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Vegan pepperoni pizza

October 27, 2008

One of Nick’s favorite foods is pepperoni pizza, and you can imagine my inner cringe whenever he orders and eats (a whole) one. Awhile back, though, he very willingly tried some vegan pepperoni I had bought, and he liked it! Since then, I have made this pizza for us multiple times. It hasn’t replaced pepperoni pizza entirely in his diet, but it serves as an excellent substitute that is hearty and satisfying enough to quell his pizza cravings for a time after eating it.

I make my pizza sauce at home, and I make it uniquely (albeit sneakily) healthful. My secret ingredient – pumpkin! Weird as it may sound, when mixed with tomato sauce, the pumpkin taste fades entirely to the background, and it serves as a perfect thickener while allowing the tomato and herbs to shine through. I highly recommend everyone try this; it’s a healthy and surprisingly tasty addition. Why not get fiber and vitamin A as you’re getting your pizza fix?

I don’t think I can really call this a “recipe,” but here are the supplies you’ll need.

1 pizza dough of any kind, storebought or homemade
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce, plain or Italian-style
1 can (any size) canned pure pumpkin
1 pkg vegan pepperoni
Mozzarella or vegan cheese of choice
Black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, dried Italian herbs as desired

For weeknight convenience, I use Pillsbury thin crust pizza in the can – it’s accidentally vegan! Check it and see for yourself. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and stretch the dough out across a greased baking sheet.

To make the sauce, I mix equal parts tomato sauce and pumpkin. I don’t really measure; I just dump in the whole 8-oz. can of sauce, and then throw in approximately the same amount of pumpkin. (Save the rest of the can of pumpkin, though, for the cookies you’ll see in here later this week!)

I add a couple spoonfuls of black pepper and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. If you didn’t use herby tomato sauce, definitely add a spoonful of basil or oregano or both, or a dried Italian herb mix. Put in as much garlic powder as you want (I recommend lots) or, if you have the time/inclination, mince some fresh garlic and put that in. Basically, just add whatever you want that will make it taste good to you; it’s very open-ended. Whisk everything together. If you’d like a particularly luxurious sauce, include a spoonful or two of olive oil.

See how the pumpkin disappears? The only trace of it you’ll detect is a pleasant sweetness that actually enhances the juicy tomato taste. Smear that goodness all over the unbaked crust, and break out the pepperoni. I use Yves. The texture was slightly odd to me when first tried a piece plain, but when baked on pizza, it’s fantastic. I always put the pepperoni under the cheese so that it doesn’t get crispy or burnt (which is a danger for me, since I like a well-baked pizza).

Sprinkle your cheese on there – use Italian blend or mozzarella for vegetarian, or any decently melty dairy-free white cheese you can find for vegan. For extra flair, I like to sprinkle a pinch more dried herbs on top.

Bake it for however long your crust package tells you to. Underbake or overbake as desired. I always wait to take mine out till the cheese is nice and brown, with those delicious dark spots throughout.

Who’s hungry?! Slice up and dig in. The omnivore in your life will love it, and you’ll be providing them (and yourself) with nutrition disguised as junk food. Sneaky? If you don’t tell them what’s in it, then sure. Delicious? Without a doubt.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2008 5:28 am

    What kind of vegan cheeses do you like? There aren’t any that I’ve tried yet that I like. 😦 I’ve heard fairly okay things about the UK brand, Sheese. And I’ve heard AMAZING things about the Dr. Cow brand of raw, aged tree nut cheeses (cashew, etc., etc.,) but I haven’t tried either of those yet. I wish I had known about Dr. Cow nut cheeses when we were in New York last month!!! My only hope of getting some is to order something from one of the american vegan websites and have it shipped here! (You can buy 8 wheels of cheese on the Dr. Cow website, but I’m not inclined to buy 8 of anything unless I know for sure that I love it! LOL)Your pizza looks great! I haven’t made a real pizza in quite some time — although last month I did make a vegan version of pizza on whole wheat pitas with a vegan cheese sauce I made from scratch, that was quite delicious! I’ve been wanting to try that Yves pepperoni for a while now, and I think my husband has as well, so I’ll have to think about making a pizza soon — although I think I’ll go for the whole wheat pitas again as I am wanting to limit our intake of pastas and breads. 🙂 Anyway, I’d be interested to hear about what vegan cheeses you’ve tried and liked….

  2. Rachel permalink
    June 7, 2010 2:44 pm

    This pizza was pretty good! However, mine came out quite spicy! I think that 2 tablespoons of pepper may have been a little too much for me. But the pepperoni was great! Tasted just like regular pepperoni to me! I could tell the difference in the sauce because of the texture, but I didn’t dislike it!

  3. June 7, 2010 2:52 pm

    Rachel—2 Tbsp of pepper?! Wow, I BET it was spicy! I’m glad you liked the pepperoni. The sauce is different, but I find the slight sweetness of the pumpkin to be a nice addition :]

  4. Robin Bascara permalink
    December 9, 2011 8:12 am

    I plan to make this tonight (girlfriends are coming over for movie night) but I am going to take it up a notch by topping it with raw food. I will have salad food, i.e.: spring mix, tomatoes, olives, avocado, red bell peppers, sprouts, red onion etc. Thus, the best of both worlds…vegan and live!

    • December 9, 2011 9:28 am

      I love that idea, Robin! I hope it turns out great!

      • Robin Bascara permalink
        December 10, 2011 8:24 am

        This pizza was a hit! I will definitely make it again. My cheese did not turn a golden brown like yours. I used a dairy free which was good…which one did you use?
        Also, along with the pepperoni, I added the vegan spicy sausage. REALLY NICE. It’s the sauce that makes this pizza so special.

      • December 10, 2011 9:46 am

        Yay, so glad to hear that! I honestly can’t remember what kind of cheese I used (since this was over 3 years ago!), but I do always keep my pizzas in the oven for several extra minutes until they’re just short of burnt – I like ’em that way 😛 Vegan spicy sausage sounds AWESOME!

  5. July 24, 2012 1:32 pm

    “Follow Your Heart Mozzarella” is what “Waldo Pizza” in KCMO uses on their vegan pizzas and it is really good. You can find it at Whole Foods. Daiya, I hear, does not work as well as the other for pizza.

  6. July 24, 2012 1:43 pm

    I also wanted to mention that Trader Joe’s has whole wheat pre-made pizza dough near the fresh produce section of their store if you want to make it a bit healthier.

    I really appreciate your recipes and all the pictures, pictures are really helpful. I have not tried any of these as this is my first time to your website. My husband and I went fat-free vegan almost 2 months ago. I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer in August 2008 and have been on chemo since then. I quit chemo 3 months ago because I now have metastatic ovarian cancer and chemo simply does not work, it really only causes it to spread. I am trying to heal my body naturally and prayerfully reverse cancer.

    Melissa Gurba

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