Italy is a veritable cornucopia of choice when it comes to food. In a country renowned for its Parmiggiano, Mozzarella and guanciale (pork cheek) however, the idea of veganism might seem like a far off vision. Yet, while Italians do enjoy their fair share of dairy products, they also embrace seasonal produce and farm-grown crops. Explore some of our favourite vegan options below:
There is a common misconception that true pasta can only be made from eggs and flour, yet, in Italy, naturally vegan methods of producing pasta with flour and water far predate this modern notion. This type of pasta derives from Italy’s southern tip hundreds of years ago, where limited access to expensive ingredients such as eggs meant that sfogline (pasta makers) had to innovate with the ingredients they already had. Known as pasta bianca (white pasta) for its lack of yolk infused colouration, it still remains a popular choice in southern Italy today, where a lighter dough is better suited to its warmer climate. You can find our vegan pasta dough recipe here, or you can follow along with Chef Roberta below as she takes you through the process, step by step.
Originating from the southern isles of Sicily, caponata is a light mix of fried aubergines dressed in a sweet and sour sauce of ripe tomatoes, onions, celery, olives and capers. Although the original dish used fished and featured prominently on the tables of the Sicilian aristocracy in the 1700s, it was aubergines that came to substitute this expensive ingredient in households outside of that nobility; ultimately fish was far too exorbitant and was thus replaced with a plant-based alternative. Much like every region in Italy has its own unique variations in gastronomic culture, every town in Sicily has its own version of caponata. Sometimes locals like to garnish it with raisins or even toasted nuts for a deeper earthy texture.
Meaning ‘boiled again’ in Italian, ribollita is a soup that epitomises Tuscany’s classic peasant culinary tradition - or, cucina povera. Traditionally, it was made on a Friday with the remains of stale bread and leftover vegetable scraps. By definition, a ribollita recipe necessitates 3 main ingredients: cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), cabbage, and cannellini beans. It’s not uncommon to find other vegetables in this soup however; being a hearty dish, and one that is often eaten during the colder months, ribollita can also be fleshed out to include tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, leeks, and potatoes.
Used in variety of dishes, from creamy pasta-bakes to indulgent lasagne, béchamel is the mother of all sauces in Italian cuisine. While it is traditionally made with butter, milk and flour, we believe that it is possible to achieve a just as delicious taste with only vegan elements. Chef Roberta uses plant-based milk and a dash of nutmeg to create a sauce that is as versatile and luxurious as the original béchamel.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.