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Pinzimonio is one of the easiest, simplest and most versatile Italian antipasti. It’s light, healthy, delicious and absolutely perfect to celebrate local, seasonal, fresh produce.
It’s also economical, easy to make ahead and can be served all year round.
There is no denying, at its heart, pinzimonio is a no brainer, it’s essentially a dressing, and there is no right way to make it.
This Italian classic appetizer is more an experiment, a combination that makes you eat LOADS of your favorite veggies with your best olive oil.
Because fresh crudités and good-quality extra virgin olive oil are the stars o the show here.
The vegetables are cut into sticks or slices while the crisp salad leaves are served whole in beautiful platters along with small bowls containing extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and occasionally Balsamic vinegar.
In the most trendy Italian restaurants, even here in London, you can also find a selection of Italian focaccia or crispy bread along with the fresh crudités. Because deliciously moist focaccia tastes great with pinzimonio!
Pinzimonio is great because it’s super easy to make, affordable, packed with health benefits, and it can be served as a side or as a lovely, vibrant appetizer.
Chose local or home-grown produce if possible, arrange the crisp vegetables and salad leaves on a colorful, vibrant platter to impress your guests.
And celebrate summer and its flavors!
Origins of Pinzimonio
Although the concept of dipping raw vegetables in sauce may feel modern, the origins of pinzimonio actually go back to the Renaissance, when centerpieces with sliced vegetables were eaten at the beginning of banquets.
And the name of the dish comes from the verb ‘pinzare‘ (to staple) to indicate the habit of eating raw vegetables dipped in a sauce made with olive oil.
Let’s see how to make it!
List of the ingredients
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Bread or focaccia
- Salt & pepper
How to make pinzimonio
- Let’s start preparing the crudites’.
- Wash the vegetables under running water until clean and fresh.
- Pat dry with a kitchen towel and arrange them on a platter.
- To prepare the pinzimonio, simply mix your best olive oil, with salt and pepper in a bowl and beat vigorously until emulsified. You might also add a touch of good balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
- Serve the pinzimonio sauce in small bowls along with the crudités and your favorite Italian bread. Buon appetito! : )
Extra virgin olive oil: you’ll want to use your gourmet extra virgin olive oil here.
Balsamic vinegar: not sweet balsamic glaze, go for the real stuff if possible. Alternatively, a touch of lemon juice will do too. However, both lemon juice and vinegar are optional and come down to personal preferences.
Salt & pepper: to taste.
What vegetables to serve with pinzimonio?
The best vegetables to serve with pinzimonio should be raw, crisp, and dippable.
Crudités such as carrots, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, globe artichokes, celery, fennels are absolutely perfect for this dish. Also beautiful whole salad leaves such as romain, radicchio, endive taste and look fabulous with their large crisp leaves.
I suggest to skip vegetables that you normally don’t eat raw (sorry for stating the obvious!), or they’re too small in size and not easily “dippable” (think of cherry tomatoes or arugula, just to name a few).
More terrific Italian appetizers?
I’ve got you covered with these sensational appetizer recipes perfect for an Italian-style get together with family and friends!
- Start with quick and easy recipes like caprese skewers, spicy olives, mozzarella bruschetta, sun dried tomato paste, marinated mozzarella or chickpeas bruschetta.
- Turn the oven to bake terrific italian focaccia, tomato focaccia, focaccia with olives or crispy breadsticks. Also a delicious gorgonzola pizza, artichoke pizza or caprese pizza will be great for sharing!
- Impress with these scrumptious Italian rice balls.
Look how beautiful, vibrant and generous Italian appetizers are! : )
And for more appetizer ideas…
- Carrot fritters
- Mint yogurt sauce
- Carrot hummus
- Beetroot hummus
- Crostini with peas or with artichokes
- Vegan tzatziki
If you make this Italian pinzimonio, or you have a question, let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you! x
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Crudités (use more veggies if you like!)
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 4 small carrots, cut into sticks or sliced lengthwise
- 1 small cucumber, sliced lengthwise
- 4 radishes, cut into halves
- 1 endive or romain salad, use the whole leaves
- Place the ingredients for pinzimonio in a small serving bowl and whisk until well combined. You can also place them into a glass jar with lid and shake until they are emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Pour the pinzimonio into small serving bowls, one per guest if you wish.
- Trim the veggies, remove filaments, cut each vegetable into slices or sticks, and separate salad leaves. Wash them well under cold runny water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Arrange all the veggies on a serving platter or on a wooden board and serve them along with the pinzimonio.