One of the biggest myths about being on a vegan journey is that you have to "give up" all of your favorite meals.
This simply isn't true. Pizza is a perfect example of this!
It will probably take you a few times of eating pizza without cheese (or eating it with vegan cheese) to get used to the difference.
But vegan pizza is different in a great way. You will learn to appreciate pizza more for amazing crust, sauce, and simple fresh vegetables.
In this post, I will break down:
- What ingredients to avoid to make your pizza vegan
- How you can enjoy vegan pizza while dining out
- How to make your own homemade pizza
- How to baby step your way to vegan pizza - It doesn't have to be all or nothing to get started!
What ingredients to look out for
Just to be clear, vegans don't consume any animals or animal byproducts (dairy, eggs, honey, etc.), so most of these ingredients are already on a conventional slice of pizza.
Cheese is the most obvious ingredient that we want to avoid, but there's also a chance that your favorite pizza sauce contains milk and that the pizza crust contains eggs and/or dairy.
The good is news is, a lot of pizza dough/crust is naturally vegan since it's usually just made from flour, yeast and water.
Pizza sauce is also usually vegan - made from pureed tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices.
You just want to always look at the list of ingredients and/or ask your server for assistance.
How to order vegan pizza while dining out
Since so many people have dairy and egg allergies, most places do a great job of labeling all the ingredients in each dish.
Even if you don't see any obvious vegan options on the menu, you can easily make a few simple requests with your server to ensure that your pizza is vegan. Ask him/her to skip the cheese entirely and ask specific questions like, "Is there dairy/milk in the pizza sauce?" "Is there eggs or dairy in the pizza dough?" Don't say, "Is the pizza sauce vegan?" because your server may not be sure what a vegan is. Afterwards, ask for extra sauce and additional vegetables of your choice.
Major pizza chains with vegan options
If you're eating at a place not mentioned below, check the company's website or call ahead to find out how you can order your pizza vegan.
- Papa John's - Their original hand tossed pizza and sauce is vegan and so is their garlic dipping sauce.
- Pizza Hut - Their "Thin N Crispy" & "Hand Tossed" crusts are vegan and so is the pizza sauce.
- Dominos - Their thin crust pizza (not the other ones) is vegan and so is their sauce. Also, their Garlic Dipping Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Kicker Hot Sauce, and Sweet Mango Habanero Sauce are all vegan.
- Little Caesars - Their regular crust and sauce are both vegan
- Cici's Pizza - Both the crust and sauce are vegan
How to make your own vegan pizza right at home
Make your pizza as normal, but be sure to check ingredients for store-bought items to ensure there's no dairy, meat, eggs, etc.
Vegan cheese has come a long way since I started my own vegan journey in 2010. Don't go into this expecting it to taste exactly like dairy cheese but there are some great substitutes out there. Also, a little bit of vegan cheese goes a long way, so don't feel like you have to pile it up like traditional cheese.
Pizza sauce (so many options out there-this is just a few): Rustic Crust pizza sauce, Classico tomato and basil spaghetti sauce and Ragú Homemade Style Pizza Sauce
Major brands of pizza dough/crust: (you can also use pita bread or tortilla) Trader Joe's pizza dough (in the refrigerated section), Rustic Crust Organic Pizza Originale (towards the bottom of the list on that link) and check out your store-brand option.
Possible toppings: Red onion, bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, fresh basil, Beyond Meat crumbles (replaces ground beef), vegan cheese (several options are listed above), olives, fresh basil, vegan pepperoni (this brand or this one), spinach, etc.
Here's a video where I show you how I make a super simple vegan pizza right at home for the family using a pre-made crust, sauce in a jar, vegan cheese and fresh vegetables.
The pizza making part starts at 1:10
Store-bought vegan frozen pizza
I haven't tried any of these brands of frozen pizza yet. I just wanted to let you know there are vegan option for frozen pizza out there...
Baby step your way to vegan pizza
It doesn't have to be all of nothing to get started on this lifestyle.
Here are some quick tips to slowly transition to vegan pizza....
- The next time you order pizza, continue to use dairy cheese but instead of sausage or pepperoni, replace it with olives, sautéed mushrooms and/or spinach and other vegetables.
- For the following pizza, ask for a lot less cheese and continue to pile on the vegetables.
- Finally, get rid of the cheese and see if your favorite pizza place has a garlic oil sauce to put on top of your pizza. In my experience, garlic oil (usually vegan, but check the ingredients to be sure) or a drizzle of olive oil, etc. will give your pizza that greasiness that cheese captures.
Be open to experimenting and enjoy this new (and better) way to eat pizza.
I hope this was helpful!