49 Italian Recipes for Vegetarians

Updated: Feb. 13, 2024

Going meatless doesn't mean fewer Italy-inspired dishes. These vegetarian Italian recipes give you so many reasons to dish up and dig in.

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Homemade Potato Gnocchi

My Italian mother remembers her mother making this potato gnocchi recipe for special occasions. She still has the bowl Grandma mixed the dough in, which will be passed down to me someday. —Tina Repak Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Also, check these best vegetarian recipes to give an interesting twist to your veggies.

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Favorite Mediterranean Salad

Got a crowd coming over for a backyard barbecue? This crisp, big-batch Mediterranean salad recipe makes a great accompaniment to any main dish you fix on the grill. —Pat Stevens, Granbury, Texas
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Pizza Margherita

This homemade pizza margherita, named for Queen Margherita of Italy, shows off the colors of the Italian flag with red tomatoes, white mozzarella and fresh green basil. You’ll be glad the recipe makes not one but two 13-inch pizzas! —Loretta Lawrence, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Want to try more variations? Try this delicious vegan pizza.
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Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells

More cheese, please! You'll get your fill from saucy jumbo pasta shells loaded with four kinds—mozzarella, Asiago, ricotta and cottage cheese. Do the prep work, and then freeze according to the recipe directions to have a ready-to-bake meal for a future busy night. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Dreamy Polenta

I grew up eating polenta, so it’s a must at my holiday gatherings. Traditional recipes require constant stirring, but using my handy slow cooker allows me to turn my attention to the lineup of other foods on my spread. —Ann Voccola, Milford, Connecticut

If you’ve ever wondered about when to use grits vs. polenta, or when to substitute plain old cornmeal, we’ve got some answers!

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Eggplant Rollatini

Want to learn how to cook eggplant? Here’s where to start. These authentic eggplant roll-ups may take some time to prepare, but the end result is restaurant-quality. Your family will request this recipe time and again. —Nancy Sousley, Lafayette, Indiana.

Don’t feel like cooking? Here’s our round up of the best Italian restaurant in every state.

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Arborio Rice and White Bean Soup

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. This hearty, satisfying soup with arborio rice is low in fat and comes together in less than 30 minutes. —Deanna McDonald, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Summer Zucchini Pasta

I'm always experimenting when my garden is cranking out zucchini and summer squash. This simple and healthy pasta dish is one of my latest wins. It's meatless, but you can add shredded chicken or grilled salmon for a heartier dish. —Beth Berlin, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Marinated Cheese

This special appetizer always makes it to our neighborhood parties and is the first to disappear from the buffet table. It's attractive, delicious—and so easy! —Laurie Casper, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
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Garden Vegetable Tomato Sauce

I make this vegetable tomato sauce regularly and store containers of it in my freezer. It's a tasty substitute for regular pasta sauce, and the extra vegetables make it healthier. I also use it when I make pizza. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
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Pull-Apart Herb Bread

The ingredients for this recipe are so simple and the results so spectacular that I'm always willing to share the secret. It's actually a variation of a doughnut recipe I made years ago, using refrigerated biscuits. The best part of having this bread is tearing it apart and eating it warm. —Evelyn Kenney, Hamilton, New Jersey
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Slow-Cooker Minestrone

There's nothing quite like the comfort of warm homemade soup, and it's even better when your slow cooker does most of the work for you! This slow-cooker minestrone is easy to put together but has all the flavor of a high-effort dish. —Erin Raatjes, New Lenox, Illinois
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Ziti Bake

My children have frowned upon many of my casserole recipes, but they give a cheer when they hear we're having baked ziti for supper. I've tried to incorporate more meatless meals into our menus, which is how this recipe got started. No one misses the meat. They even like the leftovers! —Charity Burkholder, Pittsboro, Indiana
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Tasty Marinated Tomatoes

My niece introduced me to this colorful recipe some time ago. I now make it when I have buffets or large gatherings because it can be prepared hours ahead. This is a great way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes. —Myrtle Matthews, Marietta, Georgia
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Pepper Ricotta Primavera

Garlic, peppers and herbs top creamy ricotta cheese in this meatless skillet meal you can make in just 20 minutes. —Janet Boulger, Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador
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Garlic-Buttered Green Beans

These dressed-up beans are simple to make but look and taste special. They're a perfect side dish for nearly any meal.
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Grilled Caprese Quesadillas

Here's a quick and easy summer lunch that makes great use of garden-grown tomatoes. Feel free to make your quesadillas heartier by adding grilled chicken. —Amy Mongiovi, Lititz, Pennsylvania
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Tuscan Portobello Stew

Here’s a healthy one-skillet meal that’s quick and easy to prepare yet elegant enough for company. I often take this stew to my school’s potlucks, where it is devoured by teachers and students alike. —Jane Siemon, Viroqua, Wisconsin
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Sweet Potato Panzanella

This is my favorite lunch dish during the fall season. Every bite is filled with flavor and texture, but it isn't too high in calories. —Mary M. Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
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Olive Oil Dip

Combine a blend of herbs to create this mouthwatering mix. Plumping the herbs in water before stirring into olive oil enhances the flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Homemade Manicotti

These tender manicotti are much easier to stuff than the purchased variety. People are always amazed when I say I make my own noodles. My son fixed this recipe for several of his friends, and they were extremely impressed with his cooking skills. —Sue Ann Bunt, Painted Post, New York
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Homemade Meatless Spaghetti Sauce

