This delicious Low Carb Chicken Pesto Cast Iron Meatza is a really simple recipe that comes together in no time. It brings all the pizza vibes without all the grains and heaviness that some of us can experience as a result of traditional pizza. You can use the base crust recipe for other pizza variations and get creative with your toppings! This recipe is low-carb and keto-friendly and it’s great for those who eat gluten-free or grain-free and easily adaptable to be dairy-free or nut-free.
I remember the first time I hear the word “meatza”, I remember thinking – “Um… that’s weird”. Then I thought about it, people eat meatloafs and meatballs, we make meat patties for burgers – why can’t we make a pizza crust from meat? It’s brilliant. I’d love to take credit for the idea, but I can’t. But I can take credit for making it in a cast iron and dressing it up with a tasty pesto sauce. This meatza crust holds up so well to lots of toppings, you can actually pick it up with one hand or go all in with a fork – that’s up to you and your style. It’s loaded with flavor, it is super satisfying, filling and a breeze to make.
You can certainly shape your crust and make it on a sheet pan or any other baking dish that has sides (since you will have a little grease), if you prefer, but I find making this delicious low carb pizza in a seasoned cast iron skillet makes for a really nice crispy crust. Since cast iron skillets get pretty dang hot and stay hot, it’s just perfect for even cooking and a nice high heat sear. I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet but it would work in any size cast iron pan. Obviously the bigger the pan the thinner the crust, the smaller the pan, the thicker.
- 1 lb ground organic ground chicken (or turkey)*
- ½ pound organic ground chicken Italian sausage (turkey or pork)*
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ - 1 cup pesto (see recipe below)
- 4oz fresh mozzarella balls bocconcini or ciliegine, drained and halved (I used Buffalo milk)* see notes for dairy-free options
- fresh basil and red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Be sure your 12-inch cast iron skillet is well-seasoned or lightly greased.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the organic chicken and Italian sausage, 1 egg, Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.
- Mix together until very well. combined. Press the mixture into your seasoned cast iron skillet. Go to the edge and create a little lip on the crust. Make sure it is even.
- Bake for 20 minutes. The crust will shrink a bit.
- Remove the pan and carefully pour off any grease. Blot with a paper towel if you'd like.
- Top the crust with pesto, spread evenly. Top with fresh mozzarella or other cheese (or cheese alternative)
- Bake another 15-20 minutes. Place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown up, if you prefer.
- Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy.
For the sausage can use ground chicken sausage, ground turkey or if you prefer ground pork sausage (it will be a bit fattier so likely more fat to drain off, but the taste is still amazing). If you prefer not to use sausage at all, you an also use straight up ground pork or additional ground chicken.
You can use ground turkey instead of ground chicken.
For dairy-free: leave out the cheese in the pesto and replace with nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor or you can simply leave it out. In place of the fresh mozzarella, opt for a dairy-free cheese that you like, add a dollop of cashew cream or again, simply leave off.
- 2 cups packed basil*
- ¼ cup pine nuts (leave out or use hemp seeds for nut-free)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ½ cup raw milk grated parmesan cheese or sheep's milk pecorino Romano (or ¼ cup nutritional yeast)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoons black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Combine the basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add the cheese or nutritional yeast along with the sea salt and black pepper and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
- While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a slow steady small stream. By slowly adding in the olive oil while the processor is running this helps it to emulsify and keep the olive oil from separating. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
For nut-free, swap the pine nuts for hemp seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds or leave out. You can also use walnuts, almonds or pistachios