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40+ Italian Vegetarian Recipes: Plant-based delights

When it comes to Italian cuisine, the rich tradition of Italian vegetarian recipes is a testament to the versatility and flavor of plant-based cooking.

Growing up in Italy, I always took my culinary heritage for granted. But after moving away 10 years ago, I started truly appreciating the richness of Italian cuisine.

Recently, I decided to try a more plant-based approach to eating, partly for health reasons.

And that’s when I joyously rediscovered how versatile and flavorful many traditional recipes can be without meat.

Preparing dishes like pasta with beans brought back childhood flavors and memories.

And I have to admit, vegetarian Italian recipes are even better than the original! 

Italian Recipes for Vegetarians

From pasta dishes to risottos and soups, the vegetarian Italian recipes are endless.

In fact, many of the best-loved Italian recipes are inherently vegetarian-friendly, focusing on fresh, seasonal produce, aromatic herbs, and high-quality dairy products.

I’m excited to share some of my favorite vegetarian Italian recipes.

appetizer & side dish

From classic bruschetta to zucchini alla scapece, these dishes demonstrate the incredible depth of flavor that can be achieved without relying on meat.

#1 Breaded Eggplant

Breaded Eggplant

A personal favorite of mine, this crispy, golden-brown eggplant makes a delightful appetizer or side dish.

Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, breaded eggplant is a classic Italian appetizer. 

#2 eggplant caponata

eggplant caponata

This Sicilian dish is a delicious combination of eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, and vinegar.

It can be served as a side dish or spread on crusty bread. I love its sour, sweet taste.

#3 Italian Sauteed Eggplant

Italian Sauteed Eggplant

Eggplant cooked with garlic, olive oil, and cherry tomato until tender and golden is the perfect appetizer or side dish.

#4 Italian Potato Salad With Green Beans & Red Onions

Italian Potato Salad With Green Beans & Red Onions

Italian potato bean salad is an example of simple ingredients coming together to create a mouth-watering dish.

#5 Zucchini alla Scapece – Zucchini with Mint and Vinegar

zucchini alla scapece in a plate

This simple dish features zucchini slices marinated in vinegar, garlic, and fresh mint. 

#6 Italian Ratatouille Recipe 

Italian Ratatouille Recipe

Ciambotta, a classic Italian vegetable stew, is a hearty and flavorful dish perfect for showcasing fresh summer produce.

Combining ingredients like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes, this comforting recipe brings the vibrant flavors of Southern Italy to your table

#7 Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad 

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

A simple and delicious Italian side dish that’s perfect with many dishes.


This colorful medley of cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and other veggies is pickled in vinegar, creating a deliciously crunchy and tangy side dish.

#9 Italian Bruschetta


Let’s take a culinary trip to Italy with this easy Italian bruschetta recipe!

Tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil come together in a delicious dance on crunchy bread.

#10 Focaccia

Pasta Recipes

When it comes to Italian vegetarian recipes, pasta is undoubtedly the star of the show.

From classic tomato-based sauces to creamy, plant-based renditions, the options are truly endless.

#1 Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes

Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes

It’s one of my go-to pasta recipes.

This simple dish combines spaghetti with juicy, ripe tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil.

A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (the vegetarian version) complete the dish.

#2 Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca 

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

A classic Italian dish with a flavorful sauce made from tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and chili flakes.

This quick and easy recipe is perfect for busy weeknights.

#3 Oil and Garlic Spaghetti

Oil and Garlic Spaghetti

Sometimes simplicity is the best, and this dish proves just that.

#4 Pasta With Broccoli

Pasta With Broccoli

A healthy and delicious pasta dish that combines tender broccoli florets with garlic, olive oil, and vegetarian Parmesan cheese.

#5 Tomato Pastina

tomato pastina in plate

Tomato pastina is the ultimate comfort food, and it has been a constant in my life since I was a little kid.

With just a few basic ingredients and minimal effort, it can transport me back to those warm, nostalgic moments from my childhood.

#6 Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Easy crispy gnocchi with baby broccoli in a brown butter sage sauce, great for a weeknight or date night in and done in under 30 minutes.



#8 Tortellini Salad

Tortellini Salad

#9 Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Pillowy-soft potato gnocchi baked to perfection in a rich, creamy tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese is what vegetarian dreams are made of. 

#10 Mushroom Pasta with Ricotta

Mushroom Pasta with Ricotta

#11 Spicy Spaghetti Arrabbiata Pasta

Spicy Spaghetti Arrabbiata Pasta

This spicy spaghetti arrabbiata is the perfect choice for a main course with a kick. 



