As diehard fans of this cheesy flatbread, you might think you couldn’t enjoy this global phenomenon when you have decided to become vegetarian or vegan. We have news for you: pizza can still be a staple for those meat-free plant-based individuals.
Arguably the most loved comfort food of our time, pizza has captivated millions of people around the world since its humble beginning in 10th century Naples, Italy. What started out as humble flatbread with a tomato base and toppings, food for the commoners, grew in popularity in the USA, and soon became one of the most loved and diversified dishes in the world.
Mzansi’s many veg-filled slices
Ranked number 31 on Big Seven Travel’s list of 50 Best Pizzas in the World and as the best pizzeria in South Africa, Ferdinando’s Pizza in Observatory, Cape Town, has over 20 different vegetarian and vegan options on its menu. Here, pizzas are made with Italian flour, topped with the freshest ingredients, and then baked in a wood-fired pizza oven.
A menu standout is their Vegana pizza, made with a thick tomato base and topped with sesame seeds, peppers, baby marrow, cherry tomatoes, avocado, aubergine, and caramelised onion jam.
Also included on this list at number 45 is Massimo’s in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Massimo’s focuses on Roman-style pizza with ultra-thin crusts, topped with seasonal ingredients. There are at least ten vegetarian and vegan options on their menu.
Local fast food giant Panarottis has also surprised South Africans with its wide range of plant-based options. Panarottis came third in ProVeg South Africa’s first Plant-Based Friendly Fast Food Franchise Ranking in 2022 after Kauai and Spur. Panarottis’ pizzas, pasta, and subs have plant-based swap-outs, including vegan cheese, mince, steak, chicken, and mayonnaise options.
“While they are still a predominantly meat toppings pizza restaurant, they appear to have made their menu inclusive of a variety of preferences, which include vegan, vegetarian, and for those with allergies.”
Reasons to try plant-based versions
Plant-based pizzas can be healthier for you: Whether it is getting more and a greater diversity of veggies in your diet, or the reduction in saturated fats from dairy (especially when made from nuts with no preservatives) and processed meats, plant-based pizzas are healthier without sacrificing the feel-good effect after a bite of fresh, hot slice.
Let your taste buds take the wheel: Plant-based pizzas are an excellent example to destroy the myth that vegan pizzas are boring. Plant-based pizza is packed with culinary innovation that adds new flavours and food combinations only limited by the imagination. Tasting different plant-based options broadens your own culinary palette and exposes you to a world of new flavours.
The prices are pretty reasonable: Not all plant-based pizza ingredients and toppings are expensive or exotic. Basic plant-based ingredients like vegetables are readily available and affordable to most people.
Baby steps make the ride smoother: Pizza without cheese is unthinkable, right? Think again. Great strides have been made to deliver top-quality and delicious plant-based dairy and meat alternatives. These can easily be added to your pizza to deliver the plant-based version of your favourite.
Great for bonding and community: If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is also a fun way to introduce your meat-eating friends to interesting new pizzas and show them how good plant-based can taste.
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