Traditional pizza is always delicious, but there's something about a cheese-filled white pizza that really hits the spot. Add on a slathering of garlic oil and plenty of basil and this Basil and Garlic Olive Oil Pizza will send you to pizza heaven!
File this under an actual conversation that really happened in real life:
Check-out boy at grocery store, ringing in my baby basil plant: Hey, I hear some people actually eat this stuff!
Me: Um, yes; it's basil.
Check-Out Boy: Ew. It's a plant.
Me: Yes, basil.
Check-Out Boy: If it grows in the ground, you won't find me eating it!
Me: Like pretty much all vegetables? What about this pepper? (holding up a green bell pepper)
Check-Out Boy: That's spicy, so it's OK! But that (pointing at basil) is a plant and it has leaves. Why do I want to eat leaves?
Me: Because they taste good? And they're healthy? Have you ever tried basil before? Also, bell peppers are not spicy...
Check-Out Boy: NO! I don't eat plants!
At this point, I give up, collect my bags, and leave. LE SIGH.
And then I proceeded to go home and make a pizza with plants on it. Because I like plants. And also because I love white pizza and know it always tastes better with basil and lots of garlic and olive oil. And I figured I at least need one plant on this cheese-filled pizza. Grocery store boy doesn't know what he's missing out on.
🧀 What is olive oil pizza?
Olive oil is often referred to as "white pizza" and it's generally a pizza made with lots of olive oil, cheese, and no red sauce. Sometimes they even involve a alfredo sauce.
When we think of pizza, many of us think tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and maybe a topping like pepperoni, sausage, or basil. Of course, traditional pizza is delicious, but once you try white pizza, chances are you'll be hooked!
In my opinion, olive oil pizza needs a little something to add dimension to the cheese, which is why I use a garlic olive oil here plus lots of basil. The added parmesan cheese also adds a nice sharpness.
I can pretty much promise you that you won't be missing the tomato sauce at all!
🥣 What kind of dough is best?
You can really use any pizza dough you want for this recipe, even store-bought. But I'm including the recipe for a whole wheat dough because I think it goes so perfectly with the pizza toppings.
I almost never make whole wheat dough for my pizza, but now that I've tried this half whole wheat dough, I feel like I'm going to be making it all the time. It is seriously so, so good!
I adapted the recipe from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois's Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day (affiliate link), which is a must-have book for anyone interested in learning absolutely everything about pizza dough making (in case you don't know Jeff and Zoe are Gods in the bread-making world).
You only need about ⅓ of this recipe for one pizza, but you can always put the leftover in the fridge for a few days (until you start craving another one of these!) or you can even freeze it for up to 3 months.
If you have an Ooni pizza oven, I recommend using this recipe for Ooni pizza dough.
There's nothing complicated about this recipe and it uses pretty much all simple ingredients. Here's what you need (be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Minced garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Whole wheat pizza dough: You can either use store-bought or use the recipe I provide below. While I love whole wheat dough for this recipe, you can also feel free to use any dough you want.
- Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
- Part-skim ricotta cheese
- Fresh basil
- Shaved parmesan cheese
If you want to use my recipe for whole wheat dough, here's what you need:
- Active dry yeast
- Lukewarm water
- Honey: you can can substitute with sugar if you want.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Whole wheat flour
- All-purpose flour
👩🍳 How to make whole wheat dough
I love making my own pizza dough because it's so easy to do! It just requires a little bit of time waiting for it to rise.
To start, combine yeast and lukewarm water (between 110-115 degrees F) in a large bowl. Let it sit for 3 minutes- it should get a bit foamy.
Stir in salt, honey or sugar, and olive oil.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour until just blended. If dough is still wet, add in a bit more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time.
Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside at room temperature for about two hours, so it can rise. Once risen, either use dough or refrigerate if not using right away.
That's it! You're ready to roll about ⅓ of the batch of dough out to use.
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge if you're not planning to use it right away.
🍕 How to make basil and garlic olive oil pizza
This olive oil pizza is a pretty simple one, but one that is going to be on your mind for days after it's long gone... It basically involves garlic, cheese, and basil. Hello, heaven.
To start, preheat oven to 450 degrees and cover a 12-inch round pan with foil. Lightly brush the foil with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch round and place on prepared pan.
Mix together minced garlic and 2 ½ Tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush dough with garlic olive oil mixture.
Layer slices of mozzarella on top of dough and spoon crumbles of ricotta cheese around.
Cover pizza with 12 fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese shavings.
If you want to add additional toppings here, you certainly can. Anything works, but sausage or roasted chicken breast is especially delicious on white pizza! Also, if you're feeling a little crazy, go for clams (white clam pizza is seriously to die for!)
Bake for about 18-22 minutes, until crust is browning and crispy.
Call me crazy, but I love the little little burn marks on top of the cheese. Golden brown cheese= best ever! I also love the combination of mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese. Give me all your cheese, people.
But also, give me all your garlic olive oil because I will drink that ish out of a water bottle. Isn't "slathered in garlic" one of the best phrases ever? Garlic-slathered olive oil pizza? Yes, please!
The partially whole wheat crust was honestly perfect. Delightfully chewy, but not overly so. Hearty without being heavy. And really, more satisfying than the typical all-purpose flour crust.
Don't forget to chiffonade your leftover basil and sprinkle that around, as well. Basil baked at 450 degrees is nice and crispy and yummy, but fresh basil is even better, which is why I use both.
I feel like basil is one of those things you can enjoy year round and it will give you a little bit of summer happiness in the middle of winter.
Also, my grocery store sells basil plants almost all the time and how happy is it to have a basil plant in your kitchen in the middle of winter?
🎉 Variations on recipe
I absolutely love this olive oil pizza as is, but it also works well as a blank canvas that you can add to to make your own! Here are some delicious additional topping ideas:
- Chicken breast
- Sausage (spicy sausage is so good!)
- Artichoke hearts
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Red peppers
- Red onions
- White pizza sauce or alfredo sauce
- Mozzarella cheese, pecorino romano, or the cheese of your choice
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh herbs other than basil, like fresh rosemary or thyme
- Italian seasoning
- Tomato sauce or marinara sauce (if you just can't stand the thought of a pizza without it!)
🥗 What to serve with
Pizza is one of those things that's so easy to serve with dinner and goes with so many other sides. Though of course, salad is the best pizza side since it allows you to get in some extra veggies and there are so many ways to make it.
Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with this white garlic pizza:
- Chopped Kale Salad
- Shaved Asparagus Salad with Quinoa
- Kale and Quinoa Salad
- Lemon Pepper Asparagus
- Shrimp and Feta Orzo Salad
- Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad
- Blistered Green Beans
- Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad
- Bacon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
- White Bean Salad with Arugula and Mozzarella (from Cucina by Elena)
👩🍳 More easy pizza recipes
Homemade pizza is probably one of my most-made dinner. I love it because there are so many ways to make it and toppings to use that it can feel like a different dinner every single night! Here are my very favorite pizza and flatbread recipes:
Oh, grocery store checkout boy, how I wish I could have brought you a slice of this delicious white pizza. Maybe then you could have seen how glorious plants are.
And not just those "spicy" peppers that are actually bell peppers. Oh man, I fear that the youth of today is in serious trouble.
Do you love white pizza or are you more of a tomato sauce traditionalist?
Oh and for my fellow white pizza lovers, you have to try my Bacon White Pizza Dip!
Basil and Garlic Olive Oil Pizza
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ½ Tbsp Olive oil, divided
- Whole wheat pizza dough (⅓ of recipe below or you can use store-bought)
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
- ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 15 basil leaves, divided
- 1 oz. shaved parmesan cheese
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- ½ Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 ¾ cup lukewarm water (between 110-115 degrees F)
- ½ Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp honey (can substitute with sugar)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a 12-inch round pan with foil and lightly brush with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Mix together minced garlic and 2 ½ T extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch round and place on prepared pan.
- Using a pastry brush, brush dough with garlic olive oil mixture. Layer slices of mozzarella on top of dough and spoon crumbles of ricotta cheese around.
- Cover pizza with 12 basil leaves and parmesan cheese shavings.
- Bake for about 18-22 minutes, until crust is browning and crispy. Chiffonade remaining 3 basil leaves and sprinkle over the top.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- In a large bowl, combine yeast and water. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir in salt, honey or sugar, and olive oil.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour until just blended. If dough is still wet, add in a bit more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside at room temperature for about two hours, so it can rise. Once risen, either use dough or refrigerate if not using right away.
- Pizza dough recipe adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day.
- Leftover dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in fridge for 5 days.
- You can also freeze it for up to three months. Just make sure to divide it into individual portions before freezing.
- Feel free to add more toppings to this pizza before baking, including pepperoni, sausage, roasted chicken breast, etc.