This article was previously published on February 3, 2017.
Can you say, Sono vegana? It means “I am vegan” in Italian! Thanks to restauranteur and Cupcake Wars winner Chloe Coscarelli, there are now dozens of classic Italian recipes we can enjoy come un vegana with the help of a few simple and healthy swaps.
I have personally made several of Coscarelli’s recipes—and I often turn to her genius when I have non-vegan company coming because whether I’m making a hearty pasta dish or a batch of her decadent cupcakes, the food is always met with happy, astonished looks—and, “Is this really vegan?!”
While it may be impossible to completely recapture Italian cuisine (and who says we need to?), Coscarelli will get you pretty darn close—and your plate will be healthier for it! By avoiding all of the animals fats present in traditional Italian cuisine, you’ll be saving yourself calories and the ethical baggage of dairy. It’s a win-win! Read on for her delicious tips.
Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s Yummy Vegan Swaps
Animal product: Cheese
Vegan swap: Nutritional yeast. “Full of B vitamins, low in calories, and it has a nutty, cheesy flavor,” she told Marie Claire.
Animal product: Alfredo sauce
Vegan swap: Almond cream—“Avoid a food coma, and you’ll be able to do a yoga class after.” Cashews also make an amazing base for a vegan pasta cream sauce.
Animal product: Sausage
Vegan swap: Mushrooms, walnuts, and seasoning. “Place walnuts [1 cup] in a food processor, and process until a fine crumbly meal forms. Add mushrooms [8 ounces], flour [3 tablespoons], basil [1 teaspoon, dried], red pepper [pinch, powdered], salt, pepper, and maple syrup [1 tablespoon], and pulse about 25 times.”
Animal product: Whipped cream
Vegan swap: Coconut cream. “A great ingredient for replacing just about any kind of dairy.” To make whipped coconut, simply open a chilled can of coconut milk (it must be canned). Do not shake or stir. Scoop off the solid top half and deposit in a bowl. Use a whisk to whip, and sweeten to taste. Try it in Raw Coconut Cream Berry Tarts.
Animal product: Bacon
Vegan swap: Shiitake mushrooms. You’ll need 1 pound shiitake mushrooms (thinly sliced), ¼ olive oil, 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper. “Toss mushrooms with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning frequently with a spatula, until lightly browned and crisp.” See also: Shiitake Bacon Breakfast Hash.
Animal product: Mozzarella
Vegan swap: Tofu tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. “Skewer 1 cube of tofu, 1 half carry tomato, and 1 basil leaf.” Voila, super quick vegan Caprese! You may also be interested in Vegan Eggplant Caprese.
Check out more vegan Italian cooking tips in Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics.
What are your favorite vegan swaps?
Related: 10 High-Protein Vegan Foods You Should Be Eating
15 Easy Vegan Meals with Common Ingredients
Vegan Cooking Tips: Creating Easy Vegan Side Dishes
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Photo: ChefChloe.com, Mary Hood Luttrell, Peaceful Dumpling, Quincy Malesovas