Pizza is popular with just about everyone – young and old, pizza continues to be a firm favorite in most families, and what’s more, pizza does not have to contain meat to be delicious. Here at vegetarian-pizza.com we’ve included a variety of mouth-watering pizza recipes to please even the the toughest critic. One of the great things about pizza is its versatility; guaranteed crowd pleasers like the simple but very tasty Pizza Margherita, to more unusual varieties like fig, blue cheese and portobello mushroom, there truly is something here for everyone.
The humble beginnings of pizza
Pizza is essentially a baked flatbread, and this has been a staple food for many cultures for thousands of years, however, the modern form of pizza is said to have been invented in Naples in the 16th Century. It was after the introduction of tomatoes to Italy from South America that peasants began combining tomatoes, cheese and herbs with their flatbreads to create pizza as we know it. These ‘Neapolitan pies’ became famous throughout Italy.
Pizza spreads around the world
By the 19th century pizza was available for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the streets of Naples. Initially a peasant dish, now pizza was increasingly popular with wealthier patrons, with eager diners frequenting poorer districts in order to seek out the best pizzerias. By the second half of the 19th century pizza had reached the shores of America, transported by the many Italian migrant families that made America their home during this time. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that pizza really took off in America. It is now one of the most popular takeaway foods in the western world. Of course there is really no comparison between mass-produced pizza and true gourmet or quality homemade pizza; there is an art to making good pizza.
Vegetarian pizza today
Yet mass produced pizza today is generally far better than it was, say, 10 years ago. New, ‘gourmet’ pizza chains have established themselves and are proving to be hugely popular. Here we see that vegetarian pizza has come a long way since the days of overcooked and tasteless offerings on thick, doughy crusts. If you’re lucky, good vegetarian pizza from the better chain stores will be characterized by a thin and crisp crust, not too much topping and being very moreish. The variety of toppings is of course huge, with lots of room to be creative in your choices of combinations. It is a brave new world for contemporary vegetarian pizza!
Traditional vegetarian pizza
If you’re a purist and want to delve into traditional forms of vegetarian pizza, then you need to go back to pizza’s roots and and look to Naples, Italy. Today there are special guidelines for official pizza production in Naples (guidelines proposed by the ‘Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana’). Genuine Neapolitan pizza dough must be made according to a particular method and must be no more than 3mm thick before baking. It must be cooked with an oak-wood fire in a stone oven. Once baked, the crust should be tender yet crispy and also fragrant. There are two official varieties of traditional Neapolitan pizza; both are vegetarian. The first, Pizza Margherita, is made with extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese and basil (there is also a version referred to as Pizza Margherita Extra, which is made with fillets of mozzarella cheese from Campania). The second is Pizza Marinara, which is made with extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes, garlic and oregano. This traditional and hugely popular pizza is vegan.