The first thing I missed when I cut out dairy from my diet was pizza – it had been such a staple in my diet that I may have actually cried a few times about it.
There was something about asking for the cheese to be removed before cooking that made my pizza eating experience distinctly lacklustre.
I remember ordering food with friends and just having what was essentially a ridiculously dry tomato bread as they dug their teeth into cheesy goodness.
But since those days we’ve come a long way, and now there are vegan cheese options at most mainstream pizza places (I’m still waiting for my local pizza and kebab shop to offer a ‘Jada safe’ option, as my family would call it).
So we had a look at Papa John’s and found out that their vegan menu offered more than just a cheese swap.
We ordered on a Monday, which meant that they actually discounted the vegan menu so everything we got totted up for less than £20.
Alice Tai large pizza – £18.99 or £9.99 with Meatless Mondays offer
First up we had to try the latest pizza, the Alice Tai – this pizza was actually created by the 2016 Paralympic Gold medallist it is named after.
It comes on the ‘authentic thin crust’, which is the only vegan crust available it would seem, and is topped with a classic tomato sauce.
It then features vegan cheese, vegan sausage, chestnut mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, sweetcorn, onions and black Herrera olives.
Sweetcorn is not my favourite pizza topping by any means, but I decided not to alter any of the toppings to get the full experience of the ‘Alice Tai’.
I was pleasantly surprised, the cheese did have a slight artificial flavour but was one of the better cheeses I’ve tried – it even held up the next day.
Most of the toppings worked really well together. Unfortunately the vegan sausage wasn’t great, it’s texture was a little too close to pate for my liking – I wouldn’t order this for myself again, but I would eat it if others wanted to get it.
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“Not-Chicken” Vegan Bites – £4.99
Personally I find vegan products trying to do chicken like products normally work, with processed chicken normally being of a similar texture.
These had the taste spot-on, they tasted just like a southern-fried nugget – the texture was a little off, with it being quite spongy.
I thought the dipper styled pieces were quite thick, but once you bite into them they flatten out due to the texture.
I think I made a mistake pairing the bites with ‘Hot Buffalo’ sauce – they’d pair well with something creamier, the garlic sauce being the most obvious choice.
They were nice enough, not something I’d go out of my way for and the ‘chicken’ wasn’t as good as the Burger King Vegan Royale, but definitely worth a try. I would get them again to pair with something creamier.
Cinnamon Scrolls – £4.99
These were the highlight of the whole meal, the dough itself wasn’t all that sweet which made sure they weren’t too overpowering. I may have managed to eat six in one sitting…
The sauce was really sticky, with it clinging to the box as you took a scroll – this made it quite messy to eat but added to the experience of a takeout dinner.
I think it might have been a little tastier if there was a little more cinnamon on the scrolls as some seemed a little plain, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I would definitely get these again.