Italian Vegetarian Recipes
Vegetable lasagna, creamy risotto, eggplant parmesan, tender gnocchi, hearty minestrone, and pastas galore -- there are so many Italian and Italian-American specialties for vegetarians to enjoy. Find our favorite meatless dishes here, and check out our collections of Vegetarian Lasagna and Pasta Recipes and Pizza Recipes as well.
The eggplant slices are baked, not fried, in this eggplant Parmesan. This hearty vegetarian main dish can be made a month ahead and frozen so it's ready for your next family meal.
Peppadew Pesto Spaghetti with Feta and Arugula
Their perky name says it all: These pickled peppers add a little pep to just about everything. Use hot or mild Peppadews in this sweet and spicy spaghetti recipe.
The flavors of dried porcini and fresh chanterelle and oyster mushrooms resonate throughout this creamy risotto. Add the finishing touch with a generous handful of grated Parmesan cheese.
Baked Gnocchi with Ricotta and Marinara
These individual servings of potato gnocchi are topped with marinara sauce and ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, and make a satisfying meatless meal or side dish. A quick trip under the broiler gives these casseroles a beautifully caramelized finish.
Fettuccine with Lemon, Mint, and Parmesan
Lemon zest and mint leaves give fettuccine a light, fresh flavor. If you like, substitute the mint for other fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley.
Cubes of country bread, provolone cheese and cannellini beans elevate this refreshing summer salad to main dish status. Prepare it at least two hours in advance to allow the bread to soak up the dressing.
Penne alla Norma
This spicy Sicilian pasta dish combines onion, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta cheese. Penne rigate (rigate means "ridged") is the perfect pasta shape to hold this chunky vegetarian sauce.
Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola Sauce
Pungent Gorgonzola melts beautifully into heavy cream and sauteed mushrooms to make the rich sauce. The secret to making tender, ethereal gnocchi is to use a light touch and handle the dough as little as possible.
Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
Add grilled eggplant to the classic caprese salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for a summer vegetable extravaganza. Enjoy it as a starter, a side, or serve it with crusty Italian bread as a vegetarian main dish.
Rich Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna
Creamy bechamel sauce stands in for the more typical tomato sauce in this elegant casserole. Roasting the mushrooms before adding them to the lasagna gives them a rich, intense flavor.
Rigatoni with Chunky Vegetable Sauce
Zucchini and mushrooms add heartiness to oregano-kissed tomato sauce. Sprinkle the pasta with grated Parmesan or stir in cubes of fresh mozzarella if you like.
3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo
There's no cream in this creamy white sauce -- just generous amounts of butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve this simple, rich pasta dish with a green salad.
Jumbo pasta shells ("conchiglioni" in Italian) are stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, and blanched spinach, then baked in an easy from-scratch tomato sauce. To make quick work of stuffing the shells, spoon the filling into zip-top plastic bag, snip off one corner, and simply squeeze.
This beloved Italian soup is jam-packed with vegetables including tomatoes, carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage, and potatoes. Feel free to make substitutions and additions based on what's in your refrigerator and what's in season.
At the height of summer, buy lots of fresh basil and make pesto to freeze so you can enjoy these easy pizzas anytime. Use purchased, precooked pizza crusts or roll out your own dough.
Baked Ziti with Crunchy Italian Salad and Garlic Bread
A soul-satisfying dinner of three-cheese baked ziti, garlic bread, and green salad with red-wine vinaigrette only takes 40 minutes, start to finish. Feel free to add soy sausage or thawed frozen spinach to the ziti mixture.
Eggplant Caponata Crostini
The classic Sicilian dish combining eggplant, tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, and vinegar gets added depth from unsweetened cocoa powder. Serve the caponata on crostini or enjoy it as a pasta sauce or a sandwich spread.
Classic Cheese Lasagna
Ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses are layered with fresh lasagna noodles in this vegetarian main dish. You can use dry lasagna noodles and purchased marinara sauce as a time-saver if you prefer.
Tomato and Basil Pizza
Grill rounds of homemade pizza dough until lightly charred before adding the toppings. Use the accompanying recipe for tomato sauce or grab your favorite store-bought variety, then scatter fresh mozzarella and basil leaves over the top.
Cannellini Bean Soup
Eggplant and Mozzarella Melt
An oven-baked version of eggplant Parmesan tops crusty Italian bread to make a satisfying vegetarian sandwich. For an extra treat, brush the halved loaf of bread with garlic butter and brown under the broiler before adding the layers of tomato sauce, eggplant, and mozzarella.
Fava Bean, Mint, and Pecorino Romano Bruschetta
Dress buttery fava beans in olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped mint leaves, and pile on grilled bread. Use a vegetable peeler to create thin curls of Pecorino Romano cheese.
Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
This spring risotto showcases fresh asparagus and earthy mushrooms (such as oyster, cremini, or shiitake). Using a small amount of dried porcinis enhances the mushroom flavor.
Broken Noodles with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Cook pappardelle pasta by simmering it in your favorite marinara sauce, and top each serving with fresh basil leaves and a spoonful of ricotta cheese. This easy family dinner is ready in just 15 minutes.
