Just when we thought vegan life couldn’t get any more delectable, we remembered that October is National Pizza Month! While vegan options all over the world have been steadily available over the years at places such as Philadelphia’s Blackbird Pizzeria, Los Angeles’s Cruzer Pizza, and the west coast chain Patxi’s Pizza, it seems that in 2016, cruelty-free pies have been gaining even more traction. That’s why this year, we’re taking our cravings for crispy crusts, tangy sauces, creative toppings, and a variety of vegan cheeses to the newest shops on the block (including as far out as Australia!). These are eight pies we can’t wait to order for National Pizza Month.
Virtuous Pie, Vancouver, Canada
Virtuous Pie opened in Vancouver last month with the mission to “win people over with food.” The Kim Jack-Il pizza caught our eye with its hoisin crema, cashew mozzarella, and gojuchang-braised jackfruit. And if impressing customers with that creation wasn’t enough, the shop’s selection of coconut-based ice cream in flavors such as salted caramel, basil and peach jam, and turmeric with black pepper served in a coconut shell really seals the deal.
Screamer’s, Brooklyn, NY
This just-opened shop is a collaboration between two of our favorite mainstay vegan eateries: Brooklyn’s Champs Diner and Philadelphia-based Blackbird Pizzeria. As such, there’s no way we’re not ordering at least one pie this holiday month from Screamer’s. We’re starting with the simple Sicilian-style Tomato Pie and working our way up to the Ultimate Veggie which comes loaded with red onions, green bell peppers, cremini mushrooms, olives, kale, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and a piquant tomato sauce.
Veggie Crust, Boston, MA
Italian pizza is fine and dandy, but for cravings that fall outside of “The Boot,” we’re looking to the Indian-spiced pizzas at Veggie Crust. At this meatless joint, making your own pie isn’t just limited to one sauce. Rather, the menu boasts a whopping six sauces to choose from—including Curry Leaf Pistachio Pesto, spicy Manchurian, and a coconut-based vegan alfredo. Roasted vegetable toppings, plant-based bolognese pasta, a whole range of vegan “nice” cream, and an attached juice bar will have us coming back well after National Pizza Month has passed.
Ciao Cristina!, Los Angeles, CA
An unassuming classic Italian restaurant nestled near the famous Warner Brothers studios, Ciao Cristina recently surprised VegNews editors with the personal pizza of our dreams. The thin-crust pie came piled high with arugula, a tangy tomato sauces, and perfectly blistered dollops of Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella. For a place that serves mostly meat-based Venetian fare, this vegan masterpiece deserves a resounding Bravo!
Paulie Gee’s, Miami
Ever since we got wind of the Brooklyn-based pizzeria’s multi-state expansion (Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland, so far), we’ve been dying to get our hands on the Ricotta Da Vegan pie. Made with soft dollops of cashew-based ricotta cheese, herbaceous housemade vegan fennel sausage, wilted baby arugula, and a drizzle of floral olive oil, once we’re done with our last slice in Miami, we’re heading to Paulie Gee’s original Brooklyn location for round two.
Amy’s Drive Thru, Rohnert Park, CA
This vegetarian drive thru was the first of its kind when it opened in 2015, and while its veggie burgers created the biggest buzz—helping owners Andy and Rachel Berliner double their expected sales in the first year—the pizza on Amy’s menu is what we’re rolling down our driver’s side window for this month. Three simple, single serving, vegan-friendly options are available—Cheese, Margherita, or Spinach—and each can be made gluten-free by subbing in their milled sunflower seed-based crust.
Double Zero, New York, NY
Fancier flatbreads can be pizza, too! Veteran chef, culinary instructor, and restaurateur Matthew Kenney opened Double Zero (formerly 00+Co) as a finer pizzeria back in February—with flatbread-esque pizzas, small plates, and artisanal vegan cheese spreads. What’s the “00” all about? The name speaks to the type of high-grade, superfine flour (“zero zero”) that Kenney uses to craft his pizza dough. The fact that you can add smokey shiitake bacon to any pie at the number-named establishment means you’ll find us here for the next 31 days.
GiGi’s Pizzeria, Sydney, Australia
We’re so serious about National Pizza Month that hitting the Southern hemisphere is on our menu. Enter GiGi’s Pizzeria in Sydney, Australia—a long standing high-end shop that removed all animal products from its menu a year ago. Once the jet lag wears off, we’re heading straight for the Funghi e Radicchio which features Swiss brown mushrooms, garlic, dairy-free “blue” cheese, parsley, radicchio, roasted walnuts, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. In preparation for our trip Down Under, we’re packing a few of Gardein’s new pizza pockets and eating them on the plane ride over.
Photo courtesy of Virtuous Pie