Thursday, March 14, 2013

Plant-Based Cooking Class with Chad Sarno

Last week, I was invited by my friend Katie to a cooking class with Chad Sarno at Whole Foods in Wellesley. The class was called Entertaining with a Healthy Twist, and everything Chad cooked and served that evening was vegan.

Smoked Portobello Satay with Almond Chile Sauce.

Jackfruit Carnita Tacos.

If you're not yet familiar with Chad, he is a chef, consultant, speaker, and plant activist. He is currently the Lead Culinary Educator at Whole Foods, and his latest project - which is what he was promoting on this particular evening - is Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Chad teamed up with New York Times Best Selling Author Kris Carr for this cookbook.

Chad did more cooking than promoting, however, during his class. He even took the time to walk around and meet attendees before starting his demonstration. The class itself was really informative, and Chad clearly has a lot of fun in the kitchen. His passion was infectious.

Some noteworthy things I learned during this class:
  • You don't need oil to caramelize onions. If you place chopped onions in a non-oiled pan and stir them constantly, their own juices will be released and will caramelize the onions on their own.
  • Jackfruit is perfect for vegan tacos, as it takes on the texture of pulled pork once it's cooked.
  • Cashew sour cream is extremely easy to make. It's basically soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and water blended together in a blender. (Or am I the only one who thought it would be more time-consuming than that?)
Oh, and apparently I should put a smoker on our wedding registry. 

Chad showed us how he smoked the portobello mushrooms for his satay, and it was awesome. 

Everyone who attended the class was lucky enough to leave with a Whole Foods goodie bag as well as a copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen. After flipping through the book, there are a slew of recipes I want to try. Here are some on my list:
  • Squash Pasta with Sage Pesto
  • Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burger
  • Sage Polenta with Nana's Marinara
  • 24 Karrot Cake
  • Basic Nut/Seed Milk 

Crazy Sexy Kitchen is chocked full of healthy, plant-based recipes, and also has some delicious-looking juice and smoothie recipes - as well as a whole section devoted to vegan-friendly sauces and condiments. The text throughout the book is also delightfully witty, flirty, and sarcastic.

But the best part about this book? The author, Kris Carr (who's also the author of Crazy Sexy Diet, among others), supports a plant-based diet because it helped save her life. She was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage IV sarcoma in 2003, and after turning to a diet rich in raw, whole foods, she's not only surviving...but she is thriving

P.S. Whole Foods Wellesley has free cooking classes every week. Contact the store for more details.

Don't forget: Today's the last day to enter my Easter giveaway with Lake Champlain Chocolates! I'm picking a winner tomorrow morning. 


  1. sounds delicious!! i'm intrigued by jackfruit!

    1. I was, too! Had never even heard of it before this class. It was delicious!

  2. Great tip about the jackfruit - it really does look like pork!

  3. I was so sad to miss this! Looks like you had a blast.