Kale & Onion Pizza Recipe

A tomato-free pizza from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg. "There's no tomato here because I like to emphasize the more unusual flavour of the kale. In the heat of the oven, the kale becomes crisp and dark, and takes on a flavour not dissimilar to that delicious deep-fried "seaweed" you can get in Chinese restaurants in the U.K. I sometimes add a few sautéed sliced mushrooms to the pizza before it goes into the oven."


1 recipe magic bread dough (see below)

Magic Bread Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp instant dried yeast
1 tbsp canola or olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling
1-1/3 cups warm water

A 10-oz. bunch of curly or Lacinato kale, stems removed
3 tbsp canola or olive oil, plus a little extra to trickle
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely slivered
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 3-1/2 oz. mature cheddar, grated


Magic Bread Dough

Step 1: Put the two flours into a large bowl with the salt and yeast. Mix well. Add the oil and warm water and mix to a rough dough. Flour your hands a little. Tip out the dough onto a work surface and knead rhythmically for 5-10 minutes, until smooth. This is quite a loose and sticky dough, which is just as it should be — you get better-textured bread this way — so try not to add too much flour if you can help it. It will become less sticky as you knead.

Step 2: Trickle a little oil into a clean bowl, add the kneaded dough, and turn it in the oil so it is covered with a light film. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size — at least an hour, probably closer to two. You can also proof it in a floured, cloth-lined proofing basket or banneton.

Step 3: When the dough is well risen and puffy, tip it out and “punch it down” by poking it with your outstretched fingers until it collapses to its former size. It’s not ready to be shaped to your will.


Step 1: Prepare the dough, leave it to rise, and then punch it down (see above).

Step 2: Preheat the oven to 500°F, if it goes that high, or to at least 425°F. Put in a baking sheet to heat up.

Step 3: While the dough is rising, shred the kale leaves into 1/4″ to 1/3″-wide ribbons. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Once sizzling, decrease the heat to low and cook gently, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and golden, 10-15 minutes, adding the garlic halfway through. Stir the shredded kale into the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often, until the leaves have wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: After punching down the risen dough, leave it to rest for a few minutes, then cut it into three pieces. Roll out one piece as thinly as you can.

Step 5: Scatter a baking peel (if you have one) or another baking sheet with a little flour and place the rolled-out dough on it. Spread 1/3 of the kale and 1/3 of the onions on the dough, then top with 1/3 of the grated cheddar. Trickle with a little oil.

Step 6: Slide the pizza onto the hot baking sheet in the oven if formed on a peel, or, if formed on a baking sheet, simply lay the baking sheet on the hot one in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden. Repeat with the remaining dough and topping. Serve hot, cut into wedges.

Makes 3 pizzas

See more recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Reprinted with permission from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg (2013 Appetite by Random House).