Pizza is one of the foods that can go with pretty much anything. You can get it with pineapple, cucumber, spinach, and many more. For that reason, many people seem to think pizza can be easily made vegan, but that’s often not the case. This is because the pizza dough is inherently non-vegan, containing dairy products like egg, butter, lard, and L-cysteine.
So, what does this say about Pizza Joe’s, one of the most popular pizzerias around the globe? Do they have a special pizza that one can consider vegan or not?
Unfortunately, Pizza Joe’s doesn’t offer vegan pizza as a whole. But they do allow customers to customize their pizza. You can make one with the right cheese, sauce, and toppings.
Of course, you must first know Pizza Joe’s cheese, sauce, and toppings offerings. But before that, let’s talk about their pizza dough.
Pizza Joe’s: Pizza Dough
As stated earlier, pizza dough is inherently non-vegan. This is mainly because its ingredients are highly likely to be animal byproducts. Here’s a closer look at these possible ingredients and why they’re not vegan:
- Protein is necessary to bind the dough together so it doesn’t fall apart, and eggs are an excellent source of such nutrients, making them a common ingredient in baking. But as you may already know, eggs are by no means vegan as it primarily comes from chickens.
- Butter is the main reason why baked goods rise during the baking process. It also helps create a tender and light texture to the dough. However, butter is also not vegan as it’s derived from cream, a cow byproduct.
- Pizzerias use lard to create an extra flaky dough, but lard is another term for pure animal fat and is, therefore, not vegan.
- L-cysteine is not a term you’ll often hear, but it’s an incredibly useful ingredient as it softens dough by acting as a reducing agent. Unfortunately, L-cysteine is not vegan as it is derived from chicken and duck feathers.
As you can see, pizza dough has a ton of non-vegan ingredients. However, what’s important to keep in mind is that dough doesn’t necessarily have to contain these ingredients. Instead, a pizzeria can use its vegan alternatives. Unfortunately, there’s limited as to whether Pizza Joe’s has vegan dough or not. One can only hope that they do. Otherwise, there would be no vegan pizza in this pizzeria.
However, assuming they have a dough that doesn’t contain any of these ingredients, your next step would be choosing a vegan-friendly cheese.
Pizza Joe’s: Cheese
Though Pizza Joe’s doesn’t directly have a space where you can find information on the cheese they use, even on their website, we’ve found that they mainly use three types of cheese. While cheese is inherently non-vegan, since it usually comes from milk, an animal byproduct, there are vegan alternatives to certain cheese types. Mozzarella cheese, for example, has a vegan alternative.
Mozzarella is arguably the most commonly used cheese in pizza. It comes from the milk of water buffalo and is, therefore, not vegan. However, it has a vegan alternative consisting of apple cider vinegar, cashews, tapioca starch, and other vegan ingredients. Their combinations create a mozzarella-like texture and taste.
Unfortunately, Pizza Joe’s doesn’t provide much information on their pizza or its ingredients, so it’s difficult to assume if they have vegan mozzarella cheese.
Romano cheese comes from a goat’s, sheep’s, or cow’s milk. It’s milder and lighter and is often aged for at least five months. Needless to say, it’s not vegan, but it’s possible to make a vegan alternative, though that doesn’t seem to be an option in Pizza Joe’s.
Their last cheese type is the cheddar cheese, a popular cheese for pizza. It mainly comes from cow’s milk, particularly its curds.
If you’re not aware, when milk is heated, it turns into two parts, curds and whey. Regardless, both are non-vegan, so cheddar cheese is not vegan, and Pizza Joe’s doesn’t seem to use a vegan alternative for cheddar cheese.
Keep in mind that the offerings of Pizza Joe’s may change depending on your location. This goes for the cheese, sauce, toppings, specialty pizza, appetizers, and salads. If you wish to find out what Pizza Joe’s near your area offers, you can look at their menu via their website.
To get a vegan pizza, you must choose vegan cheese. But as far as public information goes, Pizza Joe’s doesn’t offer vegan cheese.
Pizza Joe’s: Sauce
Since sauces aren’t inherently non-vegan, it’s easier to find a vegan sauce than a vegan cheese. Moreover, Pizza Joe’s uses six different sauces, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a completely vegan one. Let’s take a look at each sauce:
- Red Sauce: Red sauce, also known as the marinara sauce in pizza slang or tomato sauce in general, is usually made with garlic, herbs, onions, and, most importantly, tomatoes. Therefore, it’s completely vegan.
