What are the Different Types of Italian Vegetarian Food?

Felicia Dye

Italian food is a type of cuisine that is loved around the world. Although a person has decided not to eat meat, this does not mean that she cannot eat Italian food, either in restaurants or at home. Pizza, spaghetti with meatballs, and bruschetta are a few examples of tasty Italian vegetarian dishes.

Vegetarian crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.
Vegetarian crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.

A great Italian vegetarian appetizer is bruschetta. One of the things that makes bruschetta a winning choice is that many people are fond of it. This dish generally only requires bread, olive oil, garlic, and tomato. Salt and basil are commonly used as well. This does not mean a person is restricted to these items though; bruschetta is one of those dishes that leaves a lot of room for experimentation.

Mushrooms are a common ingredient in vegetarian dishes.
Mushrooms are a common ingredient in vegetarian dishes.

When many people think of pizza, one of the first things that they think of is pepperoni. There are, however, a large number of popular vegetarian pizzas. These include the Margherita, which is an Italian vegetarian pizza that usually has basil, mozzarella, and olive oil in addition to the tomato sauce. A vegetarian pizza can be another good option. There is not, however, a standard list of ingredients for such pizzas. Depending upon where it is served, a vegetarian pizza could include items such as mushrooms, olives, and artichokes.

A bowl of bocconcini, small balls of fresh mozzarella from Italy.
A bowl of bocconcini, small balls of fresh mozzarella from Italy.

Spaghetti and meatballs is another favorite that sounds as though it may be off limits, but it can be made to suit the needs of a vegetarian. Those who are interested may be able to purchase vegetarian meatballs pre-made. If a person is preparing the dish at home, many recipes highly recommend using mushroom to replace ground the ground meat.

Fresh basil leaves are a common addition to Italian vegetarian food.
Fresh basil leaves are a common addition to Italian vegetarian food.

The same is true with lasagna. This dish, when made according to traditional recipes, often calls for the inclusion of meat. However, the sauce and a variety of cheeses are the biggest features of lasagna. Meat can be easily excluded and not missed. If a person chooses, however, she may substitute the meat with mushrooms or other foods.

Pasta with pesto sauce, topped with pine nuts, is a vegetarian dish.
Pasta with pesto sauce, topped with pine nuts, is a vegetarian dish.

A good Italian vegetarian food for a cold day is minestrone soup. One of the wonders of this dish is that its name conjures up an image for many people, yet there is not generally any agreed upon recipe for minestrone soup. Even in Italy, the preparation of this dish varies greatly. It usually includes a lot of vegetables, beans, and either pasta or rice.

Italian flatbread pizza with peppers and other vegetables.
Italian flatbread pizza with peppers and other vegetables.
Tomatoes form the base for many vegetarian Italian dishes.
Tomatoes form the base for many vegetarian Italian dishes.
A vegetarian Margherita pizza is made with olive oil, tomatoes, and basil.
A vegetarian Margherita pizza is made with olive oil, tomatoes, and basil.
Some vegetarians may be able to eat egg-based dishes like frittatas because eggs are not animal flesh.
Some vegetarians may be able to eat egg-based dishes like frittatas because eggs are not animal flesh.
A dish of pasta with mushrooms replacing the meat is a great Italian vegetarian meal.
A dish of pasta with mushrooms replacing the meat is a great Italian vegetarian meal.

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Discussion Comments

Heavanet

You can also turn basic vegetables into an Italian vegetarian meal. All you have to do is take your favorite vegetables and add olive oil and Italian herbs and spices. Whether you are cooking them on your stove top or roasting them in the oven, your vegetables will turn out with a tasty, Italian flavor that goes great with a main course or on their own.

Rundocuri

@ocelot60- If you make it the right way, marinara sauce will have a great flavor all by itself with no need for meatballs. The secret is in the sauce base and the spices.

When you aren't using meatballs in your Italian vegetarian marinara recipe, I think that it is important to make it chunky. You can do this by adding chopped tomatoes and other vegetables. You can also add slices of mushrooms for a hearty vegetarian sauce.

You also have to add a good blend of spices to your meatless marinara sauce to give it lots of flavor. Oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme create a nice Italian spice blend that will compliment your sauce. Onions and garlic will also help to give it a great flavor that is just as good as an Italian meat sauce.

Ocelot60

I often cook dinner for a group of friends, and one of them is a vegetarian. I'm planning an Italian dinner next time I cook, so I'm looking for a good marinara sauce Italian vegetarian recipe that has a rich flavor without the need for meatballs.

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