By Lutho Pasiya
Have you ever wondered how to tell if a food is vegan-friendly? It is if it does not have any animal products, is not tested on animals and is not cooked in any animal products.
When you eat in your home, making your favourite plant-based meal might be more manageable. You can buy all your ingredients and put a delicious vegan-friendly recipe together yourself, in which you know precisely what your meal contains.
Going out to eat, however, could prove to be more challenging when it comes to knowing whether you’re a vegan dish.
With National Pizza Day here, ProVeg South Africa asked some of its vegan foodie ambassadors for their top tips on finding a great plant-based pizza. You might think that ordering a vegan pizza is as easy as requesting they leave the cheese off. That might work some of the time but the truth is that, sometimes, the crust or the sauce might contain animal products.
Garth Tavares, aka The Cape Town Vegan, said Street Food ZA, a little joint that opened in Monte Vista in the northern suburbs, started offering what he deemed to be the best pizza in Cape Town.
“I have tried nearly every vegan pizza offering, and nothing comes close. I would highly recommend the ‘chickless mayo pizza’ or the ‘molten meatball pizza’, the latter topped with beyond meat meatballs, marinara, and a cheese sauce. Absolutely unbeatable!”
Vegan fashion model and influencer, Rati Lekalakala said her favourite pizza spot was I Love The Dough on Bree Street in Cape Town, and her favourite pizza toppings were artichokes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and kale chips.
Shaun Robertson, the co-owner of the Vegan Goods Market, said his favourite pizza joint was Panarottis.
Robertson said the restaurant had done an amazing job of making delicious pizzas at affordable prices.
When he makes his own pizza at home, and to make things easier, he uses puffed pastry as his base. His favourite toppings are barbeque marinated vegan chick’n pieces, avo, cherry tomatoes, and melting vegan cheese from Violife.
Author of the South African Vegan Cookbook, Leozette Roode, said she enjoyed making cheese-less health pizzas at home, stacked with a variety of veggies like pineapple, mushrooms, red pepper, roasted butternut, and beetroot, topped with Pesto Princess’ coriander and chilli pesto, heaps of smashed guacamole, and Sriracha.
Director of ProVeg SA Donovan Will said a vegan pizza no longer had to look like a salad on a pizza base.
Will said his favourite pizza was the vegan chilli mince pizza from By Concept in Gardens which is a classic tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, slow-cooked beyond meat chilli mince, red onion, green pepper, red pepper and coriander.
He said pizzas like that were so close to the real thing most people would battle to tell the difference.
ProVeg SA also noted that plant-based pizza options had found their way into mainstream pizza outlets.
Panarottis has five vegan pizza options on its menu, using meat alternatives like chicken-style strips from The Fry Family Food C.
Col’cacchio has a few, including the Zucca – dairy-free nut-based cheese, butternut and tomato base, roasted butternut, roasted beetroot, rocket, avo, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds,
Hudsons has a couple of great-sounding options including The fashionista pizza – Napolitana sauce, vegan mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil pesto, peppadew, caramelized onion, and avo.
Tigers Milk has the plant power pizza – aubergine, mushrooms, olives, vegan cheddar and basil.
There’s even a ready-made, bake-at-home vegan pizza option from Woolworths which is a stonebaked, thin and crispy pizza base, topped with Italian tomatoes, roasted butternut, baby marrow, red pepper, and dairy-free hard style cheese.