Vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular, with more people choosing to avoid animal products for ethical, environmental or health reasons. For vegans, finding delicious foods to eat that fit their diet can present challenges. Pizza night with friends or a slice from your favorite pizza place are common activities that suddenly require special consideration. Thankfully, there are many tasty vegan pizza options available! With thoughtfully chosen substitutions for cheese and meat toppings, vegans can enjoy pizza just like anyone else. In this article, we’ll explore the various kinds of vegan pizza available and provide tips for creating your own vegan pies at home. Get ready to satisfy your pizza craving the vegan way!
Cheese Substitutes for Vegan Pizza
Traditional pizza recipes rely heavily on cheese for texture, flavor and stretchiness. Vegan cheeses provide an essential replacement for the real deal. There are several options to consider:
|Nut-based cheeses||Made from cashews, almonds or other nuts blended with water, oil, and flavorings. Provides creamy texture.|
|Tofu-based cheeses||Silken tofu pureed with miso or nutritional yeast for savory flavor.|
|Vegetable-based cheeses||Shredded carrots or sweet potatoes mimic stringy texture. Often enhanced with spices.|
|Non-dairy milks||Soy or coconut milk thickeners like agar or tapioca starch provide stretch.|
Popular brands of vegan cheese include Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Miyoko’s, and Violife. There are also many recipes for making your own plant-based cheese at home. Get creative mixing and matching textures and flavors!
In place of traditional pepperoni, sausage, chicken or other meat pizza toppings, vegans can pile on a delicious medley of vegetarian proteins and veggies. Exciting options include:
|Tofu||Marinated and baked tofu cubes or crumbles|
|Tempeh||Sliced or chopped fermented soy|
|Seitan||Wheat-based protein formed into “meaty” textures|
|Beans||Kidney, black, or pinto beans boost nutrition|
|Lentils||Spiced red or brown lentils add fiber and protein|
|Veggie crumbles||Soy- or grain-based sausage substitutes|
Mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, caramelized onions, olives, pineapple, and just about any vegetable can be added to vegan pizza as toppings. Herbs and spices like basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, and smoked paprika amp up the flavors.
Vegan Pizza Crusts
Perhaps the most challenging part of veganizing pizza is finding a good crust, as traditional dough contains milk and cheese ingredients. Thankfully, there are easy substitutes. Options include:
|Vegan Pizza Crust||Description|
|Whole wheat dough||Replace white flour with nutritious whole wheat or other grains.|
|Cauliflower crust||Shredded cauliflower baked into a gluten-free crust.|
|Nut and seed crust||Almond meal, sunflower seeds, and flax form a sturdy base.|
|Polenta crust||Creamy cornmeal layered in a pizza pan and baked.|
|Butternut squash||Thinly sliced squash takes the place of dough.|
For traditional pizza dough, simply replace the milk with plant-based milk and hold the cheese. Olive oil and garlic add rich flavor. Pre-made vegan pizza crusts and doughs are also available to simplify the process.
One approach to vegan pizza is to start with a blank canvas of white pizza made without tomato sauce. Olive oil, garlic, and creative toppings take center stage. Some tasty combinations include:
|Vegan White Pizza Inspiration||Ingredients|
|Brussels sprouts and apple||Sliced Brussels sprouts, shredded apple, vegan cheese, balsamic glaze|
|Roasted veggie||Eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, pesto sauce, nut cheese|
|Caramelized onion and spinach||Sautéed onions, garlic, spinach, mushroom, vegan mozzarella|
|BBQ chickpea||Barbecue-sauced chickpeas, red onion, fresh cilantro|
Experiment with produce like arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, potatoes, kale – the possibilities are endless!
For vegan pizzas with traditional vibrant red tomato sauce, the challenge is replicating the tangy, rich flavor of the restaurant or frozen classics. Some hacks include adding a spoonful of apple cider vinegar or sugar to homemade sauce. Sauteeing garlic and herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme boosts depth. Tomato paste is handy for thickening the sauce. Get creative with fun toppings on red pizza:
|Vegan Red Pizza Inspiration||Ingredients|
|Hawaiian||Pineapple, smoked tofu, red onion, vegan cheese|
|Buffalo tempeh||Marinated tempeh, buffalo hot sauce, ranch dressing|
|Rosemary potato||Sliced potatoes, rosemary, olive oil, nut parmesan|
|Carrot bacon||Roasted spiced carrot “bacon”, bell peppers, vegan cheese|
There are no limits on vegetarian proteins and produce that can be piled onto red pizza. Get hungry yet?
Vegan Frozen Pizza
For a quick and easy pizza fix, try baking up a frozen vegan pizza. Major brands now offer plant-based pies, or you can often find them at health food stores. Some popular options include:
|Vegan Frozen Pizza Brand||Highlights|
|Amy’s Kitchen||Organic ingredients, gluten-free crust available|
|Daiya||Loaded with stretchy dairy-free cheese|
|Screaming Vegan||Hand-tossed thin crust style|
|Urban Pie Pizza Co.||Unique global flavors like Thai curry and Greek gyros|
Read labels carefully to verify vegan status, as some frozen pizzas contain hidden milk or egg ingredients like whey protein or egg wash.
Tips for Perfect Vegan Pizza
To take your homemade vegan pizzas to the next level, incorporate these simple tips:
– Preheat pizza stone or steel: Creates crispier crust
– Brush crust with olive oil: Adds flavor and browning
– Partially bake crust first: Prevents soggy center
– Spread sauce thin and even: Avoids pooling in center
– Add cheese last: Prevents burning
– Finish with fresh herbs: Provides brightness
With the right strategies and a creativity, vegan pizzas can be just as amazing as the traditional versions. Throw on an apron and get rolling out that dough!
Vegans don’t have to miss out on pizza night. With the array of dairy and meat substitutes available, the possible flavor combinations are endless. Home cooks can get creative with ingredients like nut cheeses, veggie proteins, cauliflower crust, and vibrant herb and veggie toppings. There are also convenient store-bought options like vegan frozen pizza. Topping vegan pizza with favorites like pineapple, potato, eggplant, or barbecue chickpeas results in a meal that is compassionate, healthful, and irresistibly delicious. Pizza night can stay on the menu for vegans and non-vegans alike!