Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula & Baslamic Reduction {gf+v}

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Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8816

I struggled in my head for a while about whether I should call this a pizza or a flatbread.  I even turned to google in hopes of figuring out what the heck the difference between a pizza and a flatbread were and all I got was the reassurance that I am not the only person in the world that does not know the difference.  In fact, I couldn’t find one site that had a strict definition of either.

Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8755

I mostly found articles that talked about the type of dough that was used to make a flatbread, and since I did use pizza dough for this recipe (pizza dough recipe from Minimalist Baker, by far the best, and easiest, gluten free pizza I have ever had!), I finally just decided to call it a pizza.  Anyone out there know the rules on flatbread vs. pizza?  If so, I would love to hear your opinion! 

No matter what you call it, this recipe is delicious and it will be your new best friend.  Ever since I made my first batch of almond ricotta, I’ve been dreaming about making it again and adding a different flavor twist to it.  This time I added basil and roasted garlic and it was even better than my first batch.  

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This almond ricotta really does have a similar taste and texture to real ricotta and I don’t think you will be disappointed.  But you are also more than welcome to make this with real ricotta cheese and just blend in the garlic and basil.  

Pizza is definitely one of my weaknesses, and I really love experimenting with alternative toppings to put on it. 

Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8749

Roasted cherry tomatoes are pretty much my favorite thing ever right now so I had to include them.  They make for a really great alternative to tomato sauce.  I’m also the type of person that tends to pile their salad right on top of their pizza when I eat it, so I decided to take a shortcut and place the greens and dressing right on top of the pizza.

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 I promise that I won’t be complaining to you about the heat all summer, but maybe just one more time :)  I started this little blog this past December.  Our house is really built for desert living, which is great because in the summer it stays pretty cool and doesn’t allow for much sun to come in, but that also means that we don’t get a ton of natural light in the house, which = bad for photography.  For that reason, I take all of my photos for this blog outside.  I have a little table that I move around the yard depending on where the best light is.  Up until now, it has worked really great and I have finally learned where the best light is at all different times of the day.  The only problem now is that it is so hot outside that I start sweating after 5 minutes of being out there and god forbid I want to photograph a salad, it is wilted almost immediately.  Also, you wouldn’t think there would be mosquitoes in the desert since there is no water, but apparently we have a bunch here and unfortunately, they love me.

Since I’m talking about my photography studio, a.k.a my yard,  I thought it would be fun to share a behind the scenes food photo-shoot picture with you!

Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8795

As I said before, please feel free to use regular ricotta in this recipe if you would like, and just blend it up with the garlic and basil.  If you are in need of a roasted garlic recipe, check this one out!  But first, I should warn you that these photos were my first attempt to use indoor fluorescent photo lights and they were also before I knew what white balance was!

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Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula & Baslamic Reduction {gf+v}

  • Yield: 4 - 6
  • Category: Entree, Pizza, Gluten Free, Vegan


  • 1 serving of pizza dough
  • 2 cups almond ricotta cheese (recipe below) or regular ricotta cheese
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, about 8 – 10 cloves
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 cups arugula
  • balsamic reduction sauce (recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Almond Ricotta Recipe:

  • 2 cups blanched, or slivered, almonds, soaked in water for at least 6 hours
  • 1 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • Recipe: Drain the almonds and place them in the food processor with the water and salt and blend until creamy, a few minutes.

Balsamic Reduction Recipe:

  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • Recipe: add the vinegar to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, until mixture has reduced to half its size and has a thick consistency.


  1. Bake the pizza dough, according to directions, until it is cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. On a large sheet pan, lined with parchment paper, add the cherry tomatoes and drizzle them with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the cherry tomatoes for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft and starting to burst open.
  3. Place almond ricotta (if making almond ricotta you can add garlic and basil in with the almonds), or regular ricotta, into the food processor with the roasted garlic and basil and blend until all ingredients are combined. Add salt to taste.
  4. Spread the ricotta onto the baked pizza crust and top with cherry tomatoes, arugula, toasted pine nuts and drizzle with balsamic reduction sauce.


