Ah, pizza! When was the last time you held one? How was it?
Pizza has been a part of everyone’s diet, vegan or not. But of course, for hungry vegans, meat or any animal byproducts included in pizza is never an option.
Luckily, many restaurants offer vegan-friendly pizza, such as Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in the Chicago area. Their salads and deep-dish pizza can be made vegan on request, which is really awesome for us vegans.
Hungry now? Let’s start digging into what we can have at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria!
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Chicago’s Best Deep-Dish Pizza
It was in 1940 when Lou Malnati started making Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with his father, Rudy Malnati. They managed a pizza shop in the 1950s and later opened their own pizzeria in 1971 with his wife, Jean.
The first Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Lincolnwood, Illinois, was a massive success because they opened more locations in the Chicago area. To this date, the Malnatis were managing their pizzeria in Chicago and expanded in three states such as Wisconsin, Arizona, and Indiana.
Rudy’s father was one of the key people in creating the recipe for the Chicago-style deep dish pizza that has become an original dish in the state. When Lou Malnati succumbed to cancer in 1978, his wife and sons took over and started the expansions.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria has partnered with many different charitable groups, especially for cancer research. It has also been a part of the world’s biggest food festival, Taste of Chicago.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria offers full dine-in setup, catering, as well as pick-up and delivery in most locations in Illinois. Other states don’t have dine-in, but they offer carryout and delivery.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria Vegan Options
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria isn’t a full-blown vegan pizza parlor, but luckily on request, you can have your order vegan-friendly. For their salads and pizza, ask the crew to opt out of the non-vegan cheese, if any, and go for the non-meat flavors instead.
Their deep dish pizza dough and sauce don’t contain eggs or any dairy products. Just don’t get the butter crust.
But here’s good news. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria uses mozzarella cheese, romano cheese, and parmesan cheese made with vegetable rennet or enzymes.
What does this mean to vegans? Yes, it’s safe to have these types of cheese except for allergies.
Their gluten-free pizza dough contains eggs, which is not suitable for vegans. Their thin crust is also gluten-free, but cross-contamination is highly possible as they’re prepared with other wheat products.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria also doesn’t use monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Let’s check their menu and what we can possibly order as vegan on request. It’s worth noting that the availability of these dishes varies by location. You may have to check the restaurant’s website.
- Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
- Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria’s deep dish pizza dough is free from eggs or dairy products. Don’t order the butter crust and gluten-free dough because they contain eggs. Their pizza sauce is also vegan-friendly.
- Order your pizza without meat. Their mozzarella, parmesan, and romano cheese are all vegan-friendly.
- Extra Toppings
- green peppers
- black olives
- sliced Roma tomatoes
- extra cheese
- hot giardiniera
- extra tomato sauce
- fresh spinach mix
- Lou’s Bruschetta. It includes Roma tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, and shaved parmesan on garlic rounds.
- Three-Cheese Bread. It’s a giant French bread with three kinds of cheese, garlic, and a delicious dipping sauce.
- Combination Platter. This includes mozzarella sticks, breaded mushrooms, cheddar cubes, and zucchini, served with ranch and marinara sauce.
- Mozzarella Sticks or Cheddar Cubes
- Garlic Bread. Delicious garlic bread served with marinara sauce.
- Minestrone Soup. It’s an Italian vegetable soup made from scratch, but you may need to order this at least two days ahead if you plan on trying this out.
- Salads. Everything can be made vegan. Just ask the staff not to include non-vegan cheese and meat. You can also ask for a vegan-friendly dressing.
- Malnati Salad
- Chicken BBQ Club Salad
- Caesar Salad
- House Salad
- Lavazza Coffee
- Soft Drinks
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria also offers frozen pizza and Italian ice. Just ask to make it vegan-friendly if you need to. All other dishes on their menu are served with meat and can’t be modified.
Pro Tip: You may also need to verify with the crew if their French bread, ranch, and dipping sauce are vegan-friendly. Otherwise, you can scratch them off your list.
What Is Chicago-Style Pizza?
Chicago-style pizza is widely known as deep-dish pizza due to how it’s made, which resembles more of a pie than a traditional flatbread. The crust has a very high edge that gives the cheese and tomato sauce more space to melt in the dough when baking.
