Healthy Hollywood: Fab Food Friday – Have A Happy Vegan Holiday!

Call it a trend or a lifestyle makeover, but either way being vegan is a Hollywood phenomenon! Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway are just a few of the famous faces saying “no thanks” to meat, dairy, and eggs. The vegan movement (is a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal-derived ingredients) is rapidly moving into the mainstream.

“Vegans can eat a variety of delicious dishes from Fettuccine Alfredo to Hot Fudge Sundaes – as long as everything is made without animal products. The best part is that vegan ingredients are naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, and packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients,” states vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

So, how is a vegan supposed to survive the holidays and not insult all their meat-loving party hosts? After all, if your family is anything like mine, they love their red meat – and the veggies are certainly not the night’s star dish. “The best way to make the host aware of your vegan diet is by offering to bring a vegan dish or dessert to the party that everyone can enjoy. That way, you’ll have a back-up dish to turn to in case your Aunt Mimi makes a vegan casserole that has “just a little bit” of pork in it. Bottom line: don’t be shy to come prepared!” suggests Chloe.

Chloe shares with Healthy Hollywood one of her favorite festive vegan dishes.

Creamy Pumpkin Penne with Crispy Sage and Toasted Pecans
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 pound penne, cooked according to package directions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14-ounce) can organic pumpkin OR 2 cups roasted
butternut squash

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups soy, almond, or rice milk

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons maple syrup

3 teaspoons sea salt

.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

8 fresh sage leaves, whole

Sea salt

.5 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Directions:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

To make the Pumpkin Cream Sauce: In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onions until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree the onion mixture, pumpkin, tomato paste, nondairy milk, nutmeg, maple syrup, salt, and pepper until smooth.

To make the Crispy Sage: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet until a small piece of sage sizzles when added to the oil. Fry the remaining sage leaves 4 at a time, flipping once, until crispy (about 1 minute total). Watch the sage leaves carefully to make sure that they do not burn. Let them drain on a paper towel and season lightly with salt.

To assemble the pasta: Toss hot pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, toasted pecans, and fresh sage. Garnish with crispy sage and dig in!

For more vegan recipes, head to www.chefchloe.com

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