Benvenuti! Welcome to a journey through the flavors of Italy, where each of these 30 easy Italian recipes tells a story about Italian cooking.

Italian cuisine is renowned for its simplicity, freshness, and aromatic flavors and holds a special place in our hearts (and of food enthusiasts worldwide).

This collection invites you to explore vegetarian Italian cooking and discover the joy of creating authentic Italian dishes in your kitchen.

Easy Italian meals with vegetables, pasta and soups

From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the bustling streets of Rome, Italian cuisine is as diverse as the regions that inspire it.

You’ll find it here whether you’re craving the comforting embrace of a steaming bowl of pasta, earthy soups with lentils or nutty chickpeas, or the indulgent sweetness of a homemade apple cake.

From appetizers to desserts, these easytofollow recipes will help you create authentic Italian dishes that will transport you to the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean with every bite. Buon appetito!

1. Spaghetti aglio e olio

garlic and oil pasta aglio olio

We start this list with 15-minute pasta and an affordable meal famous worldwide.

Use spaghetti, plenty of extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley on top.

2. Italian bean stew

Italian bean stew on couscous

This rich, tomatopacked Italian bean stew is a simple and flavorful recipe that can be made in one pot in half an hour.

Serve it as a weeknight dinner with rice, couscous, polenta, or a slice of crusty bread.

3. Easy tomato risotto

tomato risotto

This recipe is so easy to put together with simple pantry staples you probably already have at home.

Tomato risotto will be loved by adults and kids alike. In just about 30 minutes, you’ll have a delicious Italian dinner on the table.

4. Stuffed zucchini

stuffed zucchini with fresh herbs

These stuffed zucchini have a delicious meat-free filling with ricotta, herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes, and they are baked until tender-crisp and golden.

This protein-rich vegetarian dish is excellent for everyday Italian dinners or special occasions.

5. Carciofi alla Romana (braised artichokes)

Artichokes Romana

Carciofi alla Romana is an Italian artichoke recipe of braised artichokes simmered in a pot with water, olive oil, and herbs like mint and parsley.

They are primarily served in central Italy and around Rome, but the recipe is now famous worldwide.

6. Panzanella salad with bread

panzanella salad in a serving bowl

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad originating in the centenary peasant traditions of central Italy, especially in the Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, and Marche regions.

It’s a naturally vegan, zero-waste recipe and a great way to reuse stale bread.

7. Spaghetti Pomodoro

tomato basil pasta or spaghetti al pomodoro with shaved parmesan

Pomodoro” in Italian means tomatoSo when Italians say pasta al Pomodoro, they mean pasta with tomato.

In 20 minutes and with simple ingredients, you can prepare an authentic Italian pasta dish that will leave everyone begging for more.

8. Ricotta pasta

Spinach ricotta pasta

You’ll love our lemon ricotta pasta recipe because it has a creamy and light texture and a refreshing lemony flavor, and you can add your favorite veggie.

We make it with spinach here, but the recipe is delicious with most vegetables, including frozen peasroasted broccoliroasted cauliflowersautéed mushrooms, and more.

9. Italian salsa verde dressing

tomato fennel salad with salsa verde

This sauce, sometimes known as bagnet verd or bagnet Piemontese, was invented in the 19th century in the northern Italian region of Piedmont and quickly spread down through the Italian peninsula.

It’s perfect with fresh vegetables, potatoes, salads, and bruschetta.

10. Potato gnocchi

homemade gnocchi recipe with bolognese

If you make gnocchi with white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin, the result is a family-friendly dinner that is absolutely restaurantworthy.

We’ll show you how to make gnocchi with three simple ingredients and shape them with a fork. Our recipe is the original Italian one without eggs.

11. Lentil pasta

pasta and lentils

Lentils are the oldest legumes domesticated by humans and are a nutrition powerhouse.

Combined with pasta, they make a tasty and nutritious meal, especially if cooked together in the same pot, as in this recipe.

13. Tomato or eggplant bruschetta

Bruschetta on a white cutting board

Bruschetta, pronounced “bruˈsketta,” is a humble yet incredibly delicious meal made from thick grilled slices of stale bread rubbed with garlic.

Top it with good-quality olive oil, salt, tomatoes, or roasted eggplant.

14. Eggplant Pizza

roasted eggplant pizza

From this eggplant pizza recipe, you can expect a familiar, cozy flavor similar to Italian eggplant parmigiana, sometimes known as eggplant parmesan.

The roasted eggplant is not crunchy like baked pizza dough, but it’s delicious and tender, making it an excellent dish for sharing.

