It’s never been easier for vegans to get their hands on some pizza. I don’t mean a few sad artichokes and olives on cheeseless bread like before the vegan boom. I mean pizzas with actual vegan cheese, plant-based pepperoni slices and BBQ “chickn” chunks. These days, if you’re hungover and vegan, you don’t have to fashion some weird supernoodles and toast scenario – you can just order a greasy, meaty pizza like the rest of them, hand-delivered to your door.
But regular and vegan pizzas aren’t exactly equal yet. Pizza restaurants never slather their pizzas in vegan cheese (where’s the vegan three cheese at?), the cheese choices are often lacking (some brands stick to your mouth more than others) and, in this country, I’ve never come across a simple classic stuffed crust.
That last point, however, is just about to change. On Wednesday, fast food giant Pizza Hut rolled out a vegan stuffed crust “to celebrate 25 years of the stuffed crust.” In their words, it’s “our classic dough, stuffed with Violife Vegan Ch**se and topped with your favourites from our Vegan Menu”. It’ll cost you a neat £2.50 to add onto any vegan pizza. Interesting.
So just like we did when KFC dropped their vegan burger and McDonalds dropped their battered veggie dippers, we got one vegan (associate editor Daisy Jones) and one meat-eater (staff writer Nana Baah) to review it.
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Meat-eater verdict: It doesn’t taste bad at all. It’s not too salty and the pizza base is soft and fluffy. However, the cheese in the crust is sticky, almost glue-like. It’s all over my teeth and I’m having to put more effort into chewing each bite than I would ever consider putting into my work or love life. If you tear open the crust you expect to see a sexy, slow motion separation worthy of a close up in an M&S advert, but this just splits apart instantly.
Vegan verdict: The cheese Pizza Hut use is Violife, which is the most commonly used vegan cheese in the UK (it’s made from coconut oil). I like Violife – it tastes good in a sandwich and their smoked blocks and hot pepper options are *chefs kiss*. But when melted, it has a tendency to stick to the roof of your mouth and great blobs of it can go a bit rubbery. The stuffed crusts did feel a bit rubbery / sticky, but they tasted good enough and I would enjoy eating this if I cba to cook.
AMOUNT OF CHEESE
Meat-eater verdict: Objectively, I can’t complain. The crust to cheese ratio was perfect.
Vegan verdict: Yeah, they shoved quite a lot of cheese in there. I was squeezing big globules of it out, which is what you’d want if you’d spent £2.50 for this add on. Like Nana said, the crust to cheese ratio was just right.
GIMMICKS TO MAKE YOU BUY
Meat-eater verdict: I really don’t think there are any. Maybe the censored e’s in the word cheese count as a gimmick?
Vegan verdict: I didn’t notice any gimmicks in the lead up to this, which is fine. Tbh, I feel like after Greggs sent their vegan sausage roll to the office in a mock-Apple iPhone box after teasing it for months in advance, everything else pales in comparison.
THE WHOLE DAMN THING
Meat-eater verdict: Unfortunately, the cheese started to congeal even at room temperature. As someone who likes to eat pizza cold, it just didn’t hit the spot. I really wanted this pizza to convert me into a lover of stuffed crust but, unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. If you happen to be someone who only eats pizza when it’s hot or has forgotten what regular melted cheese tastes and feels like, then this is perfect for you.
Vegan verdict: I don’t have strong feelings about this vegan stuffed crust in the way I did, say, the vegan KFC burger (delicious, divine, spiritual). It was neither disgusting nor life-changing. But it was tasty! And I would really appreciate it on a hangover! Which is basically my thoughts on any decent cheap pizza, vegan or otherwise. The only complaint I’d have is the size (it was more like a small rectangle than a big pizza wheel).