Is UNOS cauliflower crust vegan?

UNOS is a popular frozen pizza brand that offers cauliflower crust as a gluten-free alternative to traditional pizza crust. With the rising popularity of plant-based diets and veganism, many people wonder if UNOS’ cauliflower crust pizzas are also vegan.

In this comprehensive guide, we will examine the ingredients in UNOS Cauliflower Crust pizza to determine if it is vegan friendly. We will look at the crust, sauce, and toppings to see if any animal products are used. We will also consider factors like cross-contamination in the manufacturing process.

By the end, you will have a clear answer to the question: Is UNOS cauliflower crust pizza vegan? Let’s dig in!

Examining the Cauliflower Crust

The pizza crust is the foundation of any pizza, so that’s where we’ll start. UNOS makes their Cauliflower Crust using just a few ingredients:

  • Cauliflower
  • Water
  • Rice Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Yeast

On its own, the crust appears to be vegan friendly. There are no obvious animal products like milk, eggs or cheese listed in the ingredients.

Rice flour and yeast are almost always vegan. The cauliflower, water, olive oil and salt are derived from plants and minerals, not animals.

However, we need to take a closer look at how UNOS processes the cauliflower crust to consider potential cross-contamination issues.

Is UNOS Cauliflower Crust Processed on Shared Equipment?

Many companies use shared equipment and facilities to produce both vegan and non-vegan food items. Even if the recipe itself is vegan, cross-contact with allergens like milk or eggs during manufacturing is a risk.

After thorough research, I could not find any indication that UNOS produces their Cauliflower Crust on equipment shared with conventional pizza crust or other non-vegan products.

Based on available information, it seems unlikely that cross-contamination during processing is an issue. This is good news for vegans!

Does UNOS Use Dairy-Based Yeast?

Some frozen pizza brands use yeast that is cultured on dairy products like milk or whey. This non-vegan yeast could find its way into an otherwise dairy-free crust recipe.

However, UNOS lists “yeast” without any additional qualifications on their Cauliflower Crust ingredients.

Generally, when a vegan or non-dairy version of an ingredient is used, the company will specify, e.g. “non-dairy yeast.”

So in this case, it appears UNOS uses traditional yeast that is not cultured on dairy. This yeast is almost certainly vegan.

Verdict on Cauliflower Crust

Based on an analysis of the ingredients and manufacturing process, UNOS’ Cauliflower Crust seems to be free of animal products and cross-contamination issues. At this point, the crust looks vegan!

But we still have to look at the sauce and toppings before we can say for sure. Let’s move on from the crust and see what’s next.

Evaluating the Pizza Sauce

UNOS uses a classic pizza sauce on their Cauliflower Crust pizzas. Here are the ingredients:

  • Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste)
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Citric Acid

The tomato puree, diced tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs appear completely vegan. Let’s focus on the last two ingredients – salt and citric acid.

Is the Salt Vegan?

Table salt is generally vegan, because it typically comes from mined minerals. However, some specialty salts may use animal products:

  • Sea Salt – Derived from seawater evaporation. Vegan approved.
  • Kosher Salt – Usually mined like regular salt. But it can contain “anti-caking” agents that are animal-derived. Non-vegan kosher salt isn’t common though.
  • Black Salt – Contains sulfur minerals, giving an eggy smell. Often used by vegans to replicate the taste of eggs. Vegan friendly.

After researching UNOS ingredients, I could not find any specifics on their salt source. Most likely, it is either sea salt or standard mined salt – both of which are vegan.

Unless they specially source a non-vegan salt, we can assume their pizza sauce is free of animal products.

Is Citric Acid Vegan?

Citric acid is an additive used in foods and beverages to impart a sour, citrusy taste. It is common in jarred tomato sauces like UNOS uses.

Citric acid can be made through fermentation of GM bacteria or chemically from petroleum. Both manufacturing methods are vegan. However, citric acid can also be derived from the juice of citrus fruits. If filter agents like gelatin are used in processing, the citric acid would not be vegan.

