Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen, this tricolore salad pizza features a crispy parmesan crust topped with fresh arugula and tomato salad. A light lunch that is easily adaptable!
Copycat CPK's Tricolore Salad Pizza
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (4 grams)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¾ cup warm water, 100-110 degrees F (187 ml)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (296 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 oz shaved Parmesan
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine active dry yeast with honey and warm water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until yeast is activated and bubbly.
- In a separate large bowl, combine flour with salt. Add yeast mixture and oil and mix until the dough comes together. Transfer to a work surface lightly dusted with flour and knead 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let proof for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Flip a baking sheet upside down and heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, preheat a pizza stone.
- Lightly dust a parchment paper with flour. Divide the dough into two balls. Gently roll out the first portion with your hands into a 14-inch circle. Mix 1 tablespoon water with 1 tablespoon sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Brush evenly on the crust and sprinkle half of the parmesan cheese on top. Carefully transfer the dough to the preheated baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Blend garlic with dijon mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Slowly add oil in a steady stream until dressing is thick and well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss arugula, thinly sliced shallots, and cherry tomatoes with dressing. Remove crust from oven and top with the salad. Finish with shaved Parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve.
Watch how to make this:
Many years ago, I worked as a hostess at California Pizza Kitchen, a large chain restaurant in Southern California. Part of the training requires you to taste some of the most popular menu items. This was clearly my favorite part. I had some of the dishes before but one that was unfamiliar was the tricolore salad pizza. This pizza was exactly as the name hinted, a salad pizza. The thin crust was dusted with parmesan, baked until bubbly then topped with a fresh mesclun greens salad. It easily became my favorite item on the menu. I recently tried to order this pizza when I discovered that it was discontinued! Alas, I had no choice but to make it myself. The bright side? Now that I've discovered how to make it, I can have my copycat CPK's Tricolore salad pizza whenever I want!
- All-purpose flour: Since we're looking to make a thin-crust pizza, we're going to use all-purpose for the dough. All-purpose flour will give the crust an airy texture vs bread flour which will make it chewy.
- Active dry yeast: The yeast is the primary leavening agent, causing the crust to rise. You can use instant dry yeast instead if you prefer.
- Parmesan: A hard Italian cheese that is salty, nutty, and has a ton of umami. It helps flavor both the crust and the salad topping.
- Balsamic vinegar: To replicate CPK's tricolore salad pizza as closely as possible, we're going to toss the salad in a balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinegar has a sweet, fruity flavor that compliments the bitter arugula.
- Arugula: This salad green tastes peppery, spicy, and slightly nutty. You can substitute the arugula with another salad green such as mesclun greens if you prefer.
How to Make Tricolore Salad Pizza
Step 1: Make pizza dough
The trick to perfecting the tricolore salad pizza is to master the crust. You want a bubbly, thin pizza crust with just the right amount of parmesan and a hint of sweetness.
Make the dough using flour, honey, active dry yeast, water, salt, and oil. Knead until the dough is smooth and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Proofing the dough will allow it to become airy when baked. If your kitchen is particularly cold, it may take longer than 1 hour.
Step 2: Shape and bake
Once you're ready to bake the pizza, roll out the dough into a large 14-inch circle using your hands. Ever notice pizza makers at restaurants tossing and stretching the dough by hand and not with a rolling pin? That's because using a rolling pin can deflate air bubbles which help create the bubbly crust. I'm no expert and didn't dare toss my dough in the air, but gentle stretching and pulling were effective enough to create a crust.
Brush the crust with the sugar water mixture and sprinkle the grated cheese.
If you have a pizza stone, this would be the time to use it! If not, flip a baking sheet over and heat in the 500-degree oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and transfer the crust to the baking sheet. I found the easiest way to do this is to roll out the pizza on parchment paper. Then just transfer the entire paper to the baking sheet when ready to bake.
Step 3: Prepare salad
While the pizza is baking, toss your salad together. This salad is versatile and you can add or easily change any of the ingredients. Not a fan of arugula? Use mesclun greens instead. Are tomatoes not in season? Swap them for another fresh vegetable. You can also add extra toppings such as sliced olives, roasted bell peppers, roasted zucchini, or even thinly sliced prosciutto.
Top the freshly baked parmesan crust with the salad and top with shaved parmesan. I know this pizza is large enough to serve 4 people but because it's so light, it can easily be devoured by 2. Sprinkle some freshly cracked black pepper on top and get ready to fall in love with salad pizza!
Can I use any pizza dough instead of the one in the recipe?
Yes, you can! The most important key in making the pizza crust is to brush the sugar water and parmesan and to roll out the crust thin. As long as you follow those steps, any pizza dough should work.
Can I make the pizza dough the night before?
Absolutely. Make the pizza dough the day before, cover it, and let chill in the fridge overnight. Remove the pizza dough one hour before shaping and let it come to room temperature.
How can I make the tricolore salad pizza more substantial?
Add more vegetables such as shaved zucchini, and roasted pepper bell peppers, or add a protein such as prosciutto, salami, or bacon.
For more pizza inspiration check out this yellow margherita pizza!