Welcome to a world of vegan Italian recipes, where traditional flavors meet plant-based ingredients to create a symphony of Mediterranean flavors.

Italy’s rich culinary heritage is known for its pasta, pizza, and cheeses, but our recipe collection also offers fresh vegetables, legumes, and delicious sauces.

With this recipe roundup, we introduce plantbased twists on classic recipes to bring the rustic charm of Italy to your kitchen.

Vegan Italian Recipes

Tips for Vegan Italian Recipes

Every dish celebrates freshness from soul-soothing soups, like a Tuscan white bean soup, to vibrant salads featuring tomatoes, fennel, and lentils.

Explore vegetable-based appetizers like bruschetta, focaccia, and crostini, enticing your taste buds with wholesome Italian ingredients.

Elevate simplicity with easy pasta, from aglio e olio to pasta e ceci and mushroom ragù (pictured below), all showcasing the art of delicious Italian cooking.

Finally, finish your meal with a dolce fatto in casa (homemade dessert), such as vegan cannolo, apple cake, or eggfree biscotti. Buon Appetito to a world of plant-powered Italian delights.

Mushroom Bolognese with vegan parmesan and a fork

Five tips for Vegan Italian cooking:

  • Choose Fresh, Quality Ingredients: Use fresh and high-quality ingredients, such as ripe tomatoes, aromatic herbs, and seasonal vegetables.
  • Master Herb and Spice Pairings: Elevate flavors with a mix of classic Italian herbs like basil. For depth and complexity, experiment with garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  • Explore Plant-Based Proteins: Replace meat with alternatives like tofu, plant-based alternatives, or lentils and chickpeas for texture and protein, maintaining the heartiness of traditional Italian dishes.
  • Experiment with Vegan Cheeses: Incorporate plant-based cheeses, such as parmesan or ricotta, to achieve Italian cuisine’s creamy and rich textures.
  • Balance Flavors and Textures: Create well-rounded dishes by balancing creamy sauces with crunchy vegetables or al dente pasta, ensuring a satisfying and authentic dining experience.

Vegan Italian recipe video

Starters and sides

1. Bruschetta
Tomato bruschetta is crunchy, juicy, and perfect as an appetizer.

The recipe is simple; you can make it in 10 minutes with a few ingredients.

Bruschetta on a white cutting board

2. Roasted bell peppers
Roasted bell peppers are a delicious recipe that can be served as an antipasto or a side dish or used as a base for many other recipes like salads and pasta.

Roasted bell peppers with a fork

3. Braised artichokes
Braised artichokes, also known as “Roman-style artichokes,” are an easy Italian artichoke recipe you can make with simple ingredients in 30 minutes.

Artichokes Romana

4. Caponata
Caponata or eggplant salad has the perfect balance of sweet and sour. It’s rich and made with simplefresh ingredients. Eat it as a starter, side dish, or light, easy dinner on toast.

Eggplant Caponata in a bowl

5. Roasted zucchini with Italian herbs

Roasted zucchini is a classic Italian starter or side dish. Italian herbs and breadcrumbs give the zucchini a bold flavor and juicy texture.

roasted zucchini on a serving platter

6. Panzanella salad
One of the most underrated salad recipes is a traditional Italian summer dish with simple seasonal vegetables and leftover stale bread. Despite being an ancient recipe, it takes just 10 minutes to prep!

panzanella salad with lettuce

7. Tomato cucumber onion salad
A crunchy, refreshing, simple dish that you can enjoy as a starter or as a side dish. It’s best with ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, and sweet red onion.

Cucumber tomato salad in a bowl

8. Fennel orange salad
Fennel and orange salad is a crunchy, fresh, and light salad to be served as a side dish or a starter. It’s perfect in winter when the fennel, orange, and pomegranate are in season.

Fennel salad with pomegranate seeds

9. Confit tomatoes
Tomato confit is the easiestmeltiest, most delicious tomato recipe. Softjuicy, packed with oregano and garlic aroma.

They’re perfect as a succulent side dish, a starter served with toasted bread, or a topping to a bowl of pasta.

Confit tomatoes with garlic in a round tray

10. Caramelized onions
Caramelized onions have a rich and deep flavor with sweet and sour notes. They are soft and melt in your mouth.

caramelized onions with fork

Italian Breads

11. Focaccia
Focaccia bread is simple; you only need flour, water, salt, yeast for the dough, and rosemary and olive oil as toppings.

