Best Vegetarian Italian Dishes
By: Liz Flynn
Many of the most delicious traditional Italian dishes revolve around meat or fish. The coastal regions focus on using freshly caught fish and seafood in their dishes while the inland areas predominantly use meat. The Italians are also famous for using every last scrap of meat in their food, including the offal which is often discarded in many cultures.
However, Italian food is not just about meat and fish as the Italians also like to make use of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables. This makes Italian cuisine a great choice for vegetarians. When it comes to choosing a dish, there is so much more to offer than penne pasta with a plain tomato sauce. Here are some of the best vegetable-based Italian dishes.
A mushroom risotto is strangely both light and filling at the same time. This makes it ideal to enjoy a small, light lunch in the summer or as a hearty, warming bowl in the winter. The variety of mushrooms used in the risotto will influence the depth of the mushroom flavor within the risotto. Some people serve this topped with Parmesan shavings.
This is a favorite of Italian families that is regularly served as a family tea. It is basically layers of eggplant and Parmesan cheese that are baked in the oven until the two melt together.
3. Margherita Pizza
The simplicity of a Margherita is a favorite with everyone, regardless of whether they are a vegetarian or not. A pizza dough topped with Mozzarella cheese and tomatoes is a delicious combination.
Nothing quite encapsulates the fresh flavors of Italy like a Caprese salad. The three main ingredients are tomatoes, basil and Mozzarella cheese. Some people add a drizzle of freshly made pesto or olive oil.
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad dish with no set recipe, so you Cn include your own choice of salad ingredients. The two ingredients that are always used are bread and tomatoes. Other optional ingredients include cucumber, salad leaves, olives, herbs and olive oil.
Four Cheese Pasta
This is comforting in the same way that mac and cheese is but there is something more decadent about pasta baked with four kinds of cheese. You should use four cheeses with different flavors and consistencies and it is not necessary to stick to just Italian cheese. A great combination is emmantel, cheddar, brie and parmesan.
Italian Vegetable Soup
Each Italian family makes soup in a different way and the recipe may change according to what is available locally at that time of the year. A thinner soup with small diced vegetables is perfect for the summer. For a heartier meal in the winter, opt for chunkier root vegetables and add beans.
Gnocchi with Herb Butter
Potato gnocchi are simple yet filling. This is an easy meal to make, even for a kitchen novice. It can be served with any sauce, but a herb butter is one of the simplest to make and you can add any herbs of your choice.