229: Mouth-Watering Holiday Recipes PLUS Best Tips to Veganize The Most Iconic Italian Dishes with Chef Leslie Durso


Ah, Italia! The pizzas, the pastas, the wine, the gelato….


…but hold up now: what if you’re vegan? Well, let’s bust a myth right now. It’s a total misconception that being gluten-free or vegan in Italy is difficult. We’re used to the American versions of Italian foods, where it’s all about cream and cheese (and thousands of un-needed calories to go with them). Truth is, traditional Italian specialties, particularly in the South of Italy, are all about fresh produce done in a healthy way.


Real Italian food is a whole other world – and it’s super vegan-friendly!


How do we know this? Because we’ve traveled throughout Italy and sampled the best vegan options firsthand! Like our Italian Getaway last year, where we went to the best restaurants Ravello has to offer. Check out Episode 211 to hear what previous guests thought of the experience.


Before setting off for “the Beautiful Country”, veganize some Italian dishes at home: in the process you’ll be reducing the amount of calories usually found in Americanized Italian meals, and making them way, way healthier. Vince, our talented producer for the day (and mixing & mastering engineer) is Italian, but intolerant to dairy, so he had some fun questions for our resident vegan Italian chef!



Here are some of Leslie’s favorite plant-based Italian classics.


Vegan Alfredo sauce:

  • Boil cauliflower in vegetable broth until it’s tender.
  • Place cauliflower, vegetable broth, roasted garlic, nutritional yeast, cashew nuts and caramelized onion in a blender.
  • Blend until smooth and pour over pasta. (Best. Sauce. EVER.)


Chicken Milano:

  • Substitute the cream with a vegan cashew cream: Boil and rinse cashew nuts, drain them, and blend with a little water, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
  • Substitute the chicken with seitan or breaded & fried zucchini steaks.


Eggplant parmigiana:

  • Thinly slice eggplant lengthwise, sprinkle on salt and leave for 10 mins.
  • Pat dry, then pop them into flour and oil to fry.
  • Make a parmigiana by blending cashew nuts, caramelized onion, roasted garlic, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
  • Layer the eggplant in an oven dish with tomato sauce, whole basil leaves, and the parmigiana sauce.
  • Bake until it bubbles. (this dish will change your life, just sayin’).


Easy vegan gelato:

  • Place a couple of frozen bananas with your flavor of choice (cacao, berries, maca, etc.) in a blender.
  • Blend until it’s super smooth and super thick.
  • Place back in the freezer for an hour or two – this firms it up so you can scoop it.


Alli’s super-fast chocolate mousse:

  • Place avocado, cacao powder, plant milk, and vegan sugar in your blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Leave in the fridge for chocolate mousse or place in the freezer for chocolate ice-cream. The perfect remedy for a sweet tooth.


How to make lemon olive oil:

  • Peel an organic lemon or orange (just the top layer, without the rind)
  • Put the peel in the olive oil
  • Leave it for a few days and voila! Zesty olive oil that’s delicious drizzled on salads and soups.

These are just some of the dishes you could learn at our next Italian Getaway.


…that’s right, we’re going back to the Amalfi Coast!! And we’d love to take you with us.


This is not a large tour-bus type holiday – it’s an intimate retreat for like-minded women. We will fully immerse ourselves in Italian culture. We’ll sample the most exquisite food and wine, go shopping, hiking, and sailing. Leslie will teach you how to make healthy vegan meals so you can bring a taste of Italy back home with you. But that’s not all you’ll take back – this is a life changing retreat, where you will make connections that will last a lifetime.


Go to www.foodhealsnation.com/italy to find out more. Right now we are offering this vegan vacation at the lowest price it will ever be! Get in on the action now before prices go up in Nov. 30th 2018. If you want to reserve your spot, all you need to do is put down a deposit! There are only a few spots because we want to keep the group small and intimate. This year’s Getaway sold out so fast, so book your spot today!


What you’ll learn in Episode 229:

  • The best thing about being vegan
  • Why vegan means weight loss
  • How to find the best Italian products quickly and easily
  • Why gluten intolerance is not a problem in Italy
  • What is nutritional yeast and why you need it in your life
  • Best vegan egg replacer
  • The tastiest vegan meat replacements
  • A big reason to eat local
  • Easy ways you can start growing your own food, even in an apartment!
  • The dish that will get you a marriage proposal – seriously


Our favorite moments:

@10:49 A dude, not just a sauce!

@19:45 Just heaven

@33:12 The best vegan gelato EVER


Available anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Apple Podcasts/Itunes



And so many more!






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