Simple Peasy Vegan Tacky – PMQ Pizza Journal

By Tracy Morin

Like most vegan meals classes, the expansion, range and high quality of dairy-free cheeses lately has been merely astounding. With ever extra demand driving ever extra innovation from producers, vegan pizzas now not have to be offered as cheeseless variations that pale compared to the “actual factor.” We checked in with operators throughout the nation—from catering and take-and-bake operations to conventional independents and chains—to get their tackle how vegan cheeses are working wonders throughout their menu.


Chef Louis Bayla and Brian Bistroy

Desk and Banter, Berkeley, NJ

We buy our vegan cheese: Miyoko’s Creamery Natural Cashew Milk Mozzarella, which is like contemporary mozzarella, and Violife Simply Like Parmesan. Parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar are nice for omelets and sandwiches, and we use it similar to you’d use any cheese. We don’t cost further—the revenue margin is barely much less, however we use a whole lot of cheese on our pizzas—and the shopper response has been constructive. I believe they admire us retaining their consuming habits in thoughts. And it’s not simply vegetarians who eat our vegan dishes; typically the shopper simply desires to eat cleaner or plant-based. I’d suggest tasting totally different cheeses, seeing how they soften and work together with your dishes. You may be stunned to see what’s on the market!


Vito’s Slices and Ices has change into a top-rated vegan-friendly pizzeria since including vegan cheese to the menu. Photograph courtesy Please Meals.

John Accardi, Proprietor

Vito’s Slices and Ices, New York, NY

The co-founder of Pleese Meals reached out to me as a result of he heard that we’re the top-rated pizzeria in our neighborhood, and he needed genuine New York pizza for an occasion he was internet hosting. We had gotten a number of requests for vegan cheese earlier than that, however nothing impressed me till I noticed Pleese soften and tasted it on my pizza. I grew to become the primary pizzeria on this planet to hold it repeatedly on my menu. I began ordering 20 kilos of it every month, and now I can undergo that quantity in a day. Lots of my common clients order solely vegan slices now!

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For greatest outcomes when cooking, I take advantage of a skinny layer of sauce and high off the cheese with olive oil earlier than inserting within the oven. My ovens can attain 600°F, and I take advantage of a display screen beneath the crust, so the cheese and dough bake in about eight to 10 minutes. We cost a premium—$3 per slice, $6 per pie—so the slices are extra worthwhile, particularly with added toppings. We had been just lately ranked within the high 5 vegan pizzerias in NYC!


Including nondairy cheese at Papa Murphy’s has allowed the take-and-bake chain to cater to lactose-intolerant clients. Photograph courtesy Papa Murphy’s.

Carron Harris, Senior Director of Culinary

Papa Murphy’s, Vancouver, WA (1,250 U.S. areas, plus areas in Canada and the United Arab Emirates)

We tried eight totally different manufacturers of dairy-free cheese, evaluating them on style, look, meltability, texture and ease of use for operators. We additionally needed to take into account distribution throughout the U.S. and cost-effectiveness. We use Violife Simply Like Mozzarella Shreds in our UAE shops, so having a world presence was a bonus. It additionally scored the very best amongst our tasters in all the classes. At present, the cheese is on the menu on pizzas however might be subbed on a salad as properly.

The mozzarella comes prepared for operators to make use of and appears a lot totally different than our present whole-milk mozzarella, which is shredded in-house. This helps preserve confusion at a minimal for the crew. Staff comply with the same old steps to make a pizza, and the cheese is available in a reasonable-size package deal to stop waste, which helps profitability. Dairy-free cheese undoubtedly prices extra to buy, and we move that alongside to shoppers: Our franchisees cost between $2 to $3 extra for a pizza with dairy-free cheese to take care of revenue margins. However buyer response has been overwhelmingly constructive! Households are so excited that they will get a dairy-free pizza for his or her lactose-intolerant children. It permits the entire household to take pleasure in our pizzas.

