Although there are many meaty summer holidays out there that pay homage to grilled flesh on the BBQ (July 4 and Memorial Day, ahem), there is one summer throwdown that we vegans can wholeheartedly endorse without any guilt associated with the celebration -- Vegan Pizza Day on June 28.
In its fourth year of existence, the annual summer day to celebrate, share recipes, promote vegan-friendly businesses, and get together over a shared pie was started by vegan blogger Quarrygirl and Dan Reed of Chicago Vegan Foods but has quickly blown up internationally into something all its own with its own Facebook page and Twitter hashtag, #veganpizzaday.
Although it's most tempting to make your own damned pie in the comfort of your own kitchen and in the loving, forgiving glow of your Instagram filter, we suggest getting out and supporting some local businesses that always have a vegan option on hand.
1. The Very Vegan at Pizza Fusion -- This thin-crust pie is made with the "Fresh, local, organic" mantra that all other Pizza Fusion pies are made with and comes stocked with dense Crimini mushrooms, tomato sauce, soy cheese, and creamy roasted garlic pods dotting the entire pizza. If soy cheese and garlic pods aren't your thing, Pizza Fusion makes several other pies (like the Farmer's Market, with roasted artichoke hearts, red onion, roasted zucchini, and portobello mushrooms that you can easily skip the cheese on.)
Location: 1013 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-358-5353; pizzafusion.com
2. The Mega-Veggie at Mellow Mushroom -- This pizza doesn't come automatic vegan, but sub out the feta and mozzarella with the Daiya option they keep in the back and -- bam! -- it's vegan. This thick-crust pie is a hearty one, with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts, and even tofu.
Location: 25 SE Sixth Ave., Delray Beach; 561-330-3040; mellowmushroom.com
3. Margherita Pizza minus the Mozzarella at Yard House -- This back-to-basics pizza is simple but delicious with a roasted Roma tomato sauce, roasted garlic, and shreds of fresh basil. Plus (and this is a big PLUS!) Yard House recently started stocking its kitchen with vegan meaty Gardein products, so order up a side of vegan wings (buffalo, firecracker, or jerk), but check on the sauces that have yet to be veganized.
Location: Various locations around South Florida including 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 561-417-6124; yardhouse.com
4. Florentine Flatbread at Sublime - I know, I know -- this is not "technically" a pizza. But then again, neither is that English muffin, tomato slice, and Tofurky concoction you just put in the toaster, so let's not judge each other. This flatbread has all of the important pizza components -- bread, tomato, and vegan cheese -- but with an added bonus of baby spinach and Spanish onion.
Location: 1431 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-615-1431; sublimerestaurant.com