Meaty, cheesy pizza. I’m never gonna eat it no matter how gorgeous it looks. When hungry, pizza is one of everyone’s go-to food, especially since it’s easy to find.
But would you dine in at Giordano’s? The pizzeria is known for its meat and cheese-filled Chicago-style pizza, which is not too interesting for vegans even the hungry ones.
But we don’t know is that Giordano’s also offers vegan options for us. Now we know!
Giordano’s pizza crust, luckily, is vegan-friendly. The sauce that they use though isn’t, but since you can create your own pizza flatbread, Giordano’s is still a thing for us vegans. And I’m also happy to know that their marinara sauce is vegan. How cool is that?
Let’s go check more vegan options at Giordano’s, shall we?
Giordano’s, Your Best Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza
Somewhere in Turin, Italy, brothers Joseph and Efren Boglio grew up with their mother’s delicious Easter pizza pies. When Efren immigrated to the U.S., he worked in a pizzeria in Chicago but wasn’t happy with how the pizzas tasted.
His brother Joseph followed him to Chicago where they decided to open their own pizzeria using their mom’s pizza recipe. After a few months of testing to create the best, most delicious stuffed pizza in Chicago, the Boglio brothers opened Giordano’s in 1974.
Later in 1988, Greece natives John and Eva Apostolou acquired Giordano’s with high hopes to expand in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Unfortunately, Giordano’s sales faltered due to the challenges that the couple was facing in their commercial real estate properties.
Giordano’s was included in the bankruptcy filing. In 2011, it was sold to Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, a Chicago-based private equity firm for $52 million.
After the acquisition, Victory Park opened new locations in the U.S. and kept up with its top competitors such as Lou Malnati’s, Nancy’s, and Pizzeria Uno, among others. Since then, with over 60 locations in America, Giordano’s has been turning the heads of several media outlets.
Critically acclaimed Giordano’s was named Best Pizza in the City by Chicago Magazine, as well as Best Pizza in America by The Today Show. It was also voted by New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC, CBS Chicago, Chicago Eater, Home & Garden Magazine, and Concierge Preferred as “Chicago’s Best Pizza.”
Giordano’s has locations in Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin. They also offer catering services, delivery, and carryout.
Giordano’s Vegan Options
Giordano’s takes 45 minutes to bake their pizza, something that you need to consider when ordering from them. Their original stuffed pizza has a top and bottom crust and is stuffed with cheese, as well as toppings and sauce.
Giordano’s pizza is meaty and cheesy, but the good thing is that you can create your own deep-dish style, thin crust, or extra thin crust pizza. The crust is vegan-friendly too. This means a lot for vegans, especially since Giordano’s is known for its meaty-filled stuffed pizza.
Here’s the list of what you can have at Giordano’s that is suitable for vegans.
- Pizza. You can safely have Giordano’s deep-dish style pizza, thin crust, and extra thin. These are all vegan-friendly. The vegetable toppings below are available, but you can ditch the cheese because I don’t think they use vegan cheese on their pizza or other dishes.
- Banana Peppers
- Black Olives
- Toasted Garlic
- Garlic Broccoli
- Giardiniera Peppers
- Green Olives
- Green Peppers
- Jalapeño Peppers
- Dipping Sauce. Giordano’s house-made marinara sauce is vegan. You can use this on your pizza if you need to. It’s the only sauce option you can have since the other sauces are ranch, BBQ, and buffalo, which are all non-vegan.
- Giordano’s Crispy Fries. You may need to ask Giordano’s if there are any animal byproducts used in their crispy fries.
- Greek Salad. This includes cucumbers, baby tomatoes, bell peppers, Kalamata olives, red onion, banana peppers, and iceberg lettuce tossed in Giordano’s lemon vinaigrette. Ditch the Greek feta cheese because it’s not vegan.
- Giordano’s House Salad. Delicious spring greens, baby tomatoes, and shaved fennel tossed in Giordano’s famous lemon vinaigrette. Ask the crew to serve it without the asiago cheese because it’s obviously not vegan.