This style is attributed to a few key people who started creating the recipe, including Rudy Malnati, the father of Lou Malnati. He was the chef of Pizzeria Uno, owned by Ike Sewell, to whom Chicago-style pizza is also attributed.
Other reports also suggested that deep-dish pizza has been available at Rosati’s Authentic Chicago Pizza since 1926.
Chicago-style pizza can be made in deep-dish or in stuffed-style pizza. Other restaurants also offer half-baked and frozen Chicago-style pizza.
Deep-dish pizza is baked in an oiled round steel pan or iron skillet, similar to baking a pie or cake due to its very deep crust. Because it takes about 45 minutes for the deep-dish pizza’s thick layer of toppings to bake, the toppings are placed in an upside-down position.
This is to avoid the cheese and other toppings getting burnt. Cheese covers the crust like mozzarella slices, then some meat and veggie toppings.
The finishing layer is topped with tomato sauce, as well as parmesan cheese, for a more flavorful taste. When you order deep-dish pizza for delivery or take-out, it’s always uncut to prevent any moisture from the toppings and sauce from getting inside the crust. This prevents the crust from turning soggy or slouchy.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria Locations
There are 58 locations in the Chicago area, and 14 more locations are in the states of Wisconsin, Arizona, and Indiana.
If you’re somewhere in Illinois or any of these other three states, you can check out Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Some of their locations offer carryout and delivery only, while others are full-service restaurants with bars, as well as cafes.
Is Vegan Pizza A Healthier Option?
From a vegan standpoint, yes, non-meat and non-dairy pizzas are way healthier than traditional pizza that includes animal byproducts. But what makes a non-vegan pizza unhealthy?
Those greasy kinds of cheese, bad cholesterol-builder meats, and sodium-filled pizza styles are definitely a waste of money… and time too. These are the culprits. If you were to build on your calories, vegan-friendly pizzas are even better and healthier.
The thing is, non-vegan and vegan pizza almost give the same calories, but in terms of fats, sodium, vitamins, and minerals, the latter wins. With fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices, vegan pizza is even tastier, especially when vegan-friendly types of cheese are used.
Best Vegan Pizza Brands
So, if you are always looking for vegan pizza restaurants, brands, or even small-sized shops, you’re not alone. I’m all for a vegan diet, including scorching the internet for the best possible vegan restaurants around.
I’ve rounded up below the top vegan pizza brands if it helps you find a good one the next time you buy a vegan pizza for your Netflix night.
- Cruzer Pizza in Los Angeles
- Daiya Frozen Pizza
- Sweet Earth
- The Pizza Plant
- American Flatbread
- Oh Yes!
- Wholly Veggie
- Banza Plant-Based Cheese Pizza
- Alpha Foods
Top Vegan Pizza Shops
Wherever you are in the U.S., there are always one or two vegan pizza local shops that you can visit. I’ve been to some of these locations, and trust me, it’s worth it.
- Double Zero. It has multiple locations, including Venice, CA, Brooklyn, Manhattan, NY, Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD, and Edmonton, Canada.
- Freesoulcaffé. It’s in Old Town Tustin, CA.
- The Pizza Plant. They’re located in Los Angeles, CA.
- Blackbird Pizzeria. It’s in Philadelphia, PA.
- Pizza Pi. Check them out in Seattle, WA.
- Screamer’s Pizzeria. You don’t need to scream, but if you need to, they’re in Brooklyn, NY.
- Kitchen 17. They have the best scratch-made pizza in Chicago, IL.
- Evel Pie. If you want to try a foldable New York-style crust, Las Vegas is the answer!
- Ammazza. You can visit any of their two locations in Atlanta and Decatur, GA.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is not a full-service vegan pizza restaurant, but it offers satisfying options for those on a plant-based diet. Its pizzas and salads can be prepared vegan on request.
Their mozzarella, parmesan, and romano cheese are made with vegetable rennet, which is suitable for vegans. Ask if you need to so the crew knows you’re on a vegan diet.
You can also check their locations in four states for delivery or pick-up. Or you can check more vegan pizza brands in this article that I wrote just to see which one you’d be most comfortable with.