Even though the number of plant-based options offered by fast food restaurants has been steadily increasing in recent years, there’s still a long way to go before vegan menu items become ubiquitous. Waiting for new vegan products to be released by chains we used to enjoy can be frustrating, especially when we see many international chains launching vegan options in other countries before they finally bring them to the US.
Some of our vegan friends in the UK, for example, have been enjoying fully plant-based pizzas at Domino’s for more than six months now, and meat-substitute toppings and sides were added to the menu at the beginning of this year.
Since Domino’s is the biggest pizza chain in the country, it’s particularly disappointing that there’s no news so far on when and if we’ll be getting those menu items here, but let’s not admit defeat just yet! It could be possible to get a vegan Domino’s pizza, even if it’s not explicitly listed on the menu. All it takes is a little creativity in building your own (and, of course, leaving off the cheese).
Note: We are not here to judge what you do, or do not, consider ‘vegan’. Even Jen and I differ on what we are okay with. This article is designed to give you as much info as possible on how to order a vegan Domino’s Pizza. Then you can decide how to use that info!
How to Order a Vegan Domino’s Pizza
Domino’s offers five different types of crust to choose from for the base of your pizza, and they all have some potentially problematic ingredients. Some are blatantly non-vegan, and others may be up to interpretation. Let’s take a look at them individually.
- Brooklyn – This crust, a Domino’s invention, is made from: enriched flour (wheat flour, iron, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid), water, soybean oil, and 2% or less of the following: sugar, salt, whey, maltodextrin, dextrose, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzyme, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, L-cysteine), yeast, corn meal (used in preparation). So unfortunately, this one’s not vegan.
- Handmade Pan Crust – The thicker of the standard options, this crust is made from: enriched flour (wheat flour, iron, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid), water, palm oil, soybean oil, and 2% or less of the following: sugar, salt, whey, natural butter flavor, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, dextrose, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzyme, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, L-cysteine), and yeast. We’ll have to pass on the handmade pan crust, too.
- Hand Tossed Crust – Noticing a pattern? Yup, this one is made from: enriched flour (wheat flour, iron, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid), water, soybean oil, and 2% or less of the following: sugar, salt, whey, maltodextrin, dextrose, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzyme, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, L-cysteine), yeast, and cornmeal (used in preparation). It’s also not vegan.
- Thin Crust – Their thin crust is a bit different, made from: flour (wheat, malted barley), water, soybean oil, salt, calcium propionate (preservative), dextrose, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), corn starch, yeast, and L-cysteine (dough conditioner). We’ve finally found a dough with no whey, but not so fast! This thin crust still contains L-cysteine, which can be derived from plant or animal sources. Domino’s did previously use plant-based L-cysteine, but as far as we know, they are currently using L-cysteine from dairy by-products. So while this is closer to what we’re looking for, you may want to avoid the thin crust as a base for now, too.
- Gluten-Free Crust – But wait, there’s one more! The gluten-free crust at Domino’s is made from: water, modified rice starch, rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, olive oil, potato flour, evaporated cane sugar, fresh yeast, honey, avicel, salt, and calcium propionate. Although this crust was added for people who can’t eat gluten, it accidentally accommodates some vegans and those with other dietary restrictions, as well; it has no dairy or eggs and no major common allergens.The sweeteners in this crust may raise some eyebrows. Since the sugar used is evaporated cane sugar, it’s not processed with bone char, so there’s no need for concern there. However, honey is also used, which can be problematic for some vegans because it’s produced by bees.We know that honey can be something of a controversial topic in vegan circles, and we won’t get into that debate here. Just be aware that, if honey is off-limits for you, then you may not find a vegan pizza at Domino’s.
While pizza dough is one of those items that seems like it could always be vegan, meaning we need to inspect the ingredients lists carefully to find the non-vegan offender, it’s often more obvious which sauces we need to avoid.
Three of the sauces offered when building your own pizza with Domino’s are garlic parmesan sauce, alfredo sauce, and ranch. We probably don’t have to tell you that these aren’t vegan, and the reason why is even in the name for two of them.
The one that might get by you is the hearty marinara sauce. Marinara is typically made with only plant-based ingredients, and most of us have substituted it for a dairy-based sauce on pasta from a restaurant at least once in our vegan lives. Domino’s marinara, unfortunately, is made with cheese, so be sure to avoid it when crafting your custom vegan pizza.
A honey barbeque sauce is also listed for custom pizza-building, but oddly, the master ingredients list on Domino’s website doesn’t say anything about it. It’s pretty safe to assume that it contains at least honey, so it may be an issue regardless of the other ingredients.
Only the standard pizza sauce, which they rebranded as “robust inspired tomato sauce”, is close to being truly safe. It contains: tomato puree (water, tomato paste), sugar, salt, spices, garlic, soybean oil, and citric acid.
Now, because “sugar” isn’t specific, it’s possible that the sugar in this sauce comes from a process and a brand that use bone char, but we don’t know for certain. If the possibility of this bothers you, then you may need to abandon Domino’s altogether until they make some much-needed changes.
If, on the other hand, this pizza sauce sounds close enough to being vegan for you, then it’s probably the only way to go.
This is, thankfully, the easiest part. All of the vegan options can be found under “non-meats” when selecting toppings, and the non-vegan items in this category are all cheeses, making them easy to spot. You can’t go wrong loading your vegan Domino’s pizza up with any combination of:
- Jalapeno peppers
- Banana peppers
- Diced tomatoes
- Black olives
- Green peppers
- Roasted red peppers
Clearly, Domino’s still has a long way to go if they ever want to reach a wide vegan audience in the US. If you’re determined to eat their pizza while we wait on some major changes, you may be able to get away with a gluten-free, plain-sauce, cheeseless veggie pizza.
If you want to be completely sure that things like honey and sugar processed with bone char aren’t involved in your food at all, then Domino’s doesn’t have any pizza options for you at the moment, although you may find something else on the menu that is vegan.
If, after reading this, you’re now looking for other pizza options that a bit more vegan-friendly, consider checking out the locations we chose as the 7 vegan-friendliest pizza chains.
Hopefully, Domino’s recent menu changes abroad indicate intentions to become more vegan-friendly everywhere, but for now, we will have to make do with the current menu and find things that fit whatever veganism means to us.