Italian Vegetarian Recipes

Italy produces such wonderful fruit and vegetables, pulses, beans and cheeses that Italian vegetarian recipes are becoming more and more popular.

The sheer number of Italian vegetarian recipes is almost endless, not to mention healthy, tasty and easy to make. So for a truly traditional selection of Italian vegetarian recipes it’s hard to beat the great range of ideas from Gino D’Acampo.

Gino’s Italian vegetarian recipes include classics like risotto con zucca e salvia – or butternut squash risotto with sage butter – stufato do fagioli con polpettine di pane, an Italian bean stew recipe with bread dumplings and the most delicious courgette frittata with tomato and green olive salsa.

He has also created some stunning Italian vegetarian pasta recipes and healthy vegetarian pizza recipes for one, for two or for the whole family!

You can find a full range of the very best Italian vegetarian dishes in Gino’s best-selling recipe books or you can find a selection of great ideas below. Time to start cooking!

VegetablesGet Inspired

TEGLIA DI PIZZA PICCANTE CON ACCIUGHE, ZUCCHINE, E AGLIOPizza Tray with Anchovies, Courgettes, Garlic & Chilli

Anchovies are found in large numbers in the Mediterranean, particularly in southern Italy, where they are a staple food and are eaten fresh or preserved in olive oil or salt. They’re high in antioxidants, and some research suggests they may be linked to longevity. If you prefer, replace the anchovies with black olives.

2

Serves

12

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Pizza Con Zucchine E Aceto BalsamicoPizza With Courgettes & Balsamic Glaze

I love grilled courgettes, but sometimes it’s just a hassle to prepare them, particularly if I’m hungry and need feeding right now! Here I can get the same flavour and texture by simply tossing them on top of this fantastic pizza. It looks amazing with all the overlapping circles of cheese and courgette – a real showstopper.

4

Serves

10

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Frittelle di zucchine con pecorinoCourgette Fritters With Pecorino

Whenever we are in Olbia, a port town on the northeast coast of Sardinia near my home, we order courgette fritters instead of chips. They make a great side dish or snack, but if you include cheese, as I have done here, they make a more substantial first course. Pecorino sardo, a traditional Sardinian hard cheese made from sheep’s milk – is similar to the better-known pecorino romano (which...

4

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10

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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines Stuffed wth Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

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Risotto con zucchini e zafferanoCourgette & Saffron Risotto

Saffron, sometimes referred to as 'red gold' because of its deep ruby-red colour, flourishes in the fertile hills of Sardinia's Medio Campinado province in southwestern Sardinia. The locals use it liberally in their cooking, but given its high price in Britain I tend to use it sparingly and in dishes where it will be one of the star attractions such as this delicately-flavoured risotto. The courgette...

4

Serves

12

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Rice

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Focaccia ripienaStuffed Focaccia with Black Olives, Spinach and Mozzarella

I love this bread; it’s almost a meal in itself and could almost pass for a pizza with all the flavours I have put inside. You can be as creative as you like here and add in almost anything but the melted cheese with the strong flavour of the olives works perfectly with the spinach. This focaccia can be eaten warm or at room temperature and a slice will always be welcome in a lunchbox or on a picnic.

6

Serves

10

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Tagliatelle con Salsicce e PorciniTagliatelle with Sausages, Rosemary and Porcini Mushrooms

I love good-quality sausages so this recipe is definitely in my top ten. My grandfather used to make this dish for me when I was a boy but he used a tomato passata instead of the cream that I have introduced. I wish he could have tasted my version as I know I would have got a huge cuddle for this one – he would have loved it and I know that you will too. For those of you who don’t like mushrooms,...

4

Serves

9

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Pork

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Bombe Di VerdureItalian-Style Spring Rolls

One of my favourite oriental dishes has to be vegetable spring rolls and I make it so often at home that I had to include it in my book. It’s a fantastic dish to prepare when you have parties, because you can fry them in the afternoon and then reheat them in the oven ready for your guests. Ensure the vegetables are not too wet when putting them into the filo pastry, otherwise your spring rolls will...