15. Stuffed bell pepper

stuffed bell peppers with rice and lentils

Stuffed bell peppers are a popular dish in most Mediterranean countries, from Italy to Turkey, Spain to North Africa’s coasts.

Our pepper recipe is strongly inspired by Mediterranean, Levantine, and Middle Eastern flavors, especially those of our lentil mujaddara.

16. Sauteed eggplant

sautéed eggplant in a bowl

This sauteed eggplant recipe is much easier than caponata as it’s done in 20 minutes on a pan.

The eggplant dice soak in the tomato juices and garlic aroma, becoming incredibly flavorful, juicy, and tender.

17. Chickpea farinata

socca with pesto and herbs

Chickpea farinata or socca is an easy recipe that involves mixing chickpea flour and extra virgin olive oil and baking it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Serve it as an appetizer with pesto, olive tapenade, and roasted vegetables for an authentic Italian antipasto.

18. Pesto

zucchini pesto pasta in a bowl

Make it with basil, zucchini, or parsley; this green pesto is a fantastic pasta sauce, sandwich spread, and drizzle on pizza.

Make it in 5 minutes with simple ingredients, and you’ll have a quick and easy meal.

19. Pasta e Fagioli

pasta fagioli in a white bowl with spoon

Pasta e fagioli makes a comforting and cozy one-pot family dinner.

You can make it with simple and affordable ingredients, yet it tastes fantastic and is incredibly warming and nourishing.

20. Easy white sauce

white sauce in a white pot

White sauce, also known as béchamel sauce, is a versatile sauce that can be used in many recipes, from pasta bakes to savory crepes, from lasagne to oven-baked veggies.

It’s a simple recipe with four ingredients in its basic form, and it’s ready in 10 minutes.

21. Lemon pasta with spinach

Lemon Pasta with parmesan

Combining simple ingredients, such as spaghetti, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes, creates a simple but incredibly delicious meal.

Have a bite, and you’ll be transported to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, where lemons and pasta are staple ingredients.

22. Tomato salad

mixed tomato salad recipe

Tomato and onion salad is refreshing, easy to put together, and perfect for cooling down during scorching summer months.

Serve it with crusty bread to soak up all the flavorful tomato juices for a simple light lunch or as a side dish.

23. Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca with a fork

Originally from Naples, pasta puttanesca or aulive e chiapparielle in Neapolitan (olives and capers in English) is now popular throughout Italy and worldwide.

It’s a 20minute meal with beautiful colors and, most importantly, its wonderfully rich and yet balanced taste.

24. Lentil Vegetable soup

Easy lentil vegetable soup with spinach leaves and pita bread on the side

This easy lentil soup is wholesomehearty, and with a beautiful herby flavor.

The lentils make the dish nutritious and fulfilling, with textureplantbased proteiniron, and heart and gut-healthy fiber.

25. Marinara sauce

tofu meatballs with marinara sauce and spaghetti in a bowl

In about 15 minutes, you’ll have a rich and tasty homemade tomato sauce with any pasta and vegetarian meatballs.

It’s the ultimate last-minute dinner recipe and the best ace up your sleeve when you are short on time but still want to cook a delicious vegetarian meal.

26. Mushroom ragu

Mushroom Bolognese with fork

With this mushroom ragu, we wanted to make a quick and easy sauce without simmering for a long time, like a traditional meat-based ragu.

The result is a recipe you can make with affordable ingredients such as mushroom, olive oil, onion, celery, carrot, rosemary, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.

27. Roasted zucchini

roasted zucchini on a serving platter

These ovenroasted zucchini are naturally vegan and made with breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, and herbs.

It is a delicious topping as it gives the zucchini a lot of flavor and gets all golden, crisp, and crunchy as the breadcrumbs gratin in the oven.

28. Kale soup

Kale soup with spoon

Kale is a nutritious and versatile leafy green that can be used to make countless soups, stews, and curries inspired by world cuisines.

This easy kale soup recipe is inspired by Tuscan white bean soup or ribollita and is prepared in one pot.

29. No knead focaccia bread

rustic italian focaccia with tomatoes and sage

This recipe shows you how to make the best and easiest focaccia bread without kneading, with just a bowl and a spoon, and in most baking pans.

Focaccia is usually topped with olive oilcoarse salt, and fresh rosemary, but you can also make a version with cherry tomatoes, sage, and red onions.

30. Penne arrabbiata

Penne Arrabbiata in a white bowl with fresh parsley

Penne arrabbiata (angry pasta) is an Italian dish famous for its simplicitycomforting taste, and spicy tomato sauce.

