Best Plant-Based Frozen Pizza: Sweet Earth

Obsessively chosen ingredients bring Sweet Earth’s pies to the next level

The freezer aisle is usually where your shopping list gets a bit . . . boring. There are those one-off bags of frozen fruit for smoothies and vegetables as a quick side, along with a pint of gelato "just in case." That's been about it—until Sweet Earth Foods' frozen pizzas came along.

If the thought of frozen pizza makes you think of middle school cafeteria cardboard-like pies made with less-than-fresh ingredients, that's because you haven't tried Sweet Earth's culinary-inspired pizzas, which are made from obsessively chosen ingredients specifically selected for taste as well as their nutritional value. Can you say Pizza Enlightenment?

The difference starts with the crust, a base that lands perfectly between crispy and chewy. Its consistency and flavor comes from ingredients like chia seeds, psyllium, corn, quinoa, flax seeds and carrots: The ancient grains add protein and fiber, while the corn and carrots add a hint of natural sweetness in place of added sugar. Striking that ideal textural balance was a priority for Sweet Earth's president Brian Swette, and CEO Kelly Swette, who were inspired to found the company in 2012 after their daughter, Brianna, became a vegetarian in high school. The goal with Sweet Earth was to create plant-based options that tasted even better than their non-vegetarian counterparts, but were also convenient.

"Food should be memorable," Kelly says. "Part of it's the aroma, and part of it's the taste. We do that with flavors—with spices and herbs, and how we cook the dish. You crave the next bite."

The precise mix of crust ingredients, sauce and toppings depends on which of the four current varieties of Sweet Earth pizza you choose. There's the Veggie Lover's, topped with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, corn and marinara-vegan cauliflower herb "cream" sauce; or the Truffle Lover's with its Gruyère, Romano, mozzarella, mushrooms, spinach and caramelized onion truffle sauce. For extra staying power, try the Protein Lover's (plant-based pepperoni and savory grounds, roasted bell peppers, marinara sauce), and round it out with the Herb Lover's 5 Cheese, which has mozzarella, fontina, Asiago, Romano, Parmesan cheese and an herb pesto sauce.

In addition to sourcing ingredients locally when possible (the Veggie Lover's pizza includes vegetables sourced from California's Central Coast region) and using plant-based meats, the Sweet Earth pizza line represents a more sustainable approach to business. Kelly, who cofounded the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University, considers this integral to the brand. "Our purpose was to honor and sustain the land, and sustainability is at the core of everything we do," she says.

While you might think that anything with the words sustainable and locally sourced often equates to a higher price point or ends up being sold at only specialty retailers, you're in for another surprise. Each pizza has a suggested retail price of $6.99 and can be found at 12,000 retailers, including Target, Safeway, Publix and Wal-Mart. Looks like you know where to go to find Friday-night's dinner.