Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is a reasonably popular pizzeria chain situated in New York City, though they have several restaurants in nine other locations. As a pizzeria, you’d assume that Grimaldi’s is completely non-vegan, as pizza typically contains dough, cheese, and other ingredients that are generally not vegan.
However, if you’ve been keeping up with the news, you should know that pizza can be vegan. But the question is, does Grimaldi’s Pizzeria have such options?
As luck would have it, Grimaldi’s does have vegan options. More specifically, they have special dough free of animal products.
With this dough, the pizzeria can customize a pizza that’s entirely vegan by opting out the cheese and adding veggies and fruits. Of course, this would require you to at least know the ingredients you can use for a vegan pizza. With that said, this article will discuss what you need to know about Grimaldi’s vegan options.
Let’s start by looking at the different pizza bases Grimaldi’s Pizzeria uses.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Pizza Dough
The first step to making pizza is preparing the dough at which you’ll place the sauce, cheese, and toppings. Naturally, if you wish to order a vegan pizza, the dough must be vegan. However, since the dough is generally not vegan due to its ingredients, it’s usually difficult to find pizza dough that’s actually suitable.
So, how do you know if the specific dough is vegan? For a pizza dough recipe to be categorized as vegan, it must yield ”no” as an answer to the following questions.
- Do they use butter for their pizza crust?
- Is there l-cysteine in the pizza dough?
- Does the pizza dough consist of lard?
If the answer to these questions is no, then the pizza dough in question must be vegan. This is because l-cysteine, butter, and lard are three ingredients that pizzerias often use to make pizza dough, though they’re not always an ingredient.
L-cysteine comes from either chicken and duck feathers or cow horns, lard is just pure animal fat isolated from the meat, and butter is made of milk.
So, does Grimaldi’s Pizzeria fit the bill in this case?
According to VRG.org, though Grimaldi’s has non-vegan dough, they also have special pizza dough suitable for vegans.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that if one wishes to order a vegan pizza, they can. But of course, you must ensure you inform the pizzeria that you wish to order a pizza with dough that does not consist of the aforementioned ingredients.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Toppings
According to the Pizza Menu found on the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria website, customers can choose from 26 different toppings. Keep in mind, however, that out of these 26, four are either a sauce or a cheese, so there are really only 22 options for toppings. Here’s a look at each one and whether it’s vegan or not:
|Fresh Baby Spinach||Yes|
|Fresh Sliced Roma Tomatoes||Yes|
|Oven Roasted Sweet Red Peppers||Yes|
|Spicy Chicken Sausage||No|
The reasons as to why these ingredients are vegan or not are pretty self-explanatory. Interestingly, there are more vegan toppings than non-vegan ones, though not by a lot. To conclude, if you wish to order a vegan pizza, your next step would be to choose toppings that are likewise completely vegan. After that, you can have a go at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria’s three different pizza sauces.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Sauces
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria currently offers three different pizza sauces, namely the traditional red sauce, pesto sauce, and white sauce. Let’s take a look at each one.
Red sauce is the most common type of sauce pizzerias use to make pizza. Alas, Grimaldi’s considers their red sauce as a rather special ingredient of their product and therefore refuses to disclose its ingredients. What we do know is that they mainly use tomatoes from Italy to create this type of sauce.
However, red sauce, also known as marinara sauce, is usually made of virgin olive oil, oregano, garlic, and tomato sauce, so it’s generally vegan.
Furthermore, seeing as how they use the red sauce for their supposedly vegan pizza, it’s safe to assume that this particular sauce is indeed 100% vegan.
Due to its greenish color, you’d assume that if there’s a vegan pizza sauce, it’d be the pesto sauce, but no. Pesto sauce is, in fact, not vegan. This is because one of the main ingredients of pesto sauce is cheese, hard cheese, to be exact.
In the case of Grimaldi’s, they disclosed that their pesto sauce does indeed consist of grated parmesan cheese, along with basil leaves, garlic, and olive oil.
Though they call it a sauce, the white sauce variety is essentially just cheese sans the sauce, hence the name. Therefore, this type of sauce is not vegan as well.
To summarize, the only vegan sauce from Grimaldi’s is the red sauce, so you must order your pizza with red sauce if you want it to be vegan.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Cheese
After inspecting the pizza menu from their website, we’ve found that Grimaldi’s Pizzeria mainly uses four different cheese types, namely mozzarella, ricotta, Romano, and gorgonzola. The pizzeria adds a single type of cheese to one pizza or two types at once. Naturally, if you want to order a vegan pizza, you must first figure out whether the cheese is vegan or not. Let’s start with mozzarella.
