When you think of Italian food, low-carb isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind. The country is well-known for its incredible pizzas, pastas and delightfully bready dishes. However, Italy also has a rich history of light, delicious recipes that are perfect for lunches – and with Diforti’s wide selection of Italian ingredients, they’re easier than ever to prepare. Here are some of the best low-carb, high-flavour dishes Italian cuisine has to offer, ideal for a midday meal in the heat of summer.
This simple Italian salad should be a lunchtime staple for anyone looking to cut back on carbs. Purists insist that a proper caprese is made with sliced fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil, seasoned only with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. However, if you’re feeling cheeky, try using one of Diforti’s infused olive oils for an extra punch of flavour. We particularly like pairing our garlic extra virgin olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to make the dish extra-special (and a crack of black pepper never hurt anyone!).
If the thought of giving up pasta is just too much for you to bear, whip up some gnudi instead. Gnudi are pillow-like ricotta dumplings, and they’re just as satisfying and moreish as a big bowl of ravioli. Gnudi aren’t difficult to prepare, but the key to making them as tasty as possible lies in only using the finest ingredients: look for high-quality ricotta and the best Parmigiano-Reggiano you can find. They can be served with a variety of sauces and seasonings – a traditional Italian basil pesto goes brilliantly with the cheesy flavours of gnudi, or you can try your hand at a delicately rich butter and sage sauce.
On days when you don’t feel like cooking, Italian antipasti dishes are a low-carb saving grace. It only takes a few minutes to assemble gorgeous antipasti meals. Set out a mix of olives and vegetable dishes like grilled aubergines and marinated artichokes, along with an Italian cheese selection, for a varied and filling antipasti platter that’ll beat your carb cravings any day. Just be sure to pass on the breadsticks!
Layers of aubergine, tomato sauce and mozzarella make this low-carb dish a masterpiece of Italian cuisine. After frying aubergine slices until tender, you simply layer them in a baking dish with the tomato sauce, mozzarella and any flavourful additions you’d like to incorporate. Bake until browned and bubbly, and you’re in for a treat. Bonus: this dish tastes even better the next day, as the flavours have more time to develop.
Though pizza and pasta are renowned for good reason, the lighter dishes in the culinary arsenal of Italy deserve the spotlight, too. After all, without a fresh, vibrant caprese, we couldn’t fully appreciate the hearty, meaty flavours of a slow-cooked spaghetti Bolognese. Whether you’re trying to decrease your carb intake or you’re simply looking to cook something different, these Italian dishes make the ultimate summertime lunches.