Vegan review: Papa John’s pizza

Despite Papa John’s Rose Hill being somewhat of a staple Oxford takeaway in our area (or, in our house, anyway), I realised it’s been forever since my last review of their pizza, and I wanted to share a little update. They’ve since added mock meat toppings including a jackfruit ‘pepperoni’ and vegan sausage, a stuffed crust option for your pizza, ‘not-chicken’ vegan bites, and even stocked their freezers with a selection of vegan Ben and Jerry’s ice cream tubs.

close up of pizza toppings - slice mushroom, sweetcorn, green peppers, mock meat

Safe to say with all of this that Papa John’s is right up there among the best vegan takeaways you can get from a chain. In my recent order, I chose ‘The Vegan Works’ pizza, topped with the pepperoni, sausage pieces, chestnut mushrooms, peppers and onion (I left off the black olives – why must they be on everything?). Feeling particularly indulgent, I upgraded to the stuffed crust. As always when my pizza arrives, I compared it to Jamie’s non-vegan pizza just to be sure they’d sent me the right thing. I’ve never had a bad experience with our Oxford Papa John’s, but we’ve all seen a negative story or two on Facebook, and some vegan cheeses are getting so good these days it can be hard to tell! But this was definitely their vegan pizza with all the trimmings.

I was really impressed with the stuffed crust. A little of it had leaked out of the crust onto my pizza where the bread hadn’t quite sealed, as the cheese is a bit more liquidy than the mozzarella-style one on the top. That didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all though, it was very tasty all round. It still has a hint of that ‘stick to your teeth’ feel that large quantities of vegan cheese can have, but as dairy replacements go, I thought it was great. I really like the Papa John’s pizza bases with their soft but not too stodgy dough, and the cheese stuffed crust helped it go down even easier.

As for the toppings, both the mock pepperoni and sausage are great. They have subtly different, meaty flavours, with the jackfruit pepperoni being more spicy and the hot dog style soya sausage a little more smoky. Isn’t it great to be able to order a pizza with similar toppings to everyone else’s! While you can also build your own pizza with whatever toppings you like, I really enjoy the flavour combinations on this one. The pizza tastes great cold for lunch the next day too, which is great when you order a large, as they are also really filling.

I doubt anyone has ever paid full price for a Papa John’s (if you have, what were you thinking?) because they always have a number of offers on. We opted for the ‘Big Match Bundle’ offering two large pizzas, two sides and a drink for £28.99. It’s such a good deal when you add up all the prices individually. I can’t go without their vegan cheesy marmite scrolls, and their cauliflower wings are also really satisfying, but on this occasion I was keen to try their crispy southern fried ‘chicken’ nuggets, and they didn’t disappoint. The inside was tender, the crisp breadcrumb coating well seasoned with plenty of salt and black pepper, and overall I thought it was a very accurate reflection of the meat version. These will probably be my go-to side dish from now on.

I’m sure you’ve all tried Papa John’s by now, but if you haven’t ordered in a while, I’d recommend giving their new options a go and letting me know what you think!

Author: Heather Grace

Eating my way through all the vegan food, one restaurant at a time.

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