I fell in love with my husband Max over pizza. We were in college, and it was all we could afford. And all we wanted to eat. Decades later, I can still close my eyes and imagine the mouthfeel of that chewy, slightly salty crust, and how the hot, gooey, mozzarella left a burn on the roof of my mouth for days. The first gift I gave Max was a t-shirt: Pizza Makes Me Passionate

Pizza is still our favorite food. It’s the only meal Max cooks, and each one is a masterpiece. We eat it to celebrate every birthday, anniversary, and, of course, every Valentine’s Day. With a bottle of California Cabernet on the side.

As it turns out, Max and I are not the only celebrants of Pizza Love. A recent Harris poll made official what we’ve known for years: Pizza is sexy & romantic.

  • 60% of on-line daters would “swipe right” for someone whose profile mentions pizza.
  • 44% of Americans believe that one of the sexiest things their partner can say is, “Honey, let’s order pizza tonight.”

Searching for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal? You can’t go wrong with pizza. This year, try plant-based. To find a local pizzeria that has plant-based options:

Our Pizza Process

Ramp up the romance and make a pizza with your partner. Here’s the Max & Marla Pizza Process:

  • Go to the supermarket or a local pizza joint, and buy a ball of pre-made pizza dough.
  • Buy or make red sauce or pesto.
  • Decide on veggies. We typically use some or all of each: mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, corn, canned artichokes, roasted tomatoes. If omnivorous friends are joining us, sometimes we sprinkle on plant-based sausage or ground meat. The most common response is, “I thought you two didn’t eat meat. Thanks for adding it to the pizza for us!” Wink. Wink.
  • Check out the plant-based cheese section of your supermarket, to find one that appeals. Most are made from cashews or coconut milk, but Good Planet has figured out how to make it from olive oil (nut-free, and less fat). Miyoko makes a liquid version, which melts, bubbles, and browns beautifully. Truthfully, if you pile on enough veggies, no one will miss the cheese – we tend to not even use it.
  • Are you an over-achiever? The Buddhist Chef will show you how to make your own plant-based mozzarella in this 5-minute video. (It’s worth it just to watch him at work). He takes you through the entire pizza-making process.
  • Equipment: For a crispy bottom crust, we prefer a metal pizza-pan with holes, over a pizza stone. Crank up your oven to 500-degrees (or more, if it goes there) … but keep your eye on it while it’s cooking.

Looking for a more elegant pizza? Diana Goldman’s pesto pizza with roasted potatoes and caramelized onions is the way to go. Do you live in NYC? Then head over to Double Zero this Friday (Feb. 9) and celebrate National Pizza Day with a free slice!

Still not convinced that plant-based pizza can be unctuous and delicious? J. Kenji López-Alt is quite convincing. Kenji’s an omnivore who hunts, a chef who decided to create and eat only plant-based food for a month. Pizza was on his menu. “Vegans can still enjoy pizza,” he said. “I can guarantee you that the average quality of the pizza I eat is going to go way up, for as a vegan, I won’t fall into the trap of eating any pizza that’s short of extraordinary.” And to that I say, “Kenji, come to our house for pizza! It’s always extraordinary.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!