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Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8801

Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-8823

Basil & Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza with Arugula & Balsamic Reduction-9179

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    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks! I like the idea of “healthy” pizza, can then I don’t feel so bad when I eat a ton of it! You should try the almond ricotta, it is so good :)

  1. says

    Almond ricotta?! Wow, first time I’ve heard of that … got to try it! Might come in handy next time I’m running from shop to shop trying to find the dairy kind. As for whether this is a pizza or a flat bread, well, I think it’s whatever you say it is! (I had the same problem when trying to decide whether to call a recent recipe bruschetta or crostini!) Nice to see your photography config. I know what you mean about it being roasting hot outside for your photos. I had the same problem in Australia last year!

    • She Likes Food says

      Hi Helen! I’ve had that exact same predicament before, trying to figure out the difference between bruschetta and crostini! I think I always just go with crostini, unless tomatoes are involved, but really I have no idea what is correct. I was really surprised at how much I liked the almond ricotta, it definitely doesn’t take exactly like the real thing, but it is pretty darn close! I was outside sweating yesterday trying to get the perfect picture of some pasta, and it was not fun at all. At one point I had to come into the AC and drink some ice water because I was starting to feel dizzy, ha! The things we do for food :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Gayle! These ingredients do seem to go together pretty perfectly! And they are definitely perfect for the summer :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Thank you, Cate! I agree, I don’t care what it is called as long as I get to eat it! The almond ricotta really is so good, but you could always use regular ricotta and just add the yummy flavors to it, either way, I hope you love it :)

  2. says

    Flatbread or pizza…this looks delicious! I love that ricotta mixture. I need to make some of that soon. I could smear that on a piece of bread and be happy. I feel your pain with the mosquitos. They seem to love me too. There can be 10 people around and I will be the only one to get bitten. Why??!! Stay cool, friend ๐Ÿ˜€

    • She Likes Food says

      Thank you Cindy! The almond ricotta is so easy to make! I had a little extra and found myself dipping chips into it! I also like putting it on pasta. Why is it that mosquitos love us so much?! I sure don’t love them back :) I seem to always be the one getting bit too, I think that people like hanging out with me because I attract all the mosquitos and they stay away from them! I’ve heard that eating a lot of garlic helps, but I hate having garlic breath all the time! I will try my best to stay cool, thanks!

  3. says

    I just love the tabletop you’re photographing on! Did you make it? Or is it a great thrift store find? This pizza sounds delicious! I kiiiind of want to give the gluten free pizza dough a try : )

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Natalie! There is actually a funny story about that tabletop, I saw on Craigslist one day that these people had a junk pile of old wood that they were giving away for free, so I made my husband drive me there. I thought it was much closer, but it turned out to be on the other side of town, and not a very great side of town, and this tabletop was pretty much the only thing left, but it was attached to this huge metal frame. We drove all the way home with the back of his car open and this huge thing sticking out, but it is my favorite thing to photograph on, so it was all worth it! My husband might have a different view on it though :)

  4. says

    I think the word flatbread is used when people are tying to make something look more healthy, hehe.

    Love experimenting with toppings on pizza as well, cherry tomatoes and arugula, love those options!!! Plus, you can’t beat the pretty color. I grow arugula and never know what to do with it =)

    I love the almond ricotta, looks so good! Might have to add a bit of regular cheese as well to please the pickier eaters in my house though.

    • She Likes Food says

      I agree, Laura! It guess it does sound much healthier! I need to start growing arugula because I love it, especially for salads in the summertime and it makes the perfect pizza topping! I love it when I can cook something that not only tastes good, but also looks pretty! Cherry tomatoes make everything pretty!

      My husband can be pretty picky sometimes and doesn’t love the almond ricotta as much as I do. You can definitely make this with regular ricotta and even melt some more cheese on top. That would be delicious and I’m sure the picky eaters would love it :)

  5. says

    I think that pizza and flatbread and synonymous. It’s all semantics! I will happily eat this as a pizza or a flatbread! I like that you called it pizza though, because something about homemade pizza will never stop being impressive to me. I’ve never made it, but when I do, I’m following this recipe! We could always think of a name for it, like Platbread… or Fizza? So unappetizing hehe… I couldn’t believe this “behind the scenes” peek! You are such a true food blogger and food photographer! So neat to see how the lengths you go to get the perfect shot. I always love the rustic look of this table and I think it goes especially well with this pizza. And do I spy wine? Or is that balsamic reduction?… To be honest, I would drink both!

