This easy spicy sausage pizza is perfect for pizza night! Use homemade pizza dough and sauce or grab pre-made versions at the store to save time. Topped with a quick lemon arugula salad. Ready in 30 minutes!
We're suckers for easy weeknight pizza recipes, and this arugula sausage pizza might just be our favorite pizza of all time. It's ultra-simple, easy to customize, and a perfect balance between a classic spicy sausage pizza recipe and an elegant, grown-up dinner.
Make the entire thing from scratch with your favorite homemade pizza dough and a classic pizza sauce, or grab a pre-made sauce and crust at the store to keep things simple!
A Few Notes on Ingredients
This is a very loose recipe, but we want to point out a few things before you get started:
- What pizza dough should I use? Whip up a batch of your favorite pizza dough (try our cozy whole wheat pizza dough or our fast homemade pizza dough!) or grab some pre-made dough at the store to save time.
- Cook the sausage before you assemble the pizza. We like to cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Some grocery stores also have pre-cooked Italian sausage pieces for pizza in their prepared foods section!
- Dress the arugula for extra flavor. We like to toss the peppery arugula with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil (along with a sprinkle of salt!) This quick dressing lends some brightness and complexity to our pizza, but it's optional: If you're short on time, skip the dressing and just throw plain ol' arugula on the pizza.
For a full list of ingredients and exact amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below.
Riffs and Substitutions
- Add extra toppings. Mushrooms, onions (bonus points for caramelized onions!), garlic, chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes, and black olives are all good on this pizza!
- Swap the arugula for spinach, mixed greens, or some massaged kale.
- Mix up the protein. We love the heat of a spicy Italian sausage pizza, but this pizza is also great with cooked chorizo, bacon (like our corn and bacon pizza!), meal prepped shredded chicken, or leftover meatballs.
- Switch up the cheeses. Swap some or all of the shredded mozzarella here for fresh mozzarella cheese, parmesan, asiago cheese, gruyere, white cheddar, or havarti.
- Optional additions: Drizzle this finished pizza with a bit of balsamic reduction or hot honey for extra flavor. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes, some fresh basil, or a handful of grated parmesan cheese!
How to make this pizza
- Stretch your pizza dough out into a large circle (we like to do this right on a piece of parchment paper to make it easy to slide in and out of the oven!)
- Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the dough.
- Top that with a few generous handfuls of shredded mozzarella.
- Add your cooked sausage, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Once your pizza is assembled, slide it onto your hot baking steel and bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly!
Add the arugula topping
When the pizza is done and you're ready to eat, toss a few handfuls of fresh arugula with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Top the pizza with the dressed arugula, then slice and serve!
When to put arugula on pizza
Arugula is fairly delicate - if you cook pizza with arugula already on it, the greens will shrivel up and lose their crisp texture and bright, bitter flavor. That's why we recommend you add arugula to your pizza after the pizza is baked. Bake the pizza on its own, then top it with arugula once it's out of the oven.
Pro Tip: If you're tossing the arugula with lemon and olive oil, don't dress it until right before you eat: It will wilt if it sits in the dressing too long. Toss everything together at the last possible minute to ensure your arugula stays crisp!
The Best Way to Bake Homemade Pizza
We love using a baking steel or pizza stone for a light, crispy, flavorful pizza crust. For best results, preheat your oven and baking steel for at least 30 minutes (but preferably 60 minutes!) to ensure the surface is nice and hot!
How to Use a Baking Steel
- Lay a piece of parchment paper over a cutting board or flat baking sheet, then press your pizza dough into shape on top of the paper.
- Add your toppings, then use the cutting board to slide your pizza and the parchment onto your hot baking steel (just like you would use a pizza peel!) Note: Don't let a plastic cutting board touch your hot baking steel, or it can melt!
- When pizza is cooked to your liking, use tongs to carefully pull it out of the oven directly onto a cooling rack or cutting board.
This method can take a bit of practice, but it's worth it for that ultra-crispy crust!
A Few FAQs
We like using a baking steel or pizza stone! Preheat your oven and baking steel for 30-60 minutes before baking, then use a pizza peel (or a cutting board or flat baking sheet) to carefully transfer your prepared pizza to the hot stone (we like using a piece of parchment paper to make it easier to slide the pizza around). When pizza is ready, use tongs to carefully pull it out of the oven and onto a cooling rack or cutting board.
Yes! If you want to mimic the crispy crust you get with a pizza stone, you can put a sturdy sheet pan - one that you know doesn't warp in high heat - into the oven (if it has edges, turn it upside-down so it's easier to slide the pizza on) to preheat for 30 minutes or so, then slide your pizza onto the hot baking sheet. You can also make this recipe into a pan pizza: just press the dough into shape right on a baking sheet or pizza pan, add toppings, and bake!
We usually buy Hot Italian Sausage to use on pizza, but you can pick whatever spice level you want! It usually comes in mild and spicy/hot varieties, so you can use whichever version you prefer. Italian Sausage is sold as ground meat or in link form. If you get sausage links, you can cook the whole sausages and slice them into round sausage pieces, or you can remove the sausage from the casings and cook it on the stovetop. We always recommend cooking your sausage before using it as a pizza topping.
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This spicy sausage arugula pizza is ready in no time!
For the pizza:
- ½ pound hot Italian sausage
- 1 batch of your favorite homemade pizza dough
- ½ cup pizza sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
For the arugula topping:
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt to taste
- Cook the Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to break it up into small chunks. Drain excess grease and set the cooked sausage aside.
- If you're making your own pizza dough or pizza sauce, finish those up before continuing!
Make the pizza
- Heat oven to 500° Fahrenheit with a baking steel or pizza stone inside. For best results, let the oven heat at least 30-60 minutes so the steel can get nice and hot.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper over a large cutting board. Stretch out your pizza dough and lay it on the parchment (this will make it easier to slide the pizza in and out of the oven!)
- Spread pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a thin border of crust along the edges. Top with mozzarella cheese, cooked Italian sausage, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Use your cutting board as a pizza peel to gently slide the pizza (still on the parchment paper!) onto the hot baking steel. Be careful not to let the cutting board touch the hot baking steel. Bake 10-15 minutes until the crust is browned and cheese is bubbling. Note: The exact bake time will vary based on your oven, equipment, and dough: check on the pizza every few minutes and pull it out of the oven as soon as it looks done!
- Use a pair of tongs to gently pull the finished pizza out of the oven and back onto your cutting board. Transfer pizza to a wire cooling rack for 5-10 minutes (this helps the crust stay crispy!)
Top with arugula and serve
- In a small mixing bowl, toss arugula together with lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
- Move pizza to the cutting board, top with dressed arugula, then slice and serve immediately.
Additions and substitutions. Use store-bought shredded mozzarella or slice your own fresh mozzarella for this recipe. Swap some or all of the mozzarella cheese for white cheddar, gruyere, havarti, parmesan, or asiago cheese. Use spinach, spring mix, or kale instead of arugula. Swap the Italian sausage for cooked chorizo, bacon, chicken, or beef/meatballs. Add extra pizza toppings (onions, mushrooms, garlic) if you like.
Do I have to heat my oven to 500° F? Nope - you can absolutely use a lower oven temperature if you prefer! We find that the high temperature yields the best crust, but we've also baked this pizza at 450°F and 475°F with great results: just make sure you give your baking steel or pizza stone plenty of time to heat up (ideally 30 minutes to an hour) and extend the cooking time if you need to.
Can I bake this pizza without a baking stone or pizza steel? Yes! If you have a sturdy sheet pan - one that doesn't warp in high heat - you can use that in place of a pizza stone (if your sheet pan has edges, turn it upside down in the oven to make it easier to slide the pizza on and off). Pop the sheet pan in the oven while it heats, but it doesn't need to preheat as long as a baking steel does. You can also make this recipe as a pan pizza - just press the dough into a pan, top, and bake!
- Serving Size: 2 slices
- Calories: 560
- Sugar: 4.7 g
- Sodium: 747.8 mg
- Fat: 17.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 69.5 g
- Protein: 30.4 g
- Cholesterol: 20.9 mg
Keywords: pizza, sausage, comfort food