As your average vegetarian, or even meat eater, what’s the one food you couldn’t live without if you went vegan, and you could probably expect a uniform response – pizza. Everyone’s favorite three ingredient food, pizza truly is the world’s common language.
For many people, a vegan pizza pie is simply pizza senza formaggio. Even American chains like Little Caesars, and California Pizza Kitchen list pizza without cheese as vegan option under their respective website FAQ sections.
While there have been niche restaurants that made their own tofu, or soy cheeses for vegan pies, it wasn’t until Daiya arrived that vegan cheese became a semi-mainstream option. Around Boston, Daiya is an add-on at a wide range of pizzerias, and restaurants.
Making pizza at home means not having to go scout for a Daiya on Yelp. Sure, there are a lot of frozen options, including those from Daiya, and Tofurky. Tofutti even offers a more available French style pizza that reminds me of Friday elementary school lunches (in a good way).
Of course, rolling your own dough (or store bought dough) produces the best crust. But lately, the pizza world has evolved beyond the Boboli (full disclosure, I used to love these). Two great crust options are the whole wheat Engine 2 pizza crusts and the Whole Foods store brand. The former is found in the frozen section.
For this post, the crusts I chose were the Whole Foods store brand. You can find these crusts in the Italian foods section (near the pasta). They’re thin, so you can eat a little more, but you can’t put too much on for toppings. Whole Foods also makes a pretty tasty organic pizza sauce.
Crusts, and sauces only go so far. It’s the toppings that make a vegan pie interesting. For that, you’ll definitely want to start with a bag of Daiya’s mozzarella. Though rumor has it, the hard-to-find in Boston Gourmet shreds from Follow Your Heart are supposed to be quite exceptional.
For toppings, there are a few regulars I prefer. Yyves Veggie’s pepperoni slices taste like they were made for pizza. Though, they’re also awesome with Daiya block cheese stacked on a cracker.
I think Field Roast’s Italian Sausage is best of breed for a plant based link, though they cost nearly twice that of Tofurky’s Italian option. Both are delicious, so you can’t go wrong.
For veggies, obviously go with your own choice. But for my tastes, it’s sliced shitake mushrooms, onion, and black olives. Be sure to saute them for a bit first, so they’re cooked right with the pizza.
Once you’ve topped your pie, cook according to the crust’s directions. Keep in mind that vegan cheese melts a little differently than dairy based cheese. You might need to cook it a little longer. I also like to throw the broiler on for a minute at the end to brown the cheese, and melt it a little more.