Translating to “murderous spaghetti,” this unapologetically spicy pasta dish proves that you don’t need meat to create a memorable Italian main course

Risotto Recipes

Risotto is another example of how Italian cuisine can quickly adapt to a vegetarian lifestyle. While many traditional risotto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, I’ve found that a vegetarian Parmesan substitute works beautifully.

#1 Risotto with Peas

A classic spring Italian dish. 

#2 Mushroom Risotto

Earthy, savory mushrooms take center stage in this vegetarian risotto.

#3 Tomato Risotto 

creamy tomato risotto

Look no further than this tomato-based version for a vibrant, flavor-packed risotto.

#4 Broccoli Risotto

creamy risotto in a fork bite

This vegetarian twist on risotto combines the goodness of broccoli with creamy Arborio rice. 

#5 Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

The pumpkin’s natural sweetness pairs beautifully with the savory Parmesan, creating a vegetarian main course that will impress.

#6 Risotto With Borlotti Beans

Risotto With Borlotti Beans

Hearty, protein-packed borlotti beans take center stage in this satisfying risotto.

The rice’s creaminess and the beans’ richness make for a genuinely filling vegetarian main course.

#7 Asparagus Risotto 

Asparagus Risotto

Risotto, a symbol of Italian cuisine, is deliciously creamy and can be prepared with a high variety of ingredients.

This particular recipe is made with fresh asparagus and prosecco, another symbol of Italian cuisine.

Main course



A great veggie appetizer, these Stuffed Mushrooms with caprese filling are full of fresh basil, roasty tomatoes, and cheese!

#2 Pappa Al Pomodoro

Pappa Al Pomodoro

This rustic Tuscan bread and tomato soup is a comforting vegetarian Italian dish.

#3 Mushrooms And Polenta

Mushrooms And Polenta

This hearty, vegetarian-friendly dish showcases the versatility of Italian cuisine.

Tender, sautéed mushrooms are paired with creamy, comforting polenta for a main course that’s both nourishing and so tasty.

#4 Panzanella Salad 

A fantastic salad made with stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and basil.

The bread soaks up the flavors of the tomatoes and dressing, creating a delicious and light main dish.

#5 Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes are a delicious side dish or light vegetarian meal.

Plump, juicy tomatoes stuffed with rice, breadcrumbs, Italian herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

#6 Cheesy roasted eggplant tomato

Cheesy roasted eggplant tomato

It’s easy and hassle-free to make cheesy Eggplant and Tomato Baked Stacks.

These vegetarian treats are basically like mini-pizzas, with eggplant as the base, tomatoes, and lots and lots of cheese.

#7 Eggplant Rollatini Recipe (No Sauce)

Eggplant Rollatini Recipe

Tender eggplant slices are filled with a creamy, cheese-based filling in this delightful vegetarian main course.

The eggplant and filling shine without the traditional tomato sauce, making for an elegant and incredibly delicious dish.

Soups recipes

Many of the most beloved Italian soup recipes can be easily adapted to suit a vegetarian diet.

One of my favorites is the Italian Lentil Soup, a hearty and nourishing blend of lentils, vegetables, and aromatic herbs. 

#1 Italian Lentil Soup

Italian Lentil Soup

Hearty and nutritious, Italian lentil soup is comforting for colder days. Lentils are simmered with vegetables, herbs, and spices to create a flavorful soup.

#2 Italian Pasta Fagioli

pasta e fagioli classic italian soup

Pasta e Fagioli, which translates to “pasta and beans,” is a classic Italian dish that is filling and flavorful.

This hearty soup combines pasta, beans, tomatoes, and aromatic herbs for a comforting meal that will warm your soul.

#3 White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup

This Italian white bean soup is one of the simplest recipes, both in preparation and ingredients.

Despite, or perhaps because of its simplicity, this “Zuppa di fagioli” or “Fasoli cu l’accia” is incredibly delicious and very healthy!



This vibrant, veggie-packed soup is the perfect way to celebrate the beauty of the spring season. 

#5 Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Kale Soup)

Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Kale Soup)

Brimming with nutrient-dense kale, potatoes, and a creamy broth, this Tuscan-inspired soup is the comfort in a bowl.

It’s the perfect vegetarian option for a chilly day.



Italian Zucchini soup is a delicious and simple way to use up zucchini.

This easy zucchini soup has all the flavors of Italy with garlic, onion and tomatoes!



It’s the perfect vegetarian option for a cozy, comforting meal.



Delicate egg ribbons float in a flavorful broth, creating a nourishing and deeply satisfying dish.

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