Italian Vegetable Recipes

Italian Vegetable Recipes

Like most of our favorite Italian foods, the good vegetable recipes are good because of their simplicity.

With nothing more than a handful of ingredients, and fresh seasonal vegetables, you've got something delicious to serve for your next meal.

I hope you'll find at least one here that will become a new favorite. 

italian vegetable recipes

Italian Vegetable Recipe
Steamed Artichokes with Homemade Aioli
Serves 4

This is a vegetable recipe almost anyone will love. Serve hot or cold.

Ingredients:

4 medium sized artichokes – sharp leaves snipped, stems trimmed to ½ inch length
2 cups homemade aioli (recipe below)

Preparation:

Place a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with water just until the water is level with the bottom of the basket. Steam the artichokes over low heat for about 1 hour, or until you can remove a leaf very easily from the stem. Remove pot from heat, uncover and allow to cool for a few minutes before handling artichokes. Use a set of tongs to remove artichokes from the pan, hold them upside-down for a minute to drain any excess water. Serve each artichoke, whole, with some of the aioli for dipping, and place extra dishes on the table for your guests to use for the discarded leaves.

Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)
Makes about 2 ½ cups

4 large garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten--at room temperature
about 2 cups extra virgin olive oil--at room temperature
juice of 1 organic lemon
¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Put garlic cloves, egg yolks, lemon juice and sea salt in blender. Process until they are combined. Slowly add the olive oil in a very thin stream until you reach a nice emulsified consistency. You may not need all of the olive oil.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Italian Sauteed Artichoke “Fondi”
Serves 3 or 4

This is one of the age-old traditional Italian vegetable recipes.

Fondi means “base” in Italian. At the open air markets during artichoke season you will see the signs that say “Fondi” hanging from the vegetable vendor awnings, placed over a big bucket filled with water, parsley sprigs and very light green, perfectly whittled round disks, which are what’s left of the artichoke when all the tough upper leaves and prickly choke have been cut away. When I lived in Venice, Italy, I learned the traditional preparation of this seasonal specialty, which is the simple recipe that follows.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious: Get 10 – 12 artichokes and follow these directions. Otherwise, skip to the next paragraph for the alternatives. To prepare the fondi, use a very sharp knife to carefully whittle away the tough upper portion of the artichoke (leaves and fuzzy choke. Cut the bottom off at the base of the stem, and again, whittle away the tough outer layer. Immediately submerge each fondi into a bowl with lemon water to prevent them from turning brown. After you have performed this task, wash your hands very well with soap and water. There is a bitter residue left on the hands after working with fresh artichokes.

Ideally, you will find a vegetable vendor who has done all the hard work for you, otherwise try substituting frozen artichoke bases, or frozen artichoke hearts instead. Or look for fresh baby artichokes in higher-end grocery stores. Baby artichokes have not developed the fuzzy, prickly inner choke yet. A baby artichoke is tender enough that you need only remove some of the outer leaves, cut off the tops, and the rest is perfectly edible!

Ingredients:

10-12 artichoke fondi (or 1 – 2 lbs frozen artichoke bases or hearts, or fresh baby artichokes, trimmed as described above)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preparation:

Slice the fondi into thin slices. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add fondi slices and sautee until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add parsley, sea salt & pepper to taste, stir and sautee one minute more. Serve warm.

italian vegetable recipes

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Broccoli with Garlic and Hot Chiles
Serves 4 - 6

I first sampled this Italian vegetable recipe in a family style restaurant in New York City. It was served with sausage added, which, I might add, makes an easy one-skillet meal.

Ingredients:

1 large bunch broccoli – stems peeled and sliced, tops cut into bite size florettes
3 large garlic cloves – crushed and minced
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons clarified butter
good grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a large skillet heat the oil and butter on medium heat. Add the garlic and chile flakes and sautee until garlic is just beginning to darken. Add broccoli stems, florettes and the water. Turn up the heat to high, and sautee for 3 -4 minutes, or until broccoli is tender-crisp and bright green , and the water has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Variation:

Use a high quality lard in place of the butter and olive oil.

Add some sliced, cooked all-natural sausage.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Baked Cauliflower with Lemon
Serves 4 - 6

Use a covered casserole to make this delicious Italian vegetable recipe.

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower – core removed and cut into large florettes
¼ cup butter
1 large shallot – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed and minced
finely grated zest from one lemon
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
good grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375F. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the butter just until melted. Turn off the heat. Stir in the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Put cauliflower pieces in the casserole dish, use a spoon to drizzle the butter mixture over the cauliflower. Bake for 1 hour, or until tender.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Grilled Vegetable Medley
serves 3 – 4

I've included this in our Italian Vegetable Recipes since all the vegetables are used in Italian cuisine. I’ve been making my grilled vegetables this way for years!

Ingredients:

1 large sweet bell pepper (yellow, orange or red) – halved and cut into strips about 1 inch wide
1 medium red onion – cut into 8 wedges
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash - cut into quarters lengthwise, and then into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic – crushed and minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
good grey sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the grill to medium. Place all vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the oil, add the garlic, herbs, sea salt & pepper. Toss to coat vegetables evenly. Grill on medium low-flame until tender-crisp. Serve warm or cold.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Braised Fennel and Leeks
Serves 3 – 4

I don't know if this would be better classified under traditional Italian vegetable recipes, or under "Susan's inspirations", but I love it.

