How to Make the Best Vegan Pizza

By Courtney Davison,

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Vegan pizza is nothing new: In Virgil’s Aeneid (written around 30 B.C.), weary travelers top “thin wheaten cakes” with fruits, veggies, and herbs. That 2,000-year-old scene touches on the customizability of pizzas and flatbreads, which makes them a popular option among plant-based eaters today. Cheese- and meat-free pizza isn’t just for vegans; it’s a smart choice for anyone seeking to eat more healthfully.  

Pizza vs. Flatbreads

So, what’s the difference between a flatbread and a pizza? Not much. Some purists insist that flatbreads should be made with unleavened dough, but many chefs have broken with that tradition. The only persistent practical distinction is crust-deep: Flatbread crusts tend to be thinner and more oblong than pizza crusts. The building blocks for pizza and flatbreads—dough, sauce, and toppings—are the same for both.

How to Make Vegan Pizza Dough

Traditional pizza dough is vegan. It simply consists of flour, yeast, sugar, water, and salt. However, some contemporary restaurants have added dairy to the mix, with “buttery” or “stuffed” crusts and whey in the dough—something to take note of if you’re trying to order a vegan pizza out. Making a vegan pizza crust from scratch is easy with our simple recipes: Try the whole wheat version or the gluten-free version.

How to Parbake a Pizza Crust

Parbaking refers to a method of partially baking a pizza crust and then freezing it for future use. Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 450°F; then freeze it. When ready to use, preheat oven to 450°F, remove the crust from freezer, add desired toppings, and bake 20 more minutes.

Choosing a Vegan Sauce 

The sauce is where the real fun begins. From pizza classics such as tomato sauce to flatbread favorites such as tahini spreads, there is a vegan version of whatever you’re craving. Here are our picks.

Vegan Pizza Toppings

When it comes to vegan pizza toppings, the sky’s the limit. You can load up a pizza with every vegetable or fruit imaginable. Here are some popular pizza and flatbread toppings for vegans:

  • Red onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Olives
  • Spinach
  • Banana peppers
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Thinly sliced potato
  • Jalapeño chiles
  • Roasted tomatoes 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sun-dried tomatoes 
  • Pineapple
  • Nutritional yeast

Our Favorite Vegan Pizza Recipes

Now that you know the basics, check out all of our favorite plant-based pizza recipes

This article was originally published on Dec. 19, 2019, and has been updated.

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About the Author

Headshot of Courtney Davison

About the Author

Courtney Davison

Courtney Davison is Forks Over Knives’ managing editor. A writer and editor on a wide range of subjects, she co-wrote a nationally syndicated advice column from 2016 to 2018 and co-authored the 2018 book Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie. She is a longtime vegan and in her free time enjoys trying new recipes and spending quality time with her cats. Find her on LinkedIn.
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