9 Delicious and Easy Vegetarian Italian Meals to Add to Your Rotation

Known for hearty dishes made for dinner parties and satisfying midweek meals, Italian food is all about pure enjoyment and indulgence.

There's also a lot more to Italian cooking than cold meats - the cuisine shines a light on fresh vegetables, fruits, pulses, beans and cheese, which can all be turned into the most fulfilling vegetarian dishes. So, from freshly rolled gnocchi to silky fettuccine and homemade bread, we've rounded up the best vegetarian Italian dishes as a reason to dish up and dig in.

Fresh, bright and packed with an abundance of vegetables, these recipes prove how to turn a few pantry staples into ones that'll be on high rotation - even for the meat-lovers out there. 

For more delicious recipes, check out our recipe series Put on a Spread.

1. Fettuccine With Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Eggplant and Burrata 

This creamy fettuccine is packed with flavour from roasted eggplant, bright cherry tomatoes, a touch of chilli and fresh basil.

Head here for the full recipe.

2. Pumpkin Gnocchi with Butter and Sage

This recipe proves you only need a few ingredients to make incredible Italian dishes that'll impress any guest. 

Despite any concerns you might have, making and rolling the gnocchi dough is incredibly simple (not to mention enjoyable) - and once you have that part done and dusted, the finished dish will be on the table in no time.

Topped with crunchy pine nuts and sage leaves, you'll definitely be making this on repeat.

Head here for the full recipe.

 

3. Baked Rigatoni With Broccoli and Zucchini Pesto and Pangrattato

An Italian kitchen classic, this easy-to-make but ridiculously good, baked rigatoni, is not only the solution to your weeknight dinner juggle, but will soothe your soul in the way that only carbs can.

Also, did we mention this masterpiece only requires one pan? Serve it straight to the table and you’ll be thanking your future-self when it comes time to do the washing up.

Head here for the full recipe.

 

4. Cauliflower Orecchiette With Garlicky Breadcrumbs and Crispy Sage

Expand your cauliflower horizons beyond the basic rice substitute, with this incredible cauliflower pasta. It's creamy, it's crunchy, it's punchy (thanks to a little kick of chilli), and it's packed with flavour. 

While it's one of the most simple dishes you could whip up for your dinner guests, it looks and tastes very impressive, especially when alongside a fresh radicchio or rocket salad. 

Head here for the full recipe.

 

5. Broccolini, Roasted Almond and Lemon Spaghetti

Packed with fibre from an abundance of vegetables, freshness from herbs, crunch from roasted almonds, zest from lemon and creaminess from cheese, every mouthful is an explosion of different textures and flavours that all work in harmony. 

Head here for the full recipe.

 

6. Focaccia With Leeks, Ricotta and Honey

While the end result of this recipe may look seriously impressive, we promise it’s actually super simple (something even the most novice of cooks - or nervous of entertainers - will be able to execute with ease).

Bonus: if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, the day-old focaccia will double as some of the best toast you’ve had in your life.

Head here for the full recipe.

 

7. Mushroom and Thyme Pappardelle

Silky, wide ribbons of pasta meet buttery, meaty mushrooms in this heavenly dish. Fragranced with thyme, it's a rich and decadent option that will please meat-lovers and vegetarians alike.

For an even tastier meal, opt for fresh egg pasta from your local Italian grocer. If you can't find pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine will work just fine. Serve alongside quality butter and sourdough, and you've got yourself the ultimate comfort meal.

Head here for the full recipe.

 

8. Grilled Broccolini, Lemon and Lentil Salad With Crunchy Breadcrumbs

This salad is worthy of being a main event in it's own right. It really has it all – creaminess, crunch, freshness and a good zing from the lemon. With a generous dose of buffalo mozzarella to top it all off, it isn't your average garden salad. 

The best thing about this recipe is that it can be varied, depending on what you have on hand. You can use different herbs like coriander or basil, ricotta or burrata instead of mozzarella and chickpeas instead of lentils. If you’re short on time, canned legumes are a more than fine substitute as well.

Head here for the full recipe.

 

9. Twice-Baked Almond Biscotti

It's had to say not to this Italian staple recipe. Foolproof and twice-baked to crunchy perfection, it's the perfect pairing with tea or coffee and even makes an excellent gift. 

Head here for the full recipe.

 

For more delicious recipes, check out our recipe series Put on a Spread.

Now you've got the food sorted, need help with setting the table? Here's what the perfect tablescape looks like to you, according to your star sign.

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