Barbecue Kale and Onion Pizza

January 31, 2012
I remain a kale fan even a few years after writing this post. The leafy green does beg for creativity and this barbecue kale and onion pizza is the perfect solution.  The kale is braised in beer before being baked over a whole wheat cornmeal crust with barbecue sauce and two kinds of cheese. 

Barbecue Kale and Onion Pizza | Fake Food Free 
We eat so much kale that using the green in creative ways has become the ultimate challenge for me. I buy loads of it and then think – hmmm, what can I put kale in today. Soups, salads, smoothies, omelets? I haven’t taken on dessert yet, but it could be coming. One cannot underestimate kale’s versatility.
The super bowl won’t be a big deal for us this year. Well, except for the food. I’ll sit down and watch the game (or just the commercials), if it means I get to make game food. So my latest challenge was to get kale on the super bowl snack table.
I think I may have succeeded.
What, no kale? How about if it is cooked in beer and put on a pizza with barbecue sauce? Yes, I can see you may be coming around a bit to the idea. 
Kale gives this pizza a hearty twist that really eliminates the need for heavy meats. It’s a great way to switch things up from bbq chicken pizza or standard pepperoni. 
Barbecue Kale and Onion Pizza | Fake Food Free
Barbecue Kale and Onion Pizza on a Whole Wheat Cornmeal Crust

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

1 Whole Wheat Cornmeal Crust, rolled to about 16 inches, or divide into 2 to 4 smaller pizzas (recipe below)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups fresh kale leaves, chopped
¼ cup beer (ale works well)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of smoked sweet paprika
¾ to 1 cup barbecue sauce (I use a local sauce, Kentucky Smokin’ Grill)
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. whole milk mozzarella, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add the kale and turn to coat in the oil. Carefully add the beer. Simmer the kale 3 to 5 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add the salt, pepper and smoked paprika.

Place the crust on a baking sheet or pizza pan that has been greased with olive oil and sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread the barbecue sauce over the crust. Sprinkle ½ of the cheddar cheese over the sauce. Divide the kale evenly over the crust. Place the mozzarella cheese over the kale and top with the rest of the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, if desired.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 2-3 minutes before slicing. Serves about 4-6.

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Crust
Adapted from Spelt Pizza Dough by Food Embrace

1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon mascavo sugar (or brown sugar)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Additional water: 3 to 5 tablespoons 
Extra olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and stir in the sugar. Set aside and allow the yeast to bloom, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough attachment, combine the cornmeal, flour and olive oil. Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add the yeast. Add the additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and is smooth, but not sticky.
Once a dough ball is formed, remove it from the bowl and gently knead it on the counter top to form a smooth ball. Place the dough ball back into the bowl and coat it lightly with olive oil.. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour before pressing and rolling into the pizza crust.

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  • Eliana January 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Such a great flavor combination. I would need a whole pie for myself as there is no way I would want to share.

  • beti January 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    barbecue on pizza sounds delicious, the combination works great and I love how the crust looks crispy

  • Andrea February 1, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Oh gosh that looks good! Love the cornmeal crust and that’s something I need to bust out again. What a great idea!

  • TasteHongKong February 1, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Simply wonderful! Who would not like this kale pizza? Perhaps … spinach : ).

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) February 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I feel the same way! Add kale to everything!!! This pizza looks fantastic!

  • Jecka February 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Wow, looks delicious!

  • Aimee February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I am drooling looking at that right now. I am currently avoiding meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar, and all processed foods, but managing to eat (and drink) LOTS and LOTS of kale. 🙂 Good thing I love it!

    I really appreciate that you’ve included a spelt crust recipe here. Thanks!

  • MelindaRD February 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Sounds like an awesome creation! Nice work!

  • Joanne February 3, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Haha I love another good delicious reason to eat kale! On superbowl Sunday or any other day 😛 This pizza sounds awesome!

  • Lori February 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Eliana – I felt the same. Had to restrain myself! 🙂

    beti – The cornmeal was great in the crust. It did make it a bit crispier.

    Andrea – Always inspired by pizza night!

    TasteHongKong – Maybe. Ha, ha! A battle of the greens.

    emily – It’s surprising how many things it is good with!

    Jecka – Thanks!

    Aimee – Andrea’s spelt crust is outstanding! Definitely give it a try.

    Melinda – Thanks!

    Joanne – We’ll just keep fueling each other with ideas, in honor of kale. 😉

  • Rachel @ Bakerita February 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Wow! What an interesting combination. Your blog has such creative and innovative recipes. Love it! This pizza looks incredible…can’t wait to give it a shot.

  • Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) February 6, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I still have half bag cornmeal sitting in the fridge , now i can add into pizza crust, sound so good. Thanks for sharing .

  • Viv February 6, 2012 at 3:42 am

    hey Lori…i am thinking…id like to see a kale dessert from you soon 😛 hahaha jk…or am i? maybe it’d be nice in a savoury muffin at least…or a sweet one and just use the kale for colouring?

    ive been looking everywhere for kale in australia but they dont sell these healthy greens at usual places (i hear in some special markets only)

    i think i can easily have this whole pizza to myself seriously!

    btw, think im gonna try your black sesame pumpkin muffin one of these days! sounds like a great snack!

    oh and thx for your comments…hope you’re all settled into the job and making new friends being 100% you hahaha.

  • Cassie/Bake Your Day February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I am all over this. I love kale and my hubs loves BBQ. Perfect combo for us!

  • Elisabeth May 6, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Looking for a way to use up my kale, I tried this pizza last night and thought it was fantastic! I love the concept of sauteing the kale in beer – the thought had never occurred to me before, and I thought it lent a very unique flavor that went well with the barbecue sauce. Thank you!

  • Lori May 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Elisabeth – Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. I am so glad you liked it! It has become a go-to recipe for us. I make it all the time now.