I’veve done a lot of scranning recently to provide a comprehensive guide on where to find dairy free cheese topped pizza in Newcastle. I was shocked to learn I’d overlooked a contender. Historically, The Herb Garden had a vegan section on their menu which featured Marinara bases topped with an assortment of veggies. Since the arrival of Alex Strettle, a vegan chef who has worked in Italy for a number of years, it seems HG have started to stock vegan cheese.
There are some out there that won’t be that bothered and actually prefer the Marinara, especially those who prefer to savour the traditional flavour of the tomatoes and olive oil over ‘fake’ cheeses and that’s fine. Horses for courses, etc. For me, a good oozy cheese is an integral part of the pizza eating process and I really missed it after I first became vegan. Now there’s a plethora of places in the Toon stocking dairy free versions for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant (which you can read about here) but it’s still good to have more choices available.
I popped into Herb Garden with a non-vegan friend who gamely said they’d try out the alternative on their pizza too. It was the festive special advertised on the board which caught my eye. Beetroot, kale, and sprouts on a pizza? Intriguing! The cranberries were pushing it too far for me, however, so asked for those to be removed.
I think removing them was a good call. The golden beetroot gave a sweetness to the topping, and any more would have been overkill. I’m surprised by how well the kale and sprouts worked with a tomato and cheese. The vegan cheese used is Violife for Pizza, a special version designed to melt and stretch like real mozzarella. I don’t think it works in quite the manner intended but it thankfully didn’t stick to my teeth in the same way Pizza Hut’s did recently.
Alex has also gone as far as creating his own almond ricotta style cheese to top the pizzas with. I really enjoyed that and it is already to see someone taking such pride in the ingredients used.
My friend enjoyed their first foray into eating vegan pizza with a Margherita base topped with broccoli, walnuts and beetroot. I think even they were surprised by how ‘normal’ the whole experience was. Yep, we don’t just eat salad and dust 🙂
I think Herb Garden are offering one of the best vegan pizzas in Newcastle now and the cheese is available without having to notify them in advance (at the time of writing). It was also lovely to see that they are collecting for People’s Kitchen over the festive period. A worthy cause and a great opportunity to do something to help others less fortunate at this time of the year.
Thanks for reading,