Who doesn’t love Italian food? When we traveled to Italy, I swear that we ate nothing but pizza and pasta for three weeks straight. Delicious, delicious carbs. Thankfully, it’s easy to bring a taste of Italy right to your kitchen at home. I’ve rounded up 50 of the best vegan Italian recipes that take me right back to Italy. These food memories are right up there with floating down the canals of Venice, wandering through the museums of Florence, and discovering the history of Rome.
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Vegan Italian Recipes: Appetizers and Sides
What’s a meal without a side dish or two? Here are some ways that you can add even more veggies and beans to your meal. Enjoy these as an appetizer before your main course or as a yummy side.
Fava Bean Puree (Purè di fave e Cicorie)
Here’s a wonderful recipe for Purè di fave e Cicorie, or Fava Bean Puree, an antipasti meal originating from Puglia, Italy. You can enjoy vegan Italian food right in your home by using traditional methods, like using dried fava beans and fresh Italian chicory. If you aren’t able to find certain ingredients, A Taste for Travel goes into some detail regarding suitable alternates.
Italian White Beans with Garlic and Sage
When it’s possible to keep it simply, why not? This quick and satisfying dish, Simple Italian White Beans with Garlic and Sage by Mama Likes To Cook allows the beans to shine, sprucing them up with olive oil, garlic, sage, and other spices.
Italian Garlic Mushrooms
Here’s a really easy to prepare Italian Garlic Mushroom dish by Veg Recipes of India. The mushrooms are prepared with Italian spices, olive oil, garlic, and you’re welcome to add the optional ingredients of onions or vegan cheese. It’s perfect as a side dish, and you can eat it with garlic bread.
This vegan suppli appetizer by The Fiery Vegetarian is inspired by a starter at an Italian restaurant in Dublin. They’re prepared using leftover risotto (or feel free to prepare it fresh!), vegan mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs. You’ll need quite a bit of oil to fry them in, so they’re not the healthiest appetizers in the world. But, who said vegan food had to be healthy? Try them as a starter to any Italian meal.
Italian Green Beans
Vegan, gluten-free, and part of the Mediterranean Diet? This vegan Italian green beans dish by Veggies Save the Day makes a wonderful addition to any meal. Garlicky tomatoes, pine nuts, a squeeze of fresh lemon…what’s not to like? As you’re only required to blanch the green beans, this meal will be ready to eat in a flash.
Vegan Italian Soups
What would this list of vegan Italian recipes be without a few varieties of soup? Here are some plant based Italian recipes that will warm you up on a chilly day. Enjoy them as a starter or make a huge pot to savor all on its own.
There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of minestrone soup. This vegan minestrone soup by Happy Kitchen is a one pot favorite that can be made in 30 minutes. It’s also possible to prepare this one in a slow cooker. Use seasonal veggies, a bean of your choice, and a grain of your choice (usually pasta, but can be any that you enjoy). Minestrone soup is one of the most traditional vegan Italian recipes, and there’s a reason why it frequents most Italian restaurant menus.
Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli is a naturally vegan recipe, made using a tomato broth, beans, pasta, and veggies. It’s hearty, wholesome, and wonderful as a starter or main. This Healthy Kitchen delivers tasty vegetarian Italian food as a simple, one pot dish that’s quick to make.
Pasta e Ceci
Pasta e Ceci by The Clever Meal is an easy, one pot meal that you’ll love. If you’re looking for vegan Italian dishes that are tasty, quick to make, protein rich, and super satisfying, this one is for you. Hearty pasta, chickpeas, and rosemary make a delightful meal.
Italian White Bean Soup
This sumptuous recipe for Italian White Bean Soup by The Clever Meal combines white beans with potato (for added creaminess), garlic, and spices for one of the most filling and healthiest vegan Italian recipes on this list.
Vegan Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups of all time. It’s healthy, comforting, packed full of protein, and full of veggies. This vegan lentil soup by The Cheeky Chickpea will rock your socks. It’s an easy, one pot meal that also happens to be gluten-free.
Vegan Italian Recipes: Salad
While it’s really easy to pair a simple green salad with your favorite veggies and Italian salad dressing with any meal, here’s one salad recipe that stood out from the rest.
