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Plant Based Pizza (Recipes and Toppings)

  • 14 min read

Say goodbye to the guilt and hello to flavor! Plant-based pizza is taking the culinary world by storm, offering a delicious and eco-friendly twist on a classic favorite.

Have you noticed the green revolution happening on your plate? It's more than just a trend; it's a lifestyle shift that's transforming the way we eat. Welcome to the world of plant-based living, where the focus is on embracing a diet primarily derived from plants—fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

In this blog post, we'll uncover the layers of this delicious phenomenon, exploring the components that make plant-based living not just a choice but a culinary adventure. Get ready to savor the flavor of plant-powered pizza and discover why this trend is more than just a passing craze—it's a lifestyle that's here to stay.

Plant based pizza with vegetables on top 

I. Crafting the Perfect Plant-Based Pizza

A. The Foundation: Choosing the Right Crust:

The cornerstone of any great pizza is its crust, and the world of plant-based pizzas offers a plethora of options to suit every taste and dietary preference. If you're llooking for convenience, many grocery stores now stock ready-made plant-based pizza crusts or vegan pizza dough. These can include traditional wheat-based options as well as gluten-free alternatives made from ingredients like cauliflower, rice, or chickpea flour.

You can explore the joy of crafting your crusts at home, experimenting with whole-grain flours or even adding nutrient-rich seeds like chia or flaxseed. The crust sets the stage for the entire pizza experience, making it a crucial element in crafting the perfect plant-based pie.

B. Saucy Business: Flavorful Plant-Based Sauces:

Step into the saucy realm of plant-based pizzas, where traditional tomato sauce meets a spectrum of creative and flavorful alternatives. While classic tomato sauce remains a staple, plant-based enthusiasts have expanded their horizons to include pesto, hummus, or even a sun-dried tomato puree.

These sauces not only add depth and richness but also serve as a canvas for diverse flavor profiles. The world of plant-based pizza encourages experimentation, inviting you to play with various sauces to create a pizza that tantalizes your taste buds and adds a unique twist to a beloved classic.

C. Load it Up: Vibrant Veggie Toppings:

The vibrant colors of plant-based pizzas come to life with an array of fresh, seasonal veggies that not only enhance visual appeal but also contribute to a spectrum of flavors and textures. From the crispiness of bell peppers to the juiciness of tomatoes and the earthiness of mushrooms, the possibilities are endless.

Plant-based pizza allows you to play with a variety of toppings, encouraging you to explore both raw and roasted options. The key is to celebrate the natural goodness of plant-based ingredients, creating a pizza that's not just delicious but also a celebration of the bountiful offerings of the earth.

Here are 20 of the most popular vegan toppings:

  1. Vegan Cheese: Opt for a variety of plant-based cheeses, including vegan mozzarella, cheddar, or a flavorful cashew-based option.
  2. Tomato Sauce: A classic choice, rich and savory tomato sauce serves as the perfect base for your vegan pizza.
  3. Fresh Basil: Add a burst of freshness with fragrant basil leaves, either chopped or whole.
  4. Sliced Tomatoes: Juicy and vibrant, sliced tomatoes are a delicious addition to any vegan pizza.
  5. Kalamata Olives: Pitted and sliced, these olives bring a briny and salty flavor.
  6. Artichoke Hearts: Marinated or grilled artichoke hearts contribute a unique and earthy taste.
  7. Red Onion: Thinly sliced red onions add a sweet and slightly spicy kick.
  8. Bell Peppers: Colorful bell peppers provide a sweet and crunchy element to your pizza.
  9. Spinach: Fresh or sautéed spinach adds a nutritious and leafy green layer.
  10. Mushrooms: Sliced or sautéed mushrooms bring an umami-rich flavor to your pizza.
  11. Caramelized Onions: Sweet and golden, caramelized onions add depth and richness.
  12. Pineapple: For a touch of sweetness, consider adding chunks of pineapple.
  13. Roasted Garlic: Roasted garlic cloves offer a mellow and savory flavor.
  14. Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes bring a concentrated burst of tomato goodness.
  15. Vegan Sausage Crumbles: Plant-based sausage crumbles provide a hearty and savory topping.
  16. Jalapeños: Sliced jalapeños add a spicy kick for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  17. Capers: These briny little bursts of flavor can add a gourmet touch to your pizza.
  18. Vegan Pesto: Drizzle vegan pesto over your pizza for a burst of herby and garlicky goodness.
  19. Arugula: Fresh arugula adds a peppery and slightly bitter note, perfect for topping after baking.
  20. Vegan Feta Cheese: Crumbled vegan feta provides a tangy and creamy element to your pizza.