4

Serves

11

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Torta di Carciofi e SpinaciArtichoke & Spinach Tart

I absolutely love tarts and it’s a shame that not many people cook them anymore, maybe because it is thought to be quite a difficult dish to prepare. Some of my friends have tried this dish and they say that it’s definitely one of the easiest and tastiest tart recipes that they have ever made. I often choose this kind of recipe when I have a dinner party because if there is any left over, I’ll...

8

Serves

11

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Involtini di melanzane ripieni di uva passa, capperi e nociRolled Aubergines With Raisins, Capers & Walnuts

Aubergines were introduced to the Mediterranean region by the Arabs in the Middle Ages and Sicilians use them a lot in their cooking. Stuffing sliced aubergines with cheese, breadcrumbs and other goodies is a particularly popular way of serving them. Feel free to be creative with your fillings – this recipe is not about precision. Choose the heaviest aubergines you can find and cut just before...

4

Serves

15

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Carpaccio di Zucchine con Borlotti, Peperoni e CapperiCourgette Carpaccio With Borlotti Beans, Peppers & Capers

This is a great vegetarian alternative to raw meat or fish carpaccio. The marinating of the thinly sliced courgettes makes them so soft they don’t need any cooking. If using small, young courgettes you can use the whole vegetable, but for larger courgettes I suggest you use the flesh only, as the seeds can be spongy when eaten raw. Just halve the courgettes lengthways, run a teaspoon down the centre...

4

Serves

11

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Conchiglioni alla VenezianaVenetian-Style Pasta Shells Stuffed With Courgettes & Sage

If you’re on the lookout for a vegetarian pasta dish that has the ‘wow’ factor and can be prepared ahead, this is the one for you. When they are stuffed and baked, conchiglioni (giant pasta shells) look so impressive and they taste every bit as good as they look. Fresh sage, which is extremely popular in Italian cooking, gives the dish intriguing, earthy undertones.

4

Serves

14

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Insalata di Finocchi, Arance e Crescione con Vinaigrette al TimoFennel, Orange & Watercress Salad with Thyme Vinaigrette

This zingy first-course salad takes only minutes to prepare yet is full of flavour and goodness. The peppery little leaves of the watercress are bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it one of our greatest natural superfoods, while the fennel and oranges are really rich in vitamin C. Try it with my Asparagus, Ricotta, Chilli and Parmesan Tartlets.

4

Serves

10

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Rotolini di Zucchine Ripieni di Ricotta, Noci e Peperoni GrigliatiCourgette Roll-Ups with Ricotta, Walnuts & Chargrilled Peppers

One of the great things about these little stuffed courgette rolls is that they don't require any cooking and can be prepared ahead. All that's needed is a bottle of chilled Italian wine, some warm, crusty bread on the side and good friends to share them with. You can use hazelnuts instead of walnuts if you prefer.

6

Serves

10

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Cheese

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Gnocchi al Forno con Cannellini, Spinaci e PomodoriBaked Gnocchi with Cannellini Beans, Spinach and Tomatoes

I love making fresh gnocchi with my kids, but sometimes I simply don’t have the time so I buy them instead. When buying gnocchi, look for a good-quality brand that contains at least 70 per cent potato. Baking shop-bought gnocchi can really jazz them up. Here I’ve combined them with spinach, cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans and cheese for a hearty dish. Serve with a crisp salad on the side.

4

Serves

10

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Spaghetti ai Carciofi, Radicchio, Piselli e Vino BiancoSpaghetti with Artichokes, Radicchio, Peas and White Wine

Perfect for a midweek supper, this dish is quick and easy to make and low-fat too. Radicchio is very popular in Italy, particularly in the north, where it grows mainly in the Veneto region. Prized for the rich red colour and slightly bitter flavour of its leaves, radicchio is also a rich source of vitamin K.  