Gathering Dreams has prepared panzanella, a Tuscan style salad that incorporates veggies and chickpeas with leftover bread. It’s a great way to use up stale bread while preparing a yummy starter dish for your Italian feast. There are also directions regarding how to prepare this one in a Mason jar.
Vegan Italian Bread Recipes
Bread is such an important component of Italian cuisine, and there’s no reason why the vegans in the crowd should be left out. While some traditional focaccia recipes from Italy contain lard, there’s absolutely no need to include it. The same goes for egg and cheese. You can easily eat your favorite Italian food without cheese, egg, or animal products. Here are a few more fantastic vegan Italian recipes.
Vegan Breadsticks with Garlic & Marinara
Ever wanted to try a vegan version of the breadsticks from the Olive Garden? Well, here’s how to make your own Savory Vegan Breadsticks by Wow, It’s Veggie?! It comes together really quickly using store bought pizza dough (though you’re welcome to make your own from scratch). Pair them with marinara sauce and these will please everyone at the dinner table.
Easy Bruschetta Bread
Bruschetta bread is a classic Italian favorite, and it’s naturally vegan if you don’t butter the bread or add cheese. Let the fresh flavors of tomatoes, basil, and balsamic stand alone. This vegan bruschetta recipe by Cook It Real Good doesn’t only provide an example of yummy vegan Italian food. There are also helpful tips about keeping your bread from becoming soggy and how to properly season your dish (heck yes to the notion of balsamic glaze!).
Herbed Focaccia Bread
I never got to sample focaccia bread in Italy because I was always concerned that there would be secret animal products hidden inside it. But, you can create your own vegan herbed focaccia bread from home, thanks to The Fiery Vegetarian. It’s paired with a homemade bruschetta dip.
Traditional Vegan Breadsticks
Craving a crunchy breadstick? You’ll want to make sure you have these staples on hand for all of your vegan Italian food feasts. These are traditional Italian breadsticks (Italian Grissini) by Yuzu Bakes. Add a little bit of thyme, garlic, and olive oil for an instant success.
Vegan Meatball Italian Sub
I put this recipe under the “bread” heading, but it’s a full meal. If you’ve ever eaten an Italian meatball submarine sandwich, you’ll love this vegan substitution. These vegan meatballs are smothered in marinara sauce and placed into a sub with your favorite fresh veggies. Eat Plant Based has the perfect Vegan Italian Meatball Sub to satisfy all of your cravings.
Italian Vegetable Main Courses
Don’t forget the veggies! These vegan Italian recipes happily let the vegetables stand on their own for the most part. In every case, the vegetable is the main focus of the dish and not the side. It’s an easy way to sneak more veggies into your life.
Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
Polenta is a classic Italian dish, and it’s easy to make this comforting and rich Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragu by Vegan Huggs. You can prepare this one with polenta or ground cornmeal, depending on which one you can find at your local grocery store. Add vegan parmesan for an added yumminess!
Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
It’s lasagna without the noodles! Instead, you’ll have all of the flavors of lasagna stuffed inside portobello mushrooms. Cheesy spinach ricotta, rich Bolognese sauce, and yes…it’s vegan! It’s also gluten-free, oil-free, and soy-free for those with allergies or restrictions. If you’re tired of the same old lasagna, try out these Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms by This Healthy Kitchen.
Zucchini Stew with Potatoes
For a comforting and rustic approach to dinner, this Zucchini Stew with Potatoes dish by Veggies Save the Day brings a taste of Italy to your home. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and contains loads of veggies. You can whip this one up in a flash with only a few ingredients. Feel free to pair it with some crusty bread if you’d like.
Ah, pasta. Who doesn’t love pasta? Even the gluten-free folks in the group can substitute their favorite gluten-free pasta, like rice pasta or corn pasta. While there are so many naturally vegan Italian recipes for pasta, there are also some glorious ones that substitute plant based products for those coming from an animal. Regardless, these plant based Italian recipes are tested and true so you can enjoy this ultimate comfort food.
