10 Vegetarian Italian Recipes So Good You Won't Miss the Meat

original pizza margherita
Photo: Jacob Fox

Nope, you don't need meat to make entrées that would make any Italian grandma proud. These vegetarian Italian recipes (including produce-packed pizzas, hearty bean soups, and vegetarian spaghetti recipes) are proof. Pasta party, anyone?

01 of 10

Summer Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Andy Lyons

This vegetarian spaghetti recipe is not your usual noodle and marinara combo. It's a rainbow-hue, potluck-perfect mix of noodles, zoodles, string cheese strands, and veggies. (Opt for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to keep the dish 100% vegetarian.) This is one of the freshest pasta salad recipes you'll ever twirl up.

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02 of 10

Vegetarian Barley-Stuffed Peppers

vegetarian barley-stuffed peppers
Jason Donnelly

Who needs sausage or beef when you can bake up tasty vegetarian Italian stuffed peppers with 13 grams of protein each? Piles of veggies, whole grain barley, mozzarella cheese, and herbs pack each pepper half for a meal with mountains of vitamins and fresh flavors. If you can't find—or don't love—barley, try wheat berries or farro.

03 of 10

Original Pizza Margherita

original pizza margherita
Jacob Fox

The classic Mediterranean flatbread is a brilliant blank slate for many vegetarian Italian foods. Marinara, mozzarella, garlic, and basil—plus 30 minutes—are all you need to jazz up store-bought crust. If you have extra time, start by making our All-Purpose Pizza Dough or Gluten-Free Zucchini-Sage Crust for the foundation.

04 of 10

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives

spaghetti squash with tomatoes and olives
Adam Albright

Craving a large portion? Bulk up whole wheat pasta with veggies for double the serving for a few more calories. This vegetarian spaghetti squash recipe gets a sweet-savory boost via golden raisins and green olives. Fresh basil, tomatoes, and feta cheese join the party for a lot of deliciousness in a fiber-rich package.

05 of 10

Creamy Polenta with Portobello Mushroom Sauce

creamy polenta with portobello mushroom sauce
Peter Krumhardt

Gluten-free, meat-free, yet full of savory Mediterranean goodness, this entrée is perfect for a chilly winter night or a warm summer evening. (Simply opt for canned tomatoes when fresh aren't in season.) Shredded Havarti keeps the polenta creamy for a yummy base for the chunky portobello mushroom and tomato sauce in this Italian vegetarian main course.

06 of 10

Tomato-Basil Cavatelli Skillet

Tomato-Basil Cavatelli Skillet
Andy Lyons

One-pot pasta for the win! To make this Italian vegetarian pasta recipe, you need a cast-iron skillet or other sturdy, deep skillet. Dump in the dry cavatelli and sauce ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes, shower with cheese, and cook for 10 minutes more. Dinner, done.

07 of 10

Healthy Minestrone

healthy minestrone soup
Andy Lyons

You can serve this hearty bean, pasta, and vegetable minestrone immediately or chill it overnight to allow the flavors to blend so it tastes even more like the restaurant version you crave. If you like, serve the vegetarian Italian recipe country-style over thick slices of toasted Italian bread.

08 of 10


panzanella served in a wooden bowl
Blaine Moats

With plenty of croutons and a flavorful DIY vinaigrette, this vegetarian Italian recipe is the ideal lunch. For a protein boost, toss in a handful of roasted chickpeas or some grilled tofu.

09 of 10

Lemon-Fennel Pizza

lemon-fennel pizza
Blaine Moats

Step aside, greasy delivery pizza. This vegetarian Italian recipe showcases puckery lemons and licorice-y fennel on rich ricotta. If you're feeling salty, pile on sliced olives. For a heartier slice, stack on roasted sliced potatoes. Any way you slice it, this is one delicious dinner!

10 of 10

Spaghetti with Seared Asparagus

spaghetti with seared asparagus
Andy Lyons

Crunchy hazelnuts, al dente spaghetti, and tender roasted asparagus team up in this vegetarian spaghetti recipe that will transport you directly to an Italian coast. Toss together this easy pasta party of a meal and crack open a bottle of white wine.

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