Health, Food, Cookbooks
I have been thinking a lot about food and how it ties to our health. How timely then that I was able to check out a few new cookbooks that address a lot of the things I have thought about: the benefits of a vegan, raw, and/or gluten-free diet.
I was sent four cookbooks to try from the leading publisher of health, nutrition, parenting, and cook books.
I was pleasantly surprised that the one I became most excited about was the last, even though they have all proven to be amazing (there is a vegan paella from Deb Roussou that is delicious!). I had never thought much of using more raw foods in my diet beyond drinking green smoothies and eating raw fruits & veggies.
It has been really fun to experiment with and explore Eat Raw, Eat Well, plus I get to share three fantastically delicious recipes with you to try too!
3 Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free Recipes
Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup
A beautifully aromatic soup that is sweet, spicy and light. Among other nutrients, the carrots provide beta-carotene, which your body makes into vitamin A.
Makes 3 cups (750 mL)
1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 small) 250 mL
2 tbsp white sesame seeds 30 mL
1 tbsp chopped gingerroot (see Tips) 15 mL
1 tsp fine sea salt 5 mL
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper 1 mL
21⁄2 cups filtered water 625 mL
1 tbsp raw agave nectar (see Tips) 15 mL
1. In a high-powered blender (see Tips), combine carrots, sesame seeds, ginger, salt, cayenne, water and agave nectar. Blend at high speed until smooth. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
If you prefer a creamier texture, add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chopped avocado.
If you don’t have raw agave nectar, substitute 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) Date Paste (page 80) in this recipe. Date paste is delicious and nutritious and makes a very effective sweetener.
If you don’t like spicy foods, omit the cayenne and add 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin and 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon. This will give the soup a slightly Moroccan flavor profile. Substituting date paste for the agave nectar will strengthen this effect.
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you can make this recipe in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, although the result will not be quite as creamy. A high-powered blender will make the carrots and sesame seeds much smoother than the results you can achieve using a food processor.
To remove the skin from gingerroot with the least amount of waste, use the edge of a teaspoon. With a brushing motion, scrape off the skin to reveal the yellow root.
When purchasing agave nectar, be sure to look for products labeled “raw.” Most of the agave nectar on the market has been heated to a high temperature and does not qualify as raw food. If you have concerns, ask your purveyor.
Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccini
This dish is a great way to get as many healthy ingredients into your body as possible without having to sacrifice any of the things you love. The softness of the root vegetables makes it reminiscent of traditional al dente pasta.
Makes 2 servings
3 large carrots, peeled 3
3 large parsnips, peeled 3
1 tbsp cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil 15 mL
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided 60 mL
11⁄2 tbsp fine sea salt, divided 22 mL
3⁄4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil 175 mL
1⁄2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds 125 mL
3 cloves garlic 3
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves 750 mL
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and parsnips into long, thin strips, dropping into a bowl as completed (see Tips, left.) Add olive oil, 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice and 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) salt and toss until vegetables are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes, until softened.
2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process hemp oil and seeds, garlic and remaining lemon juice and salt, until somewhat smooth but the hemp seeds retain some texture. Add cilantro and process until chopped and blended, stopping the motor once to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add pesto to fettuccine, toss well and serve.
Substitute an equal quantity of parsley leaves for the cilantro.
Toss the fettuccine from Step 1 with another sauce, instead of the pesto. Red Pepper Mole Sauce (page 202), Sweet-and-Sour Thai Almond Butter Sauce (page 191) or Spicy Pad Thai Sauce (page 194) are all good choices.
Peeling the vegetables lengthwise produces the long, thin strips required for this recipe. For best results use a Y-shaped (slingshot) vegetable peeler. When using a regular peeler, you can glide down the length of the vegetable to make one long, thin strip.
If you prefer, combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl before tossing with the vegetables, to ensure even integration.
This rich cake is particularly delicious served with fresh berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I like to save this for special occasions. You will need a high-powered blender to achieve the smoothest consistency possible.
Makes 16 servings
• High-powered blender
• 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan
4 cups raw cashews, soaked (see Tips, left) 1 L
1 cup filtered water 250 mL
1 cup raw agave nectar 250 mL
1 cup melted coconut oil (see Tips, 250 mL
1 tbsp raw vanilla extract 15 mL
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 10 mL
2 cups whole raw pecans 500 mL
1⁄4 cup chopped pitted soft dates 60 mL
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 2 mL
1. Filling: In a high-powered blender, combine soaked cashews, water, agave nectar, coconut oil, vanilla and lemon juice. Blend at high speed until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
2. Crust: In a food processor, pulse pecans, dates and salt until smooth (no large pieces should remain). Press into bottom of pan, ensuring that there are no gaps.
3. Assembly: Pour filling over crust and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm in the center. This dessert can be made ahead and kept in the freezer for up to 1 month.
4. When you are ready to serve, remove from freezer and set aside to thaw for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pan sides and slice. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Blueberry Cheesecake: Before processing filling in Step 1, set aside 1 cup (250 mL) of the soaked cashews and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the agave nectar. Add to blender along with 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) blueberries. Blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate. When cake is frozen, spread mixture evenly over the top. Freeze for 3 hours, until top is frozen. Proceed to Step 4.
To soak the cashews for this recipe, cover with 8 cups (2 L) water. Set aside for 1 hour. Drain, discarding soaking water, and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
To check if the cake is frozen all the way through, insert a tester such as a wooden skewer or toothpick. If it comes out clean, then the cake is ready to be thawed.
For decades, coconut products (coconut oil, milk and flesh) have been painted with the anti–saturated fat brush, based on the assumption that saturated fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. However, recent studies have found otherwise, so long as the coconut products are unprocessed. In fact, an impressive benefit of coconut products is their ability to boost HDL (“good cholesterol”), which helps to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Coconut is high in a type of saturated fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are unique in the sense that they are burned for energy and are less likely to be stored as body fat.Excerpted from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Colin Erricson/www.robertrose.ca
Don’t these look fabulous? Which one will you try first? If you have any tips for those new to eating raw, vegan, and/or gluten-free please share!