Vegan Bolognese Pasta
As I was raised as a vegetarian, I have never tried a meaty version of Bolognese pasta sauce. I’m more than happy to get on board with this vegan Bolognese pasta by Happy Kitchen as the recipe substitutes tempeh in the place of the meat. You can whip up this meal in under 30 minutes. Plus, why limit yourself to pasta with the sauce? You can put this vegan Bolognese sauce on top of rice, pizza, beans, or even inside a bun for a vegan Sloppy Joe.
Vegan Carbonara Pasta
Did you know that it’s possible to veganize spaghetti carbonara, a dish that normally contains loads of meat and dairy? Vegan Hugg’s Vegan Carbonara uses smoky tofu in place of the bacon, black salt for an eggy flavor, and various flavors to create a plant-based creamy sauce. Even though there are quite a few ingredients, it’s possible to make this one in 40 minutes or less.
Easy Vegan Lasagna
Just because you’re eating plant based Italian recipes, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on this classic favorite…lasagna! Delicious Everyday shows us exactly how to make Vegan Lasagna that won’t have you missing the meat or dairy.
My Homemade Vegan Lasagna
Waaaaay back in my very early days of blogging, I shared some of my favorite recipes inspired by the cuisine from countries around the world. This vegan lasagna recipe was the first one I actually shared because it’s just so delicious. It reminds me of the one that my mom used to make us as kids, except it’s veganized with tofu ricotta in place of dairy ricotta.
Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
This pasta with vodka sauce recipe by Fried Dandelions has an extra little kick! As an added kick, the cream sauce component of the recipe is made using hemp seeds instead of the typical cashew nuts. This dish is perfect for anyone who has nut allergies or wants to try something a little more complex than regular tomato sauce.
Vegan Pasta with Ricotta
This dish might seem like a relatively typical tomato sauce pasta, but the vegan ricotta cheese truly elevates the meal. Check out this easy vegan pasta with ricotta by Watch Learn Eat. There are a few different options to make the ricotta, depending on your personal preference (almond based, cashew based, or sunflower seed based).
Vegan Baked Ziti
Yum, baked ziti! This was one of my favorite meals before going vegan. Anything cheesy with pasta is simply the best. This vegan baked ziti recipe by Watch Learn Eat will win over everyone in your family, even the carnivores in the crowd.
Chickpea Florentine Pasta
Looking for another quick and easy to make meal where you’ll only use one pot? This Chickpea Florentine dish by ZardyPlants will save you lots of time, and you’re still cooking a healthy meal from scratch. There’s some sneaky veggies in the dish, along with tangy flavors in a creamy sauce.
Penne with Chickpeas & Roasted Tomatoes
This Italian pasta recipe is perfect for summer days, paired with a glass of wine out on the patio. It’s penne with cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic by Kopiaste, and it’s one of several Italian vegan dishes in this article that have their own unique spin. This one incorporates a little bit of mint or pesto for some added pep.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Speaking of pesto, here’s a delicious and nutritious vegan broccoli pesto pasta by The Petite Cook. Both broccoli and basil are used for the pesto sauce, and you’ll also see some other familiar pesto ingredients (hello, pine nuts!). It’s a great way to sneak some more broccoli into your diet without sacrificing the taste (although I love the taste of broccoli, don’t you?).
Zucchini Pasta with Beet Marinara
Here’s an innovative take on marinara sauce: beet marinara sauce by The Roasted Root. It’s not an authentic Italian recipe, but it’s an intriguing take on one. The beets will add a nice sweetness to the sauce, and they’ll help to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Feel free to pour this sauce on zucchini noodles or any noodles of your choice.
Avocado Pesto Zoodles
This avocado pesto zoodles recipe by The Roasted Root mixes a creamy avocado pesto with zucchini noodles, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. It’s a winning combination. It’s a super healthy and relatively inexpensive meal. Feel free to add some chickpeas for an added boost of protein, and you can always top it off with some vegan cheese.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Kiipfit has delivered on a classic, Italian, naturally vegan favorite of mine – Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (olive oil and garlic pasta). It’s one of the simplest vegan Italian recipes you can make, and it tastes absolutely delicious. Add as many chili flakes as you like for some added heat.
