Italian Bowl

This bowl is gluten free and made with natural sugar
Servings: 4
Jump to Recipe
Time: 30 mins

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Italian Bowl

This Italian Bowl is an easy, healthy meal that is perfect for meal prep. It is filled with salty pancetta, tangy banana peppers, and creamy Italian cheese.  It’s gluten free, refreshing, and free of refined sugar!


Italian Bowl Ingredients:


How to make an Italian Bowl:

    1. Cook the pasta!  Cook as directed on packaging.  Run under cool water to cool or toss with ice cubes.   The pasta can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in a sealed container in the fridge.  We use gluten free pasta, such as this one.
    2. Cook the pancetta.  Sauté to crisp the pancetta.  Ham or bacon can replace the pancetta or it can be left out in a pinch.
    3. Chop the veggies.  Dice the onion and banana peppers (if whole).
    4. Make the dressingMix the mayo, banana pepper juice, salt pepper, and red pepper flakes in a jar or small bowl.
    5. Mix it all together.  Toss everything in a large bowl.  Enjoy!



Quick Facts

How long does this dish take?  30 minutes 

How much does this make?  4 servings

Does this meet my dietary needs?  This recipe is gluten free and refined sugar free.  

How many bowls should I plan for this meal? 1 large bowl, 1 small bowl or jar, 1 pot, and 1 pan

How long does this keep?  1 week in the fridge

Is it freezer friendly?  No

Is this meal prep friendly?  Yes!  This is a great meal prep option.  Just keep in a sealed container (like this one).  

How do I reheat this?  Just enjoy cold!.

Can I pack this for lunch? Yup!  Just keep it cold.


Substitution Options

All substitution options are a 1:1 substitution unless noted otherwise.

Pasta:  Any pasta can be used, gluten filled or gluten free.  Just try to use a smaller pasta like a rotini or bow tie.

Baby Spinach:  Any spinach can be used.  If using full size spinach, rough chop.  It can also be left out.  Who needs veggies, anyways?  

Mayonnaise:  Any mayo can be used or you can make your own using this recipe.

Pancetta:  Ham or bacon can be used or it can be left out in a pinch.

Salt & Pepper & Red Pepper Flakes:  Sorry, no substitution for this.  Red pepper flakes can be omitted, however.

Red Onion:  Any onion can be used.  

Salami:  Pepperoni can be used.  If dairy free, check the ingredient labels to ensure your salami or pepperoni are dairy free.

Italian Cheese Blend:  A combo of mozzarella and parmesan can be used.  A dairy free blend can also be used.  If make a dairy free version – see note above regarding salami.

Banana Pepper and Banana Pepper Juice:  Any pickled pepper can be used, just be aware of spice level.


Fun Fact! 

The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, by baker Giovanni Amato in 1903.  While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them.  Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato’s, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato’s sandwich shops in Portland.  The Amato’s version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, onions, green pepper and sour pickle, Kalamata olives and salad oil.  (Source)


Try these other delicious recipes!

Gyro Salad

Creamy Vegan Gnocchi

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Pizza Bowl


Note: Joy to the Food gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Italian Bowl

Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 minutes
This Italian Bowl is an easy, healthy meal that is perfect for meal prep. It is filled with salty pancetta, tangy banana peppers, and creamy Italian cheese.  It’s gluten free, refreshing, and free of refined sugar!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Bowl
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories: 608 kcal


  • 1 8 oz box of rotini GF pasta cooked
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup Italian Cheese Blend
  • 1 cup pancetta
  • 1 cup salami diced
  • 1/4 cup banana peppers
  • 1/2 of a red onion diced
  • 2 tbsp banana pepper juice
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  • Make the pasta according to the packaging.  When cook to desired texture, strain under cold water or toss in ice cubes to cool down quickly.  The pasta can also be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge in a sealed container until ready to use.
  • While the pasta cooks, saute the pancetta over medium high heat to crisp it.  Remove from heat and add to a large bowl.
  • While the pancetta cooks, make the sauce by adding the mayo, banana pepper juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a small bowl or jar.  Stir to combine.
  • Chop the red onions into diced pieces.  Chop the banana peppers, if whole.  Dice the salami.
  • Combine everything in the large bowl and stir until evenly coated in the dressing.
  • Enjoy or store in a sealed container for up to a week.



Nutritional information is an estimate and for informational purposes only.
*Note: Additional substitution information can be found above in the substitution section of this post.


Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1436mg | Potassium: 357mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1560IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg
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Welcome to Joy to the Food! We’re so glad you’re here. We’re Mika and Dan, and the two Nalas (our spunky pups). We’re all about easy and affordable recipes that bring joy to the kitchen and make life stress free!