You can make it on the day or get ahead and let it proof slowly in the fridge.

rosemary and sea salt topping

12. Crisp focaccia with vegan cheese

This crispy and thin focaccia is packed with melted vegan cheese.

It’s a dairy-free version of “focaccia di Recco,” originally stuffed with stracchino cheese and eaten as street food in Liguria, Italy.

crisp focaccia with vegan melted cheese

13. Italian piadina
Piadina is a thin, yeast-free Italian flatbread you can fill with your favorite spreads.

Try it with this vegan melted cheese – and enjoy it for a light lunch, snack, or dinner.

Piadina with cheese and arugula

14. Farinata
Farinata or socca is an easy recipe made by mixing chickpea flour and extra virgin olive oil and then baking it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Delicious as a starter, side dish, or main dish when used as a pizza.

socca in a round shape served with olives and pesto

15. Flatbread pizza

Whether you like a classic tomato and mozzarella pizza or a contemporary version with hummus and tahini sauce topping, this Italian flatbread recipe is excellent for a beautiful dinner with friends and family.

Flatbread pizza with tomatoes and melted cheese

Pasta dishes

16. Vegan Carbonara
Our vegan carbonara is a simple recipe that can be made in 15 minutes. The taste of our carbonara sauce is similar to the taste of an authentic Italian carbonara recipe.

carbonara on a plate

17. Pasta alla Norma (eggplant pasta)

A classic Sicilian dish that you can make in about 30 minutes with simple pantry ingredients and fresh eggplants

pasta alla norma

18. Lentil bolognese
Our lentil bolognese is an Italian classic with an ultra-rich and hearty sauce, perfect with pasta, lasagna, or zucchini noodles.

Lentil Bolognese on a white plate

19. Penne Arrabbiata
Together with spaghetti aglio e olio and pasta cacio e pepe, penne all’arrabbiata is one of the most popular pasta dishes of Italy.

It’s simple yet delicious and naturally vegan, made only with a few healthy ingredients.

Penne Arrabbiata in a bowl with sausage and a silver fork

20. Aglio e olio
This is the original garlic and oil pasta recipe, a delicious Italian meal known as spaghetti aglio e olio.

With simple ingredients, we’ll show you how to achieve perfection in under 15 minutes.

garlic and oil pasta aglio olio

25. Gnocchi
This is an easy recipe at home; you’ll need just three ingredients and a fork. Once shaped, your gnocchi can be paired with your favorite pasta sauce – from rich tomato to a creamy mushroom sauce.

homemade gnocchi recipe with bolognese

26. Marinara sauce
One of the most versatile Italian sauces, perfect with pasta, pizza, and (vegan) meatballs. It’s straightforward to make and super satisfying to eat!

Marinara sauce with basil and a wooden spoon

27. Vegan mushroom pasta

This aromatic and tasty mushroom pasta is great for weeknight dinners and guests due to its restaurantworthy looks and flavor.

vegan mushroom pasta

28. Trofie with basil pesto
Homemade trofie with vegan basil pesto is our take on a traditional Italian dish made for centuries on the Ligurian Riviera in Genova. We show you how to make trofie at home, like in Italy, with just two ingredients.

homemade trofie with vegan pesto

29. Lentil pasta

Our Lentil pasta is a nutritious and delicious traditional Italian recipe called pasta e lenticchie (pasta with lentils) made with ditalini pasta cooked in a rich and flavorful stew.

lentil pasta in a bowl

30. Broccoli pasta

This vegan Italian recipe will surely please the pickiest of eaters because of its rich taste and luscious texture. Plus, you can make it in 20 minutes with a few simple ingredients.

pasta with broccoli in a bowl

Rice

31. Saffron risotto
It is a creamy and tasty risotto with a delightful saffron flavor. We use vegan butter parmesan-free parmesan for an Italian flavor and satiating meal.

Saffron risotto on a white plate

32. Tomato risotto
This creamy tomato risotto is a simple staple of Italian home cooking. The rice is slowly cooked into a rich tomato sauce, to which we add dairy-free butter and cheese. It’s a rich, creamy risotto that tastes 100% authentic and Italian.

tomato risotto

33. Stuffed bell peppers

We fill these Italian-inspired bell peppers with lentilsricefresh herbs, and fragrant spices.

