When it comes to comfort food, nothing gets us quite like Italian food does. Pizza, focaccia, meaty lasagnas, savory sauces, and plenty of cheese … All of which can easily be made vegan. It’s no wonder why Italian cuisine has its own holiday! Yup, February 13th is National Italian Food Day. On a special day like today, you could celebrate by going out to eat, but why not make your own? Nothing can compare to homemade, after all! Authentic Italian cuisine is packed with lots of colorful vegetables and fresh, flavorful herbs.
To see what we did last year, check out 15 New Takes on Classic Italian Recipes. Then, grab yourself a big plate of vegan Italian food and mangia because we have 15 new meat-free, dairy-free Italian recipes for you!
This Buckwheat Lasagna With Pumpkin Cream and Herbed Bread Crumbs is easy to make, but it looks and tastes like a dish you could order at an Italian restaurant. The buckwheat noodles provide a rustic feel that pairs perfectly with the pumpkin cream, leeks, sautéed mushrooms, and a topping of herbed bread crumbs. There’s no final baking method for this lasagna — you just layer everything and then you’re good to go!
Arancini are Italian bread crumb-crusted risotto, often stuffed and deep-fried for that beautiful crispy texture. These Creamy Portobello Mushroom Arancini are a must try! The creamy texture of risotto combines with crispy exterior for a perfectly pleasing crunch to bite into. You could just leave them as plain and delicious, but these are stuffed with a creamy, herby mushroom filling for a meaty texture and decadent flavor. Serve with vegan mayonnaise or a tomato based sauce.
If you want to impress and surprise your friends and family, go out and find some fresh King Oyster mushrooms and make these Oyster Mushroom Scallops With Pesto Pasta and Smoked Tofu Bacon for them soon! They won’t believe their eyes or their taste buds when you tell them that the “scallops” are actually mushrooms. King Oyster mushroom slices are marinated in nori seaweed flakes or dulse flakes (another sea vegetable), along with some vegetable stock, and a splash of lemon and cooking wine. The mushroom slices absorb these different flavors and the moisture, resulting in a fantastically tasty vegan scallop with a consistency to die for! Then, serve them up with the cheesy pesto pasta, smoky tofu bacon, and a sprinkling of vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast.
If there were two words to best describe this Champignon Mushroom Risotto, they would be “creamy” and “decadent.” Combined with garlic, onion, and chopped mushrooms, the rice is simmered in white wine before the broth is added, infusing it with subtle notes of whatever variety you use and only adding to its complex layers of flavor. Finally, it’s topped with whole sautéed mushrooms and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Farinata is an Italian specialty – a thin, unleavened pancake or crepe made of chickpea flour. In this Roasted Potato and Onion Farinata, the pancake is made with roasted potatoes and sautéed onions for a warm and comforting dish that’s perfect for chilly nights. Sprinkle some sage on top for some added fragrance and herby flavor.
This Seitan Parmigiana will make you forget all about the Italian-American original. Tender, meaty seitan is coated in an herby cornmeal breading then fried to crispy perfection. It’s served with a delicious vegetable marinara with broccoli and carrots and topped with melty vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. This dish brings a unique melange of texture and flavor to the table.
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This amazing Crispy King Trumpet Mushroom Calamari is coated in batter and deep-fried until crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It’s perfect as an appetizer, snack, beer pairing, or party food. Serve it with lemon juice and marinara if you want to enjoy it American-style or with lemon, vinegar, and parsley for the Mediterranean version.
Caponata, a vegetable dish consisting of eggplant and bell peppers, is really easy to make considering that you have just to chop everything up, add it to the pot in steps, and let it cook. You get this creamy richness from the eggplant, slight sweetness from the peppers, salt from the capers, and a ton of freshness from all the herbs! This Eggplant and Bell Pepper Caponata is a really delicious and simple dish that anyone can make … Yes, anyone! This Sicilian dish is completely customizable, so feel free to experiment with your own additions — some people add sweet vinegar, olives, or beans and sometimes sugar, to offset the tanginess of the vinegar and capers. However you want to eat it, it will be delicious.
In this recipe for Cheesy Potato Ravioli With Nettle Pesto, soft, chewy homemade ravioli dough is stuffed with herby, cheesy potato filling and then served with a nettle pesto. The nettle pesto is versatile — it can be made with different herbs or into a thicker pesto, or you can add cashews, almonds, or any kind of seed. Serve with a few turns of black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and bread on the side.
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.
A muffuletta is is a sandwich that has origins among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana. In fact, a “muffuletta” is a type of round country bread that hails from Sicily. The traditional muffuletta sandwich takes this bread, stuffs it full different meats, cheeses, and veggies, and is flattened to make a sort of giant panini that can be sliced up like a pie. This Veggie Muffuletta eschews the meats and cheese and is all veggie, baby! It’s still totally delicious and absolutely satisfying.
This simple (but very delicious) Creamy 3-Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna involves nothing more complex than a pan, a dish, an oven, and a blender. Spinach is sautéed, combined with mushrooms and cream cheese, and then laid down on a dish for the base. From there, the lasagna alternates between tender layers of pasta and velvety cheese sauce, and eventually is topped with sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of grated “cheese.”
These Celeriac Meatballs taste great when served hot with a savory rosemary tomato sauce over pasta, but they’re also delicious eaten cold with a green salad or on a sandwich. They freeze very well, so make many of them! Whenever you need a quick dinner, just grab your celeriac meatballs from the freezer, heat them in the oven for 10 minutes, and serve!
When it comes to pasta, Homemade Orecchiette is just about one of the easiest shapes you could make. All the manual labor comes with working the dough and then all you need is your thumb to shape the pasta pieces. They won’t look perfectly uniform like store-bought pasta, but that is part of the rustic charm of making your own. This orecchiette is tossed in a celery pesto with leeks or you can toss it with tomato sauce and seasonal vegetables, too.
This Cauliflower Carbonara Sauce is exquisitely creamy and indulgent. Cashews and cauliflower are the base of this sauce, making it cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat as opposed to the original version of the Italian classic. Serve with your favorite pasta or spiralized noodles!
For more meat-free, dairy-free Italian recipes, check out our vegan Italian recipes page!
Lead image source: Oyster Mushroom Scallops With Pesto Pasta and Smoked Tofu Bacon