As if Italian-inspired flavours aren’t delicious enough, knowing that they’re simple and affordable to prepare from your kitchen makes them even better. While treating yourself to a restaurant or takeaway meal is nice from time to time, it’s far better for you and your budget to recreate your favourites at home. From tear-and-share garlic dough balls to tiramisu, putting your favourite Italian-style dishes on the table with a slimming-friendly twist is easy.
Whether you’re looking to prepare one dish, or serve up the whole shebang (we’re talking starters, side dishes, mains and desserts!), no one will be able to tell they’re eating a lower-calorie feast from our menu.
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Italian-inspired starters and sides
When you’re looking to make an Italian dinner with a pizza-inspired theme, our Pizza Swirls are sure to whet your appetite. By using ready-rolled light puff pastry, each swirl is a crispy, savoury dream for only 102 calories each. We’ve gone for tomato, cheese, lean cooked ham and basil for our pizza-centric filling, but there’s nothing to stop you having some fun with different pizza-style toppings (chicken or bacon would work a treat too!). Just be sure to take note of additional calories, if you’re keeping track.
Italian-style cooking is all about big flavours for little effort, and nothing makes life easier than batch-cookable dishes. Our Pizza Twists with Pizza Dip are great to have on standby as a fridge-ready snack, starter or side dish. The twists and the dip are both freezer-friendly, so you can make them well in advance of your Italian-inspired fakeaway and give yourself one less thing to think about on the night.
While ready-rolled light puff pastry is lower in calories and convenient, it can be tricky to handle. Take your pastry out of the fridge half an hour before you’re ready to roll – it’ll be far easier to work with!
Are you even enjoying an Italian-inspired meal if there’s no garlic bread on the table? You can serve our Cheesy Garlic Bread before or alongside your main dish. Everyone knows this crispy, cheesy treat goes with pretty much everything.
We’ve perfected the art of slimming-friendly, garlicky bread by oven-baking Schar gluten-free bread rolls. They hold their shape so much better than wholemeal bread rolls, and they’re too good to miss with a garlic-loaded crunch.
Once they’re topped with a melty sprinkling of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, no one will be able to guess that they’re slimming friendly.
If you’re cooking for a special occasion, our luxurious Tear and Share Cheesy Garlic Dough Balls are just the ticket. It takes a bit of work to prove your dough to perfection, but they’re so worth it once you get a mouthful of gooey-in-the-middle mozzarella cheese deliciousness.
For a restaurant-quality finishing touch, we’ve used reduced-fat spread to recreate indulgent-tasting garlic ‘butter’ flavours. You won’t regret adding a drizzle on top before serving…
Italian-inspired main courses
Choosing what to eat is the toughest part of putting together an Italian-inspired spread. With our hearty Meatball Lasagne, you’re getting the best of two delicious worlds in one incredible dish. Instead of mince, we’ve layered herby, homemade meatballs together with pasta sheets, and baked them in the oven until the cheese topping is golden brown.
You can find the full recipe on pages 156-157 of our fifth cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Enjoy. If you’ve not got a copy on your shelf yet, order yours here.
If you’re debating whether to make our Carbonara Risotto, the only answer is ‘yes!’. A step or two away from a typical Carbonara recipe, we’ve swapped out spaghetti for velvety Arborio rice. Gently stir your risotto rice until the whole dish becomes irresistibly silky thanks to our creamy, reduced-fat carbonara-style sauce.
Too good to enjoy only once, you’ll be glad to know our risotto recipe is freezable. Reheat your leftovers on a rainy day for comfort food in a flash!
With our Cheesy Chilli Pizza recipe, there’s no need to call for a delivery driver. It’s light enough to be on your midweek menu (147 calories per serving!), or a great main dish to build a pizza night banquet around.
To serve up an oh-so-crispy base for fewer calories, we’ve added our toppings to a rounded home-baked Naan bread, instead of dough. You’ll never notice the difference, especially with the magical combination of cheese and chilli involved.
Speaking of pizza, our Margherita Chicken serves up classic cheese and tomato flavours without a slice in sight. For only 241 calories per serving, you’ll get tender chicken breasts cooked in a rich, basil-infused tomato sauce, all topped off with mouth-watering mozzarella.
You can serve it nice and light with a crispy side salad, or make it into a heartier dish with Homemade Oven Chips.
There’s no such thing as missing the meat with flavoursome wonder dishes like our Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs. Our budget-friendly homemade meatballs are so simple to rustle up, making the most of store cupboard staple ingredients. Combining dried herbs and spices, cannellini beans and borlotti beans with fresh mushrooms and onions, they’re juicy and filling.
While we like them best with twist-around-the-fork spaghetti, there’s nothing to stop you serving them with your favourite pasta shape instead.
If dessert is usually your favourite part of an Italian three-course dinner, we can’t say we blame you! With the likes of panna cotta and tiramisu up for grabs, it’s no wonder it’s tough to choose.
Our Banoffee Tiramisu gives the moreish, classic combination of bananas and caramel a tiramisu-style coffee twist. By using reduced-sugar chocolate and caramel dessert toppings for our drizzle, we’ve lowered the calories without making it any less enjoyable to tuck your spoon into.
To complete your dessert’s show-stopping presentation, coat your banana slices with a teaspoon of lemon juice. It will stop them turning brown while they’re waiting to be served!
A winner for chocolate fanatics and coffee connoisseurs alike, you can’t go wrong serving our Espresso Martini Trifle recipe. Layered with boozy coffee jelly, brownie pieces, chocolatey yoghurt and cream, it’s tough to believe this sweet treat comes in at 284 calories per serving.
To make our trifles look extra special, we serve them in mini trifle dishes. They’re not too expensive on Amazon and you’ll feel like you’re out for your dinner…
When you know you want to round off with something sweet, but you don’t fancy sticking the oven on, our Chocolate Espresso Cheesecakes have you covered. Using a clever blend of reduced-fat spread, low-fat cream cheese, fat-free Greek-style yoghurt and ricotta, we’ve created a decadent cheesecake you can rustle up in minutes.
It’ll need around an hour in the fridge to chill before it’s set and ready to top. We’ve combined crushed-up Oreo biscuits with espresso powder to give our pudding a gloriously chocolatey finish.
You can find the full recipe on pages 238-239 of our fourth cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Comfort Food.
How will you bring the taste of Italy home?
We’d love to know which of our Italian-inspired dishes you’ll be serving on your fakeaway night. Share your photos over in our Facebook group – there’s a community made up of almost 1 million members who are waiting to support you on your slimming journey.
Stop by our PON Gallery for even more inspiration. There’s plenty of hints, tips, quotes and photos shared by our incredible community.
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