 

D. Cheesy Goodness: Plant-Based Cheese Alternatives:

No pizza is complete without cheese, and, for many, this is where they draw the line when going vegan.  But, the plant-based world offers an exciting array of dairy-free alternatives that capture the essence of cheesy goodness.

Whether you opt for store-bought vegan mozzarella, vegan parmesan, or embark on the adventure of crafting your cashew or almond-based cheese, plant-based pizzas prove that you don't need dairy to achieve that irresistible melt-in-your-mouth quality. The plant-based cheese landscape is continually evolving, offering options that stretch, melt, and impart a savory flavor profile to rival their traditional counterparts.

E. Elevate with Proteins: Plant-Based Protein Options:

Elevate your plant-based pizza experience by incorporating protein-packed alternatives to traditional meat toppings. Tofu, tempeh, and seitan offer meaty textures with a plant-based twist, while legumes and beans bring a hearty protein punch.

These protein sources not only enhance the nutritional profile of your pizza but also contribute to a satisfying and filling meal. Plant-based meats provide a tasty and cruelty-free way to enjoy the familiar satisfaction of a protein-loaded pizza without compromising your commitment to a plant-centric lifestyle.

Vegan Pizza with olives, peppers, corn, mushrooms and cucumbers

II. Plant-Based Pizza Recipes

A. Classic Margherita with a Twist:

Let's start our plant-based pizza journey with a classic that never goes out of style – the Margherita. Instead of relying on traditional mozzarella, opt for a high-quality vegan mozzarella that achieves that perfect melt. Pair it with juicy, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze to elevate the flavors. The result? A plant-based Margherita pizza that captures the essence of this timeless favorite while adding a modern, cruelty-free twist.

PLANT-BASED MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH BASIL PESTO DRIZZLE RECIPE

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F/43°C)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Toppings

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Basil Pesto Drizzle

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Pizza Dough Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
  3. Mix until a dough forms, then knead on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

2. Basil Pesto Drizzle

  1. In a food processor, combine the fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and garlic.
  2. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until a smooth pesto consistency is achieved.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. Pizza Assembly

  1. Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).
  2. Punch down the risen dough and roll it out on a floured surface to your desired thickness.
  3. Transfer the rolled-out dough to a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  4. Spread an even layer of pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a small border for the crust.
  5. Sprinkle the vegan mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
  6. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the cheese.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Remove from the oven rack, garnish with fresh basil leaves, and drizzle with basil pesto.
  9. Drizzle with a little olive oil, slice, and serve your delicious plant-based Margherita pizza!

This plant-based pizza combines the classic flavors of a Margherita with the vibrant freshness of tomatoes and a basil pesto drizzle, making it a delightful and satisfying plant-powered meal. 

B. Mediterranean Delight:

Transport your taste buds to the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean with a plant-based veggie pizza recipe that's bursting with flavor.

Begin with a base of hummus, adding a rich and creamy dimension that replaces traditional red tomato sauce. Top it off with a colorful medley of kalamata olives, artichokes, and cherry tomatoes. For the final touch, sprinkle a generous amount of vegan feta to mimic the tangy goodness of its dairy counterpart.

This Mediterranean-inspired delight is not just a feast for the senses but also a celebration of fresh, wholesome ingredients.

MEDITERRANEAN DELIGHT PLANT-BASED PIZZA RECIPE

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F/43°C)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Toppings

  • 1/2 cup hummus (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup vegan feta cheese, crumbled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions:

1. Pizza Dough Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
  3. Mix until a dough forms, then knead on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

2. Pizza Assembly

  1. Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).
  2. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness and transfer it to a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  3. Spread an even layer of hummus over the dough, leaving a small border for the crust.
  4. Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, quartered artichoke hearts, and thinly sliced red onion evenly on top of the hummus.
  5. Sprinkle torn fresh basil leaves and crumbled vegan feta cheese over the vegetables.
  6. Drizzle the entire pizza with extra-virgin olive oil for added richness and flavor.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the toppings are heated through.
  8. Remove from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, and then slice.
  9. Serve and savor the Mediterranean flavors of this plant-based delight!

This Mediterranean Delight pizza brings together the rich flavors of hummus, olives, artichokes, and vegan feta for a plant-based pizza experience that's both wholesome and delicious. 

C. BBQ Jackfruit Extravaganza:

For those craving a hearty and savory experience, the BBQ Jackfruit pizza is a plant-based diet revelation. Swap out traditional meat toppings with jackfruit – a versatile fruit that, when seasoned and cooked, mimics the texture of pulled pork.

