Pizza is a classic dish that is enjoyed in many ways, but one of its defining elements is cheese. For those looking to enjoy pizza without dairy, finding the right substitute for cheese can often be tricky.
Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives that provide similar flavorful pizzazz as traditional cheeses.
With this guide to the best substitutes for cheese in pizza, you’ll have everything you need to create a scrumptious and cruelty-free pie!
Is Cheese Necessary for making pizza?
The reply to this question is both yes and no. Cheese is a key ingredient in most traditional pizzas, providing flavor and texture that can’t be replicated with other toppings.
That being said, there are plenty of delicious pizzas that don’t require cheese.
Examples include vegetable-based pies, white pizza (said to have originated in Italy), or even creative combinations of non-dairy ingredients like pesto and nuts.
The point is: while cheese may be necessary for classic recipes, it isn’t the only way to make an enjoyable pizza.
So when it comes down to it – the choice is yours! You can choose to top your next pizza with whatever combination pleases your taste buds best.
Best Cheese Substitute For Pizza
1. Paneer – a great cheese substitute for pizza
Paneer can be a great substitute for cheese in pizzas. Paneer is an Indian cheese made from cow’s milk that has a mild, milky flavor and creamy texture when cooked.
It pairs well with many traditional pizza toppings such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms, and it adds protein to the dish.
When using paneer instead of cheese in your pizza recipe, you will want to marinate it first in a mixture of spices such as garlic powder, chili powder, and turmeric before adding it on top of the pizza base.
This will help the paneer absorb all the flavors before cooking, so your pizza tastes more delicious!
Additionally, you may want to brush some oil over the top of your pizza prior to baking to help the paneer brown and crisp up nicely.
Enjoy your delicious, cheesy-like pizza with a nice cold glass of lassi or chai!
2. Vegan Pesto Sauce
If you love the taste of cheese in your pizza but want to reduce the amount of animal products in your diet, vegan pesto sauce can be a great way to enjoy all the delicious flavors you crave.
Vegan pesto is typically made with plant-based ingredients like nuts, herbs, and spices, making it a healthier option than traditional cheese-filled pizzas.
To make this dish even more flavorful, try adding fresh vegetables or vegan meat substitutes like tempeh or seitan for extra nutrition.
Vegan pesto is also incredibly versatile: you can use it as a dip for raw veggies and chips, spread it on sandwiches and wraps, or drizzle it over salads for an extra kick of flavor. It’s perfect for adding zest to any pizza.
And because it’s dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free, everyone can enjoy this delicious topping.
To make a vegan pesto sauce for your pizza, simply blend together the following ingredients: garlic cloves, basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts (or both!), olive oil, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and pepper.
Feel free to adjust the amounts of each ingredient according to your own taste preferences.
Once everything is blended together into a thick paste-like consistency, spread it over prebaked crust and layer on your favorite toppings like mushrooms, peppers, and onions.
Bake in the oven until it’s hot and bubbly for a delicious vegan meal that everyone can enjoy!
3. Try Tofu slices to replace cheese for pizza
Tofu slices can be a tasty and nutritious substitute for cheese in pizza. Tofu is a plant-based protein source that is low in fat, cholesterol-free, and packed with minerals like iron and calcium.
Plus, it’s easy to customize the flavor of tofu with marinades or seasonings like garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, or Italian herbs.
To make tofu slices for your pizza topping, start by pressing the extra firm variety of tofu between two paper towels until most of the moisture has been released – this will help prevent soggy crusts!
Cut the pressed block into thin slices and let them sit in your favorite marinade or seasoning mixture for at least 30 minutes.
Once the tofu has absorbed the flavor, place it onto your pizza and bake according to the directions.
Tofu slices can also be used in other recipes, such as lasagna and casseroles.
The possibilities are endless – just make sure to press out any excess moisture prior to cooking, as this will help keep your dish from becoming soggy.
4. Extra virgin olive oil on top of the Toppings
The use of extra virgin olive oil in pizza can be a healthier alternative to cheese.
It is low in saturated fat and free from cholesterol, meaning it can provide important nutrients without potentially harmful side effects from consuming too much full-fat cheese.
Extra virgin olive oil also contains healthy monounsaturated fats, which are known to help reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, it has more flavor than regular olive oil and provides a great taste for pizza toppings.
