Tag Archives: avocado

How to Make Sushi – An Easy Tutorial!


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


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. πŸ˜‰
  • 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. 


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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  1. 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  2. 2.5 cups water (for cooking)
  3. 1/4 cup sushi vinegar
  1. 4-6 sheets nori (assuming we are making maki rolls with the rice on the inside)
  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.
  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 - Β½ 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/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 7

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

Day 7 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary completed!

I’ve had such a fun time working on everything today with many opportunities to exercise my creativity. I’ve learned so much while taking these courses, not only about flavors and techniques, but also about art. My plating skills have improved dramatically, and as an artist, these playful arrangements translate into more lessons for me than just those with culinary applications. They have made me a better photographer, causing me to reconsider placement of the people and objects in my portraits. 

The day was started by adding some sliced apples and pears into a water bath for a little more practice with the sous vide technique. Following that, we learned about and executed two “amuse bouche” dishes. According to Wikipedia, “amuse bouche” literally means, “mouth amuser”. It is a 1-2 bite sized course that is both intense and playful.

We were given the freedom to create two of our own amuse bouche plates. My selections were inspired by the produce and herbs that I’ve been growing in my garden this summer, and by Florida grown produce in general. I tried to include local components in each dish (some as local as my patio).

The first plate includes some of my favorite flavors. It is small sampling of red and yellow grape tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and scallions atop a parsley and dill hemp seed pesto, which acts as both a surprise element in the dish, and a punch of flavor. 

Recipe link: Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto

raw vegan amuse bouche raw vegan amuse bouche

I wanted my second amuse bouche to be plated differently from the first, and I wanted a way to transform a classic non-vegan hors d’oeuvre into a healthful raw vegan version. In this dish, I created my version of “prosciutto and melon” using hami melon (sometimes called “Honey Kiss melon”), marinaded red pepper, and Florida avocados with a basil and ginger cucumber sauce. I was very pleased with the result. 

Recipe link: Bell Pepper ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto raw vegan melon and prosciutto

While I was busy snacking on my amuse bouche creations, we learned how to use the dehydrator as a “hot box”, which is very handy for creating a “wilted greens” texture, but leaving them completely raw with all of their precious nutrients and enzymes in tact, as the temperature remains at or below 115. 

The salad we made with this technique was a simple spinach salad tossed with some olive oil and lemon, and included a little bit of our macadamia nut goat cheese, some chopped golden raisins, and some pine nuts. Two thumbs up from the husband on this one! We ate it for dinner. πŸ™‚

raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad raw vegan wilted spinach salad

After the salad, it was time for dessert. With all of the components for the apple pear crumble ready to go, all that was needed was to plate it. I had enough to make a few of them, so I plated it 2 different ways to see how it would look. Which one do you like best? πŸ™‚

This dish is comprised of the apples and pears that were in the sous vide earlier today. We were told to cut them with final plating in mind. I made very thin round slices on the mandolin, sans cores. In one plating, I rolled them up; in the other, I left them them flat. They are topped off with the oat crumble that we put in the dehydrator yesterday, along with the almond gelato that we also made yesterday. I got a little more practice making perfectly shaped quenelles. I think I’m getting the hang of it! The whole thing is topped off with a little bit of star anise syrup that we made today and a pinch of star anise for garnish. I love that stuff!

If you’d like to make this yourself at home, Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Desserts, from pages 118-129, contains a variety of recipes for crumbles, cobblers, and ice creams that you can mix and match to make any number of similar desserts.

raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato raw vegan apple pear crumble with almond milk gelato

We ended the day by starting on an advanced pickling assignment. We are making quick pickles here, so the process includes some vinegar, as well as salt, which helps them to be ready quicker than a traditional salt brine only ferment. The class is only 4 weeks, so this method is understandable. We were allowed to experiment with flavors and ingredients that we thought might go well with our aged cheeses. I love pickling experiments, so I made two different jars – one with fruit and another with vegetables. 

My fruit pickles are: elderberry, lavender, apple, ginger, peeled muscadine grapes, and cinnamon. 

My vegetable pickles are: squash, carrot, shallot, turnip, radish, portobello, chili pepper, peppercorn, dill, and smoked sea salt. 