- BBQ Sauce: Barbecue sauce is mostly used as a marinade but can also add flavor to the pizza. Ingredients may vary, but pizzerias often use onion powder, mayonnaise, vinegar, and tomato sauce. Unfortunately, mayonnaise is not vegan as it contains eggs, an animal byproduct.
- Garlic Sauce: Garlic sauce is red sauce, but with garlic instead of tomatoes. It’s made using emulsifiers like oil, butter, and mayonnaise, oil being the only vegan option. So, while it may be vegan, it might also not be, depending on the recipe of Pizza Joe’s.
- Ranch Sauce: Ranch sauce is known for its creaminess, which comes from dairy products like mayonnaise or cream, so it’s not vegan.
- White Sauce: White sauce is also derived from dairy products like cream, so it’s by no means vegan.
Keep in mind that Pizza Joe’s recipe may differ, though there’s no way of telling as they won’t disclose the recipe. The safest choice for vegans would be the red sauce.
Pizza Joe’s: Toppings
Much like any other pizzeria, Pizza Joe’s allows customers to add a variety of toppings to their pizza. The selection of toppings may vary from location to location, though the following 22 should be common among Pizza Joe’s locations:
That’s everything you need to customize your pizza from Pizza Joe’s. As you can see, we can’t be sure whether their dough is vegan or if they offer special vegan dough. Pizza Joe’s also doesn’t have vegan cheese. Therefore, the only way you’re getting vegan pizza is to ask for vegan dough and hope they have one, ask them not to add cheese, and choose vegan sauces and toppings.
It may not be as delicious as the non-vegan variant, but you can at least enjoy pizza, or at least 50% of a pizza, without ruining your vegan diet.
You might wonder, don’t Pizza Joe’s offer specialty pizzas? What if there’s a specific pizza that caters to the vegan diet?
Pizza Joe’s: Specialty Pizza
Depending on the location, the specialty pizza offerings of Pizza Joe’s may vary, but they typically offer the following specialty pizzas:
- Veggie Pizza consists of cauliflower, broccoli, and a blend of spices covered with white sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese slices.
- Spinach Italiano is pizza dough with spinach, tomatoes, banana peppers, Romano, and mozzarella toppings.
- Taco Pizza features ground beef on top of a combination of cheddar, mozzarella, and tomato sauce, topped with lettuce and tomatoes.
- Ultimate Pizza is a regular pizza, except it has five toppings: onions, pepperoni, sausage, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms.
Pizza Joe’s offers several other specialty pizzas, but they are non-vegan. The Veggie Pizza is the closest they can get to a vegan pizza, and it’s not even completely vegan due to mozzarella and cheddar cheese. In short, if you want a vegan pizza, you won’t be able to find one in the specialty pizza category. Perhaps you’ll have better luck by looking at the pizzeria’s non-pizza options.
Pizza Joe’s: Other Vegan Options
As previously mentioned, there’s no guarantee that Pizza Joe’s has vegan dough that doesn’t use egg, L-cysteine, lard, and butter. If it turns out they don’t have much dough, your only option now would be to order their non-pizza products, which can be categorized into appetizers and salads. Let’s look into their vegan options in the “appetizer” category without further ado.
Pizza Joe’s generally offers five appetizers. Here’s a list of these options:
All, except one, are undoubtedly not vegan. The Dip-N-Stix and Garlic Knots contain cheese; the Wings are inherently non-vegan since it’s chicken wings, and the Cinna Stix contains icing, which is not vegan. The Bread Stix is the only candidate for a vegan diet as it contains no animal byproduct, except maybe for the dough. Just like pizza dough, it may contain eggs, so there’s no guarantee.
Pizza Joe’s also offers four different kinds of salads:
All of these are 100% not vegan as they contain meat products (deli, chicken, steak, pepperoni). Apart from appetizers and salads, Pizza Joe’s offers strombolis, calzones, super subs, and wedgies. But of course, all of those are not vegan as they would always contain meat products.
Pizza Joe’s might be a popular pizzeria, but it’s not for everyone, particularly vegans. They offer no vegan pizza, and their most vegan product, the Veggie Pizza, is not even fully vegan. Of course, this is because pizza is inherently non-vegan, so it’s difficult to make it vegan. For that reason, the best way to enjoy vegan pizza is to create your own by choosing vegan cheese, making vegan dough, and using vegan toppings and sauces.