Vegan and vegetarian cooking is certainly more creative than it used to be, but too often, it lacks one key ingredient: soul. This, however, is something Amy Chaplin has an abundance of. The vegetarian chef and cookbook author‘s approach to food is directly inspired by nature and proves that cooking with whole food ingredients can result in cozy and elegant meals that aren’t just for health nerds.
Amy has worked as a vegetarian chef in major cities around the globe for over 20 years. She’s the former executive chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, and a private chef whose clients include Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler. Her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, won an IACP and James Beard award (grab a breakfast recipe we love form it here). Her latest cookbook, Whole Food Cooking Every Day, is a bonafide whole food bible that shows how simple and beautiful plant-based cooking can be.
Amy Chaplin encourages her readers to embrace the values her work embodies: to seek out local ingredients, prep ahead of time, cook at home and, most importantly, fall in love with the process of nourishing your body from the inside out. To celebrate the launch of her latest cookbook, which we’re literally never putting down, we asked Amy to join our In The Kitchen series and dish out her best shopping tips, essential ingredients, and favorite seasonal recipe…
7 recipe staples always on hand: Beans/lentils, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, tamari, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and nut butter/tahini.
Favorite ingredient: black sesame seeds
Best food memory: Eating a zucchini tart—with zucchini from my mother’s garden, eggs from her chickens and the crust was from my favorite cookbook—sitting by the river where I grew up. We decided to crack a bottle of French champagne my mother had saved from the 80s. My sister stepped on the tart, and we laughed uncontrollably.
Favorite cookbook: Nourish by Holly Davis
Midnight snack perfection: Actually not much of a night snacker, but if I did I’d crush some fresh raspberries and stir them into Anita’s coconut yogurt.
Food you love to eat with zero prep/additions: Mass Organic’s toasted almond butter.
Must-have kitchen tool: A good knife.
munchies always on hand: Medjool dates and toasted nuts/nut butter.
Favorite condiments: Umeboshi vinegar, tamari, toasted seeds and scallions.
Go-to clean proteins: Tempeh, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Best bargain tip: Bulk buying and shopping late at the farmer’s market.
Best label-reading tip: Read ingredients lists. Pay attention to how many ingredients are listed and what’s at the top.
Favorite veggie + what you make with it: Kabocha squash, cut in wedges and steam really well, sprinkle with tamari and olive oil.
Craziest thing I buy at the market: Meredeth Dairy marinated sheep and goat cheese from Australia.
Favorite splurge: Anita’s coconut yogurt
The ideal dinner setting: Outside, balmy, early evening at the beach or in the country.
Signature entertaining detail: Bee’s wax candles, flowers and homemade GF crackers from my new book.
Simple go-to recipe: Instant miso soup (recipe is in my new book): Heaping tablespoon of unpasteurized miso in a mug, fill with boiling water, add scallions and grated fresh ginger.