Cheese and pizza go hand in hand. It’s a winning combination of texture, aroma, and taste that adds an insane appeal to this comfort food. However, cheese also has lots of fat and sodium, so it’s not the healthiest food.
Whether you are lactose intolerant, sensitive to the casein found in milk products like cheese, or looking to cut back on animal and dairy products, you can still enjoy a slice of delicious pizza! Check out our list of 8 incredible substitutes for cheese on pizza that will ensure you never have to miss out on this delicious food!
1. Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese is made by grinding soaked cashews with salt and nutritional yeast until smooth. It has a nutty and salty flavor that can be fermented to develop an even richer flavor profile. The creamy and thick consistency also makes it an excellent substitute for cheese on pizza.
Since cashew cheese has a very mild taste, you can flavor it with whatever seasonings you like to make it more palatable for your tastebuds. Use it as a spread for pizza to make a quick and easy mac and cheese, or drizzle it on roasted veggies, and watch how it quickly becomes a favorite in the house. To make your cashew cheese firmer and sliceable, try adding agar-agar to it.
Daiya is a gluten-free cheese made with coconut oil, tapioca flour, flavorings, and natural extracts. It comes in a variety of flavors like cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, smoked gouda, and Swiss, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. This plant-based alternative is a great option for those who want to cut back on animal products.
The deliciously creamy Daiya tastes similar to cheese made with dairy, making it great to use for pizzas, sandwiches, and nachos. It also melts like real cheese, which keeps the toppings in place and gives you the satisfaction of eating real cheese on pizza. If you want to use it as a spread, add milk and whisk until you get an ooey-gooey consistency.
Hummus is a thick, savory Middle Eastern puree made with chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and spices. You can also make it in a variety of flavors by using different add-ons like avocado, pumpkin, garlic white bean, black bean, sweet potato, and roasted red pepper, so you can pick and choose what will go on your pizzas.
Hummus offers a great base for you to experiment with different flavors. It’ll allow you to have a new dish on the table every day — even if you’re making pizzas night after night. To use, layer hummus on top of tomato sauce (you can also use it instead of the red sauce), pile it with your favorite toppings, and get ready to enjoy a wholesome treat!
This may seem like an unconventional substitute, but olives are a great addition to pizza. They have an oily, briny flavor and contain monounsaturated fats that give you the feeling of being satiated, similar to cheese. Olives are also super accessible, so you won’t have to go out of your way to get this substitute for your pizza.
Olives can add an aromatic flavor and a meaty, salty quality to your pizzas. For best results, combine it with toppings like mushrooms, peppers, and caramelized onions. It will elevate your pizza while adding some quality nutrients to your diet.
Pesto is an Italian sauce made with basil leaves, hard cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, and garlic. It has a rich flavor and a creamy texture that will work amazingly as a stand-in for cheese on pizza. Plus, you can easily make it at home without the cheese.
Pesto comes in different flavors, like basil, Tuscan kale, spinach, and sun-dried tomato, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Its unique taste will work well with toppings like mushrooms or sausage. You can also put it in your pasta and sandwiches or on tacos to give them a yummy punch of flavor.
6. Ricotta Cheese
Most people mistake ricotta cheese for being, well, a cheese, but it is actually a dairy by-product! It has a mild flavor and a thick texture. It is like a grainy, thick sour cream that is naturally low in fat, making it a healthy and tasty stand-in for the real deal.
You can add a dollop of creamy ricotta to pizzas for a wholesome meal. It can also be used to substitute real cheese in pasta dishes and lasagna. However, keep in mind that ricotta cheese has more moisture than cheese, so it might affect the consistency of your dish just a bit.
7. Sweet Potato Spread
Sweet potatoes work as an absolutely delicious option to make a vegan cheese spread. You’ll need to combine it with oil, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, tahini, and lime juice, although some recipes also use white beans, vegetables, veggie broth, and nutritional yeast flakes. It produces a smooth and creamy sauce that’s as healthy as it is flavorful.
You can use the sweet potato spread to spruce up your pizzas, serve it with bread, smear it on your burgers, or mix it into your mac and cheese and au gratin. You can also serve it on nachos or alongside veggie sticks. The possibilities are endless!
8. Zucchini Cheese
We all know and love our zucchini noodles (zoodles!), but did you know you can also make tasty zucchini cheese? Zucchini cheese is made by combining zucchini with coconut oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, gelatin, sea salt, and water, although you can also use herbs like basil and parsley for a deeper, more complex flavor.
Since you add nutritional yeast when making this “cheese,” zucchini cheese has a lovely cheesy flavor that will elevate your pizza. However, it has a firm texture that’s not exactly spreadable, so it will work best in place of cheese slices or shredded cheese.