When talking of Italian food, there is never mention of an official distinction between vegetarian recipes and the rest of them including meat. Nevertheless, traditional Italian cuisine lists countless vegetable based recipes, due both to the rich agricultural economy of Italy and to its strategic position at the center of the Mediterranean. For millennia, in fact, the Italian peninsula and its many ports were natural exchange hubs for foods, recipes and culinary traditions from other neighboring countries with a similar very prosperous agriculture; this exchange introduced a bounty of different ingredients and flavors in the country through the past centuries, which today make Italian food always so rich, diverse and satisfying, even when meat is not part of the equation.
Another factor to keep in mind is that, in the old days, only few could afford to serve meat for their everyday meal while the vast majority of the population consumed it in special occasions or once a week at the most. The average daily diet was based on a bountiful variety of vegetables and legumes, always available and affordable at the local markets and in home gardens, as well as cheese, olives, nuts and whole grain bread.
And just because of centuries of wonderful simple dishes, made by simple and creative people, Italian food today is still today ever so popular and delicious.
Here is an brief summary of some of the best meat-less and vegetarian Italian recipes:
Funghi Ripieni - Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
This delicious dish can be prepared with any kind of mushroom with a large cap, such as Portobello or Porcini. However, you may very well use even smaller size mushrooms for this recipe, especially if you are planning to serve the stuffed mushrooms as an antipasto or along with other bite-size types of food, for an informal party. For the recipe, click on the title above.
Pesto Minestrone Soup Recipe
Minestrone, literally big soup, is always good to prepare when we needs some comfort food. This minestrone recipe with fresh pesto is a great single dish and can be served warm or chilled. Pasta or rice (or a slice of whole grain bread) and some grated Parmesan cheese added to a bowl of minestrone, will make a tasty and highly nutritious meal. For the recipe, click on the title above.
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
A classic dish, Eggplant Parmesan in Italy is often prepared in advanced and served the next day, when all the flavors are beautifully blended together, transforming the dish into a tasty piece of heaven. To see the recipe, click on the title above.
Saffron Risotto alla Milanese Recipe
How to make Risotto with Saffron, or Milanese style, one of the most popular and elegant risotto recipes in Italy. To see the recipe, click on the title above.
Pomodori Ripieni – Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Pomodori ripieni, rice stuffed tomatoes, are another classic Italian summer recipe. Stuffed tomatoes are usually served cold, as an antipasto, but also warm as a tasty primo piatto or side dish.
For more Italian vegetarian dishes and recipes, check the related links at the bottom of this page.