Brush on your favorite bbq sauce, add thinly sliced red onions, and finish it off with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. The result is a smoky, sweet, and utterly satisfying plant-based pizza that proves you don't need meat to indulge in a BBQ flavor explosion.

VEGAN BBQ JACKFRUIT PIZZA RECIPE

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F/43°C)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Toppings

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned young green jackfruit, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions:

1. Pizza Dough Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
  3. Mix until a dough forms, then knead on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.

2. Pizza Assembly

  1. Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the shredded jackfruit with a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce, ensuring the jackfruit is well coated.
  3. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness and transfer it to a pizza stone, baking sheet or pizza pan.
  4. Spread a generous layer of barbecue sauce over the dough, leaving a small border for the crust.
  5. Sprinkle the vegan mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
  6. Distribute the barbecue-coated jackfruit, sliced red onion, and corn kernels evenly across the pizza.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh cilantro, and drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Slice and serve your savory and satisfying vegan BBQ jackfruit pizza!

This homemade vegan pizza celebrates the smoky flavors of barbecue jackfruit, complemented by the sweetness of corn and the sharpness of red onions. Enjoy this cruelty-free and delectable plant-based healthy pizza tonight!

These recipes showcase the versatility and creativity that plant-based pizza brings to the table. Whether you're a purist or an adventurous flavor explorer, these plant-based pizza recipes offer a delicious alternative that doesn't compromise on taste or ethical considerations. So, preheat that oven and get ready to savor plant-powered pizza perfection!

 

Plant based margherita pizza with tomato, mozzarella, and basil

III. Tips for a Successful Plant-Based Pizza Experience

A. Preparing and pre-cooking certain toppings:

Achieving the perfect plant-based pizza is all about balance and ensuring each component is cooked to perfection. Some toppings, especially those with high water content like mushrooms or tomatoes, can release moisture during baking, potentially making the crust soggy.

To combat this, consider pre-cooking these toppings slightly to remove excess water before placing them on your pizza. A quick sauté or roast not only intensifies their flavors but also helps maintain the ideal pizza crust texture.

B. Balancing flavors and textures:

The magic of a great pizza lies in the harmonious balance of flavors and textures. When creating your plant-based pies, aim for a diverse combination of tastes – sweet, savory, salty, and umami – and a mix of textures, from the crunch of crust to the chewiness of cheese.

Don't shy away from experimenting with contrasting elements, like pairing creamy vegan cheese with crispy vegetables or adding a touch of sweetness with caramelized onions. Balancing these components ensures each bite is a delightful symphony of tastes and textures.

C. Experimenting with different combinations:

Plant-based pizza is a canvas waiting for your culinary creativity. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and experiment with different flavor combinations. Mix and match your favorite veggies, try unique pizza sauces, or even explore unconventional toppings like marinated tofu or grilled peaches.

The beauty of plant-based pizza is its versatility, so let your taste buds guide you on a delicious journey of discovery. You might just stumble upon a new favorite combination that becomes a regular feature in your plant-based pizza repertoire.

These tips serve as a guide to help you navigate the world of plant-based pizza with confidence and creativity. Remember, there are no strict rules – the joy of plant-based cooking lies in the freedom to experiment and tailor your pizza to your preferences. So, embrace the art of plant-based pizza making, and let your culinary imagination run wild!

Plant-based pizza with peppers, carrots, corn broccoli, and cabbage toppings

IV. Where to Find Plant-Based Pizza

A. Popular pizza chains with plant-based options:

Embracing a plant-based lifestyle doesn't mean bidding farewell to the convenience of ordering pizza. Many popular pizza chains have recognized the growing demand for plant-based options and have expanded their menus to accommodate diverse dietary preferences.

From nationwide chains to local favorites, you can now find plant-based pizzas topped with vegan cheese, an array of veggies, and even plant-based proteins. Check the menus of well-known pizza establishments, and you might be pleasantly surprised to discover a delicious plant-powered slice waiting for you to savor.

Here are 5 pizza chains who offer plant-based or vegan pizza options:

  1. Blaze Pizza: Blaze Pizza is known for its build-your-own pizza concept, offering a variety of fresh and customizable ingredients. They have vegan cheese options and a selection of plant-based toppings, making it easy for customers to create their own delicious plant-based pizza.

  2. MOD Pizza: MOD Pizza is another customizable pizza chain that caters to various dietary preferences. They offer vegan cheese and a range of vegetable toppings, allowing customers to craft their own unique plant-based pizza. Their commitment to customization makes it a favorite for those seeking a vegan pizza option.

