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Healthy Homemade Greek Ladenia vs Italian Pizza

Did you know that in Greece we have our own pizza which is called Ladenia (Λαδένια), meaning olive oil bread.  This is a vegan pizza and is a speciality from the island of Kimolos.  I saw this recipe a couple of years ago on Elias Mamalakis T.V. show, a famous Greek T.V. persona.  The main ingredients of this pizza is bread dough, tomatoes and onions, which are sprinkled with salt, pepper and oregano, as well as some olive oil on top.

I have made my own twist to Ladenia.  During the period of fasting, when no meat or dairy products are allowed, this makes a delicious meal, especially in the evening.   When fasting lasts 49 days, you cannot eat only tomatoes and onions every night.  To make it different, sometimes I add Marinara Sauce and some times Pesto (without the cheese) on the dough, depending on what I have at home.

The ingredients I add on top are all vegan and these also depend on what seasonal vegetables I have at the time.   Some of the ingredients used are olives, mushrooms, pickled spicy peppers, bell peppers, artichokes, grilled courgettes and eggplants and of course lots of onions and tomatoes.

Vegan pizza with eliopita

Vegan Pizza with Pesto (no cheese in the pesto)

Both pizzas are not only delicious but very healthy as well.

Pizza cut1

My twist on Ladenia, a Greek Vegan Pizza

For a large baking tin 33 x 40 cm


  • Pizza Dough (see recipe here)
  • Marinara Sauce (see recipe here)

Topping for one large pizza:

  • 5 button mushrooms
  • 2 pickled spicy peppers, deseeded
  • 2 artichokes, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup bell peppers, any colours you prefer
  • 1/2 cup olives, pitted
  • 2  grilled courgettes or eggplants
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 200oC / 400o F
  2. Brush the baking tin with olive oil. Roll out the dough and transfer to baking tin.  Press the dough with your fingers to stretch the dough and cover the tin.
  3. Spread a thin layer of Marinara sauce or Pesto.
  4. Begin with the onions, add remaining ingredients and finish with tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper and with remaining olive oil on top.
  6. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and bake pizza for about 30 minutes or until the crust is browned.

collage Rome for blog 1

During our recent trip to Rome, I was really curious to try an original Italian Pizza  but I must say I was rather disappointed.    Unfortunately we did not have the luxury of time to try everything we wanted, as after walking for hours and hours every day, when it was lunch time and were feeling really tired and wanted to rest for a while, we stopped to rest and eat.

One day we stopped at a caffè  where they served pizzas, panini and other quick snacks.  The caffè looked very inviting, so we decided to go with a pizza, a salad and a glass of wine for each of us.

As it proved the pizza was pre-baked with some sauce and then a few ingredients were tossed on top and warmed up for a few minutes.  The salad (just enough for one person) was even worse:  just some lettuce, tomato, cooked corn and a few pieces of tuna was the special salad which cost 8 Euros.

Okay, okay, don’t shoot me!!!  I knew that that could not be real pizza, so one of the evenings when we went out we decided to eat pizza again, this time at a real Italian Pizza restaurant.  I don’t remember the name of the pizza but the sauce was delicious and it was topped with artichokes, red bell peppers, black olives, feta and mozarella cheese.  It was fantastic.

My friend Natalia took as to a delicatessen shop selling all kinds of cheeses and hams, salamis, prosciutto etc.

There was a great variety and although I wanted to buy a little bit of everything, I selected those I wanted to try the most:  Gorgonzola, Caccio, formaggio al pepperoncino (a cheese with cow’s milk and peppers) and of course buffalo mozarella.

When we came back I wanted to use some of the Italian cheeses we brought, so one use was in Pizza.   It was delicious, having a taste of gorgonzola here or a spicy cheese in another bite.

Homemade Pizza with Mozarella, Prosciutto and other Italian Cheeses

Makes: 2 pizzas, 30 cm. pizza baking tin


  • Pizza Dough (see recipe here)
  • Marinara Sauce (see recipe here)


  • 8 slices prosciutto di Parma, chopped in bite size pieces
  • 2 buffalo mozzarellas, cut into 12 slices each
  • Half a cup caccio, grated
  • Half a cup formaggio al pepperoncino, grated
  • Half a cup gorgonzola
  • 1 cup ricotta


  1. Preheat oven to 200oC / 400o F.
  2. Brush two 30 cm pizza baking tins with olive oil. Divide dough into two equal parts and then form two balls.Roll out dough and transfer to tins.
  3. Spread a thin layer of Marinara sauce.
  4. Scatter mozzarella and prosiutto on top of the sauce.
  5. Combine the remaining cheeses together and add a teaspoon here and there.
  6. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and bake each pizza separately, for about 30 minutes or until the crust is browned.  (If you like you can bake both using the air).

My husband and children don’t fast the whole period but just for a week, so  I usually increase the dough dose and make two large baking tins.  Two of my children don’t like eating vegetables so I make one with ham or turkey or bacon and lots of cheese on top.  Any leftovers disappear in the morning 🙂

I love pizzas with pesto more than with tomato sauce.

I topped the pizza dough with pesto and add my favorite ingredients.

In this pizza I used Mint Pesto, smoked turkey, gouda cheese and feta , bell peppers, tomato, onion, oregano and mozzarella on top.


Pitsa with Pesto

Leftovers are perfect for breakfast or brunch the next day!

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.


