It’s very likely that if you step into any Italian restaurant, you’ll be able to find a pasta dish, but we’re also willing to guess that your options would be little more than spaghetti with marinara sauce on it and you’ll have to ask them to hold the cheese. Not exactly the best reflection of how amazing Italian cuisine really is. You’ll probably find that your run-of-the-mill family Italian restaurant will have only a few options for you if you’re eating more plant-based foods, but you can veganize anything — yes, anything. You can take the cheesiest of Italian meals, like
You can take the cheesiest of Italian meals, like lasagna and transform it into a meal so good, you’ll forget all about dairy. It’s easy because we can make ricotta from cashews and tofu, Parmesan from almonds, and gooey mozzarella from cashews and tapioca starch.
Once you nail the basics of vegan cheese, you can apply that to all your favorite cheesy Italian dishes, like ravioli and pizza. We can use plants for the meaty dishes, too! Instead of chicken Parmesan, try this yummy Cauliflower Parmesan. Craving calamari? This Raw King Oyster Mushroom Calamari has all the chewiness you love about calamari without the seafood. Desserts aren’t off the table, either! This Raw Tiramisu and this Coconut Caramel Panna Cotta are both made without dairy and you don’t need eggs to make these Cinnamon Sugar Zeppoles or these Paleo Biscotti.
If thinking about all the delicious vegan Italian food you can make has worked up your appetite, then One Green Planet is here to the rescue with these 15 Italian dinner recipes you have to try.
1. Seared Cauliflower and Chickpeas Piccata
This Seared Cauliflower and Chickpeas Piccata is a must-make for anyone. Cauliflower steaks are seared until golden on the outside. A sauce is then made using the “drippings” as you would with traditional piccata with the addition of chickpeas, wine, capers, and seasonings. Each part of the recipe works together as a cohesive dish that’s sure to win over family, friends, and guests.
2. Hummus and Veggie Stuffed Calzone
For those of you who aren’t in the know, a calzone is a giant, hot and bubbly pizza pocket. Yeah … it’s kind of a big deal. This Hummus Veggie Stuffed Calzone is cheese-free and it only takes an hour to make, start to finish! Calzones for dinner tonight, anyone?
3. Potatoes and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in Broccoli Cream Sauce
There are so many different varieties of ravioli you can make — the possibilities are virtually endless. This recipe for Potatoes and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in Broccoli Cream Sauce is super comforting. The slight crispness and crunch of the broccoli paired with the creaminess of the sauce make for quite a dynamic duo — not to mention, the ravioli is delicious.
4. Eggplant Caponata With Grilled Polenta
Warm, stewy eggplant and tomatoes with Sicilian flavors served beside crispy polenta wedges — summer doesn’t get much better than this Eggplant Caponata With Grilled Polenta. Try getting a bite of polenta with every forkful of caponata for a delicious contrast of tastes and textures. The polenta can be made the day before and these wedges are a great way to use up any leftover cooked polenta.
5. Zuppa Toscana: Tuscan Sausage Soup
Spicy vegan sausage, onion, garlic, thick cashew cream, potatoes, greens, and red pepper flakes make this soup’s flavor unbeatable. This savory Tuscan Sausage Soup is best served as a meal rather than an appetizer, with a side of Italian bread. You won’t want to miss a single drop.
6. Gnocchi With Lemon Chili Garlic Sauce
This Gnocchi With Lemon Chili Garlic Sauce is tasty and tasty to make. Light and fluffy gnocchi are coated in a tangy and garlicky lemon chili sauce that’s light enough to enjoy in warmer weather. Chopped kale is added to the sauce, bringing some greens to the table, and adding color to your bowl.
7. Italian Yellow Flat Beans With Olive Oil, Garlic, and Tomatoes
This side of Italian Yellow Flat Beans With Olive Oil, Garlic, and Tomatoes is a must-make. It combines the simplest of flavors, yet they enhance the tender cooked beans in a way that tastes like magic. Serve this as a side to roasted cauliflower or a meaty grain-based loaf.
8. Truffled Mushroom Risotto
Whether you’re looking for an indulgent celebratory meal, or just a cozy, stay-home date night dish, look no further. This Truffled Mushroom Risotto is loaded with heady and aromatic truffles and cooks up silky and divine. And it’s dead simple, which is really something to celebrate.
9. Cioppino: Italian-Style ‘Fish’ Stew
This hearty and rustic Cioppino is actually an Italian-American dish, but we’ll give it a pass because it’s delicious. The original fish stew originated in San Francisco. Tofu stands in for the fish, but the rest remains the same – vegetables and herbs simmered in a flavorful tomato broth.
