Pizza of the Month: Vegan

Recipe provided by Teese Vegan Cheese

16 oz. pizza dough

½ c. vegan pizza sauce (no dairy added)
½ zucchini, thinly sliced
6-8 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 handful fresh spinach
½ tomato, thinly sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 handful black olives
10 oz. vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded
Fresh basil, for garnish

Roll out the pizza dough to form a crust. Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the crust. Layer zucchini, mushrooms and spinach directly onto the sauce. Cover with the vegan cheese. Layer thinly sliced tomatoes, red onions and black olives on top of the cheese. Bake at 500° for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil.

The Vegan Effect

When it comes to eschewing animal products in their food, vegans mean business—and their business can mean big bucks for your business. According to recent polls, about 5% to 7% of Americans consider themselves vegetarians—they never eat meat, fish, seafood or poultry—and about half of these are vegan, also rejecting dairy, eggs and animal-derived products such as honey. Meanwhile, a full one-third of Americans go meat-free for many of their meals. In other words, offering vegan options can attract both strict herbivores and meat eaters looking for a tasty—and healthy—change of pace. It’s no wonder that more pizzeria operators are adding vegan items to their menus, as evidenced by these examples of vegan pies around the country:

All items are vegan and certified kosher at Blackbird 
Pizzeria (blackbirdpizzeria.com) in Philadelphia; the Popeye is topped with wilted spinach and olive oil, pumpkin seed pesto, green olives, roasted garlic and crispy shiitake mushrooms.

Seattle’s Pizza Pi (pizza-pi.net) lights up customers’ lives with its Sunny Day pie, featuring sun-dried tomato cream sauce, spinach, potatoes, black olives and cashew ricotta.

Mohawk Bend (mohawk.la) in Los Angeles serves meat lovers and vegans alike, but the latter prefer such selections as the Vegan Bahn Mi, an Asian-themed pie topped with marinated tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños, herb salad and sriracha aioli.

Vegans get a menu of their own at Brooklyn’s Vinnie’s 
Pizzeria (vinniesbrooklyn.com) in New York. The Black Bean Taco is loaded with black beans, pico de gallo and vegan ground beef, mozzarella and cheddar, then spiced up with Frank’s Hot Sauce.