Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale | www.floatingkitchen.net

Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale

This is the only way I can accurately describe how cold it was here on Sunday. Are you ready. OK. Here it is.

Holy shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah. It was that bad. We had sub-zero temperatures for a good portion of the day and a nice little breeze to really seal the deal. Fun times.

So needless to say, I stayed inside most of the day. You know, because frostbite wasn’t on my “to-do” list for this weekend.

But homemade pizza was definitely (and is indefinitely!) on my to-do list.

Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale | www.floatingkitchen.net

A basic margarita pizza will probably forever be my favorite. But it’s fun to play with different flavor combinations every once in a while. I had some za’atar, which is a blend of herbs and spices frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking, that I need to use up. And that became the jumping off point that inspired this Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale. I love how all these unique pizza toppings come together to create something really fresh and flavorful. And it’s nice to take a little break from the more traditional tomato sauce base, too.

The crust recipe is one that I’ve used before, and it makes an appearance in my grilled lobster pizza. It’s a 5-minute, no-knead pizza crust recipe that results in something that isn’t quite a flatbread style, but also isn’t as chewy and “doughy” as a traditional pizza crust. It’s somewhere in the middle. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can substitute it for your favorite pizza dough recipe.



Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale

Serves about 4

Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale


  • For the Pizza Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. za’atar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • For the Toppings
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • About 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • About 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (reserve a few fronds)
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup loosely packed baby kale leaves (can substitute arugula)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. If you’re using a pizza stone, warm it in your oven as the oven pre-heats. If you’re using a baking sheet, dust it lightly with cornmeal and set it aside (no need to pre-heat it).
  2. Make the pizza dough. In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the flour, the yeast, sugar, salt and za’atar. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, warm the water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until the liquid reaches 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Then pour this warmed liquid over the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir until the flour is almost fully incorporated. The dough will be a little shaggy at this point. Dump the dough out onto a floured counter top and use your hands to bring the dough together, kneading it a couple times and shaping it into a ball. Then press the dough out into a circle until the dough is approximately 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Transfer the dough to your warmed pizza stone or baking sheet. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle the za’atar evenly over the surface of the dough. Top with the sliced red onions, fennel and lemon. Then drop spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese over the toppings. Transfer the pizza to your pre-heated oven and bake for 16-18 minutes, until the crust has started to brown around the edges. Remove the pizza from the oven and set it aside.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the kale and a few reserved fennel fronds with just enough olive oil and balsamic vinegar to lightly coat the leaves. Then add the greens to the top of the pizza. Slice and serve immediately.

31 comments on “Middle Eastern Pizza with Red Onion, Fennel, Lemon, Ricotta and Kale”

  1. How you described the cold weather is SPOT ON. We had that weather here on Saturday and besides for going to a brewery (obviously), I didn’t go outside at all. Give me some pizza and crank up the heat, I’m all about staying inside until April now 🙂

  2. Ummm yeah…we had that kind of Sunday also! Cah-ray-zee. Definitely ALL THE BUNDLING kind of weather…and even crazier is that it’s going to be in the 40s and 50s this week! This weather is WONKY.

    I totally agree that subzero temps are perfect pizza weather. Love that this has all my favorite Middle Eastern flavors!!

    • I totally thought of you when I was making it, Joanne! I know you’ll love it. And yes, the weather is so flipping weird this year. Ugh!

  3. Dude, that stinks!! Cold weather like that is super depressing so I am sending you warm weather vibes from Denver! Also, this pizza….gorgeous!

  4. Girl hoping you are staying warm!! It’s been in 40’s here sulk sulk!! I am so making this pizza coming weekend since all the flavors sound so good together!!

  5. I can’t think of a better way to warm up than with a delicious slice of pizza! And glass of red wine. 😉
    I’m loving the flavor combos in this. Fennel and lemon are so good together!

  6. Liz, it was freaking cold here too over the weekend. . I didn’t leave the house once. this pizza sounds and looks amazing!!!! I never really knew what za’atar was until now! 😛

    • Oh you definitely need to pick up some za’atar. I think you’ll love it. It’s so flavorful – it makes cooking easy! Stay warm, friend!

  7. It was cold here over the weekend too, but not nearly as cold as you guys! BRRRRRRR! Staying in and eating all the pizza was a fabulous idea! Especially when it was THIS pizza! Classic margarita is my go-to as well, but a girls gotta switch it up every other time, ya know? This middle eastern inspired pizza sounds and looks crazy delicious, Liz! So.Much.YUM! Cheers, my dear and stay warm!

  8. My favorite favorite FAVORITE pizza is from the place called blue ribbon and it has mozzarella, ricotta, lemon zest, basil, and red onion, and this reminds me a middle eastern version of it, which could only be DELICIOUS! I must try this ASAP.

  9. I echo your sentiments about the brutal cold. We bottomed out at -39 on Sunday morning. It’s inhumane!!!! 🙂 Love this pizza and a perfect thing to stay in and eat.

  10. It’s been too cold around here, too! But it’s supposed to be 54 on Friday, go figure! This is some wacky weather we’re having. And that makes me want to stay inside all day and eat pizza! This looks SO good, Liz! I love the fennel and ricotta on here. Such a delicious and creative dish!

  11. Welp. I don’t even know what to say about this., but let me give it a shot. This pizza is my new favorite thing. Period. I love the idea of this simple crust (which looks fantastic, btw) and these are some of my very favorite flavors! Also, I’m completely addicted to putting greens on pizza, because ya know, then it’s really just a salad, right? And salads are health food, thus pizza is health food. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Pinning!

    • I like your story very much! I’m kind of obsessed with greens on pizza too. It’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone, you know? Let me know when you try it!

  12. I love how your solution to the freezing af weather you’ve been having is to make pizza. That sounds like a really seriously good solution to me! Especially one with these toppings. Also, lobster pizza?! YES PLEASE, I’ll have both.

  13. It was ridiculously cold this weekend! And now today it’s 54ºF… seriously, climate change?? I love the meyer lemon and ricotta on this pizza- so yum, pinning!

  14. It’s been cold here, too, but it looks like a mini heatwave is coming my way for the weekend. This pizza is seriously amazing. These toppings are awesome – I never would’ve thought to include lemon – yum 🙂

  15. OMG….I would not have been able to deal with that!! In contrast, it’s been such a mild winter here! I was running errands in shorts just the other day!! So glad you made this lovely pizza to stay warm though!

  16. Pingback: The 15 Best Homemade Pizza Recipes | The Endless Meal

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