Pizza Hut's Plant-Based Beyond Sausage Pizza Will Fool Meat Lovers
It's a convincing meat alternative.
It's long past time major US pizza chains jumped aboard the plant-based meat alternative bandwagon, both as an option for vegetarians and to create a more sustainable food chain. While it's not a permanent option, Pizza Hut took a big step toward this by announcing its new Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza this week.
We decided to give the Beyond Meat and Pizza Hut collaboration a try, looking under the hood of the lime green box that the Beyond pizza arrives inside. The most surprising thing here isn't that it happened at all or, on the other hand, that it happened so late compared to how Beyond and Impossible Foods swept across fast food restaurants in 2019. It's that unlike other plant-based, including the Impossible Whopper, I genuinely believe you could fool a meat lover into thinking this is a sausage pizza. Whether that's because of how good this is or the low standards we have with regard to meat quality from major pizza chains is up to you.
The big chunks of imitation hand-pinched sausage are seasoned with garlic, onion, paprika, and a generous helping of fennel that isn't a subtle presence. In fact, it's part of the experience from the outset. When you open the lime-green box, the smell is everything you want from a sausage pizza. That's partly hot dough and melted cheese, but the fennel-y sausage is a well-defined presence as well. People a room over are going to know you just opened a sausage pizza when it's cracked open.
You aren't going to find Pizza Hut trying to hide the sausage, burying it under mounds of cheese to hide the flavor. My pizza averaged over 11 chunks of sausage per slice. (Yes, I absolutely counted every slice.)
That seasoning combination is doing the heavy lifting to bring you toward feeling like this is genuine pork sausage. Though, more than getting the seasoning right, the Beyond Italian Sausage has the right texture. There's a soft crunch on the outside with a sort of chewy, well, meaty mouthfeel. Even if you pull the sausage from the pizza to scrutinize the topping, it holds up with a peppery flavor that brings a nice balance to the immense saltiness of the pizza at large.
It’s taken a while to arrive, but this temporary menu-item heralds the age of plant-based meat substitutes for pizza. This should become a menu staple and pave the way for more plant-based alternative toppings, as well as pushing the other big chains to join the party.
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