33 Healthy Italian Recipes
Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese
Three kinds of mushroom plus eggplant and carrots come together in this satisfying vegetarian Bolognese from F&W’s Kay Chun.
Ligurian Seafood Stew
After blanching peas, snap peas and fingerling potatoes, Andrew Carmellini adds them to a homemade mussel broth along with sea bass, clams, an herb pesto and little seafood meatballs made with shrimp, chorizo and scallops.
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
Garlicky Spaghetti with Mixed Greens
Food & Wine’s Kay Chun makes her silky, garlicky pasta with an abundance of greens so that each bite is equal parts of both.
Big Italian Salad
Part green salad, part antipasto salad, this recipe combines lettuce, celery, onion, peperoncini, olives and cherry tomatoes—all tossed in a dressing made with olive oil, vinegar and a little mayonnaise.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
This satisfying soup from David Bull is an excellent source of fiber.
Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables
Tossed with sweet acorn squash and roasted tomatoes, this whole wheat pasta from Eric Chopin is packed with fiber and vitamins A and C. Olives and toasted pine nuts add heart-healthy fats.
Chopped Italian Salad
Antipasto ingredients are sliced and diced to make a fun, flexible chopped salad. We’ve thrown in our favorites, and so should you. Add the dressing ingredients to the bowl, too, and mix them when you toss the salad—it’s the Italian way.
Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
This exquisite, supersimple spaghetti is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.
Fennel and Red-Onion Salad with Parmesan
Crisp raw fennel, pungent onion, and a sprightly lemon and orange dressing make for a delectable salad. A food processor with a slicing attachment cuts the fennel in no time.
Lemony Chickpea Bruschetta
Chickpeas are a fine source of protein and heart-healthy folic acid. Here, they’re pureed until creamy and flavored with preserved lemon, typically sold at specialty food stores.
Pennette with Spicy Tomato Sauce
When he was trying to lose weight, Mark Strausman relied on this garlicky, rustic whole wheat pasta. Not only is it loaded with fiber and lycopene-rich canned tomatoes, but it’s also deeply satisfying.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Salsify, Chestnuts and Ham
Michel Nischan transforms a traditional Italian dish with local produce and country ham. “This satisfies people’s yearning for pasta, but with a more American approach,” he says.
Italian Seafood Stew
In this luscious, tomato-rich stew, Marco Canora cooks calamari slowly until it becomes supertender. He says calamari is absolutely essential to the success of the dish, because it releases its liquid as it simmers, which adds a huge amount of flavor to the sauce. “I’m a big fan of substitutions,” he says, “but not in this case.”
Roasted Red Peppers with Tonnato Sauce
Tonnato sauce—a smooth puree of olive oil-packed tuna, mayonnaise, capers and anchovies—is traditionally served in Piedmont with slices of roasted veal. Here, chef Andrew Feinberg spoons the sauce onto a plate then tops it with a layer of wood oven-roasted peppers.
Spelt Focaccia with Kale, Squash and Pecorino
Chef Paul Kahan makes this healthy focaccia with spelt flour, which is high in protein and gives the bread an appealingly hearty texture. Instead of using an excessive amount of cheese or meat, he tops the focaccia with tangy marinated kale, soft and sweet slices of winter squash and a few shavings of nutty, salty pecorino cheese.
Concord Grape Granita
This icy dessert gets its sweet, tangy taste from Concord grape juice, which has three times the antioxidant power of orange and grapefruit juices.
Manila Clams with Hot Soppressata and Sweet Vermouth
Tommy Habetz combines hot soppressata with Manila clams, a very common West Coast shellfish; for cooks on the East Coast, he recommends using either littleneck clams or cockles.
Tuna-and-Tomato Pizza with Aioli
Chef Mauricio Couly tops crispy pizza crusts with anything from tomato and basil to the tuna and garlicky aioli here.
Chickpea Soup with Swiss Chard
The humble chickpea is enormously popular in Italy, especially for soups. Here, in this Tuscan specialty, it's joined by tomatoes, macaroni, Swiss-chard leaves and a generous quantity of garlic.
Red Wine Bagna Cauda with Crudités
This garnet sauce is Chris Cosentino’s take on the classic Piedmontese anchovy-and-olive-oil dip, enriched here with red wine. Italian for “hot bath,” bagna cauda is served warm with crudités. This version, with both oil-packed and marinated anchovies, doubles as a terrific sauce for grilled meat.
Fregola, the pearl-size Sardinian pasta that is quite similar to couscous, makes a terrific substitute for rice in this paella-style dish; it soaks up a lot of the cooking liquid from the seafood, tomato and chorizo stew and still stays nicely chewy. For such an impressive main course, it can be prepared surprisingly quickly.
Chickpea Panelle with Goat Cheese and Salsa Rustica
Traditional panelle, the popular Sicilian chickpea fritter, is deep-fried. Melissa Kelly forms her panelle onto a sheet, lightly sprinkles it with goat cheese and bakes it. Then she cuts the panelle into pieces and sautés them until they’re crisp.
Stone-Fruit Panzanella with Zabaglione
A classic Italian panzanella (bread salad) combines juicy tomatoes and bread cubes. Here, Chris Cosentino swaps in stone fruits like apricots and peaches for the tomatoes. Then he pushes the dessert over the top by dolloping the “salad” with an airy zabaglione, a frothy sauce of egg yolks whipped with sweet dessert wine.
Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon
The sauce for this shrimp is a simple version of Italy’s salmoriglio, typically made with lemon and herbs in a mortar. The sauce is also delicious spooned over grilled swordfish or any other meaty fish.
Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
To top meaty mahimahi, chef Michael White makes a vinegary caponata (a Sicilian relish) with fresh artichoke hearts, not the traditional tomatoes and eggplant. Trimming artichokes can be time-consuming, so buy marinated artichoke hearts from the grocery store instead.
Cheesy Farro-and-Tomato Risotto
Rajat Parr came up with this vibrant risotto when trying to feed a bunch of hungry friends in his San Francisco apartment from a pantry that happened to contain tomatoes and farro.
Penne Rigate with Spicy Braised Swordfish
The tomato sauce here—with big pieces of flaked swordfish and slivers of jalapeño—gets nicely absorbed by the penne.
From cookbook genius Marcella Hazan, a little herb-infused dressing transforms just-grilled swordfish steaks.
Yellow Squash "Linguine" with Shrimp and Asparagus
When julienned on a mandoline, lightly sauteed summer squash does a great job of imitating pasta, making a light, healthy, gluten-free dish when tossed in olive oil with shrimp and asparagus.
Brown Rice Salad with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella
This Italian-inspired brown rice dish is a great gluten-free alternative to pasta.
Whole-Wheat Linguine with Walnuts, Orange and Chile
Maria Helm Sinskey loves the fruity, spicy flavor of Calabrian chiles in this earthy pasta dish; they usually come lightly brined and packed in oil and are available at Italian markets and from dipaloselects.com. If you can't find them, substitute any chile packed in oil or just crushed red pepper.