red Pesto

The good news is, you don’t need a thousand dollar brick pizza oven in your backyard to get that coveted crunchy crust! I whipped these pizzas up on a regular Monday night for my family using hardwood lump charcoal and two zones of heat in my kettle grill. If you don’t have charcoal, you can follow the same method detailed in the recipe using direct and indirect zones of heat with a gas grill (you’ll just be missing a little of that wood-fired pizza flavor).

Wood Fired Pizza with Red Pesto and Grilled Chicken

Now that we’ve got the crust, it’s time to chat toppings. That’s where I knew the Red Pesto (Find no. 49) from HemisFares was going to come in. This red pesto is a condiment imported from the Piemonte region of Italy made from sweet and tart sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, fresh basil, and garlic. Sounds good enough to eat on its’ own, but spread that magic on a grilled pizza crust and we’ve got dinner nirvana. Since the sauce has so much goodness going on, I kept the rest of the toppings simple and complementary. Fresh mozzarella, juicy grilled chicken, and gorgeous cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden. This wood fired pizza eats like a meal, and I could have it breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is SO good!

If you want to get your hands on some of this tasty HemisFares Red Pesto, check your local Kroger store. The products are slowly rolling out nationwide! For more information on HemisFares you can check out the website HemisFaresFinds.com or facebook.com/Hemisfares.

wood fired pizza with red pesto and grilled chicken

Wood-Fired Pizza with Red Pesto and Grilled Chicken

Crispy, chewy crust is covered with red pesto sauce, grilled chicken, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 5 mins
Total Time : 1 hr 20 mins
Servings : 8 personal pizzas


For the crust

  • 1 2/3 cup warm water (between 100-110 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the grilled chicken

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Pizza toppings

  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 4 oz HemisFares Red Pesto
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • fresh basil leaves


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and the yeast. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved and started to bubble. Pour in the olive oil, flour, and salt. Using the dough hook of an electric mixer, mix on slow for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough has a smooth surface and bounces back slowly when you press your finger into it.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal balls for individual pizzas or 4 balls for larger pizzas that will serve 2 people. I don't recommend making your dough balls any larger than this or they can be difficult to maneuver on the grill. Place the balls on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled, cover with a damp towel, and let rise somewhere warm for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat your grill for two zone cooking. Allow the direct heat side to get very hot (above 500 degrees F is great!
  • Season the chicken breasts with the garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Grill over direct heat until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (about 7-8 minutes per side). Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes before slicing thinly.
  • Before you begin grilling pizzas, make sure you have all of your toppings in place. I like to use a large cutting board loaded with the red pesto, mozzarella, sliced chicken, fresh basil, and sliced tomatoes.
  • Coat the palms of your hands lightly with olive oil and shape one of the risen dough balls into a disk. Slowly work your hands around the outside edges of the dough pulling and stretching gently. You want the dough to be an even thickness all around (don't worry about creating a "crust" around the outside edges).
  • Place the stretched dough on the grill grates over the direct heat. Grill with the lid open for 2-3 minutes until the bottom is browned and bubbles are starting to rise on the top. Quickly flip the crust over onto the indirect side of the grill and start layering on your toppings. Start with the pesto, then the mozzarella, chicken, tomatoes, and basil.
  • Close the lid on the grill and cook for 4-5 more minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty. Feel free to open the lid and rotate the pizza as needed to keep the crust cooking evenly on the bottom. If you like a super crispy crust, carefully slide the pizza over to the direct side of the grill for an additional minute.
  • Use a big spatula to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Slice and serve! Repeat the pizza grilling process as desired with the additional dough balls.
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