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Eat, Breathe, Live

Chef Chad Sarno shares cuisine and good health through online cooking classes

All Animals magazine, November/December 2014

by Ruthanne Johnson

  • Chad Sarno's culinary mission includes "arming people with the tools they need to control their health." rouxbe.com/plant-based

Growing up, Chad Sarno loved helping his mother and Italian grandmother in the kitchen, and he worked his way from dishwasher to sous chef in his brother’s restaurant. But Sarno also suffered from debilitating asthma. In his teens, he learned about the connection between the disease and dairy consumption and stopped eating milk products. In just six months, his asthma disappeared.

The more Sarno dug into the connection between diet and health, the more he felt compelled to follow a different culinary path—promoting health and compassion to animals through plant-based eating. “I followed my heart,” he says, “and what I believe in.”

Keep reading for Chad Sarno's vanilla French toast, or browse all our recipes »

Before long, his talents as a plant-based raw foods chef earned him jobs around the world, and he co-wrote a bestseller, Crazy Sexy Kitchen. While developing a healthy eating program for Whole Foods Market, Sarno discovered that many people didn’t understand food-preparation basics, like how to cook grains or heat a sauté pan properly. The discovery made him rethink his teaching approach, which had been more focused on complicated flavor profiles.

It’s a lesson Sarno has also applied to his latest gig, developing plant-based cooking courses for Rouxbe Cooking School. While his online classes cover advanced techniques like making pasta from scratch, some of the “aha” moments for students have been simple things such as how to use a knife properly or sweat garlic for optimum flavor. More than 900 people—including physicians, executive chefs and home cooks—have enrolled since the program began in early 2014. Now Sarno is developing courses tailored for people with diabetes, autoimmune disease and other illnesses. “We are arming people with tools they need to control their health” in the kitchen, he says.

Chad Sarno's recipe for vanilla French toast


    Serve this tempting French toast to guests with pride...or just give your family a treat some morning. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Serves 4

1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups non–dairy milk
⅓ cup cashew butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons egg replacer or corn starch
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
A pinch of sea salt

French toast
Rustic fresh bread or your favorite whole grain bread, sliced in 1-inch slices
1 tablespoon non-dairy margarine
Fresh berries
Fresh peaches
Bourbon-spiced maple syrup (or regular maple syrup)
A drizzle of cashew vanilla cream (optional)

Prepare the batter: In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

Prepare the French toast: Place the sliced bread into the batter and soak for about 1 minute. On a flat pan, flat grill or large fry pan, add 1 tablespoon of non-dairy margarine and melt. Once melted, put slices of the soaked bread onto the grill or pan. Grill on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the bread and cook until the other side is lightly golden.

Serve with fresh fruits, cashew vanilla cream and bourbon-spiced maple syrup, if desired.

(Recipe and photo courtesy of Chad Sarno of Rouxbe.com/plant-based, who teaches online plant-based cooking certification courses. See a video on how to prepare this recipe.)


All figures are per serving (assumes 4 servings).

Calories: 409
Fat: 17 g 
Carbs: 78 g
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 15 g
Sodium: 511 mg

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