When using extra virgin olive oil on your pizza, you may need to adjust the amount that you would normally use with cheese—a little goes a long way!
Experiment with small amounts until you find the right combination of flavors to suit your tastes. The end result will be a healthier and more delicious pizza that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.
5. Nut Butter – an excellent cheese replacement for pizza
Nut butter can be a great alternative to cheese on pizza. Nut butter is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making them an ideal topping for pizzas.
Plus, they come in a variety of flavors that can lend your pizza a unique twist!
Start by spreading the nut butter of your choice over the crust before adding any other toppings.
You can also mix it with spices or herbs for extra flavor and texture. To make sure your pizza is perfectly cooked every time, prebake the crust for 10 minutes before adding the nut butter and other ingredients.
Bonus tip: Add some thinly sliced apples to your pizza for an extra hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with nut butter!
6. Tahini or Sesame seed butter
Tahini or sesame seed butter is an excellent alternative to cheese for vegans, vegetarians, and those who are lactose intolerant.
Tahini is a rich, creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds and is full of healthy fats and protein.
It can easily be blended with other ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices to create flavorful and delicious pizza toppings.
The nutty flavor of tahini pairs especially well with vegetables on a pizza.
Try spreading a thin layer of tahini on your pizza crust before adding the tomato sauce and topping it off with fresh veggies like zucchini slices or mushrooms.
You can also sprinkle some nutritional yeast flakes over the top for added flavor. The result is a flavorful, cheesy-tasting pizza without the dairy. Enjoy!
7. Use Cashew cheese instead of cheese for pizza
If you’re looking for a delicious and cheesy pizza recipe that’s also vegan, try using cashew cheese instead of traditional dairy cheese.
Cashew cheese is an excellent replacement for dairy cheese on pizzas because it has a creamy texture and nutty flavor that pairs well with tomato sauce and other toppings.
Plus, it’s high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats! You can make your own cashew cheese at home by blending soaked raw cashews with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and water.
Or you could buy pre-made cashew cheese from the store if you don’t have time to make your own.
Once you’ve got your cashew cheese ready, spread a generous layer over your favorite pizza crust and top it with your favorite veggies or vegan meats.
Bake the pizza in a hot oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then enjoy! Cashew cheese is an easy and delicious way to make plant-based pizzas that everyone can enjoy.
Give it a try today and see how tasty vegan pizza can be!
8. Nutritional yeast Closely resembles Parmesan
Nutritional yeast is a great way to get the cheesy flavor of Parmesan cheese on your pizza without all the fat and calories.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast, not active like baker’s or brewer’s yeasts. It’s full of nutritional benefits and has a savory, nutty-cheesy taste that makes it a great topping for pizza.
Sprinkle it over your favorite sauce and toppings to give your pizza an extra cheesy kick! Give nutritional yeast a try next time you make pizza – you won’t regret it! Enjoy!
It can be found in most health food stores or online and keeps well stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
9. Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions offer a unique sweetness that complements the flavors of pizza toppings yet provides an interesting texture and flavor profile all its own.
When cooked for long enough, the onions become soft and sweeter in taste.
The caramelization process is simple and requires just a few ingredients: olive oil, sweet onions, butter or margarine, sugar (or honey), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Begin by heating up your pan with some oil over medium heat, then add thinly sliced onion rings as well as butter.
Allow the butter to melt, and then add the sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sauté the mixture until it’s golden brown and starts to caramelize.
Once your onions have reached their desired level of caramelization (roughly 20 minutes), you can use them as a cheese replacement for pizzas.
Utilizing this method also allows you to create a variety of pizzas that are still vegan-friendly.
For example, top your pizza with caramelized onions mixed with spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, or whatever veggies you desire!
The possibilities are endless when using caramelized onions as an alternative cheese topping on your favorite pizza.
10. Zucchini cheese – an ideal cheese alternative for pizza
Zucchini cheese is a great alternative to traditional cheese when making pizza. It adds a unique flavor and texture that you don’t get with plain cheese, while still giving you the cheesy taste you love.
Plus, it’s healthier than regular cheese and helps add more vegetables and fiber to your diet.
To make zucchini cheese for pizza, first, grate one large zucchini. Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, then let sit for 15 minutes so that the excess liquid can be released from the vegetable.
