Pizza is one of the most popular takeout and delivery foods, beloved for its cheesy, saucy comfort. However, the average pizza is also high in calories, fat, and sodium. When trying to follow a healthier diet, pizza may seem off limits. But what about vegan pizza? Can a plant-based version still satisfy your craving while also being good for you? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at vegan pizza nutrition, Is vegan pizza healthy and whether or not it can truly be considered a healthy option.
What is Vegan Pizza?
Before diving into the nutritional factors, let’s define what exactly vegan pizza is. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. When it comes to pizza, this means no cheese made from cow’s milk, no butter or cream in the crust or sauce, and no meat toppings like pepperoni, sausage, or chicken.
Instead, vegan pizzas use dairy-free alternatives for the cheese like cashew cheese, nut-based parmesan, or coconut oil blends. The crust and sauce are also made without animal ingredients. And topping options are limited to meat-free vegetables, beans, grains, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, and others.
The major chains and pizza delivery spots have started offering vegan cheese and no-dairy crusts as options. But for the highest quality ingredients, many people prefer vegan pizzerias that specialize in plant-based creations or make their own at home. Either way, the substitution of animal for plant products results in a pizza that contains no animal exploitation or cruelty.
Is Vegan Pizza Healthy?
The simple answer is – yes, vegan pizza can absolutely be a healthy choice. While all pizza should be eaten in moderation, vegan varieties are generally much lower in fat, calories and other unhealthy components compared to traditional pies loaded with meat and cheese. By removing dairy and animal products, vegan pizza drastically reduces the saturated fat and cholesterol. Many popular vegan cheese and meat alternatives are also lower in calories than their dairy and meat equivalents.
Beyond just the nutrients in the pizza itself, a vegan diet has many proven health benefits that extend from enjoying plant-based options like vegan pizza. Adopting a vegan lifestyle has been shown to lower risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. When topped with an array of veggies, legumes and whole grains, vegan pizza delivers fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support health. Cauliflower, chickpea or lentil-based crusts shave off even more calories compared to dough made with flour and oil.
As long as variety is included in the toppings and overall diet, vegan pizza can absolutely meet all nutritional needs. With careful planning, it provides protein, carbs and fat in balanced amounts without all the unhealthy extras. So while moderation is still advised, vegan pizza makes for a very healthy choice of pizza.
Calories of vegan pizza
|Pizza Type||Calories per Slice|
|Regular cheese pizza||300 calories|
|Regular pepperoni pizza||350 calories|
|Regular meat lovers pizza||400 calories|
|Vegan cheese pizza||200 calories|
|Vegan veggie pizza||150 calories|
|Vegan nutritional yeast pizza||175 calories|
|Vegan cauliflower crust pizza||125 calories|
Some key points about the calorie comparisons:
- Regular pizzas are higher in calories due largely to dairy cheese and fatty meats.
- Vegan pizzas replace dairy cheese with lower calorie nut-based cheeses.
- Toppings like veggies, beans and grains add fiber and volume without as many calories.
- Cauliflower, lentil or chickpea-based crusts are much lower in calories than dough made with wheat flour.
- Nutritional yeast and olive oil can boost calories a bit in some vegan pizzas compared to minimal topping options.
- On average, vegan pizzas contain about half the calories of a regular pepperoni or meat lovers slice per serving.
So vegan pizza is generally a lower calorie choice for those watching their waistline or caloric intake. But moderation is still recommended with any pizza variety.
Topping Vegan pizza
There are many delicious vegetable, grain and legume toppings that can be used to top a vegan pizza instead of meat. Some great plant-based topping choices include mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, onions, spinach, arugula, tomatoes and artichokes.
Mushrooms offer a meat-like texture and soak up savory flavors. Olives provide saltiness. Colorful sweet peppers and crunchy onions add layers of flavor. Leafy greens like spinach and arugula add nutrients without overpowering the other flavors. Fresh sliced tomatoes and artichokes are always favorites as well.
For added protein and texture, veggie toppings like eggplant and zucchini are excellent options. Small diced potatoes can work too. Chickpeas and lentils are also widely used as they contribute protein and hold their shape well when baked. Corn provides a nice sweet crunch and goes well with spicy toppings.
