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Who says you can't combine vegan and Italian cuisine. Just because it's doesn't feature cream or cheese doesn't mean it's not as delicious as the original. In fact, it can be just as good! 

Chloe Coscarelli, vegan chef and winner of the Food Network’s "Cupcake Wars" is cooking such classics as bow ties in garlic cream sauce and white lasagna with roasted butternut squash and spinach. 

Bowties in garlic cream sauce
Courtesy of "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics."

Today

Serves 4 to 6

This is one of my favorite pastas in the world — creamy farfalle pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. I've hosted millions (well, maybe not millions) of dinner parties and served this pasta, and no one ever thinks it’s vegan. May it bring you the same dinner-party fortune!

NOTE: If sauce thickens too much as it sits, reconstitute the pasta by adding a little water or non-dairy milk. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Adjust seasoning again to taste.

Today


  • 1 pound farfalle (or gluten-free pasta) 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or blanched almonds
  • *2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 pound sliced mushrooms 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

*If you are not using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak cashews or almonds overnight or boil for 10 minutes and drain. This will soften them and ensure a silky smooth cream.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add farfalle and cook according to package directions. Right before draining, add sun-dried tomatoes to the boiling water. Then drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and let cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. In a blender, combine onion, cashews, water, lemon juice, and salt. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot or skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and lightly browned. If needed, add more olive oil. Add cream sauce and reduce heat to low. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sauce to pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

White lasagna with roasted butternut squash and spinach
Courtesy of "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics."

Serves 6

Today

Stuck in a lasagna rut? Snap out of the usual red-sauce routine with this divine lasagna.

Roasted butternut squash

  • 12 ounces cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt

Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
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Alfredo sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 11/2 cups raw cashews or blanched almonds
  • *3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Rockin’ ricotta (see below)

*If you are not using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak cashews or almonds overnight or boil for 10 minutes and drain. This will soften them and ensure a silky smooth cream. 

For the roasted butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil. Season with salt and roast for 30 minutes, until fork-tender. Remove from oven and puree in a food processor until smooth. If needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

For the spinach: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add spinach and let cook until just wilted.

For the alfredo sauce: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and let cook until soft. Remove from heat. In a blender, combine onion, garlic, cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes, and set aside.

To assemble and bake the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles across the pan; it’s okay if they overlap a little. Layer half the ricotta, 4 noodles, sauce, butternut squash, spinach, sauce, 4 noodles, sauce, remaining half ricotta, and 4 more noodles. Top lasagna with remaining sauce, reserving about 1 cup for serving. Noodles should be evenly coated.

Cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes, or until noodles are cooked through. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top each serving with a generous spoonful of heated sauce. 

Rockin' ricotta
Makes about 3 cups

One of the joys of being Italian American is bringing American ingredients into traditional Italian food. Tofu is a wonderful vegan ingredient that lends a ricotta-like consistency.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Ricotta can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1(14-ounce) package extra- firm tofu, drained
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3cups fresh basil