Question: Pizzas are a hot item (no pun intended) for both the eat-in and the take-out portions of my restaurant business. Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for vegan pizzas. I’d like to get more creative with no-meat, no-cheese pizzas. I think I could attract a lot more business if I did. Any ideas?
Answer: Vegan pizza, no problem! Don’t limit your vegan pizza crust to just the usual shell. Try vegan pizza toppings on vegan whole wheat tortillas, pita bread, flat bread, and sliced crispy Italian bread. Pizza shells are usually vegan (unless you purchase or prepare specialty shells, with cheese imbedded in them).
You’ve probably got the fixings for lots of vegan pizzas. Check your basic pizza sauce, to ensure it’s not made with sausage or cheese. If it is, create your own with canned tomatoes, tomato purée, chopped onions, carrots, and celery, fresh or dried garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Prepare a large enough batch to last several days or to freeze.
Pile up the following toppings, depending on your customers’ preferences: fresh, grilled, or sautéed (in vegetable oil) mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, or chilies, sliced fresh or grilled tomatoes, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, raw or grilled broccoli florets, fresh basil leaves, raw or sauteed garlic, raw, grilled or canned pineapple, or pine nuts.
If you’d like to purchase some specialty ingredients, extra firm tofu can be marinated in Italian spices and grilled or steamed. Smoked tofu, plain or flavored seitan or tempeh, and fake meats make good toppings. Use crumbled soy “ground round,” soyrizo, fake pepperoni, vegan breakfast strips or sausage, as well as sliced or shredded vegan cheese as toppings. (See Vegan Food Products for some soy resources.) Use these resources to order different types of vegan “meat” toppings.
Here Are Some Vegan Pizza Menu Ideas:
White Pizza: broccoli and grilled tofu with a vegan pesto (fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and olive oil) as the sauce
Spicy Grilled Veggie Pizza: grilled veggies, roasted chilies, basil, pine nuts, salsa, and cilantro
Garlic with a Surprise Pizza: garlic, thyme, and roasted pears
Spud Pizza: mashed potato and mushroom or baked potato with oven-roasted garlic or roasted potato pieces, tomatoes, and broccoli
Mediterranean Pizza: olives, caramelized onions, and roasted or sun-dried tomatoes
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