Rose's Baked Artichoke Hearts
Frozen artichoke hearts are a fabulous shortcut for making this elegant casserole to feed a crowd. Breadcrumbs seasoned with parsley, lemon zest, garlic, and Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses make a crunchy, flavorful topping.
Broiled Polenta with Mushroom Ragout
Polenta is easy to slice into squares if you chill it in a loaf pan first. Season sauteed mushrooms with tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary to make the ragout, then top each serving with crumbled goat cheese.
Spaghetti with Radicchio and Ricotta
Spaghetti and creamy ricotta cheese are mixed with shredded radicchio and garlicky, parsley-flecked toasted breadcrumbs. Serve with extra breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan if you like.
Mushroom Pappardelle with Taleggio Cheese
Supremely creamy and slightly pungent Taleggio cheese combines with a splash of white wine to make the sauce for wide ribbons of pasta. Choose an assortment of mushrooms, such as cremini and oyster, or use morels and chanterelles as a special treat when they're in season.
Pressed Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich
Drain some of the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and mix it with Dijon mustard to make a unique sandwich spread. Layer the cheese, tomatoes, and fresh parsley on ciabatta bread and weigh the sandwich down with heavy cans to meld the flavors for at least an hour before serving.
Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella
Make a quick sauce from canned tomatoes and garlic, then mix in diced fresh mozzarella, par-boiled spaghetti, and lots of fresh basil. This baked pasta casserole would also be marvelous with the addition of sauteed mushrooms or zucchini.
Bread and Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
Simmer white wine, fresh basil, and chopped tomatoes with sauteed leeks, red onion, and garlic to make this vibrant summer soup. This rustic Italian recipe makes good use of day-old bread to thicken the soup.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Roasted plum tomatoes and butternut squash embellish this vegetarian lasagna. Sauteed fresh spinach mixed into ricotta adds a creamy, colorful layer.
Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta
Toast cubes of crusty day-old bread before tossing them with fresh tomatoes, red onion, red-wine vinegar, olive oil, and lots of fresh basil. With a spoonful of creamy ricotta cheese on top of each serving, this panzanella salad is substantial enough to enjoy as a vegetarian main course.
Spinach Manicotti in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Lemon zest and Parmesan give a flavor boost to the ricotta-spinach filling of this stuffed pasta. A splash of cream enriches the marinara sauce.
Orecchiette with Caramelized Cauliflower, Shallots, and Herbed Breadcrumbs
Cauliflower and shallots become caramelized and sweet when sauteed in a hot skillet. Mint- and parsley-flecked breadcrumbs provide fresh and crunchy topping for the pasta.
Perciatelli with Garlic, Walnuts, and Tomatoes
Perfume olive oil with garlic by frying whole cloves in it. Toss sliced canned tomatoes, parsley, toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, and cooked pasta in the flavored oil and serve with Pecorino Romano cheese.
Spaghetti with Three-Tomato Sauce
Canned tomatoes, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh cherry tomatoes create layers of flavor in this spaghetti sauce. Minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes pack a lively punch.
Swapping out the usual mozzarella cheese for fontina adds extra flavor to this spinach lasagna. The recipe makes either one large lasagna or two smaller ones, so you can either feed a crowd or freeze one pan for later.
Trofie with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes
Trofie is a thin pasta shape that's rolled into a tight twist. The chewy morsels are coated in homemade pesto and tossed with tender slices of fingerling potato and crisp-tender green beans.
Pumpkin Lune with Butter and Sage
Lune, meaning "moons" in Italian, are round ravioli. Here, pumpkin puree seasoned with sage, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan cheese fills the pasta pillows. Top each serving with grated amaretti cookies.
Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
Hollow out roasted eggplants to create self-contained servings of eggplant parmesan. Balsamella sauce -- the Italian version of bechamel -- makes a creamy topping.
Pizza with Ricotta, Artichokes, and Onions
Break out of your pizza routine with this white pie spread with ricotta cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, and red onion. Using purchased dough, this recipe requires just 15 minutes of prep time.
Squash, Sage, and Ricotta Cannelloni
Lasagna noodles are rolled around a mixture of butternut squash and sauteed shallots. The stuffed pasta is surrounded by a creamy ricotta sauce and baked under a layer of Parmesan cheese.
Summer Green Antipasto
Begin an Italian-themed dinner party with this sophisticated array of bites. Arrange a platter with blanched fava beans, celery hearts, Belgian endive, picholine olives, and sliced ricotta salata, and let guests help themeslves.
Penne with Ricotta and Pine Nuts
In this super-quick pasta dish, fresh spinach cooks with the penne. Toasted pine nuts and a dollop of ricotta cheese make a sophisticated finish.
This shortcut version of eggplant parmesan skips the breading and frying step. Simply roast the sliced eggplant and layer in a baking dish with egg-enriched ricotta, purchased marinara sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
Give leftover mashed potatoes a new lease on life by transforming them into these lemon-scented gnocchi. Brown butter, sage, and grated Parmesan provide an elegant finish.