Looking For a post Christmas diet or just something light to eat? Food is not just something you eat in Italy. It is a deep part of the culture and traditions that you are born into and practice your whole life. To eat a dish in Italy is to understand the region the dish came from and become a part of its history. Delicious homemade pastas, crunchy pizza with freshly melted mozzarella, tomatoes drenched in olive oil with a taste so fresh you won’t be able to buy olive oil in bulk at Costco ever again. And, believe it or not, Italians have an extremely healthy and balanced diet. When you’re not used to a daily pasta lunch or 3 hearty courses at your neighborhood restaurant though, you can start to imagine your jeans becoming a little tighter and the bloated ghost of meals past haunting you. The true Italian food that often gets lost in the international portrayal of red-checkered tablecloths and fettuccine alfredo (not Italian food, folks) is the focus on fresh ingredients, small portions, and a high level of variety.
Living in Italy for several years has led to the habit of pasta and pizza lunches, but, especially after the sugary soaked holidays, we all want to eat healthy food to slim us down again. With health and diet at the forefront of my mind, below is my collection of post Christmas diet slimed-down recipes from famous Italian chefs and Italian foodie bloggers, tried and true, traditional and Italian, make and eat. You don’t just get delicious healthy Italian food on our Rome food tours!
1. Coco de Mama Blog- Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
The lose translation of coco de mama is mommy’s little baby- the perfect title for a stack of recipes and ideas inspired by the author’s, Francesco Romano, mother and grandmother. Francesco started his blog business after moving from Italy to the United States with the vision of offering authentic Italian food from his mother’s kitchen, rather than the “authentic Italian restaurants”, which in his opinion were “faking it to make it.”
This soup is not only nutritious, but most importantly delicious, made with authentic Italian ingredients, and will keep you warm in the winter months. Roasted red peppers are a basic ingredient in several Italian dishes and tomatoes are part of their religion, so you can cook with confidence on the idea that you are creating a true Italian dish. Find the recipe and blog here.
2. Eleanora Baldwin- Puntarelle Salad
Eleanora’s blog, Aglio, olio, e peperoncino (garlic, oil, and pepperoncino), offers the fun perspective of an American now living in Rome so you gotta believe if anyone knows true Italian cooking, it’s her. Puntarelle is an Italian chicory grown in late winter. It originated on the Italian coastline near Rome but because of it’s oh so yummy taste and nutritional value (iron and multivitamin) it has been naturalized all over the world. This unique recipe is perfect for the post Christmas diet. Using such an iconic Italian veggie, she jazzes it up with a dressing that dates back to ancient Roman times. I’d like to see you try to be more authentic than that!
Nothing sweeter than a Sweetgreen salad #theromanfoodie #sweetgreen #nolita A photo posted by The Roman Foodie (@theromanfoodie) on
3. Nick Stellino- Pork Chops
Famous Italian chef Nick Stellino, who grew up in Sicily, was once quoted as saying, “When Italians talk about food, we are talking about our souls”. Ummm, yes. I’d like to eat something that was made with this much passion. In 2010, Stellino was the recipient of a distinguished service award from the “Italian Trade Commission.” That was enough for me to trust his recipes and give them a whirl.
Stellino’s pork chops recipe incorporate his current life in the states with his background of traditional cooking. This recipe is a perfect example of a modern twist on tradition. He uses established Italian ingredients like the red peppers and various herbs, and creates a special dish that both cultures can learn from.
3. Antonio Carluccio- Polenta with shrimps
Carluccio is a master of Italian food and culture and if Italian food is something you need in your post Christmas diet then he is your man! TV shows, books, and websites- he’s done it all to bring the most mouth-watering and classic dishes to your table. He was born in the south near the Amalfi Coast and raised in the northwest of Italy- an unbeatable combination when it comes to food experience. Polenta with shrimps is straight out of Venice and can’t get more local in terms of ingredients. In the infamous city of canals they use the little pink shrimp straight from the lagoons, furiously sought after for they yummy taste. Quick, easy, light, and Italian. This recipe has got it all.
Simple and so delicious- the freshest prawns! Fry some chopped garlic and chilli in olive oil, add the prawns and a just dash of white wine. Quickly fry until the prawns are cooked.? A photo posted by Antonio Carluccio (@cookcarluccio) on
4. Rachel Eats- White beans with tuna and onion
Rachel is a talented Londoner who has been living in Rome for about 10 years, in the Testaccio area, which is famous for fresh food markets and some of the best restaurants in the city. This dish is a very common lunch or dinner in Italy, especially along the coastlines or in the south. It is full of protein but still very light. Typically served with fresh crunchy bread, it makes for a quick but satisfying meal. The best version of the dish uses tuna belly, common in Italian or gourmet grocery stores, but any tuna you can find will suffice.
5. The Roman Foodie’s Secret Recipe – Pumpkin Risotto
If you’re anything like me, you want a post christmas diet made of moderation. You need to treat yourself and enjoy every bite. Italian food is not supposed to be a chore or something you just do to get through the day. It’s a hobby and an art of life. So, when you are craving that treat after all these slimming recipes, our pumpkin risotto is the perfect kitchen date.
A photo posted by The Roman Foodie (@theromanfoodie) on
You can’t fully appreciate Italy without appreciating the food even on a post christmas diet. It’s our passion and we love sharing that passion with you. Like us on Facebook, an follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see what we’re eating and share your own treats!
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If you are on vacation in Rome and want to see some of the freshest food possible, check out our Trastevere Local’s Food Tour! Let us know how we can help turn your meals into memories either on vacation or at home.