Although it’s spicier, arrabbiata sauce is similar to marinara saucespaghetti pomodoro, and pasta alla Norma. It goes well with most pasta shapes, the most traditional being penne and rigatoni arrabbiata.

Italian pantry ingredients

Before getting started with these Italian meals, we highly recommend checking your pantry for a couple of basic but essential ingredients. We use all of these ingredients for basically any of these Italian classic dishes:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Passata and crushed canned tomatoes
  • Garlic cloves
  • Dried or fresh herbs include basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme.
  • Parmesan cheese or dairy-free alternative.
vegan parmesan
Homemade “almond” parmesan

How to store these Italian meals

Make Ahead: These Italian meals are excellent for making ahead, as you can refrigerate most of them for several days (or freeze the soups and sauces for months).
Also, the warm meals taste better on the second and third days than when freshly made because the flavors have time to meld.

Refrigerator: Let the dishes cool completely at room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat: you can reheat pasta, soups, and sauces in a pot on the stovetop for a few minutes or in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid reheating them multiple times.

Pasta e Ceci recipe in a white bowl with fresh rosemary

Italian desserts

Pair your easy Italian dinner with a dessert “dolci” of your choice; they are inspired by Italian dessert traditions:

  • Biscotti (flour, sugar, almonds, powdered sugar, lemon, almond milk, etc.)
  • Apple cake (milk, vegetable oil, apples, vanilla extract, baking powder, etc.)
  • Baked pears (cinnamon, walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla ice cream).
  • Coffee mousse (whipped cream, espresso coffee, sugar).
  • Eggfree custard (soy milk, vanilla, sugar, non-dairy milk, etc.)

For many more 30-minute meal ideas, check out our 30-minute meal category page.

Easy Italian meals with soups, pasta, and stuffed vegetables

Easy Italian Recipes: Bruschetta

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 1 vote
Bruschetta is a classic Italian recipe everyone loves. Learn how to make it with crunchy bread and a tasty garlicky topping of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.
This recipe is quick and easy to make, and it's the perfect dish for a beautiful dinner with friends and family.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Course: Side dish, Starter
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 10 slices crusty bread or baguette cut into ½ inch or 1.2 cm thick slices.
  • 1 pound tomatoes any variety as long as they are ripe
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic 1 for mixture, 1 for rubbing on bread
  • 15 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Rinse 1 pound tomatoes, dry them, then cut them into small dice.
    You can discard half of their liquid if they are very watery.
    cherry tomatoes in dices and knife
  • To a mixing bowl, add the diced tomatoes, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of grated or crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 15 leaves fresh basil (chopped).
    bruschetta tomato mix
  • Toss until well combined, then taste and just for salt.
    Let mixture marinate at room temperature for about 10 – 15 minutes.
    tomato mixture marinating in a bowl
  • In the meantime, slice the bread into 10 to 12 half-inch thick slices (1.2 cm).
    Arrange the bread on a baking sheet or grill rack and toast it in the oven with the broiler function until golden and crunchy.
    You can turn the slices to broil them on both sides for extra crunchy bread.
    roasted bruschetta bread
  • While the bread is still warm, rub it with fresh garlic to infuse it with garlic flavor.
    hands brushing bread with garlic
  • Top each slice with one or two tablespoons of tomato mixture. Don't add too much of the liquid at first. You can sprinkle some on the slices rights before serving the bruschetta.
    Bruschetta bread and tomato on a cutting board
  • Serve on a platter or cutting board as an appetizer, snack, aperitivo, or crunchy and healthy dinner.
    Bruschetta on a white platter

Video

Italian Bruschetta (appetizer and side dish idea)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of tomato bruschetta out of 10 slices.
SUBSTITUTIONS
Bread: we recommend crusty bread, artisanal bread, or a rustic baguette.
Tomatoes: you can use most tomato varieties as long as they are fresh and ripe. We recommend vine tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, beef tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes.
Balsamic vinegar: substitute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar for 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Fresh basil: substitute dried or fresh oregano.
MAKE AHEAD & STORAGE
Make Ahead: you can’t assemble the bruschetta ahead of time because the bread will get soggy. However, you can slice the bread and make the tomato mixture beforehand, so when you want to serve it, you’ll only have to toast the bread and top it.
Refrigerator: you can store the toppings in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container. You can also keep the bread in a basket for a few days. 2 to 3 days old bread is excellent for juicy tomato bruschetta.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 175mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 418IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 7mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 10µg, Calcium: 34mg, Folate: 69µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.3mg, Magnesium: 22mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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