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Beetroot baked on parchment paper

Bad Manners Beeteroni

Making great vegan pizza doesn’t have to be about one-to-one replacements for classic meat toppings but they can be fun and delicious, especially when they take inspiration from them and don’t necessarily try to replicate them exactly. That’s the case with the beeteroni (aka beet-based “pepperoni”) from Bad Manners, the Los Angeles, California-based vegan cooking duo behind numerous New York Times Bestselling cookbooks–most recently Brave New Meal–a podcast, and a newsletter.

Since 2012 Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway have been cooking up plant-based recipes with a mission to “Eat like you give a f**k,” the tagline for their first book, Bad Manners: The Official Cookbook. Irreverent in presentation (and language), they remain reverent to their ingredients, treating vegetables with care and respect to truly delicious ends.

Bad Manners’ beeteroni (which they’ve been kind enough to allow us to excerpt) are chewy, salty, and spicy, just like deli pepperoni and the recipe, while it takes some care and time, isn’t a faff. Beets get sliced super thin (we recommend using a mandoline—we love Benriner’s), take a bath in a marinade of spices and liquids for at least an hour (or overnight), then get roasted. While you could play around with the spices, don’t skip the fennel, soy, or liquid smoke. This particular blend makes beet taste surprisingly like cured meat. If you haven’t used it, liquid smoke is a natural byproduct of burning wood (usually found in supermarkets next to barbecue sauces, and available online). It can do wonders with vegetables, giving them a long and low outdoors-cooked flavor or making them almost seem cured. When it comes to the soy sauce used in the recipe, you’ve got a few options. Soy sauce is great, but if you’re allergic to gluten, Tamari or Liquid Aminos work well in its place.

While they’re great with Pantry Parm, vegan cheese, and tomato sauce on our Classic Pizza Dough, they’re just as good a few days later in place of meat on a charcuterie board. Even if you’re not exclusively vegan, you may find beeteroni your new go-to for cheese platters,pizzas or even a quick snack. If you’re going for verisimilitude, we recommend a 1¾-inch stainless steel cookie cutter to approximate standard sliced pepperoni!

Fair warning for reading a Bad Manners recipe, as you may have guessed from their name and tagline, Davis and Holloway tend to swear. “If you trusted us with carrot hot dogs in our second book, Bad Manners: Party Grub, then follow us on this pepperoni-flavored beet journey,” the headnote accompanying their beeteroni recipe advises. “There’s some marinating here, so give yourself enough time. When this sh*t inevitably becomes a trend and it’s everywhere to the annoyingth degree, we will not apologize.”

We typically keep things pretty family-friendly but in this case, their food might just be d@mn good enough to repeat.

Bad Manners is an irreverent duo made up of Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, two home cooks dedicated to making delicious, nutritious, plant-based food. Since they started blogging in 2012, they’ve brought vegan food to the masses with their New York Times bestselling cookbooks, their podcast, Forked Up, and their newsletter, The Broiler Room. Follow them on Instagram @badmannersfood.

Small saucepan
Large baking pan
Conventional oven
Baking sheet

For the marinade:
¾ cup vegetable broth
¾ cup dry red wine
⅓ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 mounded tablespoon chopped fennel seeds
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder
¼ to ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper, to taste

For the beets:
6 small beets, peeled and extremely thinly sliced (preferably to about ⅛” using a mandoline)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Make the marinade: In a small saucepan, combine all the marinade ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, place all the sliced beets in a large baking pan. Pour the hot marinade over the beets and cover the pan with foil or whatever you have lying around. Let the beets sit for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When you are ready to start the d@mn! thing, crank your conventional oven to 400°F. Grease a large baking sheet really well.

Drain the marinade from the beets, reserving like ½ cup or so. Toss the drained slices with the olive oil. Place the slices on the greased baking sheet, spreading in a single layer if possible.

Bake for 10 minutes and then flip the slices and brush them with some of the reserved marinade. Bake until most of the beets have started to curl at the edges, another 8 to 10 minutes. You want the beets to look somewhat blackened on both sides and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven when they look well cooked and baste lightly once more with the reserved marinade as they cool.

Throw these tasty f**kers on a pizza, on some bread for mind-blowing crostini, or just eat them right off the d@mn! baking sheet.
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