Ever tried a raw food diet? If so, you know the challenges — rigid rules, lots of prep.
“Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make” makes raw foodism a little easier to practice when it comes to the rules. For one thing, most recipes include an option for cooking. Plus, the recipes include easy substitutions (golden raisins for figs, red onion for shallot, etc.).
If you’re interested in exploring a primarily vegetable, fruit and nut diet but don’t want to commit to eating everything raw, this book is a good introduction. One caveat: it will still take some time to prep the produce.
What we made:
CANTONESE VEGGIE STIR-FRY (Page 162)
For the veggies:
1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, stemmed and broken into florets
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled if desired and thinly sliced
½ large red pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
6 to 8 shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
1 cup snow peas, ends trimmed, halved diagonally
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon agave or coconut nectar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
1 batch Cauliflower “Rice” Pilaf (P. 168)
2 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
4 teaspoons sesame seeds, divided
For the veggies: In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and snow peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, olive oil, tamari, agave nectar, lime juice, sesame oil and Sriracha, if using. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and toss to coat well. Add a splash of water if the mixture looks dry.
Make it raw: Transfer the mixture to a shallow glass pan. Cover and place in the dehydrator to let marinate and warm for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Alternatively, place the bowl of veggies in the fridge overnight to allow the mixture to marinate; serve cold the next day, like leftovers.
Make it cooked: Transfer the mixture to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is heated thoroughly.
To serve: Spoon the stir-fry onto mounds of Cauliflower “Rice” Pilaf. Sprinkle each portion with ¼ of the sliced green onion and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.
CAULIFLOWER “RICE” PILAF (P. 168)
½ large head cauliflower, separated into florets (about 2½ cups)
¼ cup dry almonds
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup finely diced carrot (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it breaks down into rice-size pieces, then transfer to a bowl. Add the almonds and salt to the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the crushed almond mixture, carrot and cilantro to the cauliflower in the bowl. Drizzle on the lemon juice and toss well to combine.
Our assessment: This recipe is very satisfying to the stomach as well as the eyes. It’s colorful and the tamari, fresh ginger and sesame oil enhance the flavors of the vegetables. I did stir-fry mine in a large skillet for a few minutes. The pilaf may make you fall in love with cauliflower pilaf (it also can be stir-fried if you don’t want to go raw).
You might want to consider prepping the veggies in the morning before you go to work. Then, when you get home, it will only take a few minutes before you have dinner on the table.
From the book: “Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make” by Amber Shea Crawley; 240 pages, $19.99. Published by Andrews McMeel, 2014.
What you get: This collection includes Milks & Smoothies; Breakfast & Brunch; Breads & Crackers; Cheeses, Spreads & Sauces; Kale Chips; Hummus; Soups & Salads; Main Dishes; Sides & Snacks, and Desserts. There’s also a handy section on raw foods with tips, such as buying, storing and prepping.
In her own words: “The recipes in this book are designed to allow you to choose the degree to which you incorporate raw foods into your life. You can dip your toes into the world of raw, or you can dive in headfirst — the choice is yours.” — Amber Shea Crawley