The vegetarian population is growing fast in Italy: and they have so many delicious options!

Italy is now the country in the European Union with the largest proportion of vegetarians: a 2015 report puts the figure at 10%. Whether you are a vegetarian or just an artichoke-loving foodie, Italy is a fabulous place to eat, and of course to learn how to cook amazing vegetable dishes. You may even win over your sceptical family members and friends who do not venture much further than their meat and potatoes!

Here, the regional cuisine has always been predominantly plant-based, using a huge variety of legumes and seasonal vegetables. The inventive genius of Italian cooks over the generations mean that these meat-free dishes are far from boring. Quite the opposite: they are bursting with fresh flavours and interesting textures!

Are you one of the people now trying to move away from a meat-heavy diet and incorporate more fresh vegetables into your everyday foods? This is great not just for your health but also for the planet. Red meat in particular requires a vast amount of resources (not just energy, but water). Accordingly, its production creates a colossal level of carbon emissions. Just by cutting *down* (not necessarily cutting *out*) on read meat, we can slash our personal carbon footprint. Even opting to eat chicken rather than beef or pork means that fewer emissions are released.

Our online cookbook has plenty of delicious vegetarian recipes. Try our squash dumplings, our slow-cooked gren beans or our vegetable minestrone soup!