I love pizza and I eat it probably close to once a week. When I went vegan about 5 years ago I thought that this borderline obsession was going to come to an abrupt end. At first I thought it was fine because I always had pasta that would get me by when I'm craving some Italian food. But I quickly realized vegan pizza was pretty good and now, 5 years later, I don't miss regular cheese pizza at all.
One big reason why I don't miss it is because the plant-based cheese options at vegan restaurants, or restaurants with vegan options, these days are so good (they will only get better once vegan cheese that replicates casein is more wildly available= game changer). The other reason I don't miss it is because I found my favourite pizza shop in Toronto
What makes Vegan Pizza better?
According to Veggie in the 6ix, choosing vegan pizza is better for the environment, your health and it saves animals from being killed or exploited for cheese and meat. By choosing vegan pizza, you are showing compassion and respect for other living beings. Vegan pizza also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, deforestation and water pollution. By choosing vegan pizza, you are helping to protect the planet and its resources. A third reason is that vegan pizza improves your health and lowers your risk of chronic diseases. Vegan pizza is lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than regular pizza. It also can also provide more fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals that can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and prevent cancer.
What to Look for In a Pizza
What makes a good vegan pizza depends on the quality of the ingredients, the texture of the crust and cheese, and the type of vegan cheese used.
The quality of the ingredients is crucial for a good vegan pizza, as it affects the flavor, nutrition and freshness of the pizza. A good vegan pizza should use organic, whole food and plant-based ingredients that are free of artificial additives, preservatives and GMOs. Some examples of high-quality ingredients are tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes, herbs and spices, vegan mozzarella made from cashews, nutritional yeast and tapioca starch, and fresh basil leaves for garnish.
The texture of the crust and cheese is another important factor for a good vegan pizza, as it determines the mouthfeel, chewiness and stretchiness of the pizza. A good vegan pizza should have a crust that is thin, crispy and airy, and a cheese that is gooey, melty and creamy. A good way to achieve this texture is to use oat milk, canola oil and nutritional yeast for the cheese, and to bake the pizza in a hot oven on a pizza stone or baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
The type of vegan cheese used is also a key element for a good vegan pizza, as it influences the taste, aroma and appearance of the pizza. A good vegan pizza should use a cheese that is mild, nutty and tangy, and that complements the other toppings on the pizza. Some examples of suitable vegan cheeses are cashew mozzarella, almond ricotta, or soy feta. The type of vegan cheese should also match the style of the pizza, such as Italian, Greek or American.
In conclusion, a good vegan pizza is one that uses high-quality ingredients, has a desirable texture, and uses an appropriate type of vegan cheese.
Who Makes the Best Vegan Pizza?
It was a little over 2 years ago (pre-pandemic) when my friend first told me about this new pizza shop she found in Toronto's east end. I lived in the west at the time and never ventured that that part of the city but when I moved in 2020 I finally tried Blondies Pizza and I must that say they make THE BEST vegan pizza in Toronto.
It's important to note that Blondies is not a Vegan Restaurant but rather they allow you to substitute for vegan cheese on any of their pizzas. Now, there are two reasons I can make such a bold claim about them making the best pizza. First, is their crust. Just amazing. It's soft, perfectly chewy and with the optimal amount of crisp on the bottom when you take a bite.
The other reason is their cheese. I haven't figured out what type of cheese they use but I highly suspect they make their own (most pizza shops use Daiya which is not my favourite). They charge $6 extra for it which is a lot....but it's worth it. I have had many people ask me about my photos because they don't believe that it's vegan.
Their vegan cheese has an addictive quality to it similar to cow cheese. I personally can't get enough of Blondies Pizza.
My go-to for toppings are: mushrooms, sun-dried olives and basil. But I am trying my best to lobby them to add a vegan meat to their topping choices.
Blondies has been growing very quickly and at the time of this article they have 7 locations:
- 1555 Dundas St E
- 88 Ossington Ave
- 2486 Dundas St W
- 265 Davenport Rd
- 499 Cornwall Rd
- 419 Parliament St 13
- Stavebank Road
I must mention that North of Brooklyn also makes a very very good pizza (more of a thin crust style) but Blondies still comes out ahead in my opinion.
A good vegan pizza can rival any regular pizza in terms of taste, satisfaction and enjoyment, while also offering many benefits for health, ethics and environment.
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