Italian food is everywhere these days. From the local neighborhood pizzeria to the five-star restaurant sporting fancy decor, Italian food has become a favorite among many. And it seems like CNN thinks Italy’s got the best food, too!
Italian food is comfort food. There’s something awfully soothing about digging into a big plate of spaghetti or taking a bite out of a thin-crust (or if you prefer, deep dish) pizza with ooey-gooey, “cheese.” It’s definitely familiar and many people have grown up eating these classic Italian foods.
It’s also a cinch to put together. If you got a few basics at home — such as pasta, tomato sauce, and olive oil — you can make a basic recipe in minutes. Perhaps this is why many beginning cooks seek to the simple foods of Italy for inspiration. The few ingredients needed create beautiful, yet simple dishes that are surprisingly delicious. So, grab your ingredients and make simple, but elegant Italian fare today. Here are 10 “cheesy,” vegan Italian recipes to get you started:
The creamy “cheese” in this recipe for Crostini Topped With Creamy Macadamia Cheese Spread is delicious on its own, but even more so when set-off by the tangy-sweet and pulpy chutney. The golden color of the fig and golden grape chutney is accented with turmeric and curry powder, adding a bit of mellowness with cumin and a little sweet aromatic depth with smoked paprika and a bare hint of ground cloves. Because of the carefully balanced flavors, the creaminess of the “cheese,” and the soft texture of the chutney, it’s paired with whole grain melba toast for some crunch factor. As a garnish, fresh-picked pineapple sage sprigs are exactly right, as the slight tropical fruitiness perfectly complements the other flavors, especially the macadamia nuts and the curry powder.
This Creamy Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna is an extraordinarily healthy indulgence. A single serving packs nearly 11 grams of protein, more than eight grams of dietary fiber, and more than 400 percent of your daily requirement for Vitamin A. Although it’s technically a lasagna for two, it could easily feed four people. Or, you could brown bag leftovers to lunch — yum. The only problem is, once you’ve licked off the last of the crumbs you might be left wishing you had made more.
Making dairy-free cheese sauce is easy and there are a lot of ways you can do it. In this Broccoli “Cheese” Pasta Bake, for example, the cheesy sauce is make from cauliflower flavored with nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and other spices. The top is perfectly bubbly and crisp when baked and the broccoli tastes amazing coated in the creamy, dreamy sauce.
This Focaccia With Roma Tomatoes and Onions is a super simple bread recipe using only four simple ingredients – Roma tomatoes, onions, rosemary, and olive oil. The bread is soft and pillowy. The olive oil made all the difference in the world and made the crust really golden and crispy.
The alfredo sauce makes this dairy-free Creamy Rotini Alfredo pasta taste rich, smooth, creamy, and decadent. If you want it to have more of the traditional white color, omit the paprika. This is a hearty, comforting, and much soy-free version of an old favorite that will bring you back to childhood Italian dinners.
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This Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti is just how you always loved it: ooey-gooey, creamy, cheesy pasta topped with a simple sauce that’s bursting with flavor and more melted cheesy goodness on top — along with some crunchy bread crumbs. Nobody will believe you when you say it’s dairy-free.
Lots of people like to use rotini pasta because the spirals hold onto the sauce and really grab it, plus it has a nice texture to it, too. It’s perfect for something like this Broccoli Mushroom Rotini Casserole because not only will it hold the decadent cashew cheesy sauce, it’ll also hold all the little bits of veggie goodness — and the bread crumbs! Mmm!
8. Cashew Alfredo Sauce
This Cashew Alfredo Sauce is a great go-to for all types of pasta dishes. It’s incredibly rich and creamy — you absolutely won’t miss the dairy! It’s wonderful when served over brown rice noodles with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and spinach but it tastes great on pretty much everything, so feel free to get creative!
These dairy-free Mozzarella Sticks are crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey cheesy on the inside. Serve them with a marinara dipping sauce. Just remember to uphold the MOST important appetizer law: make enough so everyone gets the same number of mozzarella sticks and avoid that awkward staredown of the last one on the plate!
This Raw Lasagna is stuffed with a simple cashew cheese with garlic, rosemary, and lemon and then a “pesto” of sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli. It may be different from your traditional lasagna, but it has all the necessary layers: “noodles,” cheese, tomato sauce, and no shortage of herbs!
Find more Italian food goodness on our vegan Italian recipes page!
Lead image source: Focaccia With Roma Tomatoes and Onions