Italian Parmigiana

8 Tasty Italian Vegetarian Dishes You Will Love

March 17th, 2021, Posted by travelwith2ofus

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There are many Italian vegetarian dishes, and you will probably find enough choices at various Italian restaurants while you're in Italy.

Most Italian vegetarian dishes are simple. It is hard to find a recipe with a large number of ingredients. Italian cuisine focuses on quality, not quantity. Fresh vegetables are at the heart of many Italian recipes.

If you're looking for some Italian vegetarian favorites while you're in Italy or want to try and cook some at home, check out these eight easy-to-make and tasty vegetarian Italian dishes.

Involtini di Melanzane

Involtini di Melanzane is an Italian dish made typically with fine slices of eggplant. They dust the eggplant with flour and a variety of cheeses and seasonings. It is then rolled and baked or fried.

It is a great party dish that is very simple to prepare. In some recipes (non-vegetarian), they substitute the eggplant with thin slices of meat.

Try this recipe
Large aubergines (eggplants)
2 large eggplants; 2 pounds (1 kg) total

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

6 to 8 ounces (170 g to 227 g) mozzarella or scamorza

6 to 8 ounces (170 g to 227 g) pecorino fresco, or Asiago fresco; or a combination

Parmigiano Reggiano
3 to 4 oz (85 g to 113 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Tomato sauce
1 1/2 to 2 (355 ml to 473 ml) cups plain tomato sauce, preferably homemade, heated
Salt eggplant slices on both sides and layer them on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Let them sit for 1 hour, then pat them dry.
Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and arrange them on the baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes; turn the slices over and bake for 10 minutes more, until they are tender and lightly browned. Let the slices cool while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven heat to 375°F (190°C).
Cut the scamorza or mozzarella (if using) into small cubes. Shred the pecorino or Asiago on the large holes of a box grater. Combine the cheeses in a bowl and stir in the Parmigiano.

Lightly coat an 8-inch by 11-inch (20 cm by 28 cm) rectangular baking dish with olive oil.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling on the wide end of one of the eggplant slices.

Roll it up and set it in the baking dish, seam side down. Stuff and roll up the remaining eggplant slices and place them in the dish, taking care to reserve about 1/2 cup of the filling.

Spoon the remaining tomato sauce on top of the involtini and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake the involtini, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is oozy and the top is browned in spots.

Check out the full recipe and instructions at Italy Magazine.

Check out this video of a version of Involtini di Melanzane. (It's in Italian).


Parmigiana is a term for a meal that is cooked and served with grated Parmesan cheese. Typically, it is slices of fried eggplant covered in layers of Parmesan cheese. In recent years, they have developed many variations of this dish.

Parmigiana is an Italian dish, but there is some dispute as to which region it originated. Both Sicily and Campania claim it originated from their region.

The name of the dish supports the Campania claim. They named it after Parma in northern Italy. The Sicilians claim they named it after its main ingredient, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Parmesan. Whatever explanation is correct, the dish was first called melanzane alla parmigiana.

Check this adorable Italian grandma making Parmigiana. Awwww!!

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Bruschetta is toasted bread that they seasoned with garlic and olive oil. They typically serve it warm as an appetizer.

The name comes from the Italian word bruscare, which means to roast over coals. There are several variations of this dish with tomatoes, beans, or other vegetables added.

The most basic form of this recipe is Tuscan bread, toasted over coals (or in a toaster), and then they rub each slice with a clove of garlic and then sprinkled with virgin olive oil. Some people also add seasoning.

Other variations may have tomato, vegetable, or cheese toppings. Sometimes the bread is nearly immersed in olive oil.

Check out this video on how to make Bruschetta with Natashas.


Panzanella is a dish from Tuscany that comprises a chopped salad of stale bread, tomatoes, and onions. It will often also include cucumbers and basil. They dress the salad with olive oil and vinegar. The dish has spread in popularity throughout Italy.

The dish is ancient, and 16th-century poet, Bronzino, sung its praises in a song that spoke of onions, oil, and vinegar served with toast.

The word "Panzanella: comes from "Pane," Italian for bread, and "Zanella," which is the deep pan in which they serve it.

Modern Panzanella is made with stale bread soaked in water and then squeezed dry. Red onions, tomatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, basil, vinegar, salt, and pepper are then added.

Watch Giancarlo and Stefania of the Museum of Old Farming Traditions make Panzanella. (Italian with English sub-titles.)


This dish includes chopped, fried eggplant and assorted vegetables, all seasoned with olive oil, tomato sauce, olives, and capers drenched in a traditional sweet and sour sauce.

The dish originates in Sicily (Sicilian name: capunata). There is also a similar dish that originates in Napoli, called cianfotta. It is also a staple in Tunisia.

This perhaps suggests that the dish may have come to Sicily during the Arab conquests in the 8th century. It is also similar to capponata, which is a dish found in Genoa.

There is a non-vegetarian version from Palermo that features octopus and another which features lobster and swordfish. So you want to ensure you order the original vegetarian caponata.

Check out this video on how to make Sicilian Caponata.

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Arancini is yet another Sicilian dish, which comprises a ball of rice coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. It is considered a Sicilian staple.

They may fill the ball with mozzarella or caciocavallo cheese. Occasionally they may also include peas as a filling.

There are regional variations that may include other fillings. There is also a version from eastern Sicily called Arancini al ragu, which is cone-shaped and pays homage to Mount Etna.

Certain cities use arancini during the celebration of the feast of Santa Lucia on the 13th of December. On this day, people do not eat bread and pasta.

Today, however, arancini are eaten all year round. A fictional detective called Inspector Montalbano has also increased the popularity of this dish. The Inspector was a great fan of this dish.

Watch Gaz Oakley throw down his arancini with mozzarella. Yummy!!


Minestrone is a thick Italian soup made with vegetables. Sometimes pasta or rice are added, while on other occasions, both pasta and rice are used together.

In common minestrone, the following ingredients are used. beans, celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, borlotti-bean stock, and croutons. I described a typical minestrone because there are no set ingredients.

When making minestrone, it is customary to use whatever vegetables are available at the time.

In the mid 16th century, the introduction of potatoes and tomatoes from the Americas changed the recipe.

Watch lovable Gina "the Italian Grandma" cook up a hearty pot of Minestrone.


Ribollita is a well-liked Tuscan bread soup with bread and vegetables boiled together.

There are many variations of the recipe, but ribollita always includes leftover bread. It was popular with peasants who would reboil their minestrone from the previous day, adding stale bread.

Ribollita may include inexpensive vegetables such as celery, potatoes, carrots, beans, or chard.

The name Robollita when translated, means "Reboiled." Because there is no fixed recipe, the soup may appear different in texture or flavor every time you eat it.

Watch Carla from Pasta Grannies make Ribollita.

Which is your favorite Italian Vegetarian Dish?


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