4

Serves

11

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Crostatine Piccanti di Asparagi, Ricotta e ParmigianoAsparagus, Ricotta, Chilli and Parmesan Tartlets

Asparagus is one of the great delicacies of the vegetable world, and my asparagus tartlets quite rightly make it centre of attention. It is cooked very briefly, then plunged into cold water to retain its texture and bright green colour. You can use pecorino cheese rather than Parmesan if you like a saltier flavour.

4

Serves

10

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Avocado Grigliato Ripieno di Pomodori, Cipollotti, Olive e CapperiGrilled Avocado Stuffed With Tomatoes, Spring Onions, Olives & Capers

This dish is rather retro and I used to make it when I first came to London as a teenager. Make sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe and don’t use buffalo mozzarella, as it will release too much milk during cooking. Grilling the avocado makes it softer and more velvety, but don’t overcook or it will turn mushy. Serve with your favourite salad leaves.

4

Serves

14

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Quattro StagioniFour Seasons Pizza Topped with Ham, Artichokes, Mushrooms and Olives

Globe artichokes are used a lot in Europe, and especially in Italy, but don’t seem to be very popular here in England. However, artichoke hearts are essential on this pizza as they work beautifully with the ham, mushrooms and olives. I have tried making this recipe with rocket leaves instead of the mushrooms and it’s just as good. A classic Italian four seasons pizza that just reminds me of home. Makes...

13

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Tonno Scue’ Scue’Seared Tuna Steak with Courgettes and Capers

If you ever have the chance to visit the town where I was born, Torre del Greco, you will soon realise that every restaurant in town serves this dish. Southern Italian people, me included, are absolutely crazy about tuna. If you try to translate ‘tonno scue’ scue’ into English, it would be ‘tuna made with no effort’. The reason it is called this is because the few ingredients used are put...

4

Serves

10

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Tuna

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Insalata di FagioliniFrench Beans with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Feta and Mozzarella

This recipe (like most of my recipes) happened by accident. I was hosting a barbecue party and a friend of mine challenged me to make something that resembled the colours of the Italian flag. I went to the fridge, got hold of everything green, white and red and came up with this masterpiece. Today, it has become one of my signature dishes among my friends and we still enjoy it at every barbecue party....

8

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Zucchine e TartufoCourgettes with Truffle and Mint Dressing

This recipe sums up what this book is all about – minimum effort, maximum satisfaction! If you cannot find fresh truffles you can always use truffles preserved in jars or even truffle-flavoured olive oil.

4

Serves

7

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Zucca al Forno con Peperoncino e SalviaRoasted Squash with Chilli and Sage Crumbs

I don’t about know you, but I sometimes get bored of always having potatoes with my main meal. I created this in order to still have a substantial side dish, but with more exciting colours and flavours. Try this recipe with pumpkin when it is in season and you can use Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino.

6

Serves

8

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Conchiglie VegetarianeShell Pasta with Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

This has to be the ultimate vegetarian pasta recipe. There’s so much goodness in this dish and it’s also really filling and extremely tasty. Some might think that the peppers could make it slightly bitter but together with the pine nuts and basil, it screams freshness and will be enjoyed by herbivores and carnivores alike.

7

Serves

9

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Bruschetta Di Fave e MentaBroad Beans and Fresh Mint Bruschetta

Bruschetta is definitely one of the main dishes for an Italian antipasti. The freshness of the mint together with the broad beans is a fantastic combination that will fill you up and yet won’t leave you feeling heavy. You can substitute the broad beans with butter beans and if you don’t have fresh mint, use fresh leaf parsley or chives.

4

Serves

8

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Pappardelle con MelanzanePasta with Aubergines, Tomatoes and Garlic Sauce

Many people steer clear of aubergine and yet it really is an easy vegetable to prepare. In this sauce, it enhances the tomato flavour without overpowering it, so if you have children who don’t like their vegetables, try this dish – they’ll hardly know it’s there. I often serve this pasta as a starter but be careful with portion sizes as you don’t want to fill everyone up before the main....