If after 4-5 days, they turn out well, I’ll share the exact recipes. πŸ™‚

pickled fruit pickled root vegetables

Raw Vegan ‘Prosciutto’ and Melon

raw vegan melon and prosciutto

I’ve been taking raw vegan culinary classes online through Matthew Kenney Culinary, and learning some amazing things. My favorite assignments are the ones where we are given a full creative license to take the skills we’ve learned and translate them into our own creations. You may remember the Bloody Mary Gazpacho that I created in my previous class, Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, which was the result of one of these creative exercises. 

I’m currently taking the second class, Advanced Raw Cuisine, where we were given another of these exercises to create 2 “amuse bouche” plates. This raw vegan ‘prosciutto’ and melon dish was one of those creations. I wanted a way to re-create a popular non-vegan hors d’oeuvre in a more healthful and kind way that would still please the palate. This was the result.

Please enjoy. πŸ™‚

Raw Vegan 'Prosciutto' and Melon
A more healthful and kinder alternative to the traditional "prosciutto and melon" appetizer, this re-creation is packed full of vitamin C with a familiar smoky and salty texture.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1 red bell pepper
  2. 1/4 of a cantaloupe, 1/4 of a honeydew melon, or 1/2 of a hami melon
  3. 1/4-1/2 of an avocado
  4. 1 TB grapeseed oil
  5. generous pinch (or 2) of smoked sea salt
  6. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the bell pepper. It's ok if you can't get the very top and bottom. We'll only be shaving off the flatter and broader sides.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer, shave off slices of the bell pepper that are as thin as you can make them while still keeping the cut pieces completely in tact with a continuous surface (no holes).
  3. Depending on the thickness you'd like the 'prosciutto' to be for the final plating, you may cut these in half. I did for the toothpick plating, but for something served on a plate, you might prefer to leave them wider.
  4. Add the shaved peppers to a bowl with the grapeseed oil, smoked sea salt, and smoked paprika. Toss them all together and ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. This will add not only a slightly darker color, but a smoky and salty flavor, and result in a pliable texture. Let it marinade for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers have the texture of a thinly shaved prosciutto.
  5. While the peppers are marinading, make melon balls and slice some triangle shaped avocado wedges.
  6. To assemble, slide onto toothpicks: avocados, then the peppers bent into wavy ribbons, and then a melon ball.
  7. Serve either on small plates or in some spoons.
  1. You can easily scale this recipe up or use other colored peppers or melons to get a different visual effect.
  2. I recommend not substituting for a different oil. Grapeseed was selected for its neutral flavor and salty undertones.
  3. Smoked sea salt contributes toward the smoky flavor of this dish. The smoked paprika is essential, but if you don't have smoked salt, using regular salt will still produce a good result. The smoky flavor will not be as rich, though.
  4. You can use any kind of avocado you like. I originally used the Florida avocado to add a bit of sweetness to the dish, but I prefer the Haas avocados.
  5. It is very helpful if you look for bell peppers that have relatively flat and broad sides, as they will be run over a mandolin slicer.
  6. If you slice the wider shaved pepper pieces in half and you have a larger pepper to start with, you should get 15-20 pieces from it.
  7. Traditionally, these are served alone, but you can add a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or some fresh herbs if you like. I think serving them with a bit of basil or mint makes an excellent palate cleanser.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Food: Day 16

raw vegan chia pudding

Week 4 of Fundamentals of Raw Food has officially started!!! Only 4 more days left and then I’m done with the course. I can hardly believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned. I’m really excited about the final project that I’m working on too!

The first thing we did was to create more nut milk for some additional recipes that we will be completing as part of the curriculum. I also created a cashew milk for the first time, as it is a component of the dessert recipe I am working on for my final project. 

The first project of the day was to create some tart crusts! These are so cute, aren’t they? They will eventually be filled with a lemon and chamomile tart filling. I can’t wait to taste it!

raw vegan tart crust raw vegan tart crust

After making the tart crusts, we made another breakfast (or anytime snack for that matter) dish. This is a banana chia pudding topped with a chai cream and some seasonal fresh fruit. The chai cream was amazing. It tasted just like a chai latte, and it gave me a great excuse to finally purchase some cardamom!

raw vegan chia puddingraw vegan chia pudding raw vegan chia pudding raw vegan chia pudding

We had another lesson in artfully plating and properly dressing salads today as well. If you toss the leaves in the bowl with the dressing and then arrange them on the plate, you get just the right amount in every bite. We have previously practiced with kale and a green of our choice in artfully plating salads. Today, we were given butter lettuce to practice with. It’s so light and fluffy. It almost looks like a flower when you make a little tower from it. Then, it’s easy to tuck little bits of vegetables into the folds. I feel like Christmas has come early with all the red and green bits tucked into my butter lettuce tree. =D

butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing butter lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing

The class assignments are a bit lighter this week to allow us time for testing our final project recipes. We had to submit our first process/testing photos, so I can give you a little sneak peak of what I am working on. I started the prep work for my appetizer and my dessert. The appetizer will contain a yogurt cream sauce inside of a cucumber roll and my dessert is going to be a mash up of a mango lassi and a panna cotta. The photos below are my yogurt before starting incubation, a honey pecan wafer, and my panna cotta experiment in the molds, getting ready to go into the fridge to set up overnight.

raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan toule raw vegan toule raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta raw vegan mango lassi panna cotta

Summer Chiller! Cucumber, Pineapple, and Mint Smoothie

Summer Chiller Smoothie with cucumber juice, frozen pineapple, mint, and matcha!

My classes are going well. Part of what we have been learning is “smoothie building”. It really is both an art and a science. Until this point, I’d just been throwing stuff in a blender and hoping for the best, but no more! The recipe for this cucumber, pineapple, and mint smoothie was from an assignment we were given to build out own smoothies using the flavor balancing techniques learned in class.

I was very happy with it. I could taste all of the components, and it was very refreshing and filling without feeling or tasting too heavy. I think it’s a great way to deal with all this summer heat and humidity we’ve been having here in Central Florida!

Summer Chiller Smoothie with cucumber juice, frozen pineapple, mint, and matcha!

Summer Chiller Smoothie: Cucumber, Mint, & Pineapple
Serves 1
This is a light and refreshing creamy frozen treat that is perfect for summer. Fresh cucumber juice and mint combines with frozen pineapple and a hint of matcha powder for a nice afternoon pick up.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 3/4 cup cucumber juice
  2. 1/4 cup ice
  3. 1 cup frozen pineapple
  4. 1/2 avocado
  5. 2 TB fresh chopped peppermint
  6. 1/4 tsp matcha powder
  7. 2 tsp local raw honey (if preferred, substitute with vegan sweetener of choice or omit)
  8. pinch salt
  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender until thoroughly combined. It will be thick and creamy. You will probably need a tamper to move the ingredients around. It comes out like a milkshake!
  1. I used English cucumber for the juice in this recipe with the peels on, which yielded a more potent juice. If you use a peeled cucumber, go ahead and add up to a cup of juice (to your taste preference) because the flavor will be milder.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Day 4

zucchini tartare

On Sunday-Monday of this week, I completed day 4 of β€œFundamentals of Raw Cuisineβ€œ. I probably should have spread it out over 3 days. There was a lot to do, and I only got to about half of it. More than half if it was setting components for other recipes up in the dehydrator. I can’t want to eat the finished products. πŸ™‚

As with every day before, the day’s work started with knife skills. All those pretty cubes of zucchini and the chiffonade cuts of basil went into a beautiful zucchini tartare, and the rest went into the blender for some rosemary croutons. The rest of the veggies were juiced. I’ve been enjoying a fresh juice every day after my chopping exercises!

knife skills knife skills knife skills

After checking on my kale chips (not quite done), I started the day off with a delicious pumpkin pie spice smoothie. This smoothie was a little like a raw “cheesecake” that I made for Thanksgiving last year – it didn’t actually contain any pumpkin. The flavors of carrot and pumpkin pie spices sort of trick your palate into thinking there might be some pumpkin in there though! The recipe presented to us in the course is an adaptation of the “Bunny Spice” smoothie recipe in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. The main difference is that the recipe in the class had less carrot juice and used pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon. After looking at the recipe in the book, I think I might have liked to try it with the extra carrot juice though!

pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie pumpkin pie spice smoothie

While I drank my smoothie, I worked through the reading material about the usage of superfoods in raw recipe creation, and also a primer on raw vegan sweeteners. Raw honey is occasionally used, which is not vegan, and grade B maple syrup is occasionally used, which is not raw, but both in moderation. Many raw foods are sweet on their own if they contain rip fruits or sweeter vegetables like carrots or peppers, and don’t need much extra, except to function as a bit of a flavor enhancer.

That was where I left off on Sunday. I decided to give myself a little rest after spending all day in the kitchen on Saturday. All work and no play makes Adrienne a dull girl, right? πŸ˜‰

I picked up with Day 4 on Monday when I came home from work. The next assignment was a beautiful and delicious zucchini and avocado tartare. This one was really quick and easy to make, which was a good thing because I was very hungry when I got home. πŸ™‚ The recipe blends delicate soft pieces of zucchini with avocado and a tangy herbal sauce in a ring mold to make a dish that is both light in summer flavors and artistic on the plate. Ring molds really step it up a notch!

The recipe is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.

zucchini tartare zucchini tartare zucchini tartare


After my belly was full, there was some more prep work to get those recipe components into the dehydrator. I currently have in my dehydrator: pine nut “parmesan”, shiitake “anchovies” (mushrooms – pre-dehydration photos below), and rosemary croutons (pre-dehydration photos below), which were made with the almond flour that I created after dehydrating the almond pulp from my nut milk in the previous day’s coursework! There is going to be an amazing raw vegan Caesar salad in my future!

mushroom anchoviesrosemary croutons

I’ve saved the best for last. My kale chips turned out great. The pile got smaller as I photographed them because I couldn’t stop eating them. Life is hard, I know. I made two batches of kale chips: ranch and spicy mango lime. I will add recipes for each of them in separate blog posts since this one has become quite long already. For now, you’ll just have to salivate on your keyboard. Sorry! πŸ˜‰

kale chips kale chips kale chips  

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto (Raw Vegan)

zucchini noodles with bell pepper pesto

I made this bell pepper pesto sauce out of necessity. With dutiful pruning of my basil plant, pinching off blossoms, and adding some fresh cuttings back into the pot that I propagated from clippings, I have an over-abundance of basil… again. What’s a girl to do, but to make more pesto? I also gave some away! =D

I invited one of my friends from work over for lunch on Memorial Day. I originally purchased the bell peppers fully intent on experimenting with a raw version of a romesco sauce, but then the basil explosion happened. The raw romesco sauce experiment is still on my to-do list though, I promise. I think I will wait until the peppers in my porch jungle are ready though. I would love to be able to make it with the main ingredient being something I grew myself. Growing my own food brings me such satisfaction!

Zucchini Noodles w/ Bell Pepper Pesto

So, having both peppers and basil, I decided to combine them into a tasty sauce. I used a little flax seed oil to give it nutty flavor without actually introducing nuts, which I am trying to limit in order to keep my fat and omega 6 intake lower. I used a little nutritional yeast to give it a slightly cheesy flavor, and I used half an avocado to give it a slightly creamy texture. Spread into 2 or 3 portions, it is really not much avocado per person. The rest of the ingredients were just seasoning and texture. Of course, by now, my regular readers know that I like to add fermented foods to my recipes whenever possible, so this one got some fermented garlic and raw ACV added as well. You are welcome to use powdered garlic instead if you don’t happen to have any fermented garlic laying around though. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, my lovely friend Divya gave the recipe two thumbs up. After the main course, I served some fresh chopped fruit with a sauce of lemon, local raw honey, cinnamon, and ginger for dessert. I also washed my meal down with a rather large glass of home brewed probiotic-filled jun!

Zucchini Noodles w/Bell Pepper Pesto
Serves 2
A seasonal dish that incorporates all of the summer favorites: zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, and basil! This recipe is easy to prepare and offers a twist to the traditional pesto sauce by incorporating luscious sweet yellow bell peppers.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Zucchini Noodle Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchinis
  2. 1 tsp salt
Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 yellow bell pepper
  2. 2 cups packed basil
  3. 2 TB flax seed oil
  4. 1/2 avocado
  5. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 TB ACV
  8. 2 tsp garlic (or a couple cloves of fermented garlic - rich mellow flavor)
  9