You might remember Chloe Coscarelli as the baker whose vegan cupcakes beat out non-vegan cupcakes on Food Network's Cupcake Wars in 2010. It was a big moment for vegans. Proof that our vegan baked goods are not only "just as good" as their dairy- and egg-containing counterparts, but actually better. I mean, vegans have always known that, but Chloe's cupcakes gave proof to the world.
Now the award-winning baker has released her first cookbook — Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way. Yep, it's a mouthful ... of awesomeness. This full-color book is loaded with stunning photos of classic comfort food.
In fact, everything looks so delicious that I had the hardest time deciding what to try first. But since Chloe's family is of Italian descent, I figured I'd better start with pasta. There's a whole chapter on pasta called "Oodles of Noodles" with recipes ranging from Italian classics like lasagna and fettucine alfredo to Chinese chow mein and Drunken Noodles in Cashew-Shiitake Broth.
But the gorgeous photo of Stuffed Shells with Arrabiata Sauce was calling my name. Unfortunately, I couldn't find jumbo pasta shells anywhere! So I settled on manicotti, which wasn't nearly as attractive:
Don't let this ugly picture fool you. This dish was deeeelicious! The manicotti is stuffed with a homemade tofu-based basil ricotta and then it's topped with a homemade spicy tomato sauce (I added extra spice to mine). Yea, shells would have been prettier, but I'm sure it tastes about the same.
What I love most about this book (besides the lovely pictures) is that it focuses on real food. You won't find any fancy-schmancy uber-gourmet crap and, while healthy, the recipes aren't over-the-top with nuts and seeds and hippy vegan stuff. It falls somewhere in the middle, in that comfortable place where mom's home cooking falls.
Other savory dishes on my to-make list include the Avocado Pesto Pasta, Country Meatloaf and Golden Gravy with Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce, Tempeh Piccata, Pancakes for Dinner (!!!), and BBQ Pineapple Pizza. Also, the recipe for Chloe's Award-Winning Mango Masala Panini looks like a must-try.
But you're probably thinking, "Wait, I thought Chloe won Cupcake Wars for her cupcakes? What about dessert?"
Never fear: The "Cupcakes and More" chapter has you covered. Of course, Chloe included her recipe for the Cupcake War-winning Ginger Nutmeg Spice Cupcakes. But there's also Chlostess Creme-Filled Cupcakes (like Hostess cupcakes), Baked Sprinkled Donuts (I think you all know how I feel about donuts ... hearts), Buckeyes (peanut butter cups on a stick!), Sea Salt Toffee Bars, and Yoga Cookies (Chloe's favorite oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip-walnut post-yoga treat).
If you're looking for a compendium of easy-to-prepare, food-for-the-soul recipes, you'll find just that in Chloe's Kitchen.