This turkey pizza is one of the many delicious dishes you can make with leftover turkey. Try it for your next family pizza night! My recipe makes 2 pizzas, enough to feed the whole crew. You can watch me make it on a new episode of The Sporting Chef.
Hard to believe, but it will soon be the season of Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s time to think about more creative ways to use up that leftover turkey than the usual turkey sandwiches. Hunters, you can also make use of that wild game that’s been sitting in the freezer for too long.
Who doesn’t love cheesy, crispy pizza fresh from the oven? When the kids crave it, I love to make this turkey meatball pizza with pesto and burrata, a soft Italian cheese. The flavor is out of this world. See my recipe for turkey sausage if you want to spice up the meatballs.
Along with the protein star of this recipe, turkey meatballs, here are the main ingredients you’ll need.
Homemade Pizza Dough
You don’t have to make your own pizza crust, but it makes this turkey pizza extra delicious as well as economical. The dough takes some time to rise — you’ll need to plan at least a day ahead — but it is really not hard to make. Moreover, you can make and freeze dough balls for later use. I give step-by-step instructions for the crust in the recipe below.
Burrata and Parmesan Cheeses
This is a white cheese pizza pie without the tomato-y traditional pizza sauce. Why burrata instead of mozzarella cheese? They’re both soft, creamy, and delicious. Burrata cheese actually is fresh mozzarella on the outside. Inside, however, is an extra soft and gooey mix of cream and cheese curds. Burrata has a rich, buttery flavor, which is no surprise since the Italian word burro means “butter.”
True, we’re making up for the low saturated fat and calories of the turkey with this decadent cheese. Burrata may not be a staple of a low cholesterol diet, but pizza night is a treat, and this recipe is worth the splurge!
Homemade Pesto Made with Fresh Basil
If you’re in a hurry, you can “cheat” and use store-bought pesto. But homemade pesto with fresh basil is so much better. If you grow basil in your garden, this is a perfect way to enjoy it. I’m including my walnut basil pesto recipe below the main turkey pizza recipe.
NOTE: You can freeze pesto for up to 6 months. Freeze pesto in ice cube trays, and then transfer the frozen pesto cubes into an airtight freezer bag. Use the cubes whenever you need them for pasta, sandwiches, soups, or pizzas.
Lemon Zest on Pizza? Yes!
Lemon peel, sesame seeds, and cumin may seem like surprising seasonings, but they add fresh, unique flavor to this turkey pizza. Feel free to add your own favorite toppings such as garlic and red onions.
Ultimate Homemade Pizza with Turkey Meatballs, Basil Pesto, and Burrata
- 4 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 3 tablespoons dry milk
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups ice water
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 cup cornmeal plus extra for dusting the pan
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- lemon zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup basil pesto
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- 16 turkey meatballs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated, for sprinkling
- bunch of fresh basil for topping (I like micro basil or lemon basil)
- red pepper flakes for serving
- In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse flour, sugar, yeast, dry milk, and baking powder until combined. With the food processor running, slowly add the ice water; process until dough is combined, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the oil to the dough for another 4 minutes. Add the salt and continue to process for another minute. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a counter and knead dough for about a minute; then form the dough into a very tight ball. Place dough in a large, oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours to 4 days.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F for an hour before baking. Dust the countertop with cornmeal. Divide the dough ball into two even pieces and form into tight balls; then dredge through cornmeal. Place the dough balls at least 4 inches apart and cover loosely for one hour or freeze dough balls for later use.
- Gently flatten one portion of the dough into a 10-inch disk. Leave the outer edge slightly thicker than the center of the disk. Transfer to a lightly greased and cornmeal dusted pizza pan or skillet.
- In a small bowl, combine sesame seeds, lemon peel, and cumin.
- Using the back of a ladle or spoon, spread 1/2 cup of basil sauce in a thin layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with burrata and meatballs. Break apart a few of the meatballs and sprinkle all over the dough. Brush olive oil on the outer edge of the pizza dough and sprinkle sesame seeds mixture over the top of the entire pizza. Bake on the bottom rack for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheeses are melted. Dollop with the remaining basil pesto. Top with the parmesan cheese and basil leaves, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.
Basil Walnut Pesto
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 3 large garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the walnuts and garlic until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper for about one minute. With the processor on medium speed, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and process for about a minute longer, or until everything is blended together. Use pesto immediately or store for a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on the top of the pesto and layer of plastic wrap touching the pesto over that.