Vegan Italian Sauces
What’s a delicious pasta without the sauce? The sauce is what gives the dish all of the flavor. While there are many yummy pasta sauces used in the vegan Italian recipes listed above, here are some stand alone pasta sauces. Pair them with your favorite shape of pasta, mix in your favorite vegetables, add some delectable toppings…the possibilities are endless.
Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce
A homemade pasta sauce will take that dish from excellent to exceptional in no time flat. This Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce recipe by Inside the Rustic Kitchen, an Italian food blog, shows you how to whip up a tomato sauce from scratch in only 10 minutes.
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
One sauce that I really missed when going vegan years and years ago was alfredo sauce. But, I soon learned that I don’t have to deprive myself of this rich, creamy meal as there are suitable vegan versions out there that are yummy, healthy, and don’t harm animals in any way. My Pure Plants has an amazing Cashew Alfredo recipe that uses only 5 ingredients! It’s vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free, too.
Avocado Pasta Sauce
Five ingredients…and five minutes? Count me in! This avocado pasta sauce by Joy Food Sunshine is an example of Italian food without cheese, though you’d hardly know it. This avocado sauce recipe is creamy and delightful, and you can pour it over pasta, rice, or veggies.
The Fiery Vegetarian claims to have the best Arrabbiata sauce. You’ll have to give it a try to see what you think! The author has worked on this pasta sauce for many years, attempting to capture the flavors of a version from her favorite Italian restaurant. Pour it all over your favorite pasta shape.
Mmm…gnocchi! I can’t resist a good potato dish, and gnocchi always delivers deliciousness. It’s vegetarian Italian food when prepared with eggs and cheese, but it’s easy to make vegan. Some store bought gnocchi is also accidentally vegan, too! Here are a few unique vegan gnocchi meals that I’m sure will find their way into your regular rotation of dinners.
Gnocchi with Tomato Confit
Let’s start with a traditional Italian gnocchi recipe with a yummy roasted tomato sauce on top. This vegan gnocchi with tomato confit by The Fiery Vegetarian doesn’t mess too much with what a yummy potato gnocchi should taste like. It’s an Italian favorite for a good reason. The roasted cherry tomato sauce has many ingredients similar to a pesto sauce with tomatoes and wine in place of the copious amounts of basil leaves.
Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi
This is not your average gnocchi! It uses pumpkin in place of the potatoes for a low calorie and low carb option by comparison to the original. This Healthy Kitchen provides a healthy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe, as well as a couple of different sauce options.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Sure, we’ve all sampled plain ol’ gnocchi before, but have you ever tried sweet potato gnocchi? My Pure Plants saves us from preparing a predictable potato gnocchi and substitutes sweet potatoes. This also happens to be a vegan and gluten-free recipe without any wheat products on the list.
It’s really easy to make vegan pizza! We ate lots of vegan pizza in Italy because you can order a marinara pizza at any restaurant. Top it up with the veggies of your choice and voila! These two vegan pizza recipes stood out from your average vegetarian pizza.
Pizza Caprese with Vegan Cheese
The innovative recipe by This Healthy Kitchen combines pizza with a Caprese salad for Pizza Caprese. A Caprese salad has fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Put those on top of a pizza crust and you’ve got one of the tastiest vegan Italian meals.
I love ordering vegan potato pizza from local pizza places, but I’d never thought about preparing one at home. This vegan potato pizza by The Fiery Vegetarian is super easy to make, especially if you’re buying store bought pizza dough. All you need is dough, thinly sliced potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
It might be difficult to find vegan risotto in Italy, although I managed to find a delicious one at 5 e Cinque vegetarian restaurant in Florence. It’s all about making sure there’s no heavy cream or chicken stock in the risotto. These vegan risotto recipes are full of flavor and won’t have you missing any dairy products.
A mushroom risotto is surely an Italian favorite, and you’ll surely make this dish one of your new favorite vegan Italian recipes. This vegan mushroom risotto recipe by My Pure Plants also provides a bit of a lesson about buying the best kind of rice to make a risotto, and how to make a creamy risotto using plant-based ingredients.
