What’s Italian food without meatballs and Parmigiano Reggiano? Can pizza really be called pizza without ooey-gooey melted cheese? Nonsense! It’s totally possible to cook satisfyingly authentic Italian meals vegan-style, and with these 10 easy to find ingredients, you’ll be whipping up Italian masterpieces in your own kitchen before you can say presto!
When baking chocolate desserts like tiramisu or chocolate red wine cake, adding a hint of Italian imported espresso powder (Medaglia D'Oro brand) is a fat-free way to achieve a rich, chocolatey flavor. If you’re not a fan of coffee, don’t worry! You can’t actually taste it- it just enhances the chocolate! If you can’t find espresso powder, you can just substitute any liquid called for in the recipe with cold coffee.
Blending raw cashews with water makes a perfect cream alternative for Italian pasta sauces like Besciamella (Bescamel). Throw it on pasta and you’ve got a Fettuccine Alfredo that will make any cream-lover exclaim “buonissimo!” Cashew Bescamel is even great layered in lasagne as an alternative to tofu ricotta and makes a “Mozzarella-style” sauce for pizzas.
But… what can you sprinkle on top of your pasta? The solution: pulse together nutritional yeast with walnuts in a food processor to create a nutty, cheesy Parmesan topping for your noodles, lasagna, or eggplant parmesan.
A lot of beloved Italian desserts like tiramisu and cannoli rely on thick, luscious whipped cream. How can that possibly be achieved without heavy cream or mascarpone cheese? Easy! Whipping the solid cream from a can of coconut milk with some sugar and vanilla makes a perfect creamy topping for your dolci!
Italy is famous for its spectacular vino, but if you have a little left in your bottle at the end of the night, it can also be used in your Italian-inspired dishes! Leftover red wine can be used to enhance tomato sauces, as a poaching liquid for fruit such as apples or pears, or even as a boozy touch to chocolate cake batter! White wine is especially nice to deglaze vegetables with and adds a touch of acidity to soups or salad dressings.
Mushrooms are widely celebrated in Italian cooking, and they are often featured as a seasoning in risotto, soups, and sauces. Try adding some dried mushrooms to homemade vegetable broth for a punch of earthy, umami flavor. Dried porcini mushrooms are most common in Italy, but you can use dried shiitake or any other variety that you are able to easily find.
No Italian pantry is complete without extra virgin olive oil- it is the cornerstone of all Mediterranean cooking. Quality matters here! Splurge on the good stuff if you can afford it- it should be a beautiful light green color and have a slightly viscous texture. Showcase it on salads with just a touch of balsamic vinegar, drizzle it on grilled veggies, or simply dip fresh bread!
Vinegar is just as important in Italian cooking as olive oil- it’s a pairing as essential as salt and pepper! Balsamic and red wine vinegar are the most widely-utilized; and like olive oil, quality matters here too! You don’t have to buy a tiny bottle of aged balsamic for $40, but your dish will be as good as the vinegar you put on it. Go for the gold!
Capers- those salty, briny little green berries, are already used in a lot of traditional Italian dishes like puttanesca or piccata. But did you know they also make an incredible substitution for anchovies? Sprinkle capers on pizza, serve them as part of an antipasto, or just use them in any recipe that would normally call for anchovies.
Beans… really? Yes, really! You wouldn’t instantly think of it, but beans have been used as a major protein in Italian cooking since Medieval times. From smooth bean soups to chunky pasta e fagioli, these little legumes are abundant in some of our favorite Italian dishes. Try pureeing white beans with garlic, rosemary, and lemon for a delicious Italian alternative to hummus!
We are the faces behind Chef Chloe's Vegan Test Kitchen, and have some very exciting projects in the works. We look forward to serving all of your vegan cooking needs.
We’ve got some REALLY exciting projects in store that we can’t wait to share, so stay tuned and look out for updates on Chloe’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages… and here at chefchloe.com!
Ann Marie graduated top of her culinary class from The Natural Gourmet Institute and is a rockstar when it comes to vegan, gluten-free donuts. She has a 4-year-old son who has a more refined palate than Wolfgang Puck.
Ashley is a current student of the Natural Gourmet Institute. She is a pharmacist and holistic nutritionist who loves making healthy vegan dishes that are mind-blowing delicious! When not helping Chloe in the kitchen, you can find her reading in coffee shops or dancing to Beyonce!
Dustin is a student of The Natural Gourmet Institute. Meat free since 2010, he finds joy in spreading the vegan word. Other passions include music, rescue animals and throwing dinner parties!
