Most Popular Vegetables Italians Like to Cook With
When most people think of Italian food, their minds immediately go to pizza, pasta, and other delicious, carb-heavy foods. These dishes are undoubtedly important within the Italian tradition. However, authentic Italian food lovers know that the cuisine uses popular vegetables just as often as it uses dough. Here are some of the secrets of an Italian’s favorite vegetables.
Italians’ Favorite Vegetables to Include in Tasty Dishes
You can find a wide variety of delicious and nutritious vegetables in traditional Italian dishes. But you’re likely to encounter a few of the most popular vegetables again and again. So dive into Italians’ favorite vegetables and learn how they’re used to elevate all kinds of good eats.
Even the most casual fan of Italian food knows that tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables (not a fruit!) used in the cuisine. Tomato sauce, or pomodoro, is an ingredient in many Italian dishes, including pizza, spaghetti pomodoro, lasagna, and so much more.
However, did you know many Italians’ favorite vegetable comes in thousands of forms? They use different tomatoes for fresh salads, pasta sauce, and as pizza toppings. Roasted, broiled, sauteed, and more! Tomatoes are quintessential to many Italian dishes. You can find many different tomatoes in some grocery stores or bring home authentic catering to enjoy Italian dishes at home.
Chicory is a root vegetable known for its crisp texture and bitter flavor. You don’t usually find it in everyday Italian dishes like pizza. However, Italian leaf chicory is a staple in traditional Italian foods. It provides a distinct flavor that mixes well with various spices and sauces.
Italian leaf chicory, or Radicchio di Verona, is typically used in pasta dishes, risottos, and salads. It also packs a healthy punch with its high antioxidant content.
For many Americans, the mention of celery brings up memories of eating this crisp green vegetable with peanut butter. Unfortunately, apart from familiar dishes like Thanksgiving stuffing and some soups, American cuisine doesn’t feature much celery. But this unique and nutritious vegetable is featured in a variety of Italian dishes.
Specifically, authentic Italian food uses Sedano Nero di Trevi. This black celery varietal is grown in Trevi village in the province of Perugia. Sedano Nero di Trevi is distinguished by its significant length, dark green color, and strong fragrance. You might find it in traditional Italian dishes like pinzimonio, stuffed celery, and black celery parmigiana.
Also referred to as melanzane, eggplant is a common staple in southern Italian cooking. With its subtle flavor profile, eggplant is used as toppings, as a meat replacement in dishes, and in casseroles. But surprisingly, this actually isn’t a vegetable at all! Okay, so you caught us, but many people don’t realize it is a fruit.
In addition, it isn’t indigenous to Italy either. So how has it become commonplace in Italian food? Even though its origins aren’t from Italy, it has been in the region since 9 CE when travelers introduced it. At first wary of the funny-looking fruit, it became a fast favorite and was even used in medicines.
Try Popular Vegetables in Our Delicious Dishes
There are many authentic and traditional Italian dishes to try outside the familiar favorites. Finding the right local Italian restaurant makes it easy to try new and exciting dishes while still enjoying your old favorites. Visit Spizzico Italian Kitchen to enjoy authentic Italian food today.