If you are anything like me, then you wouldn’t go a week without grabbing a slice or two of pizza. The chewy, moist goodness will be great for a night out with friends or other small gatherings. Pizza is undoubtedly one of the commonest street foods worldwide, and as of 2017, the world’s pizza market was worth over 128 billion USD.
Most people can’t get enough of this chewy Italian snack that they even attempt recreating at home. If you find yourself in this category, you probably know that cheese is one important pizza ingredient. It plays one of the biggest roles in preparing this chewy snack, and it would be hard to imagine making pizza without cheese, but in this article, I will be giving you some viable alternatives for cheese in pizza.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may opt for a non-dairy alternative for cheese. I will also be listing some non-dairy replacements for cheese in pizza.
Cheese Nutrition Facts
What is Cheese?
Cheese is a dairy product made by coagulating milk protein (casein). It comes in different flavors and textures, and the milk used is gotten from either cows, goats, buffaloes, or sheep. Some records state that cheese was produced entirely by mistake because, in ancient times, milk was stored in the stomach of mammals, and when the stomach enzymes react with the milk, the whey is turned into curd.
However, cheese produced in factories today is made by acidifying milk whey, and rennet or bacteria enzymes are added to thicken the milk protein. The solids are separated from the whey and pressed into cheese. Some producers add annatto to cheese to achieve a yellow or red hue.
Uses of Cheese in Recipes
Cheese is a versatile cooking ingredient. It can be used as an accompaniment to soups and sauces for farinaceous dishes, and you can also pair it up with other sweet and colorful ingredients for a beautiful and sweet cheeseboard. You can also throw some cheese on toast for a creamy snack.
Like butter, cheese makes everything better, which also applies to pizza. When you grab a slice of pizza, you will notice that slimy or chewy texture, and well, this is the effect cheese has on pizza. In summary, it may be hard to recreate a soft, chewy pizza without cheese, but in this article, I will give you some alternatives for cheese in pizza.
Below is some example of recipes that calls for the addition of cheese.
- Beer Mac’ n’ cheese
- Brie wrapped in prosciutto and brioche
- Pesto and goat’s cheese risotto
- Cheese-stuffed garlic dough balls with a tomato sauce dip
- Pickled pineapple and sriracha grilled cheese
- Truffle Mancini
- Crab mac ‘no’ cheese bake
- Cheese and bacon scones
- Triple Cheese and bacon dauphinoise
- Comté cheese soufflé
- Melty cheese and potato pie
- Tandoori paneer skewers with mango salsa
- Cheddar and sage scones
- Blue cheese, butternut, and barley salad with maple walnuts
- Cheese and spinach penne with walnut crumble
Substituting Cheese in Pizza
Pizza without cheese? I know it sounds like a crazy idea, but it is possible. It may not be as chewy as the pizzas in pizzerias, but you can still get a delicious pizza without cheese.
Another reason you may want to avoid cheese in your pizza is if you are lactose intolerant or simply don’t eat dairy products. In this article, I will be giving you some viable substitutes for cheese in pizza that would add delicious flavors to your homemade pizza.
Some of the substitutes for cheese listed in this article are dairy-free, while some are not. When picking a substitute, you should go for one that suits your diet.
Most people don’t classify ricotta as actual cheese. Still, interestingly it shares similar properties with many kinds of cheese in the market, and as such, it would make an excellent replacement for cheese in pizza.
As for taste, ricotta tastes just like the real thing, and because of its creamy texture, you would get a fantastic velvety pizza dish. Apart from pizza, ricotta cheese can also substitute regular cheese in many dishes, so I use ricotta cheese in pasta a lot.
When replacing cheese with ricotta, use a one-to-one ratio, but remember that ricotta cheese has more moisture than regular cheese.
Well, one would think vegan cheese would be an easy replacement for cheese in anything. Still, if you have ever tried to melt vegan cheese, you would know it is very difficult to melt, and this would be devastating if you wanted to make pizza because pizza uses melted cheese to hold the toppings in place.
The best way to successfully melt vegan cheese is to add milk and whisk until you achieve a smooth, gooey consistency.
You can spread this on anything that requires cheese.
If you are vegan or lactose intolerant but don’t like the flavor of vegan cheese, then making a cheese replacement at home may be the best option for you. A great recipe for this homemade cheese sauce can be found on the “cooking with plants” YouTube channel. This recipe immerses a quarter cup of cashew nuts in one cup of hot water for about fifteen minutes until it softens up, then throw in one tablespoon of miso paste and two tablespoons of tapioca flour (tapioca flour gives the mixture that gooey consistency of melted cheese). Blend everything and cook in a pan until you achieve the desired consistency.
Use this mixture as a direct substitute for cheese in pizzas, lasagna, and even toasted cheese sandwiches.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can you have pizza without cheese?
Yes, you can bake pizza without cheese. If you are lactose intolerant, you can leave out cheese when baking pizza, and you would still get a healthy pizza long as the serving portions are sensible.
Can you use butter instead of cheese?
Despite the health benefits of butter, using cheese would be a better option if you are looking to lose some weight, although you wouldn’t lose that much weight.
What cheese is the healthiest?
For many pizza lovers, pizza is not complete without cheese, but if you are all out of cheese and cannot rush to the grocery store to restock, you should use one of these substitutes in your pizza.