Katie is a music student at Sarah Lawrence College and an aspiring vegan chef and food writer. So when she's not up to her elbows in kale or cookie dough, she's usually bursting out into song!
Susan graduated with honors from The Natural Gourmet Institute and grows every herb and veggie known to man in her own garden. Her passions range from veganizing ethnic food to feeding a crowd just for fun...as in 200 neighbors at a time.
Does that face look familiar? It's Chef Chloe's mom! You've probably met her at one of Chloe's book signings because she's never missed a single one! She's the original chef in the family and Chloe's lifelong kitchen-partner-in-crime.
Tiffani used to slip out of her law office to attend The Natural Gourmet Institute, now food is her life. When she’s not talking food policy, Tiffani can be found cycling through NYC on her folding bike Nigel, hosting themed dinners in her apt or making hot bread with friends.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means it's time for some totally amazing turkey-free recipes! Check out the spread that will be on MY thanksgiving table this year with a special appearance by my favorite cake from Chloe's Vegan Desserts. All can be made gluten-free, and everything is super easy to make. Cheers to health, happiness, and second helpings! Gobble on, turkeys!
Macaroni noodles swimming in creamy, cheesy, sweet potatoey sauce finished with a hint of fresh rosemary is my favorite way to start the Fall holidays.
Crispy roasted Brussels sprouts finished with a sweet apple cider reduction and pinch of cinnamon. Dessert or vegetable? It’s hard to tell!
From holiday potlucks to thanksgiving dinner, this cake always makes an appearance.
The best vegan restaurant Paris has to offer! A MUST-visit. All-vegan menu of classic French foods, from Seitan Bourguignon to Pan Au Chocolat, this is the place where vegans can enjoy the fancy French dining experience that one would expect on a trip to Paris! They even serve delicious house-made "cheese" that tastes so much like the real thing. Plus, the chef, staff, and owners are the nicest people. Be sure to tell them Chloe sent you!
I visited this vegetarian fast food-style burger joint only two weeks after opening and there was a long line out the door...in the rain! It was a long and torturous wait but well worth it! I ordered the Oriental Burger and it was the BEST vegan burger I've ever had! Don't forget to order fries, the French know how to do it!
All-vegan chocolate shop in the heart of Paris! I know, I was pretty excited too. But I'm sorry to report there was a bit of a let down after I splurged on a box of assorted chocolates. Every chocolate in the box LOOKED different, but TASTED the same. Round, square, foil-wrapped, molded....all different shapes and sizes, but all had the exact same hazelnut chocolate filling inside. Worth a visit, but don't buy more than a few unless you want to be eating the same exact flavor for the rest of the week!
This world-renowned pastry and chocolate shop is far from vegan, but I did discover some awesome vegan finds inside and it's worth a visit for the beautiful decor and pastries. My good friend Lisa Pitman recommended I take a trip there for inspiration and I'm glad I did! Plus, the former Executive Pastry Chef here is Florian Bellanger, judge of Food Network's Cupcake Wars! Head to the bread section and check out their fresh Petit pain chocolat orange (vegan chocolate chip orange bread!).
I hosted my first UK Book Signing at this amazing cupcake shop! All-vegan, millions of inspired cupcake flavors, and some savory items like scones and more! If you are looking for the ultimate vegan baked-goods experience, look no further than Ms. Cupcake. Plus, Ms. Cupcake herself, Mellissa Morgan, is the sweetest, kindest, most genuine baker I have ever met. You can tell that her and her bakery girls put so much love into every cupcake- no wonder they have achieved monumental success! The charmed bakery is taking London by storm and I highly suggest you make this your first stop in the UK.
Mmmm...manna. I celebrated my 25th birthday here and enjoyed a feast of traditional English food...vegan-style! This all-vegan restaurant is elegant and perfect for a special occasion. The menu features British classics such as Banger & Mash and Sticky Toffee Pudding. The portions are large and hearty too, which is rare in a fancy restaurant. Thank you quarrygirl for the key recommendation!
This is quite possibly the best meal I enjoyed in London, plus Anne Hathaway was spotted here just days after I went! The restaurant is PACKED and they don't take reservations, so if you're going for dinner, go before 6:30 or expect to wait. Every single bite here was exceptional. It's all vegetarian and almost everything can be made vegan. Hearty, large portions and delicious flavors. We ordered the burger, porcini ale pie, Malaysian curry, and an assortment of appetizers. Everything was mind-blowing. The only negative is that we were too full for dessert :(
That's right, the Whole Foods Market in London is so huge that there is even a full vegan restaurant on the 3rd floor. Saf Restaurant is all-vegan and partially raw with some delicious inventive dishes! Everything is extremely healthy, but equally as flavorful.
