Anyone who has ever lived in New York City or visited during September knows about the Feast of San Gennaro, the most famous and longest running annual festival held in Little Italy. This year, the 90th Annual Feast of San Gennaro will take place from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 25th. The feast celebrates the Patron Saint of Naples and has been taking place since 1926, when newly arrived immigrants from Naples settled in lower Manhattan and continued the tradition.
The feast runs for eleven days and is packed with festivities including processions, parades, musical entertainments, and celebrities. Of course, this celebration of Italian-American culture and heritage is filled with tons of delicious foods, including a cannoli-eating contest. Little Italy is home to many restaurants, cafés, and bakeries that serve incredible Italian food. Eating vegan at an Italian restaurant shouldn’t be that hard, since unlike much of modern-day Italian dishes, authentic Italian food is simple, flavorful, and made with lots of vegetables and fresh herbs.
Still, you may prefer to cook your own Italian feast. 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 and The Best Cheesy Italian Recipes – Veganized. Now that you’re hungry, take a look at last year’s recipes and then celebrate the Feast of San Gennaro and everything Italian with these vegan versions of your favorite Italian dishes.
1. Crespelle with Spinach Ricotta and Marinara
A crespelle is the Italian version of a savory crepe. They’re light, delicious, and much faster to make than homemade pasta. These Crespelle with Spinach Ricotta and Marinara are impressive and amazing. 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.
2. Creamy Cashew Tofu Alfredo
This Creamy Cashew Tofu Alfredo must be on your dinner menu. When combined with cashews, garlic, non-dairy milk, and salt, tofu can be turned into a creamy alfredo sauce that’s perfect for pasta. Unlike firmer tofu, silken tofu blends up very well without a grainy texture. That means this sauce is silky and delicious as the dairy version. Win!
3. Cheesy Potato Ravioli With Nettle Pesto
This Cheesy Potato Ravioli With Nettle Pesto is easy to make but looks and sounds like it would be on the menu of a five-star restaurant. 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.
4. Vegan Mozzarella Sticks
These Vegan 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 stare-down of the last one on the plate!
5. Eggplant and Bell Pepper Caponata
This Eggplant and Bell Pepper Caponata is a Sicilian dish that is really delicious and so simple to make. 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! It 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.
6. 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.
7. Veggie Muffuletta
A muffuletta is is a sandwich that has origins among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional muffuletta sandwich stuffs bread 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 Vegan Muffuletta eschews the meats and cheese and is all veggie, baby! It’s still totally delicious and absolutely satisfying.
8. Italian Refried Beanball Sub
Need a quick, no-fuss comfort food? These Italian Refried Beanball Subs couldn’t be any easier. Refried beans are mixed with Italian seasoning and breadcrumbs, then rolled in even more bread crumbs before being fried until crispy and golden. Add them to a soft roll, then top with marinara sauce and plenty of savory sautéed onions and bell peppers.
9. Coconut Caramel Panna Cotta
This Coconut Caramel Panna Cotta is the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The base is a combination of coconut and date caramel which is then topped with a chocolatey nut crumble and drizzled with more caramel. Silky, sweet, and nutty, this dessert will have everyone licking their spoons.
10. Rigatoni With Avocado Alfredo and Vegetables
This quick pasta dish of Rigatoni With Avocado Alfredo and Vegetables is the perfect weeknight meal. Hearty rigatoni pasta is tossed with colorful sautéed vegetables and a dairy-free Alfredo sauce that’s so easy to make. 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.
11. Zucchini Lasagna With Pesto and Portobello Mushrooms
Most lasagnas are rich and heavy, and although delicious, they can leave you feeling sluggish. Not this Zucchini Lasagna With Pesto and Portobello Mushrooms! Longs strips of zucchini take the place of lasagna noodles and savory Portobello mushrooms pack the dish with plenty of vegetables for a hearty, yet feel-good meal.
12. Hemp Pasta With Artichokes and Bread Crumbs
Seasoned with artichokes and crisp rye bread crumbs and capers, this Hemp Pasta With Artichokes and Bread Crumbs is an experience waiting to be had. The dressing is simple; sautéed artichokes, a bit of garlic, parsley, and capers for garnish. The crispy crumbs give a slightly salty aroma and crisp tone that makes the dish a little different from simple tagliatelle with artichokes.
13. Cinnamon Sugar Zeppoles: Italian Doughnuts
Zeppoles are also known as Italian doughnuts. The traditional recipe includes butter and eggs that are mixed into a dough and then deep fried. This particular recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Zeppoles uses vegan ricotta cheese and vegan cream cheese instead of butter. The resulting fried cinnamon sugar zeppole are so airy and fluffy that you lose count of how many you ate.
14. Coconut Arancini With Tomato Curry
Sticky coconut rice balls are rolled in a breadcrumb mixture to form these deliciously crispy Coconut Arancini With Tomato Curry. A combination of bread crumbs, chia seeds, flax seed powder, and nutritional yeast makes the exterior of these savory treats not only delectably cheesy but also good for you! Paired with a tangy tomato curry, this dish is a gift for your taste buds.
15. Raw Tiramisu
This Raw Vegan Tiramisu is ridiculously delicious. The flavor is boldly flavored, perfectly sweet, and the texture is sublimely creamy. With crumbly almond-cold-pressed coffee “lady-fingers” and a rich cashew cream layered in between, it’s a decadent vegan dessert that will impress everyone.
16. Raw King Oyster Mushroom Calamari
Crispy and savory, this Raw King Oyster Mushroom “Calamari” appetizer is a crowd pleaser! In this recipe, fish is replaced with meaty mushrooms, and the breading is given a major nutritional revamping. Instead of just bread crumbs, this calamari is coated in a mixture of flax seeds and spices like garlic, sage, parsley, thyme, and black salt. Pair this dish with a tangy tomato dip and plenty of lemon juice.
17. Mozzarella-Stuffed Quinoa Pizza Bites
Homemade vegan mozzarella rolled in soft and fluffy quinoa. No, this is not a dream. With a savory tomato sauce dipping sauce on the side, these little Mozzarella-Stuffed Quinoa Pizza Bites will cure the fiercest of pizza cravings. Make these as a fun appetizer or make a big batch and gobble them up yourself.
18. Paleo Biscotti
The great thing about biscotti is that you can find a good reason to enjoy it any time of day — for breakfast with a cup of coffee, as a snack, dessert, or a late night snack. These Paleo Biscotti are super crunchy and delicious and completely grain-free and gluten-free! The first variety is a winning combination of chocolate, coconut, and walnut while the second variety is a mind-blowingly good combination of salty, crunchy peanuts, and melty chocolate morsels. It takes just five minutes to prepare the batter and these cookies will disappear even faster.
19. Spicy Mushroom and Walnut Bolognese
Sliced Cremini mushrooms and chopped walnuts alone provide all the texture this hearty and Spicy Mushroom and Walnut Bolognese needs. The sauce is packed full of flavor, thanks to the balanced mix of herbs, spices, and condiments. Apart from being really quick to make, it is also a great freezer-friendly recipe that’s a life-saver when you work late or don’t feel like cooking.
20. Potsticker Tortellini
Making your own pasta dough is fun, but what about when you’re out of time, patience, or just don’t feel like it? Enter these shortcut Potsticker Tortellini made with won ton wrappers – they’re fast, flavorful, and you can fill them with anything you want (although, the filling suggested here is mighty tasty)!
You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy these amazing Italian recipes but once you start cooking and eating them, you might find you feel like maybe there’s a little Italian in you.
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Lead image source: Cheesy Potato Ravioli With Nettle Pesto