Oh, so you want to know about the best Italian recipes? You’re at the right place! If you’re one of us, you’ve probably always thought that there can be nothing better than a pizza and a delicious plate of pasta of your liking, then let us prove you wrong! Sure, pasta is a God-sent delicious gift to humanity, but as tasty as it tastes, it can be replaced with some healthier substitutes. So along with the healthier substitutes, here are our top 3 picks for the healthiest, best tasting italian recipes.
Spaghetti Squash:What can be better than pasta made by nature itself? Answer- nothing! If you’re all about that organic way of life, this is the perfect substitute for you. We know.. We know… “Spaghetti Squash“ sounds funny, but just as they say, if they can make you smile, they are the one! So maybe.. Just maybe… this colorful, spaghetti like vegetable is the one for you! And better yet, they’re available in many shapes, sizes and colors and what can be more beautiful than all that diversity, right?
Eggplant Lasagna: Born as a fruit and used as a vegetable, eggplant is actually a type of berry. They’re spongy in texture, absorbent and bring a mild flavour to any cuisine that they’re put in. Mostly seen in purple, eggplants can also vary in colors such as red or green. There are many health benefits of eggplant lasagna. To list some of them: It’s rich in many nutrients such as manganese, folate, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, etc.
Cabbage Noodles: There are numerous health benefits to cabbage. This leafy, green, sometimes red or white vegetable is rich in many nutrients. Especially in Vitamin C and K. Eating cabbage may also help lower the risk of certain diseases, improve digestion, combat inflammation, improve digestion, aid weight loss and keep your skin on fleek!
With all of that being said, let’s get to our top picks for the best Italian recipes:
1. Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This ooey-gooey goodness stuffed with crumbled Italian sausage and cheese will surely sweep you off your feet!
- 3 pound spaghetti squash (1 large squash or 2 small squashes)
- 1 (13 oz) package smoked kielbasa sausage
- 8 ounces (½ lbs) ground Italian sausage
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 5 cups (40 oz) marinara sauce
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Chopped parsley, for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until squash can easily be removed with a fork.
- While squash is baking, cut the kielbasa sausage in half lengthwise, then slice into small half moon pieces. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown both sides of the sausage. Remove sausage and set aside.
- Place the ground sausage in the same pan and cook and crumble until no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
- Place the kielbasa back in the pan along with the cooked ground sausage. Add the ricotta cheese and marinara sauce and stir till combined and bubbling.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and ½ cup mozzarella cheese, mix into the sauce. Remove from heat.
- When the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler.
- Using a fork, remove all of the squash from the skin. It’ll easily shred and look like little spaghetti noodles. Place the skins back onto the baking sheet.
- Line a bowl or colander with a kitchen towel or a thick layer of paper towels. Place the spaghetti squash in the towel and squeeze all the water from the squash. This will help the dish stay thick and not get too runny.
- Add the spaghetti squash to the sauce and mix to coat. Refill the squash skins with spaghetti squash mixture.
- Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler until bubbly and cheese is melted.
- Serve with your favorite salad and garlic bread. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
2. Italian Eggplant Parmesan
This recipe is gluten-free, breading-free, and a healthier substitute to most American Parmesan recipes. Without compromising even a bit on the yummy delicious taste and the magical flavor of the eggplant just makes it even better; with a golden, delicious crust of the cheese on top, this is as good as it can get!
- 3 pounds eggplants (about 3 smallish or 2 medium)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, preferably the fire-roasted variety
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus additional basil for garnish
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 6 ounces freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups, packed)
- 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
- To roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425°F with racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Line two large rimmed, baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Slice off both rounded ends on one eggplant, then stand it up on its widest flat side. Slice through the eggplant vertically to make long, even slabs ¼- to ½-inch-thick. Discard both of the sides that are covered in eggplant skin. Repeat with the other eggplant(s).
- Brush both sides of the eggplant slabs lightly with olive oil (you’ll likely need about ¼ cup oil). Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
- Sprinkle the top sides with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, about 22 to 27 minutes—halfway through baking, rotate the pans 180 degrees and swap their positions (move the pan from the lower rack to the upper rack, and vice versa). The pan on the lower rack might need a few extra minutes in the oven to turn golden. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and translucent, for about 4 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook, while stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has thickened nicely, for about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped basil, vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes.
- When you’re ready to assemble, spread about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baker. Arrange about one-third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly (cut them to fit, if necessary). Spoon another ¾ cup of the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Arrange about half of the remaining eggplant slices evenly on top. Spread another ¾ cup sauce on top and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese. Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and top with ¾ cup sauce (you might have a little left over) and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
- Bake on the lower rack at 425°F, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Let it cool for at least 15 minutes to give it time to set, then chop and sprinkle additional basil on top. Slice with a sharp knife and serve.
- Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat before serving.
3. Italian Beef With Cabbage Noodles (Keto)
It might be surprising to think of cabbage substituting noodles. But what’s even more surprising is how good it turns out to be!
- 1/4 pound ground beef
- 3 ounce marinara sauce
- 1/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/16 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 cup green cabbage
- 1/8 tablespoon basil
- Heat olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spatula.
- Slice head of green cabbage (cut bottom of cabbage, then slice head vertically, slice into thin noodle looking shreds.
- Add the garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, and basil to the meat. Once it’s about halfway to being fully cooked, add the sauce. Bring to boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add the shredded cabbage to the beef and toss with a pair of tongs. Once the cabbage is somewhat coated, reduce heat to medium low and mostly cover the pan with a lid. Allow mixture to simmer for about 7-10 min, or until cabbage softens
- Remove the lid and allow it to cook for a few more minutes.
We hope you loved this article and it helped you get a better idea of healthier substitutes to the good ol’ pasta! Let us know your thoughts on these tasty recipes when you try them out! ‘til then, ciao!