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Learning to Cook Great Vegan Food

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For those of you interested in developing your plant-based culinary skills, there is no time like the present.  I recently realized my dream of becoming a vegan chef! Before selecting my culinary school I looked into several programs and found that there are some great opportunities for learning plant-based cooking, both online and locally.

I choose the Rouxbe Online Cooking School because it fit my needs perfectly. I had a wonderful experience with Rouxbe and highly recommend it for people who are serious about vegan cuisine and learning about the health benefits of plant-based foods. I learned so much from some of the country’s leading vegan chefs. I am now a much better cook and have impressed my friends and family with my culinary abilities!

Rouxbe is led by plant-based chef educator Chad Sarno.  The certification course offered by Rouxbe is one of the most comprehensive plant-based courses ever put together.  The course is good not just for people who wish to become a chef on a professional level, but also for home cooks as well.  A few of the skills I learned and improved upon included; basics of properly cooking veggies, beans, pastas and grains, using plant-based proteins, making plant-based creams and milks, healthy sweets and desserts, raw food preparation, oil and gluten free cooking, recipe development and my favorite, in particular, includes some of the health and healing principles of plant-based eating.

Rouxbe will offer a Culinary Rx program in the next few months. The Culinary Rx program is targeted to individuals interested in eating and cooking for preventative health and for those who would rather prescribe/consume healthy, delicious foods rather than toxic drugs. The course is targeted at chefs, physicians, and nutrition and health educators.  I hope to also enroll in this program to continue to develop my knowledge of healthful eating and food preparation.

Apart from culinary school, there are many other opportunities online and right here in Colorado to help develop and/or improve plant-based culinary skills:

On May 2, 2015, JL Fields (author of Vegan Pressure Cooking), will hold a vegan pressure cooking class at the Ross-University Hills Branch Library in Denver. JL also offers cooking and nutrition classes.  For more information visit  http://jlgoesvegan.com/books-2/vegan-pressure-cooking/

On May 16, 2015 VegansEatWhat.com is sponsoring a vegan cheese making class with chef and author Tess Challis.  In addition to this class, VEW sponsors a variety of cooking classes throughout the year.  For information on the cheese making class go to the VegansEatWhat.com homepage or to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1443516.

In August, 2015 (3rd -7th) Vegan Fusion chef and author Mark Reinfeld will provide a week long vegan & raw foods immersion class in Boulder, Colorado. This class provides a special opportunity to study intensely with the award winning author and founding chef of the celebrated Blossoming Lotus in Kauai. For information on this and other cooking workshops, immersions and culinary tours go to http://veganfusion.com/best-vegetarian-gluten-free-raw-food-cooking-classes/

The Almost Vegan Cooking School in Centennial, CO offers Saturday morning cooking classes and you can sign up for just one class or a series.  They will soon also offer online classes in addition to those offered at the Centennial location.  For additional information go to http://almostvegancookingschool.com/   More online learning options include :

Ready for Raw, an all raw vegan online course taught by nationally recognized raw food chef and instructor Jennifer Cornbleet.  This course allows participants advance at their own pace while learning how to adapt to a healthy raw foods diet. http://rawfoodonlinecourse.com/

Going Vegan for Busy People is an online program that teaches participants how to successfully live a vegan lifestyle.  Taught by Sara Hohn – a blogger at HomemadeLevity – this class addresses vegan diet and lifestyle issues including meal planning,shopping and eating healthy on-the-go.  For information visit https://homemadelevity.leadpages.net/video-series-invitation/

Vegion Fusion offers an online program that teaches people how to create delicious and healthy cuisine ( http://cookinghealthylessons.com/) and Delectable Planet offers a variety of plant-based cooking instruction videos  Colorado’s own vegetarian festival ( Veg Fest Colorado) provides a unique opportunity to see plant-based cooking demos from celebrated chefs like Alan Roettinger, Debbie Devore and JL Fields (along with author Victoria Moran). This year’s festival will be June 20 and 21st at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden Colorado.  For more information visit http://vegfestcolorado.org/

If you have any questions about Rouxbe’s Cooking School, please email me at the address below.  As for my future plans, I intend to continue to offer one-on-one vegan lifestyle coaching sessions and share what I learned at Rouxbe by holding vegan cooking classes.  Follow me on my vegan journey at http://healgrowblossom.com/

Now, for two of my favorite recipes.


Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh & Peanut Sauce (Sarah’s Recipe)

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 ½  T maple syrup
  • 1 T tamari
  • 1 T lime juice
  • ½ – 1 tsp. cayenne or crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you want the sauce)
  • ½ tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth, set aside.

For the wraps:

  • 1 package tempeh
  • ½  can water chestnuts (julienned)
  • 2 carrots (julienned)
  • ¼ – ½ red cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 head Bibb or butter lettuce
  • Several sliced green onions (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

One of the best ways to prepare tempeh is to steam, simmer or marinade before using it in a recipe. Lightly steam or simmer the tempeh in water for about 10 minutes (turn once, halfway thru). Dry, let cool, cube it then dry sauté the cubes for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring often. Turn to low, add approximately ½ cup of the prepared peanut sauce and sauté another 2-3 minute, just until warm. Add the tempeh cubes to the cleaned and prepared lettuce leaves, top with the remaining ingredients as you see in the photo. Serve with the peanut sauce and top the wraps or dip as desired.


Delicious Caesar Salad (Rouxbe Cooking School Recipe)

Step 1: Soak the Cashews

In a medium bowl, soak the cashews for 3 to 4 hours to soften. Strain, reserving the cashews and discarding the liquid.

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 to 3 cups warm water

Step 2: Prepare the Dressing

To prepare the dressing, in a blender, add the cashews along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust the sweetness and garlic if you wish.

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, or other non–dairy milk
  • 2 1/2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 T kelp granules
  • 1 T natural sweetener such as fruit paste, agave, or coconut nectar
  • 1 T light soy or chickpea miso
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced, to taste

Serve over your favorite greens and top as desired. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Sarah Eastin is an environmental health specialist, vegan chef, vegan lifestyle coach and animal lover. She uses her knowledge of the physical world to help people make the connection between a healthy mind and body, compassionate lifestyle and healthy planet. Sarah has a blog where she writes about all things good for the planet, people and animals: http://healgrowblossom.com/. Please contact her at seastin1812@gmail.com if you would like more information.

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Author: Sarah Eastin

Sarah Eastin is an environmental health specialist, vegan chef, vegan lifestyle coach and animal lover. She can be reached through her blog at Sarah Eastin is an environmental health specialist, vegan chef, vegan lifestyle coach and animal lover. She uses her knowledge of the physical world to help people make the connection between a healthy mind and body, compassionate lifestyle and healthy planet. Sarah can be reached through her blog at http://healgrowblossom.com/or at seastin1812@gmail.comor at seastin1812@gmail.com