Ok, so you’ve read all the research and made the decision to embrace a whole food plant-based lifestyle. First, congratulations on making this healthy choice! We understand that initially, it can seem daunting to learn a new way of eating and, more importantly, cooking, but it doesn’t have to be.
For example, if your priorities align with mine at all, one of your first thoughts when starting the WFPB journey would be, “What about PIZZA!?”
Good news there! 100% whole food plant-based pizza is totally a thing, and we’re here to teach you how to make a gorgeous plant-based pizza sure to rival any restaurant.
Here’s the first secret of making whole food plant-based pizza (or ANY pizza for that matter).
First things first, when it comes to making pizza (and honestly, any food) the key is to choose high quality ingredients. It’s tempting to throw anything on it that’s handy in your pantry, but if you put poor quality ingredients in or on your pizza, you’re going to end up with a poor-quality pizza.
While there’s nothing criminal about a jarred sauce or canned veggies, we strongly encourage you to take a little extra time to shop for fresh ingredients and prep accordingly. It’s worth it!
Don’t dodge the dough-making!
Most pizza dough is already vegan, so it’s tempting to just grab some frozen dough next time you’re at the market. However, the best pizza starts with the best dough. Taking time to make your dough from scratch, whether you knead by hand or use a mixer, is the base for a truly amazing pizza.
While making a dough is simple, be sure to also give it the time it needs to rest and rise. Think of making your dough like you would bake a loaf of bread. It’s not an afterthought to the rest of your pie. It’s the foundation! Your crust is more than just a canvas for toppings, it sets the tone for your entire masterpiece.
While restaurants may have super-hot ovens that we mere mortals don’t possess, be sure to cook your pizza on high heat (around 500 degrees) to ensure a perfect bake.
There are many whole food plant-based options for making your sauce.
While it’s easy enough to find vegan tomato sauces on the market, most of them still contain some kind of oil, and since oil is a processed food, these sauces aren’t in line with a whole food plant-based lifestyle.
Never fear. We’ve got you covered! Truth is, making a good sauce is incredibly simple. Here’s a great recipe for a whole food plant-based sauce you can whip up in no time.
Looking for simpler still? This is an easy how to for a classic sauce using literally just tomatoes and salt!
Whichever way you choose to go, the most important part is to make sure to use really high-quality canned tomatoes. Never use fresh tomatoes when making sauce because they’re too wet, and nobody likes a soggy crust.
Feeling adventurous? Try making a white pizza using a “cream” sauce made with nuts or parsnips.
OK, but what about the cheese? We gotta talk about the cheese.
You may be thinking, “What is pizza without cheese?”
Furthermore, you might be thinking, “Gotcha! WFPB pizza will never meet my expectations.”
Well, hold on there.
At first glance, it probably doesn’t look like there’s a good answer. While it’s true that there are plant-based cheese substitutes available, they don’t gel with whole food plant-based recipes since they’re heavily processed and no longer qualify as whole food.
But don’t fret; even without cheese, you can still have a great “cheesy” flavor in a plant-based pizza.
While it may not provide the melty experience of traditional cheese, nutritional yeast is a game changer for your most delicious plant-based pizzas. You can use it as the hero ingredient in a whole food plant-based “parmesan cheese” made from nuts or cashews, or if that’s feeling too fancy for your kitchen, simply sprinkle a bit all by itself right on top.
What kind of toppings can you use on a plant-based pizza?
We’re so conditioned to expect meat on a pizza, like pepperoni or sausage, that it may feel like there’s not a lot of options left for a plant-based version, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
There are so many common toppings that are totally in line with whole food plant-based eating. Looking at just vegetables alone, the possibilities are endless.
- Peppers (and not just bell peppers- poblanos, jalapenos, you name it!)
- Greens (spinach, arugula, kale, etc.)
We could keep going, but you probably got the idea. You also don’t have to just toss on raw veggies and bake.
Try roasting or grilling your favorite vegetables before adding to your pie for an extra depth of flavor. Or, instead of cooking your greens, try topping your pizza with raw, dressed greens (yup, we’re talking about essentially putting a salad on your pie) for a super fresh take.
But don’t stop there. Fresh herbs add exciting pops flavor you didn’t know you were missing at Dominos. Oregano and basil are no brainers, but don’t sleep on rosemary, chili peppers, fennel, paprika and, of course, garlic.
Killer plant-based crusts are made for killer dips!
Finally, dips and sauces are an amazing way to add extra flavor and, let’s face it, pizazz to your pizza. It’s easy to whip up your own whole food plant-based BBQ sauce, ranch or even a garlic aioli at home.
Whether served on the side for dipping or artfully swirled on top, dips and sauces make you feel like you’re at an artisanal pizzeria without leaving your kitchen.
Looking for more inspiration?
There’s lots of inspo out there for people searching for great whole food plant-based ideas as well as truly great, unique pizza recipes. Although not plant-based, check out the Chef’s Table: Pizza series on Netflix for more great ideas on how to make unique pizzas at home.
For more tips and ideas for whole food plant-based cooking as a whole, check out the Whole Harvest blog for inspiration and support!
At Whole Harvest Kitchen, we offer an extensive menu of 100% whole food plant-based meals, including pizzas! Our goal is to make it easy and fun to maintain your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy a pie coupled with one of our wide arrays of healthy beverages, including zero proof cocktails at our bar.
We can’t wait for you to try all of our whole food plant-based entrees when our first restaurant opens in late ’23 in Kansas City! Visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and be the first to know when we open!
Wherever you are on your whole food plant-based journey, there’s no such thing as too much education. If you’re curious about whether whole food plant-based
Every day, growing numbers of people switch to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. It’s hardly a brand-new concept, so why does it suddenly feel like