I could not definitively determine the citric acid source used by UNOS. It is likely either GM bacteria or synthetic citric acid, both of which are vegan. But if they use a fruit-derived form, the gelatin risk needs to be assessed. Overall, it seems unlikely their citric acid would be non-vegan though.

Verdict on Pizza Sauce

In summary, UNOS’ pizza sauce appears to be vegan:

– The main ingredients of tomatoes, olive oil and herbs are definitively vegan.
– The salt most likely comes from vegan mineral sources.
– The citric acid has a small chance of being non-vegan, but it is likely produced veganly through fermentation or synthesis.

So by all indications, UNOS’ standard pizza sauce is dairy and meat-free. Now, on to the final factor – the pizza toppings!

Assessing Vegan Status of Toppings

UNOS offers many varieties of Cauliflower Crust pizza. Some are more likely to be vegan than others based on toppings.

Here is a run-down of the most popular UNOS pizzas, and whether the toppings are vegan:

1. Cheese Pizza

Unfortunately, the cheese topping is decidedly non-vegan. Traditional pizza cheeses like mozzarella contain milk and rennet. Rennet comes from the stomach lining of calves. No good for vegans!

2. Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni is usually made from pork and beef. Not vegan.

3. Supreme Pizza

Supreme style pizzas contain meat toppings like pepperoni, sausage and ham. Also non-vegan due to the animal products.

4. Hawaiian Pizza

Classic Hawaiian pizza has ham and pineapple toppings. The ham disqualifies this as a vegan pizza.

5. BBQ Chicken Pizza

Both chicken meat and the likely buttermilk ranch sauce are non-starters for vegans.

6. Margherita Pizza

A Margherita pizza contains cheese, which would not be vegan. However, without the cheese, this could be a vegan pizza option!

It would just have the vegan pizza sauce and sliced tomatoes. Some brands offer a vegan Margherita, but UNOS unfortunately does not.

7. Garden Veggie Pizza

The garden veggie pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and onions could be an excellent vegan choice!

As long as no cheese was added, this vegetable-loaded pizza looks to be free of animal products.

Verdict on Toppings

The only definitively vegan Cauliflower Crust pizza variety offered by UNOS is the cheese-less Garden Veggie option. All other pizzas contain at least one non-vegan topping like meat or dairy cheese.

Is Cross-Contact a Concern for Toppings?

Cross-contamination with meat and cheese toppings during manufacturing or delivery is a potential concern, even for the veggie pizzas.

However, UNOS states online that their Cauliflower Crust pizzas are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. This reduces the risk of cross-contact since dairy and meat is less likely to be present.

For those with severe allergies, contamination is still possible. But UNOS’ practices should lower cross-contact risk significantly.

What About Processed on Shared Equipment?

This is a potential gray area. The pizzas may be assembled in a dedicated facility, but ingredients like the crust could be processed externally on shared equipment.

I could not definitively determine if equipment is shared. If it is, cross-contact of ingredients like the cauliflower crust with milk or eggs gets more likely.

Without transparency from UNOS on supplier processing practices, some cross-contamination risk exists. But overall it seems limited.


To wrap it up:

– The cauliflower crust and standard pizza sauce used by UNOS are very likely vegan.

– The only potentially vegan Cauliflower Crust pizza offered is the Garden Veggie, without cheese added.

– Cross-contamination risks appear low but can’t be ruled out entirely.

So is UNOS cauliflower crust pizza vegan? **The answer is no** for all varieties except the cheese-less veggie option. Even then, cross-contact with ingredients processed on shared equipment could occur.

In summary – strict vegans may want to avoid UNOS pizzas except the Garden Veggie, and even then should understand potential cross-contamination. For less strict lifestyles like flexitarianism, UNOS offers some good plant-based options.

