There are many types of Italian food suitable for vegans, who do not eat any food produced from or by animals. Fruits and vegetables, which are part of the vegan diet, are plentiful in Italy and considered an important part of Italian cooking. Pasta, another staple of Italian cuisine, can be prepared without dairy products or eggs. Stews and soups, such as minestrone, are often made using vegetable stock and white beans for flavor and protein. Vegetarian recipes that include cheese can be adapted to create vegan Italian dishes like vegan lasagna or manicotti with substitutes such as crumbled soft tofu.
A nutritionally sound vegan diet is thought to include daily servings of grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Eating whole grains and legumes or beans together is said to provide what is called a complete protein. One Italian example is rici e bisi, a risotto that includes rice and peas. It is considered a complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein necessary for humans. Although it is sometimes made with meat stock, it can be just as easily be prepared with vegetable broth.
Another vegan Italian recipe that needs no adaptation is pasta fagioli, which means pasta and beans. Pasta fagioli is another complete protein. It is a soup often made from cannellini beans and macaroni in a tomato broth flavored with olive oil, garlic and oregano. There are also several vegan Italian sausage substitutes on the market. They are usually made from soy products and flavored with traditional Italian seasonings like fennel and garlic.
There are many vegan Italian pasta sauces made from tomatoes and other vegetables such as zucchini or eggplant. To retain the creamy texture of some Italian pasta dishes, a vegan could substitute dairy with soy milk. Adding a thickening agent such as corn flour along with oil and sauce can produce an adequate sauce. A tomato sauce can be made with a can of stewed tomatoes with olive oil, water and seasonings.
One could make a complete vegan Italian dinner from salad, minestrone, and pasta made without eggs. For dessert, one could make budino di riso, which is the Italian version of rice pudding. It has raisins, rum and sugar and is prepared almost exactly like most traditional rice puddings. To make it a vegan Italian dish, substitute soy or almond milk for cow's milk.