Category Archives: Main Dishes

How to Make Sushi – An Easy Tutorial!

sushi

I’ve had this sushi tutorial on my old domain from college for years. I’ve been thinking for a long time that since I have a proper food blog (which is now over two years old!), that I ought to migrate that content over here. 

I’m going to teach you how to make sushi. It might sound intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy once you practice a few times. The best part is that it is so much cheaper to make it at home, and you can often find the ingredients in bulk at very reasonable prices at your local Asian market.

raw vegan sushi

Tools

There are some really handy tools I recommend for making sushi at home, which will make your life much easier. You might find them at your local grocery store or big box store since making sushi at home has become trendy in recent years, or you might find a better deal online. Here is what you will need, along with some handy Amazon links to purchase them (and I am very grateful for any purchases you make there, since it helps to keep the virtual lights on for this blog). 

raw vegan sushi

Sushi Related Japanese Words and Phrases 

…And before we get started with the instructions, here are some fun sushi vocabulary words, so you can sound like a pro when telling all of your friends how to make sushi. 

  • Sushi – Literally, “sticky rice,” but in general, refers to anything made from the sticky vinegared rice. 
  • Nori – Dried and pressed sheets of seaweed. 
  • Maki OR “norimaki“- Regular old seaweed on the outside sushi roll.
  • Futomaki – Super big maki roll using a whole piece of Nori, rather than half.
  • Ura Maki – Inside out roll.
  • Temaki – Cone shaped hand roll.
  • Nigiri – A topping laid over a small bed of rice. Usually, this is fish, but you can use any veggie you like. 😉
  • Onigiri – A plain old rice ball filled with fun stuffin’s. 
  • Kappa – Cucumber (Kappa maki = cucumber roll).
  • Kombu – Kelp

Visual Reference for Rolling

Here is a series of images from the original (and very vintage, I might add, because they are so not my usual professional quality) blog post showing how to roll up your sushi. 

sushi-tutorial-13-add-rice-to-nori
sushi-tutorial-14-how-to-roll-sushi
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How to Make Sushi
Learn how to make sushi at home with this easy sushi tutorial. With the right tools, you'll be 'on a roll' in no time! This instructional guide uses vegetable rolls, so it's 100% vegan friendly!
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Rice
  1. 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  2. 2.5 cups water (for cooking)
  3. 1/4 cup sushi vinegar
Wraps
  1. 4-6 sheets nori (assuming we are making maki rolls with the rice on the inside)
Fillings
  1. Cucumber
  2. Carrot
  3. Avocado
  4. Scallions
  5. Bell pepper
  6. Sunflower sprouts
  7. Pickled vegetables
  8. Marinaded tofu strips, tempeh, or other faux meats, if you're into that kind of thing
Preparing and Cooking the Rice
  1. Rinse the sushi rice until the rinse water runs clear, not cloudy. This is starch you are washing off. You can put the rice into a strainer under a faucet, but I find it's handy to put the strainer with the rice directly into a bowl of water, and then swish it around with my hands. You'll have to change the water a couple times, but you can see when it's "clean" a lot easier.
  2. Bring cooking water to a boil in a pot. Add rice. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low/simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Alternatively, you can be lazy like me and use a rice cooker.
Preparing the Fillings
  1. While the rice is cooking, cut your fillings into long even strips. For cucumbers and carrots, use a julienne peeler to make the perfect squared edge strips that you see in a Japanese restaurant. They turn out so professional looking and it's much faster than chopping by hand. If you are including avocado, cut into thin wedges.
Seasoning the Rice
  1. When the rice is done cooking, fluff it a bit in the pot, so that it won't dump out into your bowl into one big clump. Sushi rice is sticky, and it will want to hold together.
  2. Transfer the rice to a non-metallic bowl. Metal will interact negatively with the vinegar that the rice is seasoned with. Add the vinegar and stir with your rice paddle or large non-metallic spoon.
Rolling the Sushi (Reference the blog post for some illustrations on what the rolling process looks like)
  1. For maki rolls, you need half a sheet of nori. Cut it in half so that the fold runs parallel with the perforated lines on the sheet. You can also just fold it and tear it gently along the fold.
  2. Lay the half sheet of nori on your sushi mat, again with the perforated lines running parallel to the bamboo strips on the mat.
  3. Cover the sheet with a thin even layer of the rice. It's VERY sticky. Leave about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch uncovered on the edge that is farthest away from you. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your hands into if you don't want the rice to stick to them.
  4. Place some of the veggies on top the rice. Don't overfill. When you roll it together, the edges of the rice should touch together. It helps to run a wet finger along the un-riced edge so it will stick and seal the roll closed.
  5. Make sure the edge of the seaweed (closest to you) is lined up with the edge of the mat. Hold the veggies with your fingertips and use your thumbs to start curling the mat up. Guide the veggies firmly toward the center of the roll as you bring the edge of the mat up and over to start forming the roll.
  6. As you start rolling the mat up and over the veggies, the tube will start to form.
  7. When the mat hits the edge as you are rolling, then just peel it back, fold it under a bit, and start rolling again so that the edge of the mat will come over the roll. Once the maki is rolled all the way, put your fingers over the roll and give it a good squeeze and tug to make sure it's nice and firm, and round out the shape.
  8. If you have veggie pieces sticking out from the ends, just give them a trim with a good SHARP knife to make the ends flat.
Cutting the Sushi
  1. Use a VERY SHARP knife and slice it into about 6 pieces. A sharp knife is very important to making sure the roll has straight even edges and won't rip when cutting. It helps to dip the knife into some water before cutting the roll. Make sure there is no rice on the edge of the blade from cutting previous rolls.
Ura Maki Variation (Rice on the Outside)
  1. To make url maki, cover the entire half sheet of nori with rice and flip it over.
  2. Place the veggies on the seaweed. Since there is no rice taking up room, you can use more to fill the center.
  3. Roll in the same manner as the regular maki, ensuring that the edges of the rice overlap slightly so that the roll will stick closed.
  4. Garnish with some sesame seeds, if desired.
Hand Roll Variation (Low Carb)
  1. You can also use your half sheet of nori to make a hand roll (a sushi cone that you can hold in your hand). Cover it with a tender lettuce leaf, skip the rice, add your fillings on a 45 degree angle from one of the corners, and then roll it on a diagonal, wrapping the extra around and using a little water to seal the edges shut.
Notes
  1. Cook as much rice as you want using a ratio of 1:1.25 (rice:water).
  2. Each cup of uncooked rice will make 4-6 sushi rolls.
  3. For every cup of uncooked rice that you started with, use 2TB vinegar to season.
  4. "Sushi Vinegar" is rice vinegar with the addition of salt and sugar.
  5. Some sushi vinegars are malted, which means they may not be gluten free. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you read the labels carefully to find a product that meets your dietary standards.
  6. If you cannot find a sushi vinegar that is unsalted, you can make your own sushi vinegar using this formula - ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt (it will be enough for 3 cups uncooked rice). You could try using a natural liquid sweetener here in place of the sugar. Just make sure to check substitution ratios, as some are more or less sweet than sugar.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers – Vegan and Oil Free

Red beans and rice stuffed peppers

I had been wanting to do a variation on red beans and rice for a while. I found some bell peppers on sale at the grocery store, so I thought it might be fun to incorporate the bell pepper as an external component and make stuffed peppers instead of chopping the peppers up and mixing them into the rice and beans. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

This stuffed peppers recipe came together quite nicely and worked out really well for my meal planning because I was able to pre-stuff all of the peppers and then just line them up on a baking pan in my refrigerator. The ones that wouldn’t stand up on their own were situated in some small ramekin bowls. They stayed fresh for the whole work week, and all I had to do was put them into a bread pan to bake them two at a time (or you could use a 9×9 pan to bake four at a time) when I came home from work. Alternatively, these would also work well if you wanted to create some freezer meals from them while peppers are in season and the prices are a bit lower. 

red beans and rice stuffed peppers - vegan and oil free

 

Red Beans and Rice Stuffed Peppers - Vegan and Oil Free
Serves 4
Smokey and spicy, this flavorful recipe is simple to prepare and works well to make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or freezer until it is time to cook them.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Stuffed Pepper Base Ingredients
  1. 5-6 bell peppers in any color
  2. 2 cups cooked whole grain brown rice (you can do this ahead of time in a rice cooker)
  3. 2 cups cooked kidney beans (you can do this ahead of time in a crock pot or use canned beans)
Sauté Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  2. 1/2 sweet onion
  3. 2 stalks celery
  4. 2 clove garlic
  5. 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  6. 2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. couple pinches black pepper
  8. pinch white pepper (very small pinch - it is potent)
  9. pinch cayenne pepper (optional - omit if you don't like spicy)
  10. pinch sea salt as needed (this really depends on your broth)
Instructions
  1. Cut tops off of bell peppers and remove seeds and innards. Set aside.
  2. Put cooked rice and beans into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vegetable broth to a large sauce pan and simmer at medium heat.
  4. Sauté all ingredients listed under "Sauté Ingredients" section in the sauce pan.
  5. When vegetables are cooked and soft, pour entire contents of sauce pan into the large mixing bowl and stir until evenly mixed into rice and beans.
  6. Add mixture to bell peppers until even with cut top.
  7. Put tops on peppers and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  8. When ready to bake, put in a glass pan with raised sides (to keep them from tipping over) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until peppers are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Notes
  1. If you decide to freeze them, the bake time might be a little longer than 45 minutes, perhaps closer to 60 minutes.
  2. The number of peppers required will depend on the size and variety of peppers you are using.
  3. Rather than cutting the tops off, you could slice the peppers in half vertically and make half stuffed peppers. When you bake them, the stuffing will be open to the hot air in the oven and get crispy on the top.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Zucchini Noodle “Ramen” w/Mushroom Miso Broth – Raw Vegan

raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth

The weather was a bit chilly again this evening, but I’ve also been feeling that I wanted a greater amount of raw food today, so I made a flavorful warm raw vegan ramen dish with zucchini noodles and a mushroom miso broth. 

This dish was actually a happy accident. I had marinaded the mushrooms and other vegetables with the intent of using them in sandwiches, but when I tasted the liquid after everything had soaked overnight, it seemed like a very perfect soup base, so I just added the zucchini noodles and some seaweed after gently heating the broth, and everything turned out to be really delicious. The whole dish required very little work, which is my favorite kind of meal. 😉

raw zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles, stacked in the center of the bowl, softened with some sea salt, and ready for the soup.

raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth raw vegan ramen - zucchini noodles in a mushroom miso broth

Zucchini Noodle Ramen w/Mushroom Miso Broth
Serves 2
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Noodle Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchinis, cut into noodles with a spiral cutter or julienne peeler
  2. few pinches of sea salt
Soup Ingredients
  1. 1.25 cups very warm water (do not exceed 118 degrees)
  2. 1 TB gluten free white miso paste (or another variety of miso if you prefer)
  3. 2 TB tamari or coconut aminos
  4. 1 large portobello mushroom, chopped into 1/2" slices, and then 1/4" pieces
  5. 2-3 TB sun dried tomatoes, julienne sliced
  6. 2-3 TB sweet onion, shaved as thin as possible on a mandolin
  7. Optional: 1 TB seaweed
Instructions
  1. Prepare the broth 12-24 hours in advance. Slice the mushroom, sun dried tomatoes, and onions. Put them in a bowl and set aside. Heat the water (you can use the stove or a kettle and let it cool down to about 110 degrees) and then mix in the miso and tamari. Ensure the miso is completely dissolved into a broth. Pour the warm water over the vegetables and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes or until room temperature. This helps to soften the vegetables and blend the flavors. Cover this bowl and let it everything marinade in the fridge 12-24 hours.
  2. When you are ready to eat this, spiral cut your zucchinis and sprinkle them with a few pinches of salt. Massage it in and let them sit on the counter to soften and release some of their liquid for about 10 minutes. As the broth has enough salt in it, rinse and drain the noodles when you feel the texture is to your desired consistency.
  3. Strain the liquid broth from the marinaded vegetables and, if a warm soup is desired, while monitoring the temperature (I use an IR thermometer), gently heat the liquid either on the stove top, or in a Vitamix blender until it is warm to the touch, not exceeding 110 degrees (to ensure you don't accidentally go over 118).
  4. Add half of the zucchini noodles to each of two bowls in a "pasta nest" (a twisted noodle tower). Arrange some of the marinaded vegetables around the edges of each bowl. Divide the warm broth and pour over each bowl. Reserve a few pieces of the sun dried tomato for garnish.
  5. If desired, add a bit of your favorite seaweed as well.
Notes
  1. This dish would probably work beautifully with other types of seasonal vegetable noodles in place of the zucchini.
  2. You can also substitute the mushroom variety if you like. I used portobellos because I used some of the marinaded pieces in a sandwich.
  3. You do not have to use white miso. It has a rich flavor that I like and I found a gluten free variety. You can use a different kind of miso if you would like.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Week 4

raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Week 4 of Advanced Raw Cuisine was particularly exciting. We finished a few more pastry projects, made a few savory dishes, and got to work toward our final project, which for this class had some practical business applications. 

First, one of the final two pastry projects… raw vegan cupcakes! I always wondered if this was possible, and it sure is! They even had a nice little “bounce” from the Irish moss. We had creative freedom to make a flavor of our choosing, and since it was fall when I took the class, I made pumpkin spice with a vanilla frosting and some chocolate shavings.

Yes, I’m one of those people. Pumpkin spice all of the things! =D

raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes raw vegan pumpkin spice cupcakes

We also started to learn about costing out ingredients so that we could calculate prices for dishes the way restaurants do. This was a very useful lesson for those with entrepreneurial aspirations. We made this dish of cacao corn chips and guacamole, calculated the cost of all of the ingredients, then the cost of the whole dish, and finally, added on a markup to ensure we were paid for our time and resources used. This was a really beneficial exercise. The guacamole was tasty too. It’s one of my favorite foods. 🙂

raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole raw vegan cacao corn chips and guacamole w/sunflower mole

One of the other “big” projects this week was to put a lot of the lessons we learned together in a final pastry dish. We were given two to choose from, or the option to make both. I selected the chocolate walnut cake project. It was delicious. I had more than enough to take into work and share with my coworkers. They all enjoyed the special delivery and this dish got rave reviews!

Below are some photos of the prep work and the final plated dish. The dish is comprised of the chocolate cakes, the sous vide pears, a walnut caramel sauce, a fennel oil, candied fennel seeds, sassafras ice cream, and some fennel fronds and lavender as garnish. It was really delicious.

IMG_2233sous vide pearsIMG_2230 IMG_2165sassafras ice creamraw vegan chocolate walnut cake raw vegan chocolate walnut cake

Following all that dessert, I’m so glad there was another savory dish. This one was especially good because it had a bit of spice in it! It didn’t hurt that cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables too. I know, it’s a bit weird. So many people don’t like it, but to me, it has a subtle sweetness that makes it exquisite. 

This dish is a cauliflower and walnut harissa. I love that we branched out and used walnuts for more recipes this week. So many of the other recipes were based on almonds and cashews, which are certainly versatile nuts for their flavor and texture, but it was nice to have some more variety. There is a walnut cream sauce in the base, some harissa sauce, some marinaded and dehydrated spiced walnuts, and some cauliflower and romanesco. This dish would have been even more beautiful if I had access to some junky purple cauliflower, but my grocery store didn’t have any. I love the way we were instructed to plate this dish in a ring mold with the stems up. They are so organic looking. 

raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa raw vegan cauliflower walnut harissa

The last real food recipe that we made before presenting out final projects was a lovely light carrot soup. This was somewhat like a gazpacho. There was a nice variety of carrot, radish, and apple chunks for texture and flavor. It was all topped with a bit of the soup, which had been foamed in the blender. The rest of the soup was poured in to make for a nice presentation. The soup was a great blend of sweet and savory with a smooth mouthfeel. It was a great lunch!

raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup raw vegan carrot soup

For my final project, I decided to make a probiotic granola bar. I polled my social media friends to ask them what kind of product they might be interested in. The overwhelming response was for something quick and healthy that was also filling. I also asked about probiotics and what the perception of taste and texture was regarding fermented foods. People either love sauerkraut or they hate it. Personally, I love sauerkraut. I make it by the gallon, but I digress. I made these bars so that I could sneak some good bugs in without people having to fear the funky taste of fermented vegetables. 

raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars raw vegan granola bars

To celebrate the completion of the class, we were presented with some raw cocktail recipes. Whoo hoo! The base of both of these was also good as non-alcoholic drinks on their own. The green one is a nut milk with match powder – basically a vegan green tea latte. It is mixed with a cloudy sake to make it an adult beverage. The purple drink is a lavender and blueberry lemonade. It is also mixed with unfiltered nigori sake. Both were totally delicious. It was a nice way to celebrate. Cheers!

healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails healthy vegan sake cocktails

 

 

I’m done!!! =D =D =D Be on the lookout for more delicious recipes and more class adventures coming your way!

advanced raw cuisine certificate of completion

Vegan Chipotle Chili Stew

vegan chipotle chili

Mmmmmmm, chili! We had a little “cold front” here in central Florida recently. It dropped down into the mid-high 40s for about 3 days in a row. It’s practically shorts and flip flops weather again, but we needed something with a little heat to warm us up. My husband hinted that it was great weather for chili, so we took out the crock put and put this fabulously spicy and smoky chipotle chili stew together! 

vegan chipotle chili

I get really excited about cold weather because it gives me excuses to experiment with various vegan chilis and stews. They’re also hearty enough that my husband will happily eat them without missing the meat, so that makes me happy. 

This chili ended up a little runnier than I was hoping because I haven’t used my crockpot in so long. I was a little rusty on which dishes need extra liquid for different cook times, etc. It turned out more like a cross between a chili and a Mexican stew, which was just fine with me! We served it over whole grain brown rice, and it turned out just wonderful! 

vegan chipotle chili

This chili has a variety of beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and corn. I normally like to add black olives too, but I was so excited about the cold weather and the opportunity to make a batch of chili that I completely forgot. There are a lot of spices in this too for extra flavor: a few spicy peppers along with smoked paprika and chipotle, garlic etc. It has a really rich, smoky, and spicy flavor profile. If you don’t like spicy, feel free to omit the ingredients which are obviously added for extra heat, like the cayenne pepper. My mother would not go near this chili. 😉

I also wanted to make a cream sauce to go on top of it, but my husband wasn’t in the mood for sour cream, so I whipped up an onion hemp cream sauce to drizzle over the top. Most of the flavor comes from onion powder. This worked out really well since I did not have enough fresh onion to use in the actual chili. It was a nice flavor compliment to the other vegetables and the smoky flavors in the dish. 

vegan chipotle chili

 

Chipotle Chili Stew w/Onion Hemp Cream
Serves 8
Looking for something warm and smoky to warm you up this winter? This spicy chipotle chili is an easy vegan meal. Served over whole grain rice with an onion hemp cream sauce.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Chili Ingredients
  1. 56 oz crushed tomatoes (2-28 oz cans)
  2. 15 oz each (appx 1 can or make from dried): black, pinto, kidney, and chickpeas
  3. 10 oz fresh or frozen corn
  4. 8-10 oz chopped fresh white button mushrooms
  5. 8-10 oz fresh or frozen chopped bell peppers
  6. 2 TB dried cilantro
  7. 1 TB chili powder
  8. 1 TB cumin
  9. 1 TB chipotle chili (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  10. 1 TB smoked paprika
  11. 1-2 tsp smoked sea salt (to taste - there is no other salt in the recipe)
  12. 1 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  13. 1 tsp red pepper flake (omit if you do not want it spicy)
  14. 1 tsp garlic powder
  15. 1-2 cups water (2 for a thinner "stew" and 1/2-1 for a thicker "chili")
Onion Hemp Cream Ingredients
  1. 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending upon desired thickness)
  2. 1/2 cup hemp seed
  3. 1 tsp onion powder
  4. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  5. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  6. juice of 1/2 a lemon (add to taste)
Base Grain Ingredients
  1. whole grain brown rice - 3 cups uncooked
Instructions
  1. Put all chili ingredients in a 6 qt. crockpot and mix until well combined. Set it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
  2. Prepare rice as indicated on package before serving. We use a rice cooker, and it takes appx. 45-50 minutes.
  3. Blend all onion cream ingredient in a high speed blender until well combined.
  4. To assemble, place some rice in the bottom of a shallow bowl, spoon chili on top, and drizzle a little onion cream sauce on top. You can also top with some micro greens if you'd like. I really enjoyed the slight textural crunch and fresh flavor that they added.
Notes
  1. All of the ingredients for this recipe were organic. Please look for organic ingredients when possible.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Quinoa Collard Wraps (Vegan)

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

In response to all of the intricate raw food posts I’ve made over the last several months, I’ve been hearing a common question: “When do you have time to do all of that?!” Well, the truth is that I don’t, and I often had to sacrifice my sleep to complete everything on time. The learning experience was fantastic, but I need a little break, so I’m taking the month of November off to rest and do some traveling.

Like most other full time working professionals, my free time is limited to evenings and weekends, and many times after a long day, I’m just tired and don’t want to put a lot of effort info food preparation. Of course, I always want to make sure that I’m not sacrificing the quality or nutritional value of my food when I do so. I still shop almost exclusively in the produce department and make everything from scratch.

So, what was on my dinner plate this evening? Quinoa collard wraps! There is a local restaurant here where we live that makes wraps, which my husband is very fond of (I’ve never tried them). Today, he mentioned swinging by there for lunch, and I suggested that since he liked wraps so much, we should just pick up some ingredients at the grocery store to make our own much more affordably. Big thumbs up from Mr. Frugal. =D

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

We obviously have much different tastes in food (hence the name of this blog). While he is using whole wheat tortillas and turkey in his, I love to use gigantic collard greens as wraps and fill them with vegetables. Quinoa also makes a really hearty filling for wraps. While many traditional wraps put the grains on the outside and greens on the inside, I like to reverse it! I get a lot more green in my diet this way. 

These were really easy to make. I cooked some quinoa and seasoned it like a tuna salad with celery and onion. Something that I also really love to add to quinoa is a good quality mustard. In this case, I used a 100% homemade curry honey mustard! A little of this stuff goes a long way. Use it sparingly!

curry honey mustard

Of course, you can use any kind that you like, but but seasoning the quinoa with any sauce or spread you might put in a sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it dripping out of your wrap while you’re trying to eat it.

I also added tomato, some yellow bell pepper, some spicy radish sprouts, and a few slices of homemade pickles from cucumbers that I grew on my porch. 

dill pickles

Cucumbers in brine, at the start of the pickling process.

All you have to do is layer in your ingredients and then wrap it up just like a burrito. After that, slice it in half (on the diagonal to be a little fancier), and voila!

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

I ate two of these for dinner, and I feel very satisfied. I also met my requirement of adding something leafy and green to every meal. 😉

This is an incredibly healthy meal for several reasons:

  • Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is one of the only grains which can be considered a “complete protein”, and it also contains more minerals than other grains.
  • Quinoa contains a bioflavanoid called “quercetin”, which is also found in the skins of apples and onions. It helps to stabilize mast cells and prevent the release of histamine. If you have allergies, this is a great food to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Leafy greens are a great source of calcium in general, but collards are the best source of calcium among all leafy greens, or any other vegetable for that matter!
  • Collards are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C. 2 cups of chopped collards give you 92% of all the RDA for vitamin C. The leaves in this recipe are so large, they easily blow that out of the water. 
  • Collard greens are also a source of ALA (omega-3). Combined with vitamin K, they are a highly anti-inflammatory food.
  • Collard greens are effective at lowering cholesterol! Their high fiber content and the nutrients they contain bind to the bile acids that are released by our gallbladders after eating a fatty meal. Instead of getting reabsorbed into the body along with the fat, they pass through the intestines and existing cholesterol must be broken down to make more bile acids. This is actually the same mechanism by which some cholesterol drugs work. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138)

Please enjoy this recipe!

Quinoa Collard Wraps
Serves 1
These quinoa collard wraps are not only easy and quick to make, they are also delicious and nutritious!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 2 giant collard leaves - washed, dried, and stems shaved down flat
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  2. 1/2-1tsp honey mustard
  3. 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  4. 2-3 tsp red onion, finely chopped
  5. pinch or two of salt, to taste
  6. twist or two of black pepper, to taste
Other Wrap Fillings
  1. 1/4 bell pepper, cut into strips
  2. 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  3. 6-8 small dill pickle slices (don't skip these!)
  4. sprouts of your choice (optional for extra "green")
Instructions
  1. If you have leftover quinoa, this is a great use for it! Just mix in the "Quinoa Ingredients".
  2. If you need to cook the quinoa, follow the instructions on the package or just throw it in a rice cooker if you can't be bothered to read such things (guilty). Just make sure you rinse it first to remove residue which can result in bitterness.
  3. Chop the vegetables. If you had to cook your quinoa, mix the celery and onion in while it's still warm to soften them a bit. They are also good crunchy!
  4. Lay your prepared collard leaves down on a flat surface. Don't forget to shave the stems down with a sharp knife so the leaves can be rolled easily.
  5. Depending on the size of your collard greens, add appx 1/4 cup of quinoa (or maybe a little more or less) to the center of the leaf.
  6. Add any other wrap fillings that you'd like.
  7. Roll it up like a burrito.
  8. Slice it up and eat it!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 9

raw vegan portobello picatta

Advanced Raw Cuisine, Day 9, at Matthew Kenney Culinary is completed!

We got to play with the sous vide machine again today. This thing is so much fun! It makes the texture soft and amazing, just like a cooked food, and all of the moisture is retained, unlike heating in a dehydrator. With precise temperature control, we can keep everything within the range that retains all of the vitamins and minerals, and is therefore still considered “raw”. 

For today’s big project, we put some portobello mushrooms in the sous vide and made a portobello picatta! The dish was served alongside a jicama and cashew mash, topped with a breadcrumb mix of walnut toast, almonds, and fresh herbs, and accented with some smoked herbed olive oil butter and a few leaves of watercress. 

If you’d like to make the components of this dish, the “mashed potatoes” are on page 100 of Everyday Raw, and the “portobello steaks” are on page 102. If you have access to a sous vide, simply prepare the portobellos in a sous vide rather than in the dehydrator, as the book instructs. 

sous vide portobello raw vegan portobello picatta raw vegan portobello picatta raw vegan portobello picatta raw vegan portobello picatta raw vegan portobello picatta

 This was a beautiful and earthy dish. I really enjoyed plating it and seeing all of the elements and textures came together. It has the appearance of “comfort food”, but is elegant at the same time. There is a lot of complexity in the flavor too. The jicama is subtly sweet from the cashew, the mushrooms are savory, the lemon butter is tangy and smoky, and the greens add just a bit of bitterness. 

After enjoying this meal, we prepared some cheese crisps that will be used tomorrow, and then it was time to plate the panna cotta! I chose to pair it with a raspberry sauce, some orange supreme slices, and a cacao cookie crumble which was a variation of the crumble made for the apple/pear sous vide dessert on day 7.

If you’d like to make the panna cotta at home, you can find the recipe on page 73 of Everyday Raw Desserts. To convert it to a white chocolate panna cotta as I did, you can replace the coconut oil with raw cacao butter. 

raw vegan  white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan  white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan  white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan  white chocolate panna cotta

While eating the panna cotta, it was time to review the material for the mid-term quiz on day 10. Big day tomorrow!

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 8

raw vegan vietnamese pho

Day 8 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary is completed! 

The day started by soaking some chondrus crispus, commonly known as the seaweed, Irish moss. This is a seaweed that is a natural source of carrageenan – about 55% by weight. It is also a rich source of minerals. We use it in raw cuisine because of its gelling abilities. It is also about 10% protein! To use it, we soak it in water for 3-4 hours and then blend it with some water to make a gel that can be added to our recipes. 

irish moss soaking

 As this is the week we learned about advanced equipment, today we were introduced to the smoking gun. This is a really neat gadget that allows you to “cold smoke” food and beverages. There is a chamber where you put a small amount of a combustible, usually wood chips, and then you light them until they smolder. The fan in the gun blows the smoke that is produced through the tube and by inserting it into a sealed container, the smoke becomes infused into the foods that are in that container.

For this project, we smoked the raw coconut and cashew tofu that was made yesterday. The smoked was produced so fast that I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo of it in action, but you can see it hovering above the tofu cubes The sealed container is left alone until it’s not longer cloudy from the smoke, and then you know it’s been absorbed. It adds such a rich dimension of flavor to recipes, and it’s fun to play with!

raw vegan smoked tofu raw vegan smoked tofu raw vegan smoked tofu

After smoking the tofu, it was time to assemble the pho dish. We made an intricate broth, with 16 different ingredients, but it was well worth it. It had a very complex and delicious flavor, and it went down so easy. It was both light in texture and very flavorful. We added squash and coconut noodles, some scallions, red pepper, cilantro, the smoked tofu, and a few curried cashews. The whole thing was topped off with some black sesame seeds. 

If you’d like to make this recipe at home, it is on page 92 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho raw vegan vietnamese pho

 

After eating this amazing dish, we reviewed and started a panna cotta recipe. There were a few different flavor options available, and I chose the one that used raw cacao butter so that I would have white chocolate panna cotta! Here they are hanging out in a couple different mold shapes about to go into the freezer so I can eat them tomorrow. 🙂

raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta raw vegan white chocolate panna cotta

That concludes day 8! Looking forward to day 9!

 

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 6

raw vegan beet carpaccio

Day 6 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed! This starts the second week of class where the focus is on “advanced equipment”. We’ll be learning how to use the sous vide technique for raw food, how to infuse a smoky flavor into the food via a smoking gun, and how to use the dehydrator as a hot box. I’m very excited about playing with some new kitchen toys!

To start the day, some prep work was required. I made almond milk and processed the strained out pulp into almond flour. I also made some oat flour by soaking raw oat groats, dehydrating them, grinding the grains, and sifting the flour from the bran. 

Next, it was time to harvest some herbs and season the macadamia goat cheese, which had been fermenting over the last 24 hours. I choose lemon balm, parsley, and dill. The lemon balm added a really nice flavor. It is slightly tangy like lemon, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter. It’s one of my favorite tea herbs. The parsley added an earthy quality to the mix, and the dill gave it a rich and savory quality. I love dill so much. I’d put it in everything if I could. 

fresh garden herbs

The macadamia cheese was shaped into a log by rolling it in parchment paper. It was then rolled in the fresh chopped herbs. It had a very herbal and earthy flavor, complimented by the tanginess and saltiness of the nut cheese itself. 

If you’d like to make the macadamia goat cheese, you can fine the recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

raw vegan macadamia goat cheese raw vegan macadamia goat cheese

Following the cheese flavoring, it was time to experiment with the sous vide technique! I was a little intimidated that our first project was to utilize beets. It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with them. I try to like them, I really do. I know they’re super healthy, but they taste like dirt to me. It’s not my fault though. Science says I’m just overly sensitive to geosmin. I taste it in fresh corn sometimes too. 

Geosmin is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma produced by a type of Actinobacteria, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent (petrichor) that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed.” [Wikipedia]

Another side effect of being a supertaster, I suppose. So there. 

I chose yellow beets for this assignment since they have a milder flavor to me. I also love they are the color of sunshine, and I live in the Sunshine State, after all. I sliced the beets on a mandolin, tossed them in some seasoning, and added some fresh herbs from my garden. They went into a vacuum sealed back, and then into the water bath.

I’m using the Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. It’s pretty awesome. It clips onto any container, so you can use a big stockpot that you might already have and it stores easily since it’s basically just a metal cylinder. It stores easily if you have a small place like I do, and there’s no need to purchase a separate sous vide machine. Best of all, it’s very reasonably priced at less than $200 if you get it through Amazon.

raw vegan sous vide beets raw vegan sous vide beets raw vegan sous vide beets

After this project, we made an oat crumble and put it into the dehydrator and also made an almond gelato, which was put into the freezer to set up. 

Then, it was time for a lesson about agar agar. Agar is a seaweed that has amazing gelling properties. It’s not technically raw, but as a sea vegetable, it is rich in minerals, low in calories, and a good source of fiber. It can be used as a replacement for gelatin, and it can also be re-heated and re-blended if it sets too quickly. It’s a very versatile and it’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks. We used it to make a raw vegan version of tofu, with a base of coconut and cashew. 

It had a really nice flavor and texture. It didn’t have the same weird aftertaste that traditional soy based tofu does, and it is completely soy free. If you’d like to make this recipe, it is on page 66 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw.

raw vegan coconut tofu raw vegan coconut tofu

Finally, it was time to plate the beets with the components that we’d been putting together. This dish contains the sous vide beets, the macadamia goat cheese, the lemon butter I made on day 5 and put in the freezer, some crushed pistachio, and a few microgreens or sprouts. 

If you’d like to make this dish, you can find a similar recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio raw vegan beet carpaccio

What a great and delicious day! I can’t wait to see what we’ll be creating next!

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 5

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

I just completed day 5 of the Advanced Raw Cuisine course through Matthew Kenney Academy. What a wonderful experience my first week has been so far. We covered different types of sauces extensively every day, putting our lessons into practice with a variety of delicious recipe creations. For many of these recipes, we also learned new techniques for food preparation. 

Today, we learned about a 5th type of sauce used in raw cuisine, the “enhanced sauce”. This group of sauces is quite versatile. They are emulsified and using the basic method, they can be used to create either a light and silky smooth sauce, a butter, or an ice cream. For today’s lesson, we used this technique to create a tangy “tomato fondue”, which was used as a sauce in a raw ravioli dish that we plated later in the day.

raw vegan tomato fondueraw vegan tomato fondue raw vegan tomato fondue

While the sauce was warming and thickening in the dehydrator, we created a second enhanced sauce. We were given the option of creating either an olive oil ice cream or a basil butter. I chose the basil butter because I grow my own basil, and I love being able to make recipes with food that I’ve grown myself. This creation went straight from the blender into the freezer to use at a later time. 

basil

When the tomato fondue came out of the dehydrator, it was time to assemble and plate the rest of the ravioli components. We made the corn and mint pesto, which you can see hiding between the coconut wrapper squares  in some of the photos, and we also tossed a little baby arugula with a little olive oil, pine nuts, salt and pepper to help break up the color and spacing on the plate. I had the coconut wrapper squares that were prepared and cut up for the previous day’s lesson all ready to go! 

Bonus: The mint came from my garden. It’s really rewarding to be able to use my own herbs in these recipes!

This is the final result. The whole dish came together beautifully. I was able to put it together quickly and have it ready for lunch time. The tomato fondue was savory, tangy, and had a buttery, but light consistency. The corn and mint pesto was very slightly sweet and refreshing. The coconut wrappers were infused with a bit of carrot and also offered a subtle sweetness to contrast the tanginess in the sauce. They also contributed a more solid, but still soft texture. The arugula tossed with olive oil and lightly seasoned added just a hint of bitterness and saltiness, which nicely balanced the whole dish, both in flavor and in plating. I was thrilled with how well this turned out.

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

The final project of the day was to get started on some macadamia nut “goat” cheese, which will be used in some recipes over the next few days (and probably plenty of snacking too). 🙂

raw vegan macadamia nut goat cheese raw vegan macadamia nut goat cheese