  3. Mellow Mushroom: Mellow Mushroom is a pizza franchise that has embraced the demand for plant-based options. They offer a dedicated vegan menu with plant-based proteins, vegan cheese, and a variety of vegetable toppings. Their creative and diverse menu ensures a satisfying experience for all your vegan friends.

  4. Virtuous Pie: Virtuous Pie is a plant-based pizzeria with locations in several cities. Their entire menu is centered around vegan pizzas, featuring innovative and gourmet plant-based toppings. From cashew-based cheeses to unique flavor combinations, Virtuous Pie is a haven for those looking for a purely vegan pizza experience.

  5. PizzaRev: PizzaRev is a fast-casual pizza chain that allows customers to customize their pizzas. They provide vegan cheese options and a range of plant-based toppings, making it convenient for individuals following a plant-based diet to enjoy a delicious and personalized vegan pizza.

B. Local pizzerias embracing the plant-based trend:

While major pizza chains are jumping on the plant-based bandwagon, don't overlook your local pizzerias. Many neighborhood pizza joints are also embracing the plant-based trend, offering creative and flavorful plant-based pizza options.

Engage with your local community, inquire about plant-based offerings, and don't hesitate to make special requests. Local pizzerias often appreciate feedback from their customers and may be willing to customize a plant-based pizza tailored to your preferences.

Supporting local businesses while enjoying a tasty plant-based meal? It's a win-win!

C. DIY pizza nights with friends and family:

Sometimes, the best plant-based pizza experience is the one you create at home. Organize a DIY pizza night with friends and family, providing an opportunity for everyone to customize their plant-based pizzas.

Lay out an assortment of crusts, sauces, your favorite vegan pizza toppings, and plant-based cheeses, and let the creativity flow. You can even let everyone make their own homemade pizza dough. Not only is this a fun and interactive way to enjoy plant-based pizza, but it also allows you to share the experience with the whole family, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie around delicious, cruelty-free food.

V. The Rise of Plant-Based Diets

Picture this - pizzas adorned with vibrant veggies, savory sauces, and delectable plant-based cheeses. The rise of the plant-based lifestyle isn't just about what's on your plate; it's a conscious choice that considers the environmental impact, animal welfare, and personal health.

As more people seek sustainable alternatives and explore the diverse benefits of a plant-powered diet, the popularity of plant-based living has soared. So, what's driving this green wave? It's a perfect storm of awareness, ethical considerations, and a growing understanding of the health benefits associated with reducing animal products in our diets.

As the world becomes more eco-conscious, individuals are increasingly drawn to the idea that what we eat can be a powerful force for positive change. But it's not just about salads and smoothies—plant-based enthusiasts are reinventing classic dishes, and one of the most delightful examples is plant-based pizza.

Why is a plant-based lifestyle so popular?

In recent years, there's been an unmistakable surge in the popularity of plant-based lifestyles, and it's not just a passing fad. More people than ever are embracing the idea of reducing their reliance on animal products, seeking a diet that aligns with their values and contributes to a more sustainable future.

This shift is not confined to a niche group; it's a global movement, with individuals from various backgrounds recognizing the impact their food choices can have on both personal well-being and the health of the planet. Whether driven by ethical concerns, environmental consciousness, or a desire for improved health, the appeal of plant-based living is undeniably on the rise.

Is a plant-based lifestyle healthier?

One of the driving forces behind the surge in plant-based diets is the growing awareness of their positive impact on the environment and individual health. Plant-based diets have been linked to a reduced carbon footprint, lower water usage, and decreased deforestation compared to traditional animal-centric diets.

Beyond the environmental benefits, adopting a plant-based lifestyle has been associated with various health advantages, including lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. As individuals become more conscious of the interconnectedness of their food choices with personal well-being and the health of the planet, the appeal of plant-based diets continues to grow.

Are plant-based foods more sustainability?

As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for food. Plant-based choices are emerging as a sustainable solution to address the environmental challenges associated with traditional animal agriculture.

By opting for plant-centric diets, individuals can contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water resources, and promote biodiversity. The shift towards plant-based living is seen as a key strategy in achieving a more sustainable and resilient food system, with the potential to alleviate pressure on natural ecosystems and mitigate the environmental impact of food production.

This awareness of the broader sustainability implications is a significant factor propelling the rise of plant-based diets into the mainstream. Whether you're on the go and craving a quick bite, exploring local flavors, or creating culinary memories at home, there are abundant opportunities to indulge in plant-based pizza.

The growing availability of plant-based options across diverse pizza outlets makes it easier than ever to enjoy this delightful and sustainable twist on a beloved classic. So, go ahead – savor the plant-based pizza revolution and try a plant-based pizza recipe at your next pizza party!

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