Is Pizza Vegan? What About The Cheese?

is pizza vegan

Pizza is a beloved dish enjoyed by many people around the world. Eating it on a plant-based diet is tricky, however, as most pizza versions contain salami, ham, or chicken meat, and even those that don’t still almost always contain dairy cheese, another animal ingredient. Fortunately, thanks to the recent growth and boom in the vegan food industry, today it is perfectly possible to create a vegan pizza using purely plant-based substitutes! In this new article by Veggiepedia, we will explore how.

Traditional Pizza Dough & Toppings

The dough base of traditional pizzas is usually plant-based because it’s often made only from wheat flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt. Unless a restaurant brushes the pizza pan with dairy butter or uses whey as an ingredient for the dough, the pizza dough usually is vegan. Tomato sauce, the most common topping, is also perfectly vegan. So what makes the vast majority of pizzas around the world unsuitable for vegans?

First, many pizza types, maybe aside from Margherita or Napoletana, contain some form of meat products, be it ham, salami, chicken meat pieces. Second, some variants also contain fish, such as tuna or anchovi. In a lot of restaurant or supermarkets, you can find pizzas marked as “vegetarian”

But even the vegetarian pizzas almost always contain dairy cheese, which is made from dairy milk (cow milk), which is an animal product. That is why it’s relatively easy to get a vegetarian pizza but super-hard to find a vegan one.

Vegan Cheeses Suitable For Pizzas

Let’s take a look at general types of vegan cheeses based on ingredients used and/or methods of preparation:

  1. Nut-based cheeses: They are made from various nuts such as cashews, almonds or macadamia nuts. They are usually soaked and mixed with water, lemon juice and other spices to obtain a creamy texture.
  2. Soy-based cheese: It is made from soy milk, which is heated and curdled with a coagulant such as lemon juice or vinegar. The curd is then pressed and formed into cheese.
  3. Tapioca starch-based cheeses: made from tapioca starch that is heated and mixed with water and oil to create a stretchy texture. It is often used to imitate the texture of mozzarella cheese.
  4. Rice-based cheese: it is made from rice milk and often combined with other ingredients such as coconut oil and nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy taste and texture.
  5. Potato-based cheese: it is made from cooked and mashed potatoes and combined with other ingredients such as cashews, nutritional yeast and coconut oil to obtain a cheesy texture.

It is important to note that not all vegan cheeses are the same and some do not melt or stretch as well as traditional cheeses. Fortunately, there are now many high-quality vegan cheese products that are specifically designed for use on pizza.

Most Popular Vegetable Pizza Toppings

In addition to plant-based cheese, many pizza toppings are vegan-friendly, the most popular ones include:

  1. Fresh sliced tomatoes
  2. Sun-dried tomatoes
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Peppers
  5. Onions
  6. Olives
  7. Artichokes
  8. Roasted garlic
  9. Spinach

Occasionally, even fruits are used to add a sweet or tangy flavor to pizzas:

  1. Pineapples
  2. Figs
  3. Apples
  4. Peaches
  5. Berries

How To Cook Or Buy Vegan Pizza?

You can find many vegan pizza recipes (e.g. Veggiepedia’s pizza recipes) which use only plant-based ingredients for the dough, sauce, and toppings (e.g. almond mozzarella). Making your own pizza at home allows you to control the ingredients and ensure that your pizza is 100% vegan. However, I know that this is not for everyone, as some people are not that good at cooking or have little time for it. If you are not feeling like making your own vegan pizza, here’s what you can do to enjoy one anyway:

  1. Check the ready-made vegan products section at your nearest online supermarket
  2. Check local restaurant menus in online apps or on restaurants’ websites
  3. Look for vegan travel guides for your city
  4. Or just your vegan friends where they buy their pizzas


In conclusion, while traditional pizza is not vegan, mainly because of dairy cheese and meat-based toppings, it is possible to make a vegan pizza by using plant-based cheese substitutes and vegetable toppings. Whether you order a vegan pizza at a restaurant or make one at home, there are many delicious and satisfying options available for vegans and non-vegans alike. With the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, it is likely that more and more pizza restaurants will offer vegan options in the future, making it easier for vegans to enjoy this delicious dish.

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