- Pepsi Bottomless Softdrinks
- Hot Tea
- San Pellegrino Sparkling Water
Giordano’s also has frozen stuffed pizza. You may ask for a modification, especially since they include cheese in their vegetarian flavors.
Pro Tip: If you have food allergies, Giordano’s has warned that cross-contamination is likely possible as they prepare their food in the same kitchen utensils.
What To Look Out For When Eating Pizza
Pizza is undoubtedly famous and makes a perfect meal for everyone. But even when it’s vegan, the calories are almost the same as its non-vegan counterpart.
The dough used in most pizzas is already packed with calories. For instance, a fast-food pizza gives a whopping 460 calories in one big slice, which is equivalent to 167 g. Can you imagine how to shed those calories off your body?
The USDA recommends limiting your calorie intake to 2,000 per day, and with 460 calories for a slice of fast-food pizza, it’s just too much.
Another important thing to look out for is sodium. Pizza tends to have large amounts of sodium, which is unhealthy enough for you to take things easy. For one slice of 167 g, you’ll get 900 mg of sodium, which is 38% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 2,300 mg.
Pizza is also packed with saturated fats. The 167 g slice of pizza has 26 g of fat, which is high enough for just a slice, as well as with your 2,000 calorie intake accordingly. It’s the cheese that makes it greasy and fatty, by the way.
Plus, the meat toppings in pizzas give the most dangerous fat that a human body can take. Meat has very high trans fat, which is a famous topping in traditional pizza. Bacon, pepperoni, ham, and more are mostly used as pizza toppings.
If you add these to the already high calories crust and sodium content, consider it very unhealthy. So how can you make your pizza even healthier?
Assuming that you’ve ditched meat and non-vegan cheese, you can pile up more vegetable toppings to neutralize the calories, fats, and sodium content.
Here’s what I suggest.
- Create your own pizza. I know it sounds a little complicated for you, especially when you don’t cook or bake, but it’s worth trying. Why? Because you get to choose and control your own ingredients.
- Choose the pizza that’s made with whole ingredients. Those pre-made or ready-to-bake pizzas are packed with artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and added sugar. Again, homemade is way better.
- Control your pizza consumption. Of course, even with other foods, moderation is key. No matter how veggie, meaty, or cheesy your pizza is, if you eat it excessively, it’s never healthy. Always eat in moderation to keep things healthy.
- Focus on more veggies. This has been many times, but vegetables are rich in fiber and antioxidants that will help balance your calories, fat, and sodium intake. Choose those veggies that are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid deep-dish crust. Sorry, but Giordano’s deep-dish pizza isn’t really a great option for you unless you know how to control yourself from eating a lot of slices. Opt for the thin or extra thin crust to avoid high-calorie intake.
Remember, high calorie, sodium, carbs, and fat intake can lead to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, metabolic syndrome, allergies, and more.
Overeating is never a healthy option, especially when you’re munching on ready-made pizza. Your kidneys, heart, lungs, and immune system are in the line…and your waistline too!
The Bottom Line
Giordano’s has several vegetarian choices, which is easier for those who are on a plant-based diet to order them vegan on request. Their pizzas and salads can be ordered without the cheese since they use non-vegan ones. But you can have their marinara sauce because it’s labeled vegan on their menu.
If you need to check more options around, I listed the best vegan pizza restaurants in this article for your reference. I also included a few vegan pizza brands that you can consider the next time you crave pizza but are too lazy to make your own at home.
Lastly, always call for healthier pizza options. Because even when your pizza is vegan-friendly, the calories, carbs, fat, and sodium content are still high. So, consider what I suggested above to ensure that your pizza is both delicious and healthier for a snack or meal.
Or, try creating your own pizza at home. There are too many vegan pizza recipes that can guide you. You can invest in a quality oven and dough maker as well as other equipment to start learning how to make your own vegan pizza at home.
Trust me, it’s fun learning new things, especially when it’s about food that you get to share with your friends and family. Vegan cooking and baking are never a pain. So, go and start your vegan pizza adventure!