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Toppers Veganstix, the dairy-free model of Topperstix, permits even vegan and lactose-free clients to take pleasure in tacky breadsticks. Photograph courtesy Toppers

Mac Malchow, Director of Menu Innovation

Toppers Pizza, Whitewater, WI (70 areas)

There are such a lot of vegan cheese choices at this time, all with totally different style profiles, visuals and melts. We reviewed greater than 10 totally different cheeses earlier than lastly partnering with an professional vegan chef who helped us establish the proper cheese for style and soften in our ovens. We inventory one dairy-free/vegan cheese made by Comply with Your Coronary heart. We use this cheese on our build-your-own recipes, vegan home pizza recipes and our Veganstix (the dairy-free model of tacky Topperstix).

With any meals product, there are storage and shelf-life procedures to bear in mind, however dairy-free cheese doesn’t require something out of the norm. Nevertheless, dairy-free mozzarella is way more costly than mainstream mozzarella and even different area of interest cheeses, so we now have to upcharge for it. Because it continues to develop in reputation and our utilization climbs, we’ll be capable to buy it at a decrease price and, in flip, move these financial savings onto our clients.

Nonetheless, the shopper response since we added vegan cheeses has been phenomenal. We began receiving unimaginable buyer suggestions for our vegan recipes instantly upon rollout two years in the past. The suggestions has continued ever since, and it’s regular to see Google evaluations each week mentioning the love of our plant-powered merchandise. They’re a small however mighty and boisterous buyer group that we like to serve.

Should you’re wanting so as to add vegan cheeses to the menu, be choosy. Don’t rush the method. Discover one you actually love and that works together with your different merchandise. Don’t simply add it to your menu as an possibility, however actually incorporate recipes that you already know (by way of analysis) that vegan clients are going to like.


Neo Pizza discovered that its vegan cheese advantages from some relaxation time after rising from the oven. Photograph courtesy Chelsea Kyle, Vitalite.

Leho Poldmae, Proprietor/Operator

Neo (By no means Count on Strange) Pizza + Taphouse, Baltimore, MD

Having labored in and owned profitable eating places for greater than 25 years, I understand how necessary it’s to make use of high quality components, and Neo Pizza is thought for its artisan pizzas. Once we had been searching for a vegan cheese, we wanted one that might assist us deliver our signature creations to life and selected Vitalite plant-based, vegan-certified, dairy-free mozzarella-style shreds from Saputo Dairy USA. We have now been impressed with the product’s capacity to assist us to ship the nice style, texture, melting efficiency and visible attraction our clients count on. With extra folks following a vegan or flexitarian method to consuming, it’s a should to have vegan choices on the menu at this time.

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The largest factor to learn about working with vegan cheese is to know that it’s not at all times a one-to-one substitute for dairy cheese. Earlier than utilizing it as a topping on a pizza, experiment with it to make sure you perceive its traits. We prefer to suggest including toppings with totally different textures and attention-grabbing flavors to create a scrumptious artisan vegan pizza. One wonderful thing about our plant-based cheese is that it does properly with some relaxation time earlier than consumption, which provides us a bit extra flexibility in service. From a cooking standpoint, we’ve discovered that it melts greatest beneath excessive warmth, which is good for the pizza ovens we use. However we’d suggest experimenting with textures, temperatures and flavors when first including a vegan cheese to the menu. Vegan cheese pairs properly with pickled objects and greens, so creating menu choices that deliver out a few of these flavors are excellent.

We cost an extra $2 for vegan cheese, sausage or pepperoni on our 10” pizzas and $4 on our 14” pizzas. We’ve had a terrific response from clients since we’ve added vegan cheese and vegan meat substitutes to our menus. Vegan, flexitarian or dairy-intolerant clients admire with the ability to take pleasure in our artisan pizzas—they really feel extra valued once they come to your restaurant and have a couple of menu objects to select from.  

Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor and the editor of