Mozzarella is a type of cheese that comes from the milk of a water buffalo. At least that’s what the regular mozzarella cheese is. Fortunately, there’s a vegan version of mozzarella, and it contains zero animal byproducts. It’s made with lemon juice, tapioca starch, cashews, apple cider vinegar, and other vegan ingredients.
The recipe of Grimaldi’s might differ, but a manager from one of their branches confirmed that they’re fully capable of using vegan mozzarella cheese.
To make mozzarella cheese, milk is heated until the whey and curds separate. Mozzarella is derived from curds, and ricotta is derived from whey. Basically, they come from the two different components of milk. Unfortunately, the pizzeria hasn’t made any claim that their ricotta cheese can be vegan.
Romano cheese comes from the curd, similar to mozzarella, except it’s aged for at least five months and often has additives like salt. This promotes a thicker texture. Needless to say, it’s not vegan.
Gorgonzola is similar to Romano cheese in that it’s also aged but for fewer days. It’s also brined with salt, but its uniqueness comes from the fact that it’s pierced with steel needles to promote marbling. Anyway, gorgonzola is not vegan.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria uses other cheese types like feta and parmesan for their starter options, but we won’t get into them as they are not at all vegan.
The mozzarella cheese is perhaps the only possible vegan cheese from Grimaldi’s.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Other Vegan Options
Aside from their pizza, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria also has three other categories that you might be interested in. These are the starters, drinks, and dessert.
Read on for more information on the vegan options in each category.
Starters are, as the name suggests, the first course that’s served, often before the main course, or in this case, the pizza. It can come in different varieties, though in Grimaldi’s case, their starters consist mainly of salads. Currently, the pizzeria offers two vegan starters out of their eight options. These include the following:
- Grimaldi’s House Salad: This starter consists mostly of veggies and fruits. Perhaps the only questionable ingredient is the vinaigrette dressing, but since the dressing doesn’t contain honey, it should be 100% vegan.
- Bruschetta Trio: As the name suggests, this option allows you to choose three out of several options. Though one option is not vegan (Roasted Red Pepper & Ricotta), the remaining is vegan. By avoiding that singular non-vegan option, you can enjoy a delicious vegan starter.
Other starter options are not vegan as they consist of one type of cheese. The Mediterranean salad, for example, should’ve been vegan if not for the feta cheese.
However, keep in mind that you can always ask the staff to refrain from adding the cheese. So, the following options should be vegan if you remove the cheese:
- Caprese Salad (remove the slices of mozzarella)
- Mediterranean Salad (remove the feta cheese)
- Lemon Arugula Salad (remove the shaved Italian cheese)
The drinks from Grimaldi’s Pizzeria are categorized into two, (1) wine and (2) cold beverages. The wine options vary according to location, so it’s difficult to determine what would be vegan or not. However, if it comes to cold beverages, you can choose from a set of options, regardless of location. These include:
- Apple Juice is 100% vegan.
- Diet Pepsi is not vegan as it contains traces of non-vegan ingredients.
- Dr. Pepper is 100% vegan.
- Italian Sodas consist mainly of soda water, flavored syrup, and ice. These ingredients, except for the flavored syrup, are guaranteed to be vegan. In short, Italian sodas may not be completely vegan, depending on the flavor.
- Lemonades are 100% vegan.
- Mountain Dew is 100% vegan.
- Mug Root Beer is 100% vegan.
- Panna is 100% vegan.
- Pellegrino is 100% vegan.
- Pepsi is 100% vegan.
- Sierra Mist is 100% vegan.
- Teas are 100% vegan.
- Tropicana Lemonade is 100% vegan.
Aside from Diet Pepsi and Italian Soda, all of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria’s drink options are vegan, so you can drink to your heart’s content.
At the moment, there are no vegan dessert options in Grimaldi’s.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria may not be the best vegan-friendly pizzeria, considering how they only have a single type of sauce and cheese suitable for vegans; they’re not the worst either. After all, pizza is frankly one of the foods that can be difficult to make vegan. With that said, it might be best to learn how to do that yourself rather than rely on pizzerias like Grimaldi’s for your enjoyment.