I've hated cheese for as long as I can remember, so my relationship with pizza is complicated. When I was younger, I would carefully pull off the cheese, but I got tired of defending my "saucy bread" (which honestly tasted as bland as everyone speculated), and my cheese-removal process just got too messy. Now, I usually stick to making my own cheese-free pizzas loaded with roasted veggies and greens.

Unfortunately, this doesn't spare me much flack, so I finally caved and decided to give real pizza a try. And by real pizza, of course I mean a vegan pizza recipe intended to taste like real pizza. Rest assured, I wasn't the only taste-tester and this recipe is cheese-lover approved. 

Even vegan cheese freaks me out, and I'm still too skeptical of the store-bought varieties, so I opted to make my own dairy-free "cheese." The key ingredients are cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, and tapioca flour. Check out the vegan pizza recipe below to see how these unlikely players come together to create a gooey concoction that you would swear was real cheese. 

Vegan Pizza

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:8 mins
  • Total Time:18 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • Pizza dough or crust your choice
  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
chocolate, sweet
Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 500ºF, and prepare the dough for your crust (if it's not pre-baked) by stretching it onto a greased pan.

    bread, wheat, flour, cereal
    Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 2

    To make the cheese, blend the cashews, water, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder on high for 1 minute. Once evenly combined, transfer to a saucepan.

    cream, coffee, milk
    Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 3

    Cook the cashew blend on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After a few minutes, it will start to thicken.

    milk, dairy product, cream
    Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 4

    While the "cheese" continues to thicken, spread a 1/2 cup of sauce onto your dough. 

    #SpoonTip: Make sure you don't use too much sauce, otherwise it will make your crust soggy.

    pizza, bread
    Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 5

    Once the cheese has become a sticky, gooey consistency, pour it over the sauce and spread it evenly (or not so evenly – it can get a little messy) on the pizza.

    cheese, crust, pie, pizza
    Alyssa Cronin
  • Step 6

    Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust and cheese are golden brown, then remove from the oven and enjoy.

    pie, meat, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, dough, crust, sauce, cheese, pizza
    Alyssa Cronin

This cashew cheese bares such an uncanny resemblance to actual cheese that if I, the cheese-fearer, hadn't prepared it myself, I probably would've refused to try it. Thankfully, I did indulge and my faith in the cheese-sauce-crust triad has been revived.

While I don't see myself downing an authentic slice anytime soon, I'll definitely be making this cheeseless concoction again. Even my dad – who is quite an ingredient-skeptic in our kitchen full of green smoothies and chickpea cookies – admitted this tastes like real pizza, and my friend, a self-proclaimed vegan pizza expert, said this was one of the best slices she's encountered. 

Don't hesitate to experiment with toppings because this can truly be treated like any plain pie. You can sprinkle extra yeast flakes on top as faux Parmesan or add some roasted veggies for a nutritional boost. If you want to make your dough from scratch, check out this recipe that requires only six ingredients.

Homemade sauce is always an option too, and this roasted tomato sauce recipe won't disappoint. For simple gluten-free swaps, try this easy quinoa crust or opt for some trendy, low-carb cauliflower crust. If you want to put pineapple on your pizza, I also fully support that. 

Recipe adapted from Vedged Out.