10. Pesto Pappardelle With Artichoke Chickpea Meatballs
This Pesto Pappardelle With Artichoke Chickpea Meatballs is light, yet deeply flavored. Seared artichoke hearts and chopped fresh tomatoes complete the dish. This recipe is one of those “fooled ya” recipes. It looks expensive and fancy, but it is comprised primarily of pantry staples. It looks time-consuming, but it comes together easily in the food processor. You’ll have gourmet pasta in no time!
11. Crespelle With Spinach, Ricotta, and Marinara
This recipe is for Crespelle With Spinach, Ricotta, and Marinara, the Italian version of a savory crepe. They’re light, delicious, and much faster to make than homemade pasta. They are stuffed with a creamy cashew-based ricotta and spinach, smothered in your favorite marinara sauce and even more cheese! They are delicious, comforting, and surprisingly easy to make.
12. Cauliflower Marsala
Cauliflower has a wonderful neutral flavor that pairs well with nearly anything. These beautiful white florets are really the heart of this Italian-American Cauliflower Marsala, but the wine definitely shines with the help of thyme and mushrooms. This meal looks like one you’d get at a fancy restaurant, but it’s actually super easy to make!
13. Rosemary Garlic Spelt Agnolotti
Agnolotti are a lot like ravioli. They’re tender stuffed pasta shells stuffed with deliciousness, except instead of cheese, agnolotti are stuffed with roasted vegetables or meat. These Rosemary Garlic Spelt Agnolotti are filled with a creamy, herbed white bean filling and served with a mesclun pesto. They’re like a dish from a fancy Italian restaurant, but better, because they’re homemade!
14. Lentil Meatball Marinara Sandwich
This carb-tastic Italian-American LentilMarinara Sandwich starts with veggie meatballs made from lentils, spiced with Italian herbs and spices and then baked so they’re a little crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. You could stop right there and enjoy them with pasta, but the best things in life are served on bread. They’re stuffed into a hoagie with a smear of savory marinara sauce, fresh basil sauce, and vegan cheese. Yum!
15. Hearty Lentil Broccoli Bolognese
This Hearty Lentil Broccoli Bolognese sauce is so tasty, satisfying, and filling, plus you can make a large batch and freeze it for future meals. The broccoli pairs wonderfully with the tomato sauce, but you can leave it out or substitute it with cauliflower or kale, if you wish. Serve over any pasta of choice with a side salad and some toasty bread. Perfection!
16. Cheesy Lentil Lasagna
This meaty, Cheesy Lentil Lasagna has layers of hearty lentil Bolognese, creamy cashew cheese, and pasta. And if you make a few key ingredients ahead of time, like the lentils and the nut cheese, you can assemble this dish in mere minutes. Yum!
17. Cauliflower Alfredo
This Cauliflower Alfredo is comfort food bliss. Rich, creamy, and full of flavor, it’s like a sophisticated mac and cheese. The sauce gets its robust flavor from a combination of cauliflower and potato with fresh onion and garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and various seasonings. Serve this over whatever pasta you like, with fresh greens mixed in.
18. Zucchini Noodle Carbonara
Carbonara is a creamy pasta dish loaded with eggs, cheese, and bacon. How does one make this dish healthy? Simple — make this Zucchini Noodle Carbonara! It’s made with cashew “egg” cream, mushroom bacon, and zucchini noodles! This spiralized veggie dish is creamy, comforting, and way more energizing than the original.
19. Rigatoni With Avocado Alfredo and Vegetables
You can make dairy-free Alfredo more than one way? Yes, you can! This quick Rigatoni With Avocado Alfredo and Vegetables is the perfect weeknight meal. The creamy sauce in this recipe is made from ripe avocado, which makes up the texture, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, cashews, and coconut milk. If you’re making this to serve, don’t worry about the avocado turning the sauce brown — a squeeze of lemon juice keeps it presentation-worthy.
20. Spelt Foccacia With Rosemary Za’atar
There’s something special about making your own bread; the time and attention put into creating something delicious is worthy of celebration but also fitting as a special treat for just a handful of people. This Spelt Focaccia With Rosemary Za’atar makes a great party snack served with a bowl of extra virgin olive oil for dunking or as a main meal with a big side salad. Best fresh out of the oven, but leftovers can be re-heated or toasted within a few days of baking.
We could eat food like this all day, every day and never get bored. What’s your favorite Italian food? Tell us in the comments!
Lead image source: Crespelle With Spinach, Ricotta, and Marinara