Being a vegetarian or vegan in Rome is not necessarily hard, but is definitely not easy. Around every corner is formaggio (cheese) of every kind imaginable – mozzarella, gorgonzola, mascarpone, parmesan, and more, and Italy is no stranger to carne (meat) either; dishes with pancetta, salami and prosciutto are almost always on the menu or at the grocery store.
When dining out, there is almost sure to be at least one thing on the menu that is either vegetarian or vegan. Salads and sides of vegetables are almost always available, and dishes like spaghetti al pomodoro (though if you are avoiding cheese, be sure to let your waiter know – there could be cream in the sauce or parmesan on the top) and pizzas without meat or even cheese (pizza marinara) are often staples.
Try: Prisco – Via Fabio Massimo 91, 00192 Rome
Located in Prati, this restaurant has delicious spaghetti pomodoro. Although the menu is a bit pricy, this whole-wheat spaghetti dish is only €8.00.
If you’re tired of pasta and pizza, look for specialty restaurants. There are a few around Rome that cater to vegetarians and vegans, and Indian and other Asian restaurants tend to have an array of vegetarian/vegan friendly dishes.
Try: Gourm India – Via Labicana 29, 00184 Roma
This restaurant features reasonable prices and great Indian cuisine – a nice break from typical Italian cuisine! Gourm India has a lot of variety and many (clearly printed) vegetarian and vegan options.
Things get a little easier at the market. Many of your favorite dishes at home can be made in Rome if you find the right store. Vegetables, fruits and breads are plenty here and if you’re lucky, you’ll even find garden burgers and tofu at your local grocery store.
Try making some of these easy Italian dishes:
Ingredients: Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil, Olive Oil
- Cut the tomatoes into ¼ inch circular slices and arrange them on a plate
- Cut the cheese into ¼ inch slices and place them on the tomatoes
- Garnish with basil and drizzle with olive oil and season to taste
Ingredients: Bread, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Garlic & Basil (optional)
- Slice the bread and arrange the pieces on a plate
- Dice the tomatoes and toss with olive oil and season to taste
- (Optional: mix the tomatoes with basil and garlic)
- Drizzle the bread with olive oil and heap the diced tomatoes on top
Spaghetti al Pomodoro
Ingredients: Spaghetti Pasta, Tomato Sauce
- Cook the pasta al dente
- Heat the tomato sauce in a sauce pan
- Mix the tomato sauce and pasta
* There are many options for this dish. You can buy plain pre-made tomato sauce, or cook up your own. You can buy tomato sauce with garlic, basil and olives or add herbs to a plain homemade or store-bought sauce. You even can add grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, broccoli, or cherry tomatoes to the sauce or have them on the side.