    And how are there mosquitos there?! Those must be some super-powered GMO mosquitos to survive in the dry heat! It’s been an unusually cool start to summer where I live and the “skitties,” as I call them, have been out in full force. I also got 2 black fly bites this weekend on my legs which now look like I’ve been hit by a baseball bat. I’ll bring a citronella candle and we can eat pizza and drink wine, skitty-free. I hope it’s okay that I just invited myself over for dinner :)

    What a fantastic recipe! Gluten-free and vegan? Witchcraft!!! I looooove arugula on pizza and all of those roasted veggie flavours would be so good. I need to try to make balsamic reduction. Usually when I cook vinegar it wafts up into my nose and then I choke for a few minutes -same with chili! I should learn, but I don’t :) I have been putting vinegar in/on everything I’m eating lately, and I think, since we’re the same person, you are too. It’s so good!

    This comment is too long… hehe woopsy :)

    PS. Hi Cheeto! So cute. My heart is melting like arugula on an Arizona pizza!

    • She Likes Food says

      I LOVE your long comment, like seriously love it so much!! I agree, I think it is semantics too and I don’t think that anything should be called a flatbread, because I’d much rather have pizza any day (even if they are the same thing)! Although, I love the idea of Platbread (I’m really laughing out loud at that!)! I found the wood that I used for the tabletop on Craigslist and made Eric drive me all the way across town to pick it up, and it wasn’t in the best neighborhood. It was attached to this huge metal frame and it barely fit in the car, but we finally got it home and I love it so much! Except that it was in a junkyard and pretty dirty, so if any of my food actually touches the wood, I make sure to wash it off really well before I eat it. I should probably just give it a good wash, but I guess I’m lazy!

      Eric says there is a wash behind our house, so that is why the skitties (love it!) hang around, but for some reason I seem to be the only person they bother! I hate those skitties! I got bit by a black fly once and it was so horrible. It got infected (probably TMI, but the doctor said it was probably eating on some cow manure before it bit me, gross!), and I could hardly walk for a few days, my leg was like 5 times the size it normally was. I pretty much hate all insects that bite! Please come for dinner and bring lots of citronella candles!!

      I was a little scared of the balsamic reduction too, it smelled up the entire house and I was worried that Cheeto wouldn’t be able to breath! My eyes were starting to water a little bit and I had to turn on the kitchen fan and open the window, but it was really good and I loved the thickness of it. I’ve been using the leftovers as salad dressing! We are definitely the same person! I’m watching our friend Ina right now and she is decorating dog cookies, it made me think of Murphy! “My heart is melting like arugula on an Arizona pizza!” That comment melts my heart :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Hi Kathy! Thank you so much! I hope you try it soon! You could also use regular ricotta and just blend in the basil and garlic. There is a long story behind that table top, but I’m so glad I have it, it is my favorite thing to photograph on :)

  6. says

    That ricotta looks amazing! I think the basil and roasted garlic is a must.

    Also, I have to commend you for doing such a great job with your photography in such difficult conditions. Shooting in outdoor light can be really rough then the heat+misquitoes? Ugh. That’s not easy!

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Sarah! Yes, basil and roasted garlic are both musts, especially when it comes to pizza!

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Sometimes I wish I could just cut a huge window in one of the walls, it seems like photographing inside would be much easier (and more comfortable!) and it would allow me to learn more about lighting, which is definitely something I struggle with sometimes. Heat+mosquitos= no fun, but I’m hoping it helps to toughen me up :)

  7. says

    Sorry about the heat! The one thing my family agrees on is that none of us will ever move south. I think I would wilt, never mind the lettuce :) Love the behind the scenes look, I’m always curious where other people are taking their pics. Everything looks amazing, loving those beautiful cherry tomatoes. I’ve never heard of almond ricotta, that sounds delicious!

    • She Likes Food says

      Hi Sherri! I thought I should be used to the heat by now, but I guess not! My husband loves the desert, so I guess I am stuck here until he changes his mind. I was just outside watering the garden and I felt pretty wilted myself by the time I was finished :) The almond ricotta is so easy to make and really does taste great! It would also taste pretty good with regular ricotta too!