6

Serves

10

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Zuppa di Verdure all’OrtolanaChunky Winter Vegetable and Cannellini Bean Soup

I created this soup when I was cooking for friends who are vegetarian and they all watched me and wrote down the recipe so I figured if they were impressed, hopefully you will be too. I have used six different kinds of vegetables to make the wholesome soup you’d expect but the bread, cheese and beans give it an even more rustic feel. It’s the perfect evening family meal or a great starter for friends...

6

Serves

15

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Risotto con porri, Taleggio e pinoliLeek, Taleggio and Pine Kernel Risotto

Leeks make a fantastic alternative to onions, and yet many people only use them in soups. I got inspiration for this recipe while I was in Siena; I was served a bowl of leeks, cheese, nuts and sausages (which is also a great sauce for pasta) and I wanted to try and incorporate the same flavours in a risotto. I have left this as a vegetarian option, but by all means add in some cooked pancetta...

4

Serves

10

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Cheese

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Gnocchi di zuccaPotato and roasted pumpkin gnocchi

Gnocchi is a firm favourite of the ladies in my life – my wife and my daughter Mia. Rather than just preparing the traditional plain gnocchi with a tomato-and-cheese-based sauce all the time, I wanted to try and create gnocchi that had so much flavour in their own right that a sauce wasn't even needed. This is what I came up with. I have also tried replacing the pumpkin with butternut squash,...

4

Serves

9

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Potato

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Rigatoni con asparagi, piselli e funghiRigatoni with peas and porcini mushrooms in a creamy asparagus sauce

For anybody who isn’t a big fan of rich tomato sauces this has to be the perfect pasta recipe if you still want bags of flavour on your plate. This dish is so full of fresh ingredients that even though it’s in a creamy sauce it doesn’t feel heavy. I must admit that every time I make this for a vegetarian they utterly love me – so it must be good.

4

Serves

11

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Orecchiette con cime di rapeOrecchiette with Broccoli, Garlic and Chilli

I grew up eating orecchiette, the typical pasta shape of Puglia. The name translates as 'little ears', which is exactly what the shape resembles. Italian grandmothers traditionally make the pasta by hand, shaping it while having a good old chat. The hollow in the little ears perfectly entraps whatever sauce they are served with.

4

Serves

9

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Zuppa di Cipolle e PancettaOnion, Tomato and Pancetta Soup

By far – and I really mean by far – this has to be my favourite soup recipe in any of my books. If you like onion soup, this is so much more – in fact, I don’t know anyone who has tried it and not loved it. I think you will be amazed at the flavour combinations. Make sure it is always served hot. It will keep refrigerated for 48 hours, but remember, like most soups, it can be reheated only...

4

Serves

9

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Pork

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Bruschette con pesto di pomodori secchiBruschette with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Bruschette are eaten all over Italy, and we all know and love the traditional tomato-based recipe. I, for one, certainly grew up on it. This version just adds a little twist to the classic dish and is perfect for entertaining.

4

Serves

13

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Vegetables

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Tagliatelle PrimaveraSpicy Tagliatelle With Peppers, Courgettes, Red Onions And Thyme

I never want to hear from anyone that it's hard to cook for a vegetarian. I know if you are a meat lover it can be annoying but there are some amazing pasta dishes out there that you can cook and this is one of them. Peppers, courgettes and onions are a great combination of vegetables and with a small punch of chilli, make this meal delicious. You can substitute fettuccine instead of tagliatelle if...

4

Serves

9

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Vegetables

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Zuppa Di Porri E RucolaLeek, Potato And Rocket Soup

One of my favourite British recipes has to be leek and potato soup. Such a simple recipe but with a unique balance of flavours. I decided to add rocket leaves to this fantastic soup, which adds a peppery flavour to the dish. Do serve this soup with my home-made garlic croutons, you are going to love it! Make sure that the consistency of the soup is not too runny and use fresh leeks for the best results.

6

Serves

10

Ingredients

Potato

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