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3 Quick and easy Italian-inspired dishes for the lazy vegetarian

Brandi is natural born food lover of anything from gourmet cheeses and wine down to plain baked breads. When not in the kitchen cooking, she loves to be outdoors, especially near the ocean. She puts her focus mainly on healthy organic ea...

Everyone will fall in love with these simple-to-make Italian vegetarian dishes

As someone who is married to a vegetarian yet lives in a home with nonvegetarians, creating a simple meal for everyone to enjoy can be very taxing. Some nights I just want to give up because of the stress in finding simple, hassle-free vegetarian meals each of my family members will like.

These three recipes are ones I have been making often and that even my youngest son (who is the pickiest eater of all) loves. I love that these meals come together so easily (with the help of some fresh but premade ingredients), allowing me time to do other things besides cook for what feels like hours on end. You can always save even more time by prepping ingredients ahead of time and then just putting them together when dinnertime rolls around.

Everyone will fall in love with these simple-to-make Italian vegetarian dishes

Crispy skillet gnocchi with fresh vegetables recipe

Fluffy, premade gnocchi is combined with fresh, sautéed veggies and a simple sauce and then baked in a skillet until crispy.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18-20 ounce) package fresh gnocchi (sizes vary based on brand)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot full of water to a boil, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water, and cook until they float to the top. Drain, and set aside.
  3. In a medium-size cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the fresh vegetables. Cook the vegetables for 5 to 6 minutes or until they start to soften.
  4. Add the gnocchi to the skillet along with the remaining ingredients, and mix well.
  5. Place the skillet in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes or until the gnocchi starts to get crispy and golden.
  6. Remove from the oven, and serve warm.

Everyone will fall in love with these simple-to-make Italian vegetarian dishes

Open-faced tomato melts with fontina cheese recipe

Fresh crusty bread is topped lightly with freshly grated fontina cheese, thickly sliced tomatoes and basil.

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 12 minutes | Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf fresh French or Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the bread into 6 thick or desired-size pieces, and place them onto the baking sheet.
  3. Spread the tops of each slice with the softened butter, and sprinkle with garlic powder.
  4. Top with grated fontina cheese and tomato slices.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the bread is toasted.
  6. Remove from the oven, and serve warm as is or alongside a salad or bowls of soup, if desired.

Everyone will fall in love with these simple-to-make Italian vegetarian dishes

Baked cheese ravioli in vodka sauce recipe

Fresh, premade cheese ravioli is baked in a tomato cream sauce with a hint of vodka (that cooks away), topped with fresh basil and served with Italian bread.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (20-24 ounce) package cheese ravioli (sizes will vary based on brands)
  • 2 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Fill a cast-iron Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the ravioli, and cook until they float to the top. Drain the ravioli, and return it to the pot.
  4. To the pot, add the tomato sauce, seasonings, maple syrup, cream, vodka and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
  5. Top with the grated mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan, and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven, and serve with fresh Italian bread, if desired.

More easy vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian-style Mexican lettuce wraps
Spicy Sriracha udon noodle bowls
30-Minute or less vegetarian meals

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