  8. says

    Pizza, flatbread, either way I want to eat this! haha It looks so so good – and I really want to try that almond ricotta! And balsamic reduction is one of my favorite things ever …. so yeah. This will have to happen soon!

    • She Likes Food says

      Me too! Whatever it is, just give it to me! The almond ricotta is so good and really does taste pretty close to the original. Balsamic reduction is my new favorite thing! I made a bunch extra and have been putting it on everything! I hope you enjoy it :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Thank you so much, Rachel!! This pizza is perfect for the summer, but I could probably eat it all the time too :) I hope you really enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. says

    Wow, this looks amazing! I especially like how you used basil. That is one of my favorite ingredients! I recently had pizza with arugula for the first time and really loved it! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’m definitely pinning this!

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Polly! Basil is one of my favorite ingredients too! I think I could put it on everything! Arugula on top of pizza makes it so much more light and refreshing tasting, it is my new favorite way to eat pizza! Thanks for pinning :)

  10. says

    My problem with this recipe is that I would eat all the components separately as I were making the recipe……. Thus, I wouldn’t be able to put it all together because I ate everything already! LOL!

    • She Likes Food says

      Haha! I was kicking myself for not making more roasted cherry tomatoes and it took all my self control not to eat them all before they made it to the pizza! I also had to do a bunch of “test tasting” to the almond ricotta before I could use it, you know, just to make extra sure it was good :)

  11. says

    I’ve wondered for the longest time the difference between flatbread and pizza and I tend to use the terms interchangeably, too! Your almond ricotta sounds so amazing! I’m totally up for trying it! And I must also action the gf pizza crust recipe from the Minimalist Baker! This whole pizza is screaming my name!

    • She Likes Food says

      No matter what they are called, pizza or flatbread, I want to eat them all!! My husband wasn’t so convinced, but I really do think that the almond ricotta tastes so close to the real stuff and its fun to make! I hope you love this pizza if you try it :)

  12. says

    This looks awesome!! I love pizzas with salad on top! And right now I have way too many cherry tomatoes coming out of my garden, so this is perfect. I think I’ve said it before, but I love love love your kitty. :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Me too! My salad always ends up right on top of my pizza! I’m jealous of your cherry tomatoes! Mine are just starting to turn red, but there aren’t very many of them. Thanks! He really is the best cat :)

  13. says

    Wow, this pizza looks phenomenal! Roasted cherry tomatoes are one of my very favorite ingredients. I’ve never been a fan of ricotta (so flavorless!) but I bet I would love your almond version. Looks like an all-around delicious meal!

    • She Likes Food says

      Hi Kate! I agree, ricotta is pretty flavorless, but this one is so good! I just discovered roasted cherry tomatoes a few months ago and I’ve been putting them on everything, they are one of my favorites too! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  14. says

    This pizza has my name written all over it. I LOVE veggie-filled pizzas just like this one. Oh, and I’m kind of obsessing over how amazing that almond ricotta looks. What a fresh and tasty summer pizza, Isadora! (loved your behind the scenes shot too!) Pinned.

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Sarah! I also really love veggie filled pizzas, they are pretty much the best kind! The almond ricotta is so good! But if you have picky family members (i.e. younger siblings, lol) regular ricotta would also work really well with this pizza. I’ll definitely be making more of these as the summer gets hotter and hotter :) Thanks for pinning!

  15. says

    This pizza/ flatbread looks totally delicious! Love the almond ricotta cheese spread idea. And the balsamic reduction is also a nice touch!

    I don’t get a lot of natural light in my place either…always a challenge to get that perfect picture! I have one nice window that works well in the late afternoon- and then a few outdoor spots I settle for. Your pictures look really great!

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Sarah! I’ve decided that balsamic reduction makes everything taste better! Isn’t it so annoying when you are running around, trying to find the best place and time to take your photos?! If we ever move again, I’m gonna make sure we have at least one huge window! Thank you for the nice compliment :)

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks Alanna!! When I first started the blog, I would always include a photo of Cheeto at the end and once when I forgot, my sister got onto me, so now I always have to include one, haha! Cheeto is becoming quite a ham for the camera!


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