When my tomatoes ripen, the first things I make are BLTs and this homemade spaghetti sauce. —Sondra Bergy, Lowell, Michigan
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Penne All'Arrabiata

Pasta all'arrabiata, a classic Italian recipe, is my comfort food be it summer or winter. My kids and I love sprinkling pangrattato (fried bread crumbs) on top of the arrabiata sauce. —Smitha Haridasan, Ganapathy, India
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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Saute

This side dish is full of flavor and so quick to put together. The cherry tomatoes and mozzarella are perfect alongside almost any main dish you can think of. —Summer Jones, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Slow-Cooker Ratatouille

Not only does this classic recipe make a phenomenal side dish, you can also serve it with sliced French bread for a warm and easy appetizer. Try it in the summer with your garden-fresh vegetables. —Jolene Walters, North Miami, Florida
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Pressure-Cooker Caponata

This Italian eggplant dip preps quickly and actually gets better as it stands. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Try adding a little leftover caponata to scrambled eggs for a savory breakfast. —Nancy Beckman, Helena, Montana
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Caprese Salad

My husband and I love Caprese salad, but not the high prices we pay for it in restaurants. Here, we created our own version which tastes incredibly close, if not better, than any restaurant version we've tried. —Melissa Pearson, Sandy, Utah
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Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

This vegetarian soup features a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Sweet Potato Tortellini with Hazelnut Sauce

Using wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta dough makes homemade tortellini easy to prepare. For more formal dinners, this makes an impressive vegetarian entree. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida
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Artichoke Caprese Platter

I dressed up the classic Italian trio of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with marinated artichokes. It looks so yummy on a pretty platter set out on a buffet. Using fresh mozzarella is the key to its great taste. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Acini di Pepe Salad

Looking for a quick lunch idea? Blend veggies, tiny pasta and juicy pineapple bits to make my favorite acini di pepe salad recipe. —June Herke, Watertown, South Dakota
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Ravioli with Creamy Squash Sauce

Store-bought ravioli speeds assembly of this cozy, restaurant-quality dish that tastes so good your family won't notice it's meatless. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Vegetable Lentil Soup

Here’s a healthy slow-cooker soup that's ideal for vegetarians and those watching their weight. Butternut squash and lentils make it hearty, while herbs and other veggies round out the flavor. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin
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Nonni's Fritole

My Italian grandmother was famous for her fritole and made these treats for her family and friends. Years later we found her recipe card and tried making them without success for several years. We finally figured out the missing part of this recipe–the self-rising flour! Now we can have these as often as we like. It brings back so many wonderful memories. — Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Pressure-Cooker Sicilian Steamed Leeks

I love the challenge of developing recipes for the fresh leek from my garden, a delicious but underused vegetable. This Italian-flavored dish is a family favorite. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Balsamic Asiago Salad

You can toss this tasty salad together in 10 minutes flat. Simply drizzle bottled dressing over the colorful blend of greens, tomato and peppers. Then add a quick sprinkle of garlic-seasoned cheese and serve. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Herbed Bread Twists

A blend of herbs and a special shape dress up ordinary frozen bread dough in this unbelievably easy recipe. —Deb Stapert, Comstock Park, Michigan
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Mamma's Caponata

This is fabulous as an appetizer, but you can easily turn it into a meal. Instead of having it on bread, serve it over warm pasta. —Georgette Stubin, Canton, Michigan
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Mushroom Panzanella

My fresh take on classic Italian bread salad pairs well with grilled or roasted meats. —Jennifer Beckman, Falls Church, Virginia
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Great Garlic Bread

Garlic bread may be the go-to accompaniment to any pasta dish or Italian-style soup—but there’s no reason it has to be run-of-the-mill! This tasty garlic bread topped with cheese adds the wow factor to any entree. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Portobello Melts

We're always looking for satisfying vegetarian meals, and this one tops the list. These melts are especially delicious in the summer when we have tons of homegrown tomatoes. —Amy Smalley, Morehead, Kentucky
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Cauliflower Gnocchi

I came up with this cauliflower gnocchi recipe after trying Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi. This dish reminds me of cauliflower gratin, especially if you add Parmesan—but the gnocchi are also good on their own.—Ben Rogojan, Seattle, Washington
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Rosemary Focaccia

The savory aroma of rosemary as this classic bread bakes is irresistible. Try this bread as a side with any meal, as a snack or as a pizza crust. —Debrah Peoples, Calgary, Alberta
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Orange and Olives Salad

My grandmother made sure this orange and olives salad was on our holiday table every year. It's so light and simple to make. And it looks pretty on the table! —Angela David, Lakeland, Florida
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Olive and Red Pepper Linguine

With 16 grandchildren, I find that someone is always hungry. This is a quick dish to fix. I sometimes serve garlic bread alongside it for an easy meatless meal. —Betty Carpenter, Hookstown, Pennsylvania
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Caprese Skewers

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Hearty Italian White Bean Soup

A bowlful of this soup is so satisfying, it's hard to believe it's actually good for you, too. I crave it all the time. With lots of beans and potatoes, it's filling and even hits the spot with meat lovers. —Kristina Krummel, Elkins, Arkansas
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Tomato-Cucumber Mozzarella Salad

I used fresh mozzarella for the first time last year and loved it. I wanted to incorporate it into as many dishes as possible and came up with this tomato cucumber basil salad. It has quickly become a mainstay at my house. —Jennifer Klann, Corbett, Oregon