Being Vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) in Italy

6 May

This is not exactly relevant to this post but kind of is when you think about it.. I doubt that sandwich is vegetarian! hahaha

After living in Italy for a total of about 8 months (4 months this semester, 4 months two years ago), I have learned that meat and cheese are wonderfully delicious Italian traditions. Since becoming vegetarian two years ago however, I have been deprived of many fabulous Italian specialties. Currently, I am making the transition to a mostly vegan diet (the key word here being mostly, cheese is just too wonderful/important in Italy to pass up on all the time), which means that not only has my indulgence in pizza and wonderfully cheesy Italian pasta dropped dramatically, but also my indulgence in awesome baked goods and desserts (gelato anyone?). After doing some research on typical Italian desserts, I found a simple and delicious recipe for vegan biscotti which may be a fun thing to experiment with on a rainy Sunday like today…

Vegan Mocha-Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients: (Approx. 56 biscotti)

  • 2 cups barley flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ – ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup non hydrogenated shortening
  • Flax seed egg replacer for 4 eggs (3/4 c water + ¼ c ground flax seed)
  • 1 ounce bakers chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup strong coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flours, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Set aside. Blend sugar with shortening. With a hand blender or mixer, add egg replacer, melted chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and coffee extract. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing until a stiff dough forms. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

Form into three logs and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the logs’ tops slightly. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Remove and let logs cool for half an hour before slicing.

Set oven temperature to 325°F. Cut logs on the slant into 1/2-inch slices. Lay slices flat on a pizza screen and bake for 25 minutes or until cookies seem fairly crisp. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Total calories per serving: 54 – Fat: 3 grams – Carbohydrates: 8 grams – Protein: 1 gram – Sodium: 11 milligrams – Fiber: 1 gram



While the Italians appreciate a nice vegetable (eggplant for example) many of their meals revolve around the goodness of meat. Rabbit, veal, wild boar, beef, stomach lining, brains, pork; you name it, they eat it. As a vegetarian living in Italy I have had to find some creative ways to stick to my normal healthy vegetarian diet (contrary to popular belief it is very easy to become a unhealthy vegetarian). I must admit that my first month or 2 here consisting of below freezing weather and grueling winds allowed me to feed my appetite for heavy, cheesy foods. The many spoonfuls of pasta and double servings of pizza kept my bones warm but they were not doing much to ensure that I had a healthy and balanced caloric intake. To keep myself in check I decided to frequent some amazing vegetarian/vegan shops and cafes which I have listed for you below:

  • Brac Café: Via dei Vagellai, 18 (Has some vegan options and a vegetarian menu – also has awesome brunch on Sundays but make sure to make a reservation!)
  • Dolce Vegan: Via San Gallo, 92 (Sit down place, completely vegan with small market)
  • Panino Tondo: Via Montebello, 56 (Vegan burgers and salads plus free delivery.. winning!)
  • Sugar Blues: Via dei Serragli, 57 (Market)
  • Perche No! Gelateria: Via Tavolini 19r (Soy gelato, obvi)

Soy Cappuccino from Dolce Vegan!

I hope this little post inspired you to try something new (hopefully not the sheep brains)

Happy Sunday, and eat your veggies for Christ’s sake! (or don’t, who am I? Your mama?!)


2 Responses to “Being Vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) in Italy”

  1. sparkliness May 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    🙂 Great post. Veggies rock my fucking world

  2. Jamie-Lee May 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    You’re not my mama but she would also tell me to “eat my veggies for Christ’s sake”. Lol. Did you try out that biscotti recipie?. I’d like to see an update on that.

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