5 vegetarian Italian recipes you are going to fall in love with
Whether you are doing a meat-free period - such as the newest Veganuary trend - are trying to definitely give up meat or need some vegetarian dinner ideas for your guests, you shouldn't forget that some of the greatest Italian recipes are vegetarian. Indeed most of the Italian traditional recipes are of humble origins and date back to the time when eating meat used to be a prerogative of wealthy people: what the Mediterranean warm climate could guarantee was an abundance of vegetables and fruits that became the base of easy vegetarian recipes that are incredible tasty as well.
Minestrone: a tasty seasonal recipe
Rich, enveloping and always different, Italian minestrone soup is a milestone of our cuisine and one of the undisputed kings of vegetarian Italian recipes. The key of its success lies in the great amount of possibilities and matches: basically, it is a hot vegetable soup that can be changed according to the season, the vegetables you have in hand and - of course - the personal taste. You can enjoy minestrone with vegetables in pieces or blended, hot or cold, plain or enriched with pasta, rice or legumes: its taste will never tire you. To maximize its health benefits and enhance its flavor, enrich it with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and some fresh spices.
Eggplant parmesan: a triumph of tastes
While considering vegetarian Italian recipes we cannot but mention eggplant parmesan, an all year round must. Made with thinly sliced, fried eggplant layered with tomato sauce and cheese and then baked in the oven, this recipe gathers all Mediterranean flavors into a single dish that will make you daydream a sunny summery day. Starting from the original recipe, every family creates its own "Parmigiana" version, adding ingredients and tastes. Sometimes fried eggplants are substituted with grilled ones to create a lighter version or with zucchini to savor a sweeter taste.
Pesto Lasagna: savor Liguria in a bite
Pesto lasagna is an alternative to classic Bolognese lasagna where the Basil pesto replaces the Ragu thus creating a harmonious vegetarian Italian recipe suitable for everyone, including fussy eater kids. Velvety and creamy thanks to béchamel sauce, this recipe can be enriched with pieces of boiled green beans and potatoes, as Ligurian tradition says, and can be enjoyed warm during hottest days.
Vegetable Caponata: a sweet and sour delight
Great classic from Sicilian cuisine, vegetable caponata is an easy vegetarian recipe in which chopped fried eggplants and other ingredients like peppers, onions, and olives meet marinated in some sort of tasty sauce,creating a unique flavor. Very popular into Mediterranean regions, this recipe changes from province to province: extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and sugar create the most common base, the rest is up to local traditions. Also perfect as make-ahead, this Italian vegetarian recipe can be enjoyed as appetizer or to accompany fish dishes.
Vegetarian Pizza: one dough, many possibilities
Last but not least, we cannot forget that the most famous and beloved Italian recipe is vegetarian! We all know that when it comes to Pizza the possible seasoning are endless and may include curated meat, anchovies and other ingredients that are not suitable for a vegetarian diet but it's all a matter of choice. Pizza Margherita - the simplest and most traditional version of Pizza - indeed has no meat or fish but only tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella and basil leaves: this is the base we can enrich with all the fresh or grilled vegetables we like, or with different cheese and sauces like Pesto... just let your creativity run free and you'll have a deliciously comfort Italian vegetarian recipe.