Eat, Savory

6 Italian-Inspired Vegan Recipes

vegan Italian recipes photo from Dolly and Oatmeal

Inspired by my recent trip to Rome & southern Italy, I’ve rounded up this list of 6 Italian-inspired vegan recipes that will transport you to Italy in an instant. You guys, word cannot even begin to describe how amazing the food in Italy tasted. I tried to explain it to my mom the other day, but words failed me. Let’s just say, Italian food is my new favorite cuisine! Click through to read more about our plant-based foodie adventures.

Everything we ate was so fresh and locally sourced, not to mention so delicious and clean. I was blown away by the overwhelming knowledge of veganism and how easy it was to eat at restaurants. I’m not talking about strictly vegan restaurants (which, to be honest, there weren’t any), I’m talking about regular restaurants where my fiance and I got to eat together every meal! This is such a rare occurence that I never realized how much of a difference it really makes. But once we started eating together, it hit me that I’d been missing out on so much. Not only were we able to enjoy eating together, but we were able to have more deep, interesting conversations because it felt like we were more connected.

But back to the food, I ate more carbs than I ever have in the past 2 years combined. And guess what? None of it was gluten-free and it was DELICIOUS! I think you should allow yourself to enjoy when you’re on vacation. I used to freak out over everything I ate when I traveled, but it really stressed me out so this trip I promised myself to be more flexible. It just so turned out that life was much more fun this way!

From pizza to garlic pasta to vegan croissants, I was in vegan paradise. They literally had vegan croissants at every gas station, even in the middle of the Italian countryside. That’s how widespread veganism is in Italy! My favorite dishes had to be the freshly baked bread in Matera, homemade persimmon jam with sourdough bread in Sicily, bruschetta in Taormina, and pizza in Rome. I hope you enjoy these recipes inspired by my trip!

zucchini flatbread with vegan macadamia ricotta cheese #vegan photo from The Green Life

“Pizza, pizza!”, as Julian would say. He was teasing me constantly because the majority of our trip, I craved pizza. The easiest vegan pizza to order is a marinara pizza, which usually comes with just pizza sauce, olive oil, and oregano. It’s cheese-less, so it’s naturally vegan and simply delicious. There was one restaurant that had a vegan pizza with avocado, cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds, and raw vegan avocado mayo which was an extra special treat.

This easy, vegan zucchini flatbread with macadamia ricotta from The Green Life looks absolutely delicious! I’m more inspired to try different pizza combinations, because if you think about it pizza just consists of a bread base and then any toppings you want. 

vegan Italian pasta salad photo from Blissful Basil

I actually didn’t eat pasta salad in Italy, but this simple vegan Italian pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, red peppers, marinated artichokes, and red onion by Blissfull Basil makes me think I should have. Pasta salad makes a great summer meal, because you could take it to a picnic or the beach and not worry about it going bad in the sun. 

vegan flatbread photo from Faring Well

If you’re in the mood for a little more unconventional twist on pizza, make these chickpea flatbreads with avocado pesto, balsamic greens, and a “cheesy” tomato by Faring Well. Apparently these only take around 15 minutes to make, which is a total winner. It looks like a total gourmet meal with the avocado pesto (yay for avocado!) plus a 3-ingredient vinaigrette and nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor on the tomatoes. 

vegan pate photo from Lauren Caris Cooks

I literally fell in love with pate in Italy. I never ever ate it before, but it’s a game changer because you can spread it on literally anything. You can spread it on sandwiches and wraps for an instantly elevated flavor. It makes the best finger food too! Just serve it on some bruschetta and you’re set. This vegan vegetable pate is a great starter recipe for learning how to make your own pate.

vegan garlicky pasta #vegan photo from Dolly and Oatmeal

When my fiance and I were in Rome, he wanted to eat pasta every single day twice a day. No joke. So I’ve seen just about every type of Italian pasta there is in the book. The best pasta I had on my trip was simple sauteed penne with garlic and olive oil. Since Italians don’t use butter, I found it super easy to get pasta anywhere we went and it was absolutely delicious. This idea for vegan creamy garlicky pasta with charred broccoli & figs makes me drool.

stuffed eggplant #vegan photo from The First Mess

One dish I did not expect to eat a lot of in Italy was stuffed vegetables, like bell pepper, tomatoes, eggplant, and so on. This vegan stuffed eggplant with sunflower romanesco by The First Mess would make a delicious date night dinner. Or you could make it for your friends and family and really blow their socks off. 

My fiance and I love switch up our weeknight dinner routine. So usually, we’ll switch cuisines on a regular basis. It could be anything from Thai to Indian to Italian to American food. But switching it up insures that you never get bored! If you’re planning for an Italian dinner and want some vegan options, I hope you find these recipes helpful.

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