Try this with roast meats, or chicken.

Ingredients:

2 medium fennel bulbs – washed, trimmed, halved and sliced into thin wedges
2 or 3 small leeks – trimmed, sliced halfway through lengthwise, washed very well and sliced into 3/4 inch slices
3 large cloves garlic – crushed and minced
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup homemade chicken broth or water
sea salt to taste

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee a few seconds. Add fennel and leeks in one even layer. Sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and let them cook until very lightly browned underneath, then add broth or water, cover the pan and simmer until all the liquid is evaporated and vegetables are tender, about 8 – 10 minutes.

If the liquid evaporates before the vegetables are finished cooking, add a few more tablespoons water as needed.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4

This is another of my own Italian-inspired vegetable recipes. I think it qualifies. 

For a dynamic presentation and a nice flavor compliment, serve roasted tomatoes and steamed buttered spinach as complimentary side dishes with simply prepared chicken or fish.

Ingredients:

4 medium size ripe tomatoes – cut in half
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (oregano, margoram, parsley, thyme or rosemary are all good choices)
good grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F. Place tomatoes in a baking dish, cut sides facing up. Drizzle the oil over tomatoes, sprinkle the herbs on top and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

Variation:

Use a variety of little tomatoes, and reduce cooking time by half.

italian vegetable recipes



Italian Vegetable Recipes
Steamed Spinach with Butter and Lemon
Serves 3 - 4

Ingredients:

2 or 3 bunches fresh spinach leaves – stems trimmed and leaves washed very well in 2 or 3 changes of water
juice of half a lemon
2 or 3 tablespoons butter
good grey sea salt to taste

Preparation:

Steam the spinach leaves just until they wilt, put in a mixing bowl, add lemon, butter and salt, stir to mix well and serve, garnished with scallions if you like.

Variation:

Substitute warm roasted garlic cloves for the lemon (not so Italian).

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Oven Roasted Tuscan Vegetables
Serves 4 - 6

This is one of the Italian Vegetable Recipes that is popular with almost everyone!

Use two baking sheets, and two shelves in the oven, to ensure you can cook all the vegetables in a single layer. Or with a small oven, bake one batch at a time. These are great served hot, at room temperature, or chilled as part of a salad plate.

Ingredients:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves – crushed and minced
1 medium eggplant – sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges, each wedge cut into 3 pieces
1 large red bell pepper – cut into bite size pieces
1 large fennel bulb – cut into 8 wedges, layers separated
1 medium red onion – cut into 8 wedges, layers separated
2 small to medium zucchini – sliced lengthwise into quarters, and then each quarter cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
good grey sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F. Put all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the thyme leaves in, and drizzle the olive oil over the mixture. Use your clean hands to mix the vegetables with the oil and herbs. Arrange the mixture on two baking sheets, spreading them in an even layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the vegetables and place in the oven. Roast vegetables for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender when pricked with a knife. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or let them cool for later use.

To serve these vegetables as a salad, arrange some lettuce leaves on a serving dish, top with the vegetables, and make a dressing by whisking together the following: 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, scallion or chives. Use a spoon to drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and serve at once.

Variations:

Grill the vegetables for a special treat.

Use fresh chopped basil instead of the thyme.

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Italian Vegetable Casserole
Serves 4-6

For this baked vegetable casserole, we use a similar recipe as for Tuscan Roasted Vegetables, except we slice all the vegetables into thin slices and arrange them in a casserole dish to bake. The result is a tender juicy casserole that is excellent hot or cold.

Ingredients:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves – crushed and minced
1 medium eggplant – sliced into thin rings
1 large red bell pepper – cut into thin slices
1 large fennel bulb – cut into very thin slices
2 small to medium zucchini or yellow squash– sliced thin
2 large ripe tomatoes – sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
good grey sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350. Oil a large shallow casserole dish and set aside. In a skillet, gently heat the ¼ cup olive oil and the garlic, just until garlic begins to sizzle and release its fragrance. Remove from the heat immediately. Arrange the vegetables in single layers, saving the tomato for the top, drizzling a little of the olive oil mixture on each layer, and a sprinkle of sea salt & pepper before adding the next layer. Use all of the garlic-oil mixture before you add the tomatoes. Top the casserole with the tomato layer. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle the dried thyme over them. Bake, uncovered for about an hour, or longer, or until a sharp knife inserted in the center pokes easily through each layer of the casserole.

Remove from the oven, allow casserole to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.


italian vegetable recipes

Italian Vegetable Recipes
Zucchini Sautéed with Onions, Garlic & Tomato
Serves 3 - 4

If this were one of the real "traditional" Italian vegetable recipes, we would only sautee a lightly crushed garlic clove for a moment in the oil, and then remove it before proceeding. I like the extra garlic. 

Use a skillet with a good fitting lid to make this quick summer side dish.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter
1 small onion or large shallot – finely diced
2 large cloves garlic- crushed and minced
2 or 3 small to medium zucchini (or yellow summer squash) – sliced into thin rings
1 medium tomato – diced
good grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee for 2 – 3 minutes, or until onion is getting soft but not browned. Add the zucchini, spreading evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low. Place lid on skillet and let it cook for 7 – 8 minutes, or just until zucchini is tender. Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve warm.

Variation:

Add some finely diced red bell pepper.

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