Giada De Laurentiis' 8 best vegan and vegetarian recipes

For plant-based fare with Italian-American flair, look no further

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published February 9, 2024 9:20AM (EST)

Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Giada De Laurentiis is known for her simple, delicious Italian and Italian-American fare, much of which can be easily made on a frenzied weeknight. What she's not as well known for, however, is the bevy of vegan and vegetarian recipes in her repertoire — which, in many instances, are even quicker and just as delicious. 

With pastas, salads, drinks, starters and snacks,  De Laurentiis's vegan and vegetarian fare runs the gamut. These dishes are great for dinner parties, soirees or a simple night in. They are all customizable and straight-forward, too.

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So no matter if you're craving something fresh and light or something a little heavier, De Laurentiis has got you covered. 

A bright, sharply flavored potato and bean salad, accentuated with red onion, grape tomatoes, lemon, oregano and two types of olives, this is an amazing starter or a terrific lunch option. Giada serves it room temperature, but I bet an hour or two in the fridge would round out the flavors all the more. It's vegan, but feel free to add some feta or goat cheese if you're so inclined, or even some  grilled chicken or shrimp to amp it up into a full meal.
The incredibly-fun-to-say Italian word (which basically just means "Italian sorbet cocktail") is literally just as it sounds: Prosecco, vodka, fresh mint and — as you might assume — lemon sorbet! This is wildly refreshing anytime of year, but it's especially delicious during the summertime. If you're going non-alc, use spirit-free prosecco and omit the vodka. Also, be sure not to let this sit for too long! You want to sip it while the sorbet is still somewhat frozen and intact
There's an argument to be made that arancini might be the perfect party food or finger food. Essentially a fried risotto ball — thought some are just made of rice, not risotto — they're crisp on the outside, tender and soft inside and perfectly handheld. This version is both dairy-free and vegan, coincidentally enough, and is packed full of rice (of course), wine, soy sauce, artichoke and basil before being breaded. Be sure to fry just before serving. 
Don't be spooked: Making risotto is so much easier than you might think — and trust us, deep-fried risotto balls are just as good as they sound. Serve with marinara! 
Bruschetta is a classic for good reason. This version uses whipped ricotta and roasted cherry tomatoesbefore being topped with "sweet-and-spicy Calabrian chili honey" tomatoes, as per Giadzy. The whole shebang is then finished with some fresh basil. 
Your guests may think this is a good ol', regular bruschetta, but once they take a bite, they'll know they've stumbled upon something unique and wildly flavorful. 

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Giadzy says this dish is comprised of "roasted beets, fresh orange segments, meaty Castelvetrano olives, herbaceous kale, crunchy hazelnuts and tangy feta cheese" ... and that about sums it up, does it not? What a terrific combination! 
If need be, feel free to omit the feta so this is fully vegan. The bright, pungent dressing of apple cider vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil and salt is simple, but amazingly delicious, so be sure not to skimp on it. The hazelnuts might be the secret star here, though; they add such texture and crunch. 
You can't compile Giada recipes without including one for a pasta dish, right? That'd just be silly.
This simple, weeknight-friendly pasta dish is made with garlic, shallot, myriad mushrooms, wine, vegetable stock and mascarpone before being tossed with hot, cooked pasta and topped with Parmesan and chives. Yeah, it's as terrific as it sounds.
Don't forgot the starchy cooking water!
Humble, economical, straight-forward and filling, this lentil salad is a fantastic lunch option as well as a wonderful side for any meal. A bright vinaigrette highlights lentils, scallions, grapes, cucumber, peppers and hazelnuts. The end result is so much more than the sum of its parts. 
Add cheese or even a grilled, chopped protein to bulk it up a bit.
If you're a slow cooker person, this is an ideal bet for you, especially if you're having people over for the Super Bowl.
Boasting chilies, potatoes, onions, tomatillos and hominy, this chili is bursting with flavor and is totally plant-based. Serve it with an assortment of accoutrements, from plant-based cheeses and sour cream, to avocado, scallions, limes and jalapeños. Giada serves hers with a buttermilk cornbread.

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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Food Giada De Laurentiis Italian Italian American Listicle Plant-based Recipes Vegan Vegetarian