Famdrop’s content editor and resident pizza expert, Louis, gives you 4 of the best vegan pizza toppings to satisfy any cravings you might have this January.
Vegan junk food is a big trend around this time of year. January sees many of us ditch old habits in search of a healthier diet. But what happens when your willpower wanes, and you begin to crave that rich umami taste usually satisfied by meat or cheese?
Luckily there are now so many alternatives to satisfy your cravings!
That’s why we’ve teamed up with the folks at The White Rabbit Pizza Co to create 4 of the best vegan pizza toppings to add to their delicious plain bases. These vegan pizzas will give you that hit of umami you’ve been craving.
You can’t go wrong with the classics; tomato, cheese and basil. And with Violife’s vegan cheddar style block, it’s still really easy to a delicious vegan Margherita. To make things even easier, try the Tomato Stall’s Pure British Passata made from 100% ripened vine tomatoes. Bursting with flavour, it is the perfect no-fuss base to your pizza.
To make the margherita simply chop up the cheddar style block into small cubes, then scatter them evenly over the pizza (we use about a handful and half per 10” base). Pour the passata over in the cheese in a circular motion, starting at the middle and working your way out until the pizza is at your desired sauce to cheese ratio. Next drizzle some olive oil over the pizza – this is important because the vegan pizza has a lower level of moisture and fats. Adding oil at this stage will prevent the pizza from drying out. Finally tear up a couple of basil leaves and scatter over the pizza, I like to put a couple of basil leaves on for the bake as I find they give the cheese and sauce some extra flavour.
Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 10-12 minutes.
Finish with some cracked black pepper and a few more basil leaves.
2. Mushroom and Squash
We’ve found your cheese replacement, now it’s time to try and replace the rich umami flavour that meat normally brings to the table, and it’s actually pretty easy. As you’ve probably noticed mushrooms tend to be the go-to meat replacement, and for good reason because they have that same meaty texture and umami taste.
To make this wild mushroom and roasted butternut squash pizza, you want to cut ½ a butternut squash into cubes and roast in the oven with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper for 15 minutes at about 180ºC.
Grab the pre-made passata and spoon onto the middle of the pizza, spreading to the edges with the base of the ladle. Scatter a big handful of Violife’s Grated Vegan Style Mozzarella over the top, then tear your wild mushrooms and add liberally, followed by cubes of roasted butternut squash and a handful of sliced red onion.
Whack it in the oven at 180º for 10 minutes, finish with chopped parsley and cracked black pepper.
3. Spinach and Vegan Feta with Toasted Pine Nuts
Okay so this is where we get to have a little fun and begin to experiment. I’m sure you’ve all heard of spinach and ricotta as a classic combination you’ll find in pasta. Well, we’ve got something even better – Kinda Co’s vegan greek style feta. This herby, creamy vegan alternative is the perfect “cheese” to mix with spinach as the base.
To make the mixture blanch your washed spinach in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and then squeeze out all excess moisture using a clean tea towel. Chop the spinach and mix it with the vegan feta in a bowl. Add a dash of the oil to loosen it up and stop it from drying out in the oven and then scatter on the pizza. Throw on top a handful of grated vegan mozzarella and then finish with a few pine nuts.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 180ºC. Finish with Micro Stem Pink Radish and serve.
4. Beetroot Base with Courgettes, Chantenay Carrots and Green Sauce
Now for something altogether different. Pizza doesn’t always need cheese and it is possible to make a healthy and tasty pizza pie. With this topping, we’ve gone for slices of red onion, a great alternative to grated cheddar because the onion’s water content keeps the pizza base moist whilst it bakes.
Start by making the beetroot base. Combine 1 pack of organic cooked beetroot, 1 ½ tsps of sumac, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender, and blitz until smooth.
Add a ladle of the beetroot sauce to the pizza base, and like before, spread out using the bottom of the ladle to get an even coverage. Scatter two handfuls of sliced red onion evenly over the base, then add your sliced courgettes of carrots shavings. Bake at 180ºC for around 10 minutes, or until the base is crispy.
Whilst your pizza is in the oven, combine 1 ½ bunches of parsley, 1 bunch of basil, the juice from ½ a lemon and a glug of olive oil. You want the sauce to be drizzled over the pizza, so if it’s too viscous add a tad more oil, or a splash of water. Season to taste.
When the pizza is out of the oven, pour the green sauce over so it’s evenly covered, throw on some garlic chives and finish with Aleppo Pul Biber Flakes.