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Pizza, pasta, pesto: they can all be plant based! Here are our top delicious vegan Italian recipes that make for unforgettable meals.

Vegan Italian recipes

Yes, pizza, pasta, pesto, and even Parmesan can all be plant based! Italy is often seen as a meat and cheese-based cuisine (and there’s truth to that!). However, there are lots of ways to riff on classic dishes to make them into vegetarian, dairy-free, and vegan Italian recipes. Some authentic recipes, like pizza marinara and panzanella, are even vegan themselves! Here, we’ve collected our best vegan Italian recipes that make Italian cooking accessible for a plant-based diet.

We love the classics, but sometimes it’s even more fun to see how delicious they can be with a little plant-powered twist! We’ve got everything from spaghetti and meatballs to classic basil pesto, made vegan. And don’t forget to shake on a little vegan Parmesan cheese! (None of the recipes here use plant-based cheese or dairy substitutes, though you also could do so with any of our vegetarian Italian recipes.)

Ready to get started?

And now…our top vegan Italian recipes!

More vegan and plant-based resources

Here are a few more collections of vegan and plant based recipes:

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Vegan Italian Recipes

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Looking for vegan Italian recipes? This cozy vegan spaghetti and meatballs is a showstopper: complete with vegan Parmesan on top!


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 pound medium red potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8-ounces spaghetti noodles, gluten-free if necessary
  • High quality marinara sauce or Easy Marinara Sauce
  • Vegan Parmesan, to serve


  1. Boil ½ cup water. Place the oats in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Soak 5 minutes until the water is fully absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and dry the red potatoes, leaving the skin on. Chop them into quarters and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the texture is evenly chopped and has a consistency like rice (scrape once and pulse again to ensure there are no large chunks). Transfer the potatoes to a clean, dry towel and squeeze out the moisture by wringing the towel a few times (using a dark towel is best because the red skin can color the towel). Then measure out 1 ½ cups of the chopped potatoes (discard any remaining).
  3. Peel the garlic. To the food processor, add the cashews and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add the potatoes, soaked oats, oregano, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. Pulse a few times until fully combined.
  4. Form the potato mixture into about 1-inch wide balls by squeezing the dough together, then rolling it lightly, making about 28 in all. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When ready to fry, cover the entire bottom of a large frying pan with a layer olive oil and heat at just over medium heat. Place the balls into the oil; it should lightly bubble when the balls meet the oil (if not, adjust the heat). Fry the balls in two batches, turning each one frequently until all sides are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Take care of the hot oil, as it may spit. Remove the balls to a plate lined with paper towels. (Alternatively, you can bake the balls in a 400F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then flip and brush with olive oil; bake another 25 minutes until browned and crisp.)
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Boil the pasta until al dente, following the package instructions. If the pasta finishes before the meatballs, place it back into the pan with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Serve the meatballs with the pasta covered in high-quality marinara sauce (your favorite brand, or homemade if desired), and top with Vegan Parmesan.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Vegan Italian Recipes

Last updated: January 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Panzanella is my absolute favorite and I can’t wait for tomatoes to be back in season! Thank you for sharing the love for vegan Italian recipes! If you’re ever around Torino, please let me know :)
    Susanna & The Mindful Morsel team

  2. thank you for spreading the Italian food culture!
    another delicious vegan Italian recipe is caponata,
    if you’ll come to Italy, come and see me, you’ll be my guest and you’ll taste it