It’s a creamy, vegan risotto with a bright burst of lemon. This lemon risotto meal by Watch Learn Eat transports me to the lemon orchards of Sorrento. Ah, the memories of wandering past lemon trees and browsing the local shops with their shelves lined with limoncello. This recipe uses fresh lemons, white wine, and vegan butter, and vegan Parmesan cheese, among other ingredients.
Risi e Bisi
Risi e Bisi is a one pot dish from Venice, otherwise known as Italian Rice and Peas. It’s not quite a risotto, but it’s the most appropriate place for it within this blog post. Risi e Bisi is more like risotto meets stew, and there’s not much fuss required. Thank you to A Virtual Vegan for posting this simple yet delicious dish.
Vegan Italian Instant Pot Recipes
For those of you that are crazy about your instant pot, here are some fabulous vegan Italian recipes that you can make inside this trusty kitchen gadget.
Penne Pomodoro (Instant Pot)
Here’s one of the most classic vegan Italian recipes ever, a pasta pomodoro done in the Instantpot. Tomatoes, garlic, basil…how can you go wrong? I am sure it will be an instant favorite. This recipe is by Belly Rules the Mind.
Minestrone Soup (Instant Pot)
It’s easy to toss all of the ingredients for minestrone soup into the Instant Pot for a quick and tasty meal. This is a healthy and hearty vegan minestrone soup with lots of veggies and beans, written by Belly Rules the Mind.
One Pot Marinara Pasta (Instant Pot)
This one pot marinara pasta by Nutritiously requires only 10 minutes of prep work before you throw everything into the Instant Pot. You can swap in and out any veggies that you like (or dislike), and it doesn’t matter if you use fresh or frozen vegetables. Top it off with vegan cheese, and you’re done!
Vegan Marinara Sauce (Instant Pot)
It’s always good to have some marinara sauce around the house. This sauce recipe can be used with pasta, pizza, ratatouille, over veggie meatballs, in soups, or even as a dip. Make a batch or two of this vegan marinara sauce by Belly Rules the Mind in the Instant Pot. You won’t want to buy a store made marinara sauce ever again.
Vegan Italian Dessert
Make sure you save room for dessert! Here are a couple of sweet Italian classics gone vegan.
Italian Chestnut Flour Cake
Mama Likes To Cook shows us how to make an Italian Chestnut Cake with roots in Tuscan cuisine. You’ll use chestnut flour in place of wheat flour, making this a great gluten-free option, too. It’s a bit of a cross between cake and bread, and it’s a really healthy dessert option.
Vegan Cannoli Dip
Mmm! I can’t wait to whip up a few batches of this sweet treat. It’s a Vegan Cannoli Dip by Emily Kyle that you can eat all on its own or use as a filling for cannolis. And it uses almonds and cashews as a base, so it’s a healthy vegan option, too.
Learn How to Cook Vegan Italian Recipes
Are you learning how to cook? New to veganism and don’t know where to start? It might be a good idea to start with some cooking classes. These ones can be done right from the comfort of your own home…with Veecoco!
Veecoco offers all vegan cooking classes by trained chefs in various cuisines from all over the world. There’s an online Italian cooking class with Chef Alberto from Tuscany, and you’ll gain access to 30+ high quality cooking video lectures.
My Favorite Vegan Food in Italy
Traveling to Italy? There are a fair number of vegan Italian restaurants, as well as vegetarian and veg-friendly establishments. Here are a few of my favorite places to find vegan Italian meals when you’re in the country:
- The Best Vegan Gelato in Florence
- Vegan Venice Restaurant Guide
- Florence Vegan Restaurant Guide
- Vegan Cooking Class in Ferrara
Looking for More Vegan Recipes?
First, be sure to check out my 60 favorite vegan books across all genres, including cookbooks. Beyond Italian vegan dishes, I’m rounding up plant-based recipes for cuisines all over the world. With so many worldly flavors to discover, you’ll never get bored in the kitchen. You’ll want to take a look at these:
- Vegan Greek Recipes
- Vegan Mexican Recipes
- Thai Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Japanese Recipes
- German Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Indian Recipes
- Vegan British Afternoon Tea Recipes