Hops & Pie owner Drew Watson knew from day one that his business would cater to vegan customers. The original menu at his Denver-based pizzeria offered vegan cheese, plus its immediately popular in-house smoked tofu, as pizza toppings. “From there, we moved into vegan Italian sausage and our vegan Sloppy Jane, which is really amazing,” Watson says. “It’s our interpretation of a sloppy Joe, with smoked tempeh, mushrooms and other ground vegetables, cooked down in a sloppy Joe-style sauce. Our vegan ranch is also bomb!”
Meanwhile, the smoked tofu not only graces a number of pizzas; it’s an ideal protein in sandwiches and salads. When whipping up his latest vegan creation, Watson’s first consideration is awesome texture. “You can get so caught up in making something into a vegan product that the flavor gets destroyed on the way, or it just feels weird on your palate when you’re eating it,” he says.
Hops & Pie also has three vegan doughnuts, from its own Berkeley Donuts shop in the pizzeria: the seasonal Peppermint Bark, as well as Strawberry Homer and Lemon Poppy Seed. “It’s important to us to have something for everyone,” Watson notes. “We look to popular ingredients and ask ourselves if there is a way for us to create, in-house, a vegan substitute of a traditional offering.”
Want more inspiration? Check out the recipe for Hops & Pie’s Vegan Ranch dressing—perfect for salads, sauces, dipping and more!
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