Next, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated zucchini using paper towels or muslin cloths.
Heat up 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the grated zucchini and cook for approximately 8 minutes while stirring continuously.
Once the zucchini has softened and started to brown slightly, remove it from the heat and set aside.
Finally, blend it in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese until it forms a thick paste that’s spreadable like regular cheese.
Spread this zucchini cheese evenly over your pizza before baking according to instructions. Enjoy!
11. Daiya cheese
Daiya is a brand of vegan cheese that has become increasingly popular in the vegan community and beyond.
Unlike traditional dairy-based cheese, Daiya is made from tapioca and arrowroot starches, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, filtered water, and salt.
It does not contain any animal products or allergens like soy, nuts, gluten, or dairy. Daiya cheese can be used to make pizza just as you would with regular cheese.
Not only is it free of common allergens and animal products, but it also adds flavor and texture to your dish while being low in calories and fat.
Plus, it melts just like real cheese!
To make pizza with Daiya Cheese simply preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), top your pre-made or homemade pizza crust with toppings of your choice, and then sprinkle Daiya cheese over the top.
Bake it in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!
12. Try Dairy-Free Ricotta to replace cheese for pizza
If you’re looking for a delicious and dairy-free alternative to cheese on your pizza, try using vegan ricotta. Ricotta is a soft Italian cheese traditionally made with sheep’s milk or cow’s milk.
But vegan ricotta can be made with plant-based ingredients like tofu, nuts, and cashews.
Not only does vegan ricotta taste similar to traditional ricotta, but it has fewer calories and saturated fats—making it a healthier option overall.
Simply spread the vegan ricotta onto your pizza dough before baking, then top off with other tasty ingredients like mushrooms, olives, peppers, and tomatoes for an irresistible dinner dish that everyone can enjoy!
Not only is this dairy-free version of pizza incredibly delicious, but it’s also easy to make.
All you need is some vegan ricotta, pre-made pizza dough, and your favorite toppings! It’s the perfect dairy-free option for people with allergies or those who simply want to reduce their dairy intake.
Plus, this vegan version of pizza can be made in just minutes—making it an ideal weeknight dinner option.
So if you’re searching for a tasty way to enjoy pizza without the cheese, give vegan ricotta a try. You won’t be disappointed by its creamy texture and delicious flavor!
Enjoy this dairy-free alternative and create endless combinations of pizzas that are both delicious and healthy.
13. Barbeque Sauce
Barbecue sauce is a great alternative to using cheese on your pizza. It adds a delicious flavor and a sweet and smoky taste.
Not only does it add another layer of flavor, but it also helps keep the pizza moist while cooking.
Plus, you don’t need to worry about running out of cheese in the middle of making dinner!
It can be used to top off any type of pizza, from classic pepperoni and cheese to the more exotic combos like barbecue chicken and pineapple.
Also, it pairs nicely with other toppings such as bacon, mushrooms, or jalapenos for an interesting twist on traditional pizza flavors.
Barbecue sauce is an easy way to spice up any homemade creation—all you have to do is brush it over the pizza bread.
FAQs on cheese substitute for pizza
Q1. What is the best cheese for pizza?
The best cheese for pizza really depends on personal preference. Popular cheeses used in traditional pizzas include mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, and cheddar.
However, some adventurous cooks are now experimenting with different varieties of cheese to give their pizza a bolder flavor profile.
For instance, blue cheese can add a pungent kick to the pie, while ricotta adds a creamy texture that pairs well with tangy tomato sauce. Goat cheese is another popular option that has a sharp yet mild taste.
Additionally, vegan cheeses are becoming increasingly available in grocery stores and can be an excellent dairy-free alternative when making pizza at home.
Regardless of which type you choose, always remember to buy fresh cheese and grate it yourself for maximum flavor.
Q2. Is mozzarella the only cheese for pizza?
No, mozzarella is not the only cheese that can be used for pizza. Pizza can also be made with a variety of other cheeses, such as Parmesan, ricotta, provolone, cheddar, and gorgonzola. Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese to create your own unique flavor combinations.
Remember that some cheeses melt better than others, so keep that in mind when selecting which type to use. With all these options available, you’re sure to find the perfect topping for your homemade creations!