Soy-based meat alternatives like plant-based pepperoni or sausage crumbles can satisfy those wanting a meat substitute. Or try roasted cauliflower or portabella mushrooms for a more wholesome meat replacement. Nutritional yeast also adds a rich, cheesy and slightly nutty flavor to any vegan pizza. With so many plant-based choices, you’re sure to find compatible toppings that appeal to any taste.
Why you should try vegan pizza
- Better for your health – Without dairy and meat, vegan pizza is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. This makes it a much healthier choice.
- Weight management – Studies show vegetarian and vegan diets support weight loss since plant foods are more filling per calorie.
- More nutrition – Vegan pizza toppings like vegetables, beans and nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs.
- Avoid antibiotics/hormones – Dairy cows are often given growth hormones and antibiotics, which end up in conventional cheese.
- Better for animals – A vegan diet spares the lives of dairy cows and never contributes to inhumane farming practices.
- Better for the environment – Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, pollution and water use. Plants have less impact.
- Variety of flavors – Vegan cheese and toppings have come a long way. You may be surprised at all the great taste combinations.
- Easy transition – Pizza is comfort food, so this makes going plant-based more approachable and enjoyable.
- Guilt-free indulgence – Enjoy pizza more often knowing it’s kinder to your health and the planet compared to non-vegan versions.
- Inspiration for more – If you love vegan pizza, it may encourage you to try other meat-free and dairy-free recipes as well.
Does Vegan Pizza Taste Good?
One of the top concerns surrounding vegan pizza is whether it can actually deliver on flavor without dairy and meat. The reality is that vegan cheeses, crumbs and sauces have come a long way. Many who try high-quality vegan pizza are shocked by just how tasty and satisfying it is.
Artisanal cashew cheeses melt beautifully and taste rich. Nutritional yeast adds a savory umami pop. Turmeric or annatto lend convincing cheesy hues. Beans, lentils and veggies pack tons of nutrients while satisfying hunger. And specialty crusts like cauliflower take the place of carb-heavy dough without compromising enjoyment.
Does it taste 100% identical to a traditional pie loaded with animal fats? No, flavors are naturally a bit different without dairy or meat. But vegan versions absolutely do not need to miss out on indulgent satisfaction or leave eaters still wanting more. With the booming marketplace of dairy and meat alternatives, plant-powered pizza options get better every year.
How Do You Make an Vegan Pizza?
Making vegan pizza at home allows you to control the ingredients and customize it perfectly. The secret lies in the crust, cheese and toppings.
- Crust: Vegan dough is made without eggs or dairy. Cauliflower crust is a healthy alternative, or make your own using whole wheat flour, plant milk and olive oil.
When preparing the crust, it’s best to use fresh vegetables and herbs to infuse flavor and moisture. The cauliflower crust option is especially tasty as it adds nutrients while being lower in carbs than regular dough.
- Cheese: A dairy-free pizza can be delicious with vegan cheese. Some favorites include cashew cheese and store bought mozzarella.
Cashew cheese is simple to make at home by blending soaked cashews with lemon juice and nutritional yeast for a creamy spread. Go lighter on the cheese than regular pizza to let other flavors shine through.
Finally, pile on the toppings! You can choose either meat alternatives made from vegetables or stick to plant-based proteins and produce.
- Toppings: Include veggies like mushrooms, peppers and spinach for color and nutrients. Lentils, chickpeas or jackfruit add protein. Go exotic with pineapple or spicy with banana peppers.
In conclusion, vegan pizza can absolutely be a nutritious choice when enjoyed in moderation. By removing dairy, eggs and meat from traditional pizza recipes, vegan varieties are lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. Using whole wheat dough, plant-based cheeses and topping with an array of vegetables maximizes dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Compared to meat-loaded or deep-dish pies, vegan pizza offers a more balanced macronutrient profile without compromising on taste.
When part of a well-rounded diet emphasizing whole, unprocessed foods, vegan pizza satisfies cravings healthily. With careful ingredient choices and portions, it serves as an enjoyable way to meet dietary needs. So feel satisfied knowing you can indulge in dough, sauce and toppings guilt-free – vegan pizza clearly deserves a place in a healthy eating lifestyle.
Since a young age, my love for pizza has only grown stronger. As a writer, I am dedicated my career to exploring the art behind a perfect pie. From the crisp crunch of the crust to the perfect blend of savory sauce and gooey cheese, I dedicated to captures the essence of what makes pizza so beloved. With each article, I hopes to inspire others to share in my passion for this timeless dish.