February 13th is National “Italian Food” Day. It makes total sense that this food holiday falls one day before Valentine’s Day because who knows more about food and amoré than Italians? Italian-American culture and heritage is filled with mouthwatering dishes.
You can certainly celebrate this food holiday by going out to eat at an Italian restaurant. Authentic Italian dishes are simple, flavorful and cooked with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs. Check out our guide How to Order a Delicious Vegan Meal at Any Restaurant for tips. We can also help if you choose to stay home and make your own Italian feast. Read How to Make Your Own Italian-Style Food at Home and 10 Italian Spices to Spike Up Your Meals for tips and recipes.
There is so much more to Italian food than pizza and pasta. Take a look at 25 Italian Vegan Recipes That Will Blow Your Mind, Celebrate the Feast of San Gennaro by Veganizing 15 of Your Favorite Italian Dishes, and The Best Cheesy Italian Recipes – Veganized. Are you hungry yet? Well, you’re about to be starving because here are 15 new takes on classic Italian recipes that show how creative and delicious plant-based cooking, Italian-style, can be.
1. Pizza Burger on Focaccia
Change up burger night, Italian-style. This Pizza Burger on Focaccia is a sausage-style patty, simmered in tomato sauce, smothered in vegan cheese, and served between two pieces of fresh focaccia. Tempeh and vital wheat gluten give this burger its amazing meaty texture that’s sure to satisfy everyone. Once you serve them, they’ll disappear in an instant.
2. White Bean and Spinach Ragu
This White Bean and Spinach Ragu is a no-fuss, quick recipe, great for busy weeknights and weekend lunches. The addition of protein-packed white beans adds texture while leaving room for the tomato sauce to shine. As for the spinach, it adds color as well as a taste of green goodness!
3. Creamy Polenta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Spinach
Polenta is an Italian porridge-type dish made from cornmeal. It’s rich, thick, creamy, and comforting. This Creamy Polenta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Spinach is comfort times infinity. The creamy polenta is topped with juicy balsamic baked tomatoes and nutty, cheesy pesto. It’s super simple to make and it’s absolutely delicious!
4. Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta
If you like eggplant parm, you’ll love this twist on the classic Italian dish. These Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta have baked eggplant slices stacked with homemade cashew ricotta, balsamic-infused baby spinach, and a marinara sauce. This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves new spins on old classics, or any lover of good Italian food.
5. Baked Ziti Pizza
If you can’t decide between pasta and pizza, fuhgettaboutit. This Baked Ziti Pizza combines all the goodness of baked ziti with the convenience of a crispy pizza crust! It’s saucy, cheesy, ooey-gooey goodness. Try making this for the next party you go to, we guarantee that it won’t last long.
6. Spinach and Soy Ricotta Ravioli with Wild Garlic and Walnut Sauce
This wonderful recipe for Spinach and Soy Ricotta Ravioli with Wild Garlic and Walnut Sauce recreates the famous Italian dish ravioli ricotta e spinaci. The freshly made pasta dough that makes up the shells is springy and elastic thanks to rice oil. With every component being made from scratch, this recipe is perfect for evenings with the entire family, where everyone can participate. Make this recipe a new family tradition!
7. Rosemary Arancini (Italian Deep-Fried Risotto)
Arancini is the name of an Italian street food that is made of … wait for it — deep-fried risotto! Yes, really! These Rosemary Arancini are decadent little treats flavored with rosemary and best enjoyed with a generous dollop of vegan creme fraiche.
8. Chickpea ‘Meat’ Sauce Over Pasta Shells
When your family is craving something meaty, serve them this Chickpea ‘Meat’ Sauce over Pasta Shells. This recipe is the next best thing next to simmered-all-day pasta sauce. The chickpeas are cooked with lots of herbs, spices, and red miso. This dish will satisfy everyone’s meaty cravings deliciously.
9. Baked Herbed Polenta with Pesto
Polenta is delicious when it’s rich and creamy but when it’s baked, you get a crispy, chewy dish that’s also amazing. This creamy Baked Polenta with Pesto is lightly seasoned with herbs and then baked in the oven for just five minutes! It’s great as a side or even a party appetizer.
10. Creamy White Pasta with Crispy Coconut Bacon
This Creamy White Pasta with Crispy Coconut Bacon tastes so indulgent but it’s much healthier than its traditional version. Here, the pasta is topped with a white cashew sauce that’s infused with sauteed onions and garlic. The coconut bacon adds just a touch of smokiness that pairs perfectly well with the creamy sauce and a topping of crushed walnuts adds crunchy texture.
11. Decadent Cashew Tiramisu
Tiramisu is one of those classic Italian desserts that everyone loves. To make this Decadent Cashew Tiramisu, all you need is some flour, coffee, cashews, and cocoa powder. In hardly any time at all, you’ll be on your way to quick and easy Italian dessert heaven.
12. Spinach and Mushroom Alfredo Lasagna
When you combine rich Alfredo sauce with comforting lasagna, you get this Spinach and Mushroom Alfredo Lasagna or a ticket to heaven. This lasagna has layers of spinach and mushrooms, brought together with a simple, creamy Alfredo sauce. Topped with fresh tomatoes, this dish is comforting, but not heavy, leaving plenty of room for dessert – which could also be more lasagna.
13. Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Artichokes)
Even if you’re not in Rome, do as the Romans do and make these Carciofi alla Romana or Roman-style artichokes. When it comes to vegetables, the Italian philosophy is to keep it simple, and there is no better way to showcase this beautiful green veggie than simply dressing it with bright lemon, pungent garlic, and rich olive oil. Perfecto!
14. Vegan Muffuletta
If you’ve never tried Muffuletta, you are in for a real treat. It’s an Italian dish of country bread stuffed with meats, cheeses, and veggies, then flattened into a big pie. This Vegan Muffuletta has eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, and kale plus Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s packed with flavor, totally delicious and absolutely satisfying.
15. Pappa al Pomodoro
When you want something hearty, warm and soul-satisfying, this Pappa al Pomodoro is just the thing. It is a thick Italian soup prepared with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic, and basil from the Siena area. It can be served hot, tepid, or chilled like gazpacho. This is comfort in a bowl.
Italian food is always a favorite and it’s also fun to take classic dishes and change them up a bit with a few creative twists. These recipes will bring out the Italian in anyone.
Lead image source: Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta