If the only pizza you like is pepperoni with a pound of mozzarella cheese on top, you might not be ready for vegan pizza. But if you love a good crust and are open to new toppings, vegan pizza could be for you.
Whether you’re a new cook, experienced, or a plant-based expert, there’s a vegan pizza for you. You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts. There’s nothing like great pizza straight out of the oven.
A few basic techniques make a big difference to the texture and taste of your pizza no matter what your approach.
- Make crust from fresh dough – avoid pre-made, partially cooked flatbreads if you can
- Use a hot oven – the highest temperature your oven will reach (probably 500°or 550°)
- Use vegan cheese as an accent, not a blanket – this is healthier and minimizes unfavorable comparisons with dairy-based cheeses
Here are my recommendations for plant-based pizza for three levels of cooking skill (or available time).
- New cooks (or in a hurry) – buy fresh dough in the deli section of the supermarket
- Experienced cooks – use one of the thousands of easy yeast-based pizza dough recipes online. They usually take less than two hours, including time for the dough to rise.
- Expert cooks – get gourmet pizza quality (crispy on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside) with Ken Forkish’s The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home.
- New cooks (or in a hurry) – try store-bought pizza sauce or stir together 8 ounces tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes
- Experienced cooks – make New York-Style Pizza Sauce
- Expert cooks – use the above red sauce, but also try White Garlic Sauce for Pizza, Basil Pesto, or Tapenade
- New cooks (or in a hurry) – use very thin slices of mushrooms, onions, peppers, and easy add-ons like sliced olives and chopped raw spinach
- Experienced cooks – Consider pre-roasting some vegetable chunks (e.g., broccoli, red pepper, butternut squash)
- Expert cooks– Experiment with unusual topping combinations and include roasted cashews, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, Greek olives, and/or roasted garlic cloves
- New cooks (or in a hurry) – Use vegan mozzarella cheese sold in supermarkets (e.g., Daiya, Follow your Heart)
- Experienced cooks –Same as above
- Expert cooks –Make your own Cashew Ricotta Cheese or Almond Feta Cheese to use on their own or in combination with vegan mozzarella
- New cooks (or in a hurry) – Shape the dough on a counter or cutting board, transfer to a sheet pan lined with a good dusting of flour and cornmeal or use a pizza pan with holes in it. Add sauce, toppings, and cheese, then put it in the oven.
- Experienced and Expert cooks – Learn how to handle a pizza peel and baking stone. It takes practice, but ultimately you will be producing pizza to rival an Italian pizza parlor.