A few months ago, Pizza Express had a campaign on their facebook page where they asked those in facebookland for suggestions for new pizza toppings. The overwhelming response was “vegan cheese”.
Their pizza bases are vegan, so there has always been the option to ask for any pizza without cheese but asking for a pizza “without” feels like you’re compromising or missing out, especially since cheese is the main feature of many vegetarian pizzas. Yet from the pizza chain’s point of view, stocking vegan cheese for the minority of diners who will order it in each restaurant, may be a big expense.
So Pizza Express has met vegans and vegan-dabblers (like myself) in the middle. They have introduced the new vegan-friendly Pianta pizza. Made with a spicy Arrabbiata sauce and topped with spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, pine nuts and fresh rocket, it is a cheeseless pizza that it is designed to be cheeseless, so it’s flavoursome enough without it. The spinach adds the creaminess you may otherwise miss and the rocket and the sauce added a nice peppery, spicy element. I also highly recommend drizzling a little balsamic over the top.
However, if pizza just isn’t pizza without cheese (or ‘cheeze’) to you, you can take your own vegan cheese for the chefs to use!
The new Pianta pizza is delicious, I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, and I hope by voting with my Pound, it contributes to the success of a pizza that may inspire more chain restaurants to offer vegan-friendly options on their menus.