Healthy Italian Recipes

Experts have found that following a Mediterranean diet can be beneficial for your health. These Mediterranean-inspired recipes prove eating healthfully can be a delicious experience.

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Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Shrimp
Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Shrimp

    Seafood and Italy go hand-in-hand. Enjoy this light, shrimp-filled pasta dish, complete with tasty spices, such as basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Peppered Chicken in Marsala Sauce

    Marsala sauce boasts simple ingredients--butter, meat juices left after browning, and Marsala wine (produced in Sicily). Marsala has a rich, smoky flavor that develops as the wine ages and is a wonderful complement to white meat.

Five-Tomato Salad

    Gorgonzola cheese and Dijon-style mustard add a delightful tang to this take on Caprese salad. Always keep tomatoes at room temperature--refrigerating them can change the flavor, nutrients, and texture.

    Tip: Gorgonzola is a creamy, Italian blue cheese that ranges in texture from soft to firm. The longer it ages, the firmer it becomes.

Rosemary-Rubbed Lamb Chops

    Rosemary is a very popular herb to use on roasted meats, and lamb is often served in Italy on special occasions.

    Tip: A little rosemary goes a long way, so if you're not used to cooking with it, go easy on it.

Grilled Vegetables on Focaccia

    Either an indoor or outdoor grill with do the trick for cooking the sweet peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.

    Tip: Purchase smaller, immature eggplants. Larger, puffy ones tend to be more bitter and have hard seeds.

Chunky Minestrone

    One serving of this soup provides almost half of your daily vitamin C needs. Chock-full of veggies and beans, it's also high in dietary fiber. Enjoy!

Quick Campanelle with Peas and Artichokes

    These thick, ruffled noodles absorb moisture. They are intended to be served with a thicker sauce or baked in a casserole, but they are deliciously light and fluffy when tossed with olive oil and vegetables.

Caramelized Onion Pizza

    Two kinds of cheese, tomato, basil, and onion top this less-than-300-calorie dinner. For a sweeter flavor, use yellow onions instead of red, as they contain more natural sugar.

    Tip: Top off the pizza with a delicious caramel syrup by deglazing the saucepan with a few tablespoons of white wine.

Beefy Italian Skillet

    A true Italian rarely uses only tomatoes in the sauce; they load it up with yummy vegetables--even carrots! Most of the vegetables in this sauce are part of Cleveland Clinic's top veggie picks, too.

White Bean and Pine Nut Dip

    Pine nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. This creamy Italian-style dip helps encourage you to eat your vegetables.

    Tip: Try the dip on sweet potato chips or artichoke hearts.

Sea Bass with Fennel Slaw

    Preparations for seafood in Italy are simple: Use top-quality ingredients and avoid masking the flavor of the fish with heavy spices and seasonings. Fennel's mild essence is a perfect complement to sea bass and is known to reduce elevated cholesterol.

Chicken with Orzo

    Make an Italian dinner in a snap! This recipe calls for picking up a roasted chicken on the way home. Leftovers taste great the next day, too.

Healthy Caesar Salad

    Traditional Caesar dressing calls for egg yolks. Our heart-healthy version replaces them with low-fat mayonnaise, without skimping on that irresistibly creamy texture.

Farfalle with Mushrooms and Spinach

    Low in fat, this vegetarian pasta can be made in minutes with ingredients that you likely have on hand. Cut mushrooms into thicker slices for a "meatier" texture.

    Tip: For extra flavor, marinate mushrooms in your favorite vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days.

Herb-and-Bean-Stuffed Tomatoes

    White beans are a staple in Italian cooking. They're also an excellent source of protein and a delicious stuffing in these hollowed-out ripe tomatoes.

Salmon with Whole Wheat Pasta

    Whole wheat pasta has almost three times the fiber of regular pasta. Paired with heart-healthy salmon, this Italian pasta dish is a guilt-free crowd-pleaser.

Scallops with Orange and Honey

    You'd never guess that this flavorful dish is both low-fat and low-calorie. Honey and orange add a touch of sweetness to the mild scallops, while cilantro and garlic balance out the recipe's savory side.

Tuna and White Bean Panini

    Served hot or cold, panini are filled with yummy ingredients that won't cost you a lot. Canned beans and tuna provide the protein for little expense and just 277 calories.

    Tip: Save on the grocery budget by turning last night's roasted chicken into a delicious panini for lunch today.

Linguini with Fresh Veggies

    This versatile Italian dish can be served warm right after you make it or later as a chilled pasta salad. Heart-healthy olive oil serves as the dressing.

Garlic-and-Chili-Rubbed Lamb

    Light cuts of lamb rubbed with a chili-and-garlic-infused spice could be the star of your Italian dinner. You'll love them even more when you learn they're just 200 calories per serving.

Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce

    Red pepper sauce is an extremely versatile Italian favorite: Try it over meatloaf or white fish. For a more robust flavor, increase the garlic and herbs to taste.

Spring Peas Risotto

    It may take a little longer to prepare, but this dish rewards your effort with its rich, creamy texture. Stir-ins can be forgiving, so feel free to experiment with your favorite vegetables.

Pasta Spinach Salad

    This salad uses a prepared dressing, so it can be made in minutes. It's perfect on its own as a light vegetarian meal, or grill your favorite lean meat to complement the Italian dish.

Mama's Amazing Ziti

    Comfort food at its finest! There's nothing like a soothing pasta dish to come home to at the end of the day. Better yet, it's low in saturated fat, so there are two reasons to smile.

Tarragon Biscotti

    Biscotti means "twice-baked" because these classic Italian treats are first baked in one long loaf, then sliced, turned on their sides, and baked again for an extra-crunchy texture.

Tropical Fig Salad

    Serve this deliciously sweet salad as a complement for chicken dishes, or grill a chicken breast and add to the salad for a complete meal.

    Tip: Figs don't ripen after picking, so buy only ripe ones and use them as soon as possible. They can be stored for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Cool Antipasto Kabobs

    Antipasto courses in Italy often include foods with a vinegar-based marinade. These skewers add a festive flair to any party.

    Tip: Variety is the spice of life: Thread artichoke or celery hearts, green peppers, scallions, mushrooms, radishes, or fresh tomato chunks onto skewers.

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

    Quick and easy to make, this recipe doesn't require any cooking or chilling. It's instant payoff: a rich, chocolaty confection at a guilt-free 153 calories per serving.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

    Italian granita, or sorbetto, is made with sugar, water, and flavorings but no dairy. The citrus flavors in this frozen treat are especially refreshing.

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