When baked in bell peppers, the filling absorbs their juices, and the combination of flavors and textures makes this recipe irresistible.

stuffed bell peppers with rice and lentils

34. Supplí

Our vegan supplì are as tastymelty, and Italian as they get. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or side dish.

Cheesey and melty rice supplì

35. Italian rice salad

This Italian rice salad is a colorful, summer-friendly grain bowl with fresh vegetables, Italian herbs, and a creamy mustard dressing.

It’s great for meal prep, a potluck salad, and a lunchbox idea.

Rice salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs

Vegan Italian Cheeses

36. Vegan Ricotta
Vegan ricotta cheese is so easylight, creamy, and versatile.

You can make it with three simple ingredients in less than one hour and use it exactly like regular ricotta.

dairy-free ricotta and how to store it

37. Vegan melted cheese (stracchino)
You can make it in 5 minutes and use it on pizza, toast, and oven-baked pasta. It’s perfect on food in the oven, as it melts like mozzarella cheese.

vegan cheese that melts

38. Vegan Parmesan
You can sprinkle this vegan parmesan cheese on top of your favorite pasta in pasta bakes, polentarisotto, and in any other place you would typically add parmesan cheese.

Vegan parmesan with almonds

Vegan Main Dishes

39. Lemon tofu
An Italian recipe for lemon chicken inspires this recipe.

We replaced the chicken fillet with tofu slices, resulting in a delicious meal that can be prepared quickly.

Braised artichokes and lemon tofu

40. Pan-fried tofu with mushrooms
This quick and delicious recipe is perfect for every day, last-minute dinners.

Scaloppini inspired this recipe with mushrooms, a famous Italian recipe made 100% plant-based.

mushroom tofu recipe on a plate

41. Zucchini boats with lentils

These Italian-inspired zucchini boats are a tasty and healthy recipe to enjoy the wonderful flavor of zucchini.

They are packed with a richsavory filling made with lentils, tomatoes, herbs, and walnuts.

Zucchini boats with parmesan

42 Baked juicy “fish”
It’s a simple dish you can make in about 30 minutes as an everyday dinner.

We serve it as a fish replacement and cook it precisely like white fish is cooked in Italy.

Vegan Fish with cherry tomatoes and lemon

43. Tofu Cacciatore
We might use tofu instead of chicken, but this meal is rich, earthy, meaty, and packed with the cacciatore flavor we all love. You’ve never had tofu like this!

Tofu cacciatore in a skillet

44. Seitan steaks (Italian scaloppine)
These seitan steaks are one of our favorite plantbased meat replacements. They are easy to make at home and tender but have a meaty texture.

Homemade seitan with sautèed mushrooms

45. Vegan Parmigiana
This eggplant parmigiana is a creamy and indulgent dish that can easily be made vegan. It is super tasty, richcreamy, and healthy since the eggplant is baked and not fried.

eggplant parmigiana

Vegan Italian Desserts

46. Vegan Cannoli
Our filling is made of vegan homemade ricotta and is sweet and creamy. The shell is as bubbly, light, and crisp as the traditional ones but without eggs, lard, or butter.

vegan cannoli on a cooling rack

47. Vegan Tiramisu
Here, we show you how to make the best vegan tiramisù we have ever had with simple plant-based ingredients.

The ladyfingers are homemade without eggs, yet this dessert is an incredible treat.

vegan tiramisu inside

48. Strawberry tart
Our tart is made with a crunchy pie crust, filled with smooth and creamy vanilla custard, and topped with sweet fresh strawberries.

strawberry tart with custard and mint

49. Fruit tart
This beautiful and delicious fruit tart is a classic Italian pastry recipe everyone loves.

We make a light, easy pie crust filled with dairy-free homemade custard.

Fruit tart recipe and how to store it

50. Vegan apple cake

This vegan apple cake (torta di mele) is an egg-free recipe everyone will love. It’s sweet, refreshing, and made with simple ingredients in your pantry.

baked vegan apple cake

Hungry for more Italian desserts? Try these authentic Italian sweet treats:

57. Chiacchiere: the traditional Carnevale biscuit made vegan.

58. Almond biscotti with nuts, almonds, or chocolate chips.

59. Apple fritters: deep-fried and dough-covered apple slices.

60. Castagnole: donut holes fried or oven-baked.

61. Wine cookies: a traditional biscuit from the Umbrian countryside.

62. Castagnaccio – chestnut flour cake with raisins and walnuts.

63. Pear cake: a single-layer and eight-ingredient cake.

64. Coffee mousse with three ingredients and 5 minutes of preparation time.

65. Vegan lemon cake with frosting.

What to serve with Italian food

These vegan Italian meals generally go well with grainsbread, and vegetable side dishes:

Fried zucchini with a serving of marinara sauce
Vegan Italian dishes with pasta, salads, and soups

Vegan Italian Meals

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 4 votes
Spaghetti Pomodoro, also known as tomato basil pasta, is a vegan Italian recipe famous worldwide for its taste and simplicity.
In 20 minutes flat, you'll be able to prepare an authentic Italian pasta dish that will leave everyone begging for more.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

For the pasta

  • 1 gallon water to cook the pasta
  • 2 tablespoons salt to salt the pasta water
  • 1 pound spaghetti

For the pasta sauce

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 ounces small tomatoes cherry, plum, grape
  • 28 ounces whole peeled canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • 1 handful basil leaves

Instructions 

BOIL THE WATER

  • Start by boiling a large pot of water. Whilst the water gets to boiling temperature, prep the tomato sauce.
    While the sauce simmer, add salt to the boiling water, add the pasta and cook it for 8 minutes. Set a timer.
    Tip: we don't fully cook the pasta in water because we finish cooking it in the tomato sauce. This way, the pasta will leach some of its starch into the tomato sauce, making it super creamy.
    spaghetti in a pot with boiling water

MAKE PASTA SAUCE

  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and set them aside.
    To a dutch oven, large pan, or skillet, add the olive oilcrushed or minced garlic, and chili flakes. Fry gently for one minute.
    frying garlic in a dutch oven
  • Add the tomatoes and cook on medium-high heat for 3 minutes, or until soft.
    tomatoes cooking in oil and garlic
  • Add the canned tomatoessalt, and black pepper, and crush all with a fork. Let the tomatoes simmer on medium heat while the pasta cooks, stirring occasionally.
    canned tomatoes added to the dutch oven

ADD PASTA TO SAUCE

  • When the pasta is ready (after 8 minutes of boiling), reserve 2 cups of pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the Pomodoro sauce. Add the fresh basil leaves.
    pasta added to the dutch oven
  • Add one cup of the pasta water, and finish cooking the spaghetti with the sauce, stirring it gently until cooked al dente (about 4 minutes). Add more pasta water if necessary.
    tossing the spaghetti in the tomato sauce
  • Serve spaghetti Pomodoro with a drizzle of olive oil and some extra basil on top.
    spaghetti pomodoro in a dutch oven
  • Optionally, add some grated or shaved parmesan cheese (dairy-free cheese works too).
    tomato basil pasta or spaghetti al pomodoro with shaved parmesan

Video

Easy Penne Arrabbiata (+plant-based protein variation)

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 large portion of pasta out of 4 portions. 

Nutrition

Calories: 566kcal, Carbohydrates: 97g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 818mg, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1014IU, Vitamin B6: 0.5mg, Vitamin C: 36mg, Vitamin E: 3mg, Vitamin K: 46µg, Calcium: 112mg, Folate: 51µg, Iron: 4mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 95mg, Zinc: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you liked these vegan Italian recipes, you might also enjoy:


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 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. Your recipes are how I like to cook so I am excited to find you. But I have a problem. Suddenly i. Middle of a recipe you instructed to use the pelati. There is no such thing in ingredients. I tried looking it up and got add for exercise equipment. So what am I supposed to add?

    1. Hi Clarice, you are absolutely right; there was an ingredient missing.

      We have updated the recipe box as well as the blog post to reflect the complete recipe and ingredient list.

      Let me know if anything is unclear. Thanks so much for your feedback! Kindest,
      Louise

  2. 5 stars
    Ciao Nico and Louise,

    Thank you so much for your creative and contemporary interpretations of Italian cuisine. Your recipes have become staples in my household! Do you have any plans to veganise lasagna? I would love to see how you approach this classic. Thanks again!

    1. Ciao Josh,
      You’re so kind, it warms our hearts that you like our recipes!
      So, lasagna is on our to-do list, but not for this summer. I believe it’s gonna be an autumn project as we’re gonna have to do a bit of testing before putting it online. We’ll do our best 🙂
      Thanks again for your message and your support, we really appreciate you.
      Warm wishes,
      Louise