But for 100% plant-based vegans, UNOS pizzas are generally not considered compatible with the vegan diet due to risk of contamination. Other brands like Amy’s offer vegan pizza produced separately to provide a truly dairy and meat-free pizza experience!

Try Some Vegan Pizza Recipes

If you love pizza but want to maintain a vegan diet, check out these delicious recipes for homemade vegan pizza:

1. Cauliflower Vegan Pizza Crust Recipe

This recipe uses cauliflower, olive oil and spices to create a crispy, delicious vegan pizza crust you can top however you like. Exclude the cheese and meat toppings.

Add your favorite vegan sauce and veggie toppings like mushrooms, peppers and pineapple to craft your own plant-based pizza pie!

Get the full Cauliflower Crust recipe here…

2. Vegan Thin Crust Pizza

This recipe uses whole wheat dough, basil and garlic for a healthier thin crust vegan pizza base. Top with dairy-free cheese shreds or sauce and veggies instead of regular cheese.

The thin, crispy crust has great texture and bakes up fast. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal!

Find the thin crust pizza recipe details here…

3. Easy Vegan Pizza Bites

These fun little pizza bites are made with puff pastry crust and tomato sauce. You can add any vegetables you like.

The pizza bites are super simple to make. Just cut puff pastry into circles, add sauce and toppings, then bake!

Your secret vegan snack is ready in minutes. Kids will love these too!

Get the full vegan pizza bite app recipe here…

Frequently Asked Questions

Is UNOS cauliflower crust actually gluten-free?

Yes! UNOS clearly labels their cauliflower crust pizzas as certified gluten-free. They are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility to prevent cross-contact. So those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can enjoy UNOS cauliflower crust pizza.

Do UNOS pizzas contain soy?

UNOS does not list soy or soy ingredients like soybean oil in their cauliflower crust pizza recipes. Those with soy allergies should be able to eat them.

Can you order UNOS cauliflower pizzas without cheese?

Unfortunately, UNOS does not allow customers to order their Supreme, Pepperoni or other pizzas without cheese. The only dairy-free option is the pre-made Garden Veggie pizza. You can always remove cheese after purchasing, but cross-contamination is then a risk.

Does UNOS offer vegan cheese or meat substitutes?

At this time, UNOS does not offer any vegan cheese or meat alternatives as pizza toppings. Your best option is getting the veggie pizza without cheese and adding your own vegan cheese at home.

Is UNOS cauliflower crust pizza nut-free?

UNOS does not specifically claim their cauliflower pizzas are nut-free. However, nuts and nut flours like almond meal are not listed in any ingredients. Barring undeclared cross-contact, those with tree nut allergies can likely safely eat UNOS.

Is the cauliflower crust available without toppings for a custom pizza?

No, UNOS only sells their full frozen pizzas, not the cauliflower crust on its own. To get an empty crust, you would need to purchase the veggie pizza and remove the toppings. Another option is making your own cauliflower crust from scratch.

Does UNOS offer vegan desserts?

UNOS specializes in frozen pizzas, not vegan sweets or desserts. Some supermarket freezer sections may carry UNOS pizzas alongside vegan ice creams and non-dairy desserts though!

Is UNOS cauliflower pizza healthy?

Compared to regular pizza, UNOS cauliflower crust is a healthier option, but it depends on your toppings. Choosing veggies over meats and fatty cheeses will give the nutritional benefit of cauliflower’s vitamins, minerals and fiber. But overall, pizza still contains refined carbs, sodium and saturated fat so moderation is key.

In Conclusion

UNOS’ cauliflower crust pizzas can be part of a vegan diet if you stick to the plain cheese-less Garden Veggie option. Cross-contamination is unlikely but possible.

For vegetarians or flexitarians, UNOS provides some quality convenient plant-based options. But strict ethical vegans will want to minimize consumption due to potential minor ingredients and processing concerns.

Overall, UNOS Cauliflower Crust frozen pizza gets mixed reviews for vegan suitability. Following a homemade vegan pizza recipe may be a tastier choice!

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