by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
Launched in October 2013, Viva La Vegan® is a vegan pizza offered at
Ledo Pizza® restaurants. There are approximately one hundred Ledo®
restaurants located mostly in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC with
a few others in West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida. A store
locator can be accessed on the Ledo Pizza® website. Each Ledo Pizza® restaurant is independently owned and operated.
Viva La Vegan® is described on the Ledo Pizza® website:
Our flakey crust, topped with LEDO sauce, fresh sliced tomatoes, black
olives, red onions and jalapenos. Baked then topped with fresh avocado
and drizzled with our lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil.
The VRG spoke with employees at Ledo Pizza’s® corporate office in
Maryland and to the manager of a suburban Maryland Ledo Pizza®
restaurant in February 2014 to find out more information about the Viva
La Vegan® pizza.
We learned that the pizza crust does not contain dairy ingredients,
honey, or other animal ingredients such as lard. The crust does not
contain L-cysteine. The FAQ page on the Ledo Pizza® website states: “Our
crust is not made with any animal products.”
The VRG was told that the pizza sauce is all-vegetable. The FAQ page on
the Ledo Pizza® website states: “Our sauce contains soy oil, California
tomatoes, fresh veggies, and spices.” The complete ingredient statement
for the Ledo® sauce is also found on the website:
Vine-Ripened Fresh Peeled Ground Tomatoes, Extra Heavy Tomato Puree, A
Special Blend of Spices and Herbs (Sugar, Salt, Aromatic Herbs, Spices),
Soybean Oil, Fresh Onions, Fresh Garlic.
A Ledo’s® corporate employee confirmed on the phone that this sauce is
on the Viva La Vegan® pizza.
There is no cheese on the Viva La Vegan® pizza. Currently there is no
vegan cheese option at Ledo Pizza®. Patrons interested in this option
should speak with the manager of their local Ledo Pizza®.
Concerning cheeses served on other Ledo® pizzas, the FAQ page on the
Ledo Pizza® website states: “Our cheese is made with vegetable-based
rennet.” Ledo® employees in the corporate office confirmed this on the
phone with The VRG.
We asked the manager of a Ledo Pizza® restaurant about the likelihood of
meat products coming into contact with the Viva La Vegan® pizza or with
the utensils and pans used to make it. She told us that “Contact with
meat products is possible.” She suggested that vegan patrons request
that the pizza cutter be sanitized before cutting a Viva La Vegan® pizza
to ensure that it hasn’t been in recent contact with cheese or meat from
other pizzas. The manager pointed out that since only doughs touch the
pans and all the doughs are dairy-free, the pans are never of concern
Ledo’s® also makes a gluten-free crust which is all-vegetable. An
ingredient list for it appears on its website:
Water, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Evaporated Cane Juice,
Tapioca Flour, Fresh Yeast, Salt
According to a Ledo’s® employee in the corporate office, a patron could
request that the gluten-free crust be used to build the Viva La Vegan®
pizza. The gluten-free crust is available only in a small size at this
For more information on fast food and quick casual restaurant chains
visit The VRG website.
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications,
including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal
medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified
health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient
information from company employees or company statements. Information
does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best
judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research
or confirmation may be warranted.