Caramelized Onion Arugula Pizza

To simplify this recipe and cut down on preparation time, use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce and/or buy pre-made dough.

This caramelized onion arugula pizza is an excellent way to use up leftovers for an inexpensive dinner.

Tonight I’m volunteering at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation in Washington DC. I attended last year and it’s a great event for an important cause. Taste of the Nation will bring together the city’s best chefs, restaurants and mixologists to raise funds to help ensure no child goes hungry. When Nicole Gulotta from The Giving Table contacted me about donating today’s post to the issue of hunger in America it was a no-brainer. I worked with The Giving Table last year as part of Food Bloggers For Slave Free Tomatoes. We have a unique platform for addressing food-related issues and I think we have a responsibility to do what we can.

A new documentary called A Place at the Table was recently released by the creators of Food Inc. The movie follows three families struggling with food insecurity and sheds light on the problem of hunger in America. Here’s a synopsis from the official website:

“Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity…Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.”

While developing this recipe I tried to imagine shopping for a family on a tiny budget. Almost everything I normally purchase seemed unreasonable. I decided to focus on something I can almost always make based on ingredients in my kitchen; homemade pizza. It’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables and meat. I went with a caramelized onion arugula pizza because I wanted to use up leftovers but homemade pizza is a blank canvas. Really, the sky is the limit.

Print Pin Recipe

Caramelized Onion Arugula Pizza

To simplify this recipe and cut down on preparation time, use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce and/or buy pre-made dough.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 123
Author Jennifer Farley


Pizza dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pizza sauce:

  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

Additional ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 cup water
  • semolina flour for dusting
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • a handful of arugula or greens of your choice
  • crushed red pepper to taste


Prepare the pizza dough:

  • In a food processor, combine flour, yeast and sugar. With the machine running, add the warm water and allow the dough to come together for around 20-30 seconds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then add the olive oil, egg yolk and salt and run the machine for another 30 seconds. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to double in size. Divide the dough in half. If you're only making one pizza, wrap half the dough in plastic and refrigerate. Place one or both circles of dough back in the bowl, cover, and allow to rest while preparing the onions and sauce.

Prepare the caramelized onions and sauce:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Have a measuring cup full of water nearby. Cook the onions on low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown. Turn up the heat to medium and continue caramelizing the onions. As a glaze develops on the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up the brown bits, incorporating them into the onions. The heat will cause the water to evaporate. Repeat this process for approximately 25-30 minutes, keeping a close eye on the onions to make sure they don't burn. When the onions have turned a dark brown color and are both bitter and sweet in flavor, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • To prepare the sauce, puree tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic in a food processor.

Build the pizza:

  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Sprinkle some semolina flour on a large baking sheet. You can also use a pizza stone and peel if you prefer.
  • Stretch the pizza dough to approximately a 12 inch round and set it on the semolina dusted surface. Top with approximately 1/3 cup tomato sauce. Spread the tomato sauce evenly, leaving approximately an inch of space around the edge of the pizza to create a crust. Top with half the caramelized onions, a handful of arugula and then 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake the pizza for 13-15 minutes. Top with crushed red peppers to taste. Serve immediately.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 51mg | Vitamin A: 0.9% | Vitamin C: 1.3% | Calcium: 3.1% | Iron: 5.6%

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About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Posts may contain affiliate links. I am a participant in the rewardStyle and Amazon affiliate programs, which help support Savory Simple by providing me with a small commission fee when you shop through my links, at no additional cost to you.

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  • Wonderful message and good for you for getting involved! Very commendable & wonderful!
    And this pizza…that’s wonderful, too! Thanks for keeping it budget-friendly, too. As a mom, I can totally appreciate that as well!

  • Food poverty is such a problem here too and it’s one that the politicians seems so reluctant to engage with. Kudos to your for getting involved in such a good cause and coming up with such a great recipe.

  • Such a great cause, Jen – thanks for sharing with us. And this pizza looks pretty great too! Always can use a beautiful AND budget friendly recipe in my pocket!

  • I live in a pretty rural area with ZERO resources for this kind of thing. I’ve been working on a cooking class/food education project for residents here that receive food stamps and I am flying SOLO so it’s a little tricky. Seeing successful initiatives is so motivating and makes me feel more like it will all come together here sometime. Thank you!! This pizza is beautiful. Caramelized onions are the best!

  • Thanks for sharing about this cause – so worthy. As for the pizza, I am all in for anything involving caramelized onions, I can’t get enough of them!

  • Thank you for what you are doing to help out with this worthy cause, Jen…and thank you also for this fabulous pizza. Margarita pizza, and pizza with caramelized onions are my favorites – so thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Jen,
    Great post, and how wonderful that you’ll be helping out at the event.
    Your pizza looks delicious–and you’re inspiring me to try to photograph my pizzas in a different way.

  • How cool that you get to be a part of the event in D.C.! I’m so glad to see so many bloggers taking their place today. I’ll be bookmarking these recipes to make my own meals a little easier on the budget. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a wonderful recipe to contribute to the cause. Enjoy volunteering with Taste of the Nation today, Jen. Thank you for all that you’re doing to help eradicate hunger!

  • i have always wanted to go to a Taste of the Nation or similar event. It’s so nice to have a good time and help a good cause. I have also always wanted to make homemade pizza. It looks like such a great dinner.

  • This is such an amazing cause and it’s so great of you to attend the event as well as dedicate this post! I love homemade pizza and it really can be nutritious when you make it yourself! The caramelized onions are such a great topping.

  • Jen you are amazing. Seriously, such a beautiful thing you are doing and a wonderful cause. I love making homemade pizza. Caramelized onions are always a topped on mine. :)

  • What a fabulous cause and a great pizza too! I generally put my arugula on uncooked, but I love the idea of just tossing it all on and baking the pizza away.

  • This is a great cause Jen, and I’m glad you are participating. I work at our local food pantry, and the problem does grow each year. One of the biggest problems is that so few young adults seem to have any idea how to cook anymore. They are a couple generations removed from grandparents who grew and prepared all of their food from scratch [ I live in a very rural area], and in just that short time, they have completely lost those skills, and rely almost entirely on prepared food to feed their own kids. Worse yet is that they have no interest in learning how to do it better. Try to encourage them to take a package of dried beans, along with a simple recipe – no way. They go for the Spaghettios and beans and franks every time. I am not sure what the answer is, but I do know we have to keep trying.

    Sorry to run on – and that pizza looks fantastic! :)

  • We love to make pizza at home, too! I try to switch it up but like 9 times out of 10 I end up going back to my favorite (arugula/prosciutto). I think next time I will have to give this delectable-looking masterpiece a try!

  • I love the idea behind this pizza! Not only does it look drool-inducing amazing, but it’s got such a good message behind it. I think as food bloggers we often get too wrapped up in making our food look the fanciest that we forget how something simple and affordable can be the best meal of all. I’ve worked with the Giving Table too and I’m hoping to get more involved with hunger and poverty issues in D.C. Let me know if you hear of anymore volunteer opportunities in the area – I would love to join!

  • I love this! Pizza is a staple in our home because as you say it’s a blank canvas and a chance to use up leftovers, also very budget-friendly. I was wondering what I should make for dinner tonight and then I saw your post on facebook, so thanks for sharing :)