Last, but certainly not least, Tibits is an incredible vegan dining experience in London. The atmosphere is hip, trendy, and elegant with a long menu of inventive cocktails and vegan wines. A great venue for a party or even a wedding! The cool part is that the food is buffet-style on a boat in the middle of the restaurant. Everything from vegan onion rings to curries- so much fun and so delicious! I will definitely be visiting Tibits again on my next trip. Thank you to Fat Gay Vegan for inviting me to dinner here and hosting a fun London Vegan Drinks party downstairs!
If the thought of vegan doughnuts turning in a glass case makes you salivate, you must check out Voodoo Doughnuts. The fun environment and line out the door told me Voodoo was a winner before I even took my first bite. The vegan jelly doughnut rocked! Plus, their cute slogan is: "Good things come in pink boxes"
Delicious and healthful with a chic atmosphere, Blossoming Lotus was a great way to kick off my trip! The Whiskey Ginger BBQ Sandwhich and Chili were delicious.
Thrive serves both raw and cooked dishes- all jam-packed with loads of flavor. I couldn't choose which beverage to get so I started with a basil/cilantro/apple green juice AND a chocolate milkshake. Both were insanely good! The miso soup came in a mug, and it was the best I've ever tried- chock-full of veggies and shiitake mushrooms!
All vegan donut shop=heaven!!! They are generous with their free samples, but that didn't prevent me from ordering upwards of 7 donuts. The chocolate-glazed was my favorite. Very moist and just the right level of sweetness.
Cafe Flora is a festive restaurant with a bustling brunch crowd. I came here with my mom, and we chowed down on everything from vegan hot chocolate to vegan huevos rancheros! I hear they make a mean vegan cinnamon roll, but I was too stuffed to try it.
Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Give her a copy of my new book Chloe’s Kitchen!
Pick up a copy from your local bookstore or order it on amazon for only $10.98. I dedicated the book to my mom and it is also filled with some of my mom’s famous family recipes (veganized!), so it’s full of “mommy” inspiration! Or maybe YOU will be doing the cooking this Mother’s Day… If so, try one of these easy recipes from Chloe’s Kitchen that my mom goes crazy for.
Chloe’s mom’s favorite dishes from Chloe's Kitchen:
1.Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip
2. Stuffed Shells in Arrabiata Sauce
4.Pancakes for Dinner
5.Chocolate Walnut Fudge
6.“Chlostess” Crème-Filled Cupcakes
Sending love to all the motherly figures that will be celebrated or remembered this weekend for their love and kindness!
Happy Mother's Day! (photo taken by Peter Murphy during a photoshoot at my book launch in NYC)
Fancy fine-dining vegan experience. Perfect for a special occasion. I ate here with my family on my college graduation! Everything on the menu is incredible, flavorful, and mind-blowing! $$$$
Must order: Crusted Oyster Mushrooms- it’s like vegan calamari!
All-vegan Japanese sushi house. $$$
Must order: Cha-Ya Roll
All-vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. I ate here with my family when I visited for a UC Berkeley orientation- and my meal was so good it convinced me to attend Berkeley! $$
Must order: Grilled Seitan Shwarma
The BEST vegan Chinese food that ever existed. All my non-vegan college friends were obsessed with it too. Plus, the lunch special is only $4.95 and includes an entrée, rice, soup, and spring roll! $
Must order: Broccoli Vegi Chicken and Tan Tan Noodles
Casual, healthy, fast-food with great vegan options. Fries are a must! $
Must order: Tofu and Avocado Sandwich with Garlic Fries
All-vegan cinnamon roll bakery. Need I say more? $
Must order: everything!
Casual burrito café that is famous for their addictive salsa and extensive vegan options. $
Must order: vegan mole!
Creative, healthy, vegan Mexican food with housemade cashew cheese. $$
Must order: Quesadillas de Calabaza
Nice vegetarian restaurant with an assortment of vegan options. $$$
Must order: Mesquite Grilled Brochettes
Famous sandwich shop with a line around the block! Tons of original vegan options. $
Must order: Vegan Meatless Mike on Dutch Crunch bread- my brother’s favorite!
Delicious elegant vegan cuisine with the most beautiful atmosphere. $$$$
Must order: Seitan Piccata
Spacious and modern vegan café. Exciting brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drink menus! $$
Must order: Black Eyed Pea Cake
Beautiful zen vegan tea house. Asian-fusion cuisine with an assortment of sushi, dumplings, noodles, and delicious tea-infused smoothies. I love eating here for lunch with my mom. $$
Must order: Assorted Dumplings
Fancy vegan Korean restaurant. Gorgeous décor. Guests take their shoes off at the door! $$$$
Must order: Spicy Kimchi Mushroom Pancakes
Fun, casual, healthy vegan cuisine. $$
Must order: Seitan Chimichurri Skewers
Very healthful macrobiotic café. $$
Must order: Yuba in Soup- so comforting and delicious!
Fun and fancy atmosphere. Extremely delicious Asian-fusion vegan cuisine. I suggest going with a large group so you can taste many things! $$$
Must order: Natural Seitan Medallions in Sizzling Spicy Citrus Sauce
Traditional New York Italian food with a separate all-vegan menu! Fun environment and nice owners that welcome customers like family. $$
Must order: Vegan Cannoli for dessert!
Fast, casual, vegan to-go café. Perfect stop for a mid-day juice or smoothie! $
Must order: Green Power Smoothie
All-vegan ice cream parlor. Fun location and amazing frozen desserts! $
Must order: Cake Batter Ice Cream
Fresh, healthy, inventive raw and cooked vegan cuisine. $$
Must order: “I am Magical” burger or “I am Humble” bowl. For dessert, “I am Luscious” shake!
Casual and hearty vegan food. Flavorful and filling burgers, salads, and bowls. $
Must order: Ensalada Azteca salad or Scorpion Burger
Fast-food at its finest. Impressive burgers and salads. Many people eating here don’t know that it is vegan! $
Must order: All Hail Kale salad
Flavorful and healthful vegan comfort food, from hearty Mexican enchiladas to light sandwiches and wraps and everything in between. $$
Must order: Not-Chos and a Peanut Butter Cookie for dessert!
Tasty vegan Thai food. The lunch and dinner combos include an entrée, delicious brown rice, soup, and a spring roll! $
Must order: Tom Kah Kai Soup, Mee Grob, Cashew Nut Tofu, See-Ew Noodles, I could go on and on…
Mostly-vegan casual macrobiotic café. Great healthy sides and sushi! $
Must order: The Big Macro Burger with a side of Kale with Spicy Peanut Dressing
All-vegan Japanese food in Little Tokyo! Everything from tempura, to sushi, to noodle bowls. $$$
Must order: Any of the ramen bowls or sushi with avocado on the outside. It’s an avocado-lover’s dream!
Charming dinner café. Mostly-vegan Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern cuisine. Elegant and creative dishes! $$$
Must order: Tahini Avocado Puree for a starter and Roasted Flatbread Shawarma for dinner!
All-vegan and raw ice cream shop. No one will ever miss the dairy with the creamy textures and unique flavors of their selection. $$
Must order: Superfood or Chocolate Salted Caramel
Family-style pizzeria with sawdust on the floor! They have an extensive vegan menu like you wouldn’t believe. $$
Must order: Ask for vegan Garlic Cheese Rolls to start (they are free!). Vegan Vegetarian Deluxe Pizza and Vegan Southwestern Pizza are my favs!
I just completed my very first book tour for my very first book, Chloe’s Kitchen! Here’s my recap…
Bright, solid colors work best on camera, hence the rainbow wardrobe rack!
Come on, we all know the whole point of traveling is to eat at new vegan restaurants! I had so much fun hitting up the best vegan eats in each city, including Millennium in SF and Candle Café in NYC!
Meeting my facebook friends, twitter followers, and blog readers for the first time in person is the most thrilling experience. Every single person who came out to my book signings filled me with joy, appreciation, and inspiration!
Yes, it’s true- I took my mom to every single book signing and media event. My mom is often mistaken for my publicist or manager, but I always give it away when I call “Mommy!” across the room. Oops!
There’s always a celebrity or two waiting in the green room of the morning shows! This time I spotted Wilmer Valderrama and Olympic skating champ Kristi Yamaguchi- score!
Life just isn’t the same without daily kisses from Winnie & Buster!
There was one week where a literally averaged 2 hours of sleep a night. I felt like a zombie!
Almost every store manager at my book signings reprimanded me for spending too much time talking to each guest. I was TERRIBLE at keeping the line moving because I was so excited to chat away with each person! Oh well…
My brilliant friend and author Lisa Bloom shared these wise words with me before my book tour: “The only way to not get criticized is to not do anything.”
So true. After a TV segment, there is always going to be that one person who e-mails to say they didn’t like the way you looked or something hurtful like that. No time for negativity- onto the next segment!
I actually love make-up... a lot! I think it is so much fun. But every single day for 3 weeks?? Sometimes my face just needs to breathe!