Allergy-Friendly ‘Cheesy’ Pepperoni Pizza with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Creative tricks put this delicious Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza back on the dairy-free and gluten-free menu. Years ago, I learned the wonders of gluten-free pizza from the great Carol Fenster in her book, Cooking Free. Since that time, I’ve experimented with several variations of her classic crusts. This adapted recipe is one that my own family enjoys regularly. To complement the classic pepperoni flavor, I’ve created an amazing tomato sauce.

Makes: One 12 inch pizza
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes (cherry, Roma or cluster)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasonings or 1/2 tbsp fresh herbs
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

No Rise Gluten-Free Thin Crust

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) warm unsweetened plain milk alternative (of choice)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) brown rice flour + extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin powder (for vegetarian: sub agar powder)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


  • 5-7 ounces allergen-free pepperoni (see Recipe Tips)
  • Easy Cheesy Sauce or dairy-free cheese alternative shreds (mozzarella or cheddar)

Recipe Tips

Look for pepperoni brands labeled as gluten-free.

For dairy and other allergens, ensure that the source of lactic acid starter culture (a common ingredient in cured meats) is non-dairy; that no extra allergens, such as whey, lactose or soy protein, have been added; and contact the company to confirm safe allergen practices.

Two allergy-friendly brands are Applegate Farms and Columbus Farm to Fork. In a pinch, substitute freshly made cooked sausage that's allergen-free.


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Halve tomatoes if using cherry or Roma, quarter if using a cluster variety. Place cut tomatoes and whole garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss to evenly coat. Turn tomatoes cut side up.
  2. Roast 40 minutes. If using a larger cluster variety, remove the garlic and roast the tomatoes an additional 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Put garlic and tomatoes in a blender, and purée until smooth. Pour sauce in a small saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Whisk in oregano, seasoning or herbs, black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Let simmer to further thicken while you prepare the pizza crust.
  4. Turn oven up to 425° F and line a 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet with greased parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Place yeast, milk alternative and sugar in a mixer’s bowl to proof for 5 minutes. Blend in rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, gelatin, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, oil and vinegar. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes. It will be very soft and sticky dough.
  6. Put the mixture on the pan. Liberally sprinkle brown rice flour on the dough, to prevent sticking as you press it into a 12-inch round or rectangle with slightly thicker edges.
  7. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Top with sauce, then pepperoni (overlap the slices as they will shrink). Drizzle or spread with Cheesy Sauce or sprinkle with dairy-free cheese alternative shreds. Bake pizza for another 20 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. If needed, broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the Cheesy Sauce or melt shreds.

Alisa’s Easy ‘Cheesy’ Sauce

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened milk alternative (of choice), plus additional as needed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp comstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or additional sweet paprika)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place all ingredients, except pepper, in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes as it bubbles, whisking continuously.
  2. Remove from heat immediately and season to taste with pepper. The sauce will be relatively thick. If you prefer a drizzle, thin with additional milk alternative.

is a contributing editor to Allergic Living magazine and the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein Free Living, and founder of