Sure, Italians love their meats — meaty lasagna and ravioli, prosciutto, steak, meatballs, chicken, various seafoods, etc. — it may sometimes feel like a carnivore’s paradise. But vegetarians aren’t at a loss when it comes to eating Italian dishes. In fact, many Italian dishes can go meatless and still be delicious. And there are even more options that are made strictly vegetarian.
Start your meal off the right way with delicious caprese salad — juicy roma tomatoes, freshly sliced mozzarella cheese, basil, cucumbers, kalamata olives, a pinch of salt and a tart balsamic vinaigrette. Your mouth is probably watering just thinking about it, and rightfully so. It’s one of the most favored appetizers at any Italian restaurant. It’s healthy, delicious and completely meatless.
A lot of people love chicken parmigiana and veal parmigiana. Well, make a variant of that by replacing the meat with eggplant for a delectable entree enjoyed by vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It’s prepared by slicing an eggplant and frying it in a pan with some oil, herbs and spices. It’s then layered with tomato sauce and either mozzarella or parmesan cheese and baked in an oven. It’s then served over pasta. This incredible entree is a favorite in Italian-American cuisine and is a more-than-worthy alternative to the meat variations.
These small yet dense potato dumplings can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. The word gnocchi derives from the Italian “nocca”, meaning “knuckle” — referring to the way they look. The dumplings are most commonly made from flour, egg, cheese, potato and breadcrumbs, combined with any number of spices and herbs depending on the chef’s preferences. It can be served with any number of sauces, though we like to top it with tomato basil sauce. Gnocchi is commonly served as an appetizer in Italy, although it also makes a great vegetarian entree!
This pasta dish is exactly what it sounds like — fettuccini noodles topped with creamy alfredo sauce. We previously covered fettuccini noodles in a post about popular pasta types, but they’re essentially long and flat noodles. The rich alfredo sauce is prepared by tossing the noodles with butter and parmesan cheese. As the heat melts the cheese, it mixes with the butter to coat the long, thin noodles. It’s then topped with herbs and spices — and that’s it! It’s one of the simplest, most traditional pasta variations that’s been around for centuries. If you’re vehemently against vegetarianism, you can add slices of grilled chicken to satisfy your carnivorous needs.
These aren’t the only vegetarian dishes in the Italian food repertoire, but they’re some favorites. By now you’re probably starving just thinking of these scrumptious meals — luckily, La Buona Vita makes and serves all of these dishes fresh, so come on down and bring the family. We’re itching to fulfill all your vegetarian needs and beyond!