Easy Italian-Style Family Dinner Recipes
October 10, 2019
Italians know how to do family dinners right: Boisterous, belly-shaking laughter, dramatic hand gestures accompanying vivid conversations, piles of dishes filled with homemade from-the-heart foods, bottles of red and white strewn about, and no coasters, starched cloth napkins, grudges, or refusals of second helpings allowed. When it’s time to host a family dinner, whether it’s an intimate affair of immediate members or a night where your home is bursting with tables, chairs, and bodies, take a page from the Italians and keep the conversation loud and light, and the food simple but good for the soul.
Delicate pink ribbons of prosciutto, licorice-like sweetness of fresh basil, creamy bites of fresh mozzarella—these antipasto skewers are lovely enough for a cocktail party nosh but also down to earth enough for a family Sunday supper.
Dare to resist this golden deep-fried goodness. Delightfully fizzy cassava flour batter coats any vegetables, fish, or protein of your choice before getting dunked in avocado oil and fried until crisp. Sprinkle the finished result with salt, serve with avocado oil mayo for dipping, and watch them disappear.
Dotted with rich, salty cured Italian meats, briny olives and marinated artichoke hearts, garden-fresh sliced tomatoes, and the wilty saltiness of soft Italian cheeses, this salad is really an antipasto platter sitting atop a bed of greens.
This rainbow-on-a-plate dish uses sturdy kale, the sweet raw pop of bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, fresh and clean-tasting cucumber, unctuous emerald avocado, and grassy tender artichoke hearts to make a salad statement.
This wholly delicious Whole30-friendly caesar salad comes together in a snap. Start with crisp, crunchy romaine lettuce, and top with sliced cherry tomatoes (instead of croutons), strips of cooked chicken, Primal Kitchen Caesar Dressing, and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.
A substantial mix of grass-fed ground beef and sweet Italian sausage, these meatballs would even impress an Italian nonna—particularly if you bring it to the dinner table full to the brim in a cast-iron skillet. This dairy-free recipe can easily be made egg-free as well.
This colorful, alluring pasta-free dish is part shrimp scampi, part shrimp alfredo, and all enticing. The unassuming creaminess of the alfredo sauce compliments the well-seasoned pan-seared shrimp perfectly. The scattering of quartered tomatoes and generous fistfuls of chopped parsley make this dish look like the Italian flag.
If you’re doing a Whole30 or are sensitive to traditional cheese-heavy Italian dishes, give this flavorful lasagna a try. It’s a labor of love and you’ll have to plan a day ahead to create the homemade cashew cheese, but once that’s done, the rest is a matter of layering ingredients and letting the oven do the rest of the work.
Keto or not, if you’re a fan of chicken parmesan, you’ve gotta make this recipe. It’s more rich, crisp, tangy, and satisfying than a traditional version because ours coats the chicken tenders in pulverized pork rinds instead of plain bread crumbs. Smothered in perfectly balanced sweet-acidic tomato sauce and gilded with a thick slice of bronzed and bubbly mozzarella, this one will blow your mind.
This one-pot wonder personifies everything that’s wondrous about Italian-American comfort food—thick, meaty ragu, tomato-studded sauce clinging to al dente tubes of pasta, anise pops of fresh torn basil leaves. Serve with nutty, salty aged parmigiano-reggiano cheese, or keep this one completely dairy-free with our recipe for vegan parmesan cheese.
There’s something alluringly satisfying about twirling strands of pasta around a fork. As much as we love spiralized vegetable noodles, not much beats the flavor and texture of homemade pasta. Luckily, it’s not hard to make keto and Primal/paleo versions of homemade pasta; our easy step-by-step instructions guide you through the process.
Filled with rich spices, savory bone broth, organic chicken breasts, and fresh lemon, this dish comes together in 30 minutes or less. Save the herb-studded, citrusy broth for drizzling over spiralized squash noodles, boiled potatoes, or even as the start of a soup—simply shred leftover bits of chicken, add aromatic veggies, several more cups of bone broth, and simmer.
Coating cauliflower florets in seasoned almond flour before baking creates a crisp exterior and yielding, slightly caramelized interior. Wonderful alongside roasted chicken, grilled sliced steak, or a substantial salad, even the kids will eat cauliflower served this way.
These oven-roasted potatoes couldn’t be easier: Coat quartered baby potatoes in avocado oil and salt, roast until crisp on the outside and fork-tender, then toss in our lemony, sunshiny turmeric-spiked vinaigrette.
Luscious, creamy, and deceptively airy, cheesecake coats the tongue languidly in a dreamy layer of silky sweetness. We created a no dairy, no bake version of cheesecake with a more controlled carb count that won’t throw your reward system out of whack after you savor a few bites.
Gelato is a perfect endnote to a rich, comforting Italian meal. The cold, creamy sweetness leaves you feeling even more relaxed and sated, rather than stuffed and in need of slumber. This coconut-rich version uses three types of coconut—oil, milk, and shreds—and vanilla-accented ghee and collagen to smooth out the tropical base.
Bursting with violet-colored blueberry filling, a nutty and rich pecan crumb crust, and either fresh or freezer-frosted chilled blueberries on top, this dessert is a showstopper fit for the finale of a family feast. Serve with monk fruit-sweetened whipped coconut cream on the side to avoid blemishing the blueberry gems on top of this cake.