Other related Recipes:

Homemade Pizza Dough

Savoury and Sweet Pizza Rolls and Pizza Bread


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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26 Responses

  1. Wow, I'm going to try Ladenia as soon as fresh tomatoes are coming out of my garden again!

    (Looks like it could also be adapted to winter veggies like arugula, chard, broccoli, broccolini and kale – and of course dried tomatoes soaked and softened would work in the winter & give a better flavor than grocery store tomatoes.)

    Pizza in Italy is as varied as it can be – in Tuscany it's served on very thin crust with very little sauce and light on the cheese too (although really tasty cheese are used). In Naples – quite the different experience, more crust, sauce and cheese. But also heavenly.

    One of the best pizzas I ever had in Italy was at a restaurant high up on a hill above the tiny village of Fighille, between Sansepulcro and Citerna. Definitely off the beaten tourist path; we were the only non-locals in the place, it seemed. The restaurant was called "Isola che non c'è" and served thin-crusted, wood-fired pizza that was out of this world!

    • Thanks Kathy for passing by. I am very glad to meet you and hope to see you again. You are so lucky to have your own garden. Sun dried tomatoes would work just fine for the pizza and some of the vegetables as well. In Greece we have tomatoes year round as they grow in greenhouses during the winter, and not as expensive as one would expect. Sometimes they are even cheaper than in summer. Thanks for all the information about Italy and hope to visit again.

  2. Your pizza looks fantastic! 🙂

  3. maria yorgakopoulou

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you Ivy for being so thoughtful again. The vegan pizza seems great- when we had the pizzaria, I would make such pizzas. Today is the Feast Day of Agios Nikon, patron saint of Sparti, so it is a bit of a holiday- I sat in the Oinokrates Cafe, a lovely neoclassical home, with a sandwich with home made bread, cheese as a concession for the feast- Rome seems so lovely, great bring back the chesses. Hronia Polla.

    • Hronia Polla Maria mou gia ti simerini mera.

  4. Rome, much like Athens can offer one the best and the worst in food. One has to find the non-tourist eateries and I'm glad you found your way.

    Pizza is always welcomed in our home and the palette is wide-open!

  5. I can relate to what you said about eating in Italy. I only ate well in Italy when I was with Italian friends who knew where to go.
    I will go for the pizza with olive oil but the combo of cheeses is yummy and rich too!

  6. wow ,ivy,all images are so beautiful!i'm drolling!wonderful pizza!

  7. These both look gorgeous, Ivy! I had no idea that dairy wasn't allowed during Greek lent. Is fish allowed, or no? In the U.S., dairy and fish are allowed – just no meat. Although nowadays, I think many Catholics will choose other things to give up, but I'm not entirely sure.

    • Thanks Jen. Fish is not allowed. During the Easter Lent, fish is allowed on two specific Sundays only. Seafood, such as octopus, kalamari, shrimps, lobster etc. are allowed.

  8. Your posts make me hungry as usual. Haven't had Pizza in a while…

  9. Everything look mouthwatering and fabulous! What gorgeous products!



  10. C'est toujours un plaisir de manger une bonne pizza qu'elle soit italienne ou grecque. Les tiennes sont magnifiques.

  11. This looks delicious Ivy, and isn’t Natalia a darling for showing you around Rome.

  12. Delightful and delicious Ivy! The twist on the ladenia is brilliant, using available vegan ingredients. I'd be happy with any of these! Thanks for sharing!

  13. That's a mouthwatering pizza! Homemade pizza is always better!

  14. I'll take either of them or maybe even both! They look absolutely delicious.

  15. Wow! wow! and Wow! They look fantastic! I am a huge fan of pizza, delicious!

  16. I like both versions you prepared the proscuitto with cheese — and the vegan which I guess I would call foccacia.

  17. Ivy, this looks delicious!! Ladenia is one of my favorites. I mean, I love ANYTHING that has cheese or cured meat on it, but there's something to be said for the simplicity of homemade dough laden with rich roasted vegetables. I think I would be useless when it came to Lent, but this is a recipe that I would totally dig eating again and again!

  18. lissie

    Pizzas look so tempting! You are so creative, Ivy… 🙂

  19. It's dinner time and all of a sudden the menu I had prepared is no longer good after seeing your pizza!!!

    How interesting about Ladenia… We have the same thing here in Catalonia (made with olive oil) and it's called coca de recapte.

  20. I had done the Ladenia from Peter's blog and we fell in love with it immediately.. fresh tomatoes, warm olive oil is heaven!

  21. I will have to try this Ladenia … and also topping pizza with grilled eggplant … I never tried that … but I must now!

  22. Hi Ivy,

    What a great gem of a blog. You've really got the pizza fanaticism flowing though your veins!

    These are some fabulous recipes, and that comes from a guy who makes pizzas day and night. I live in Athens too, but this is Athens Ohio. Please check out my pizza blog at pizzagoon.com.

    Have you ever been to the World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore Italy? You should because I think you would win!

    Thank you Ivy!
    John Gutekanst
    Avalanche Pizza
    Athens, Ohio

  23. Hi Ivy,

    What a great site! You really are a great pizza maker and I love your recipes!

    I live in Athens too…Athens, Ohio that is. I've make pizzas every day and night and you recipes are spectacular and informative.

    Have you ever been to the World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore, Italy? You should go because I think you would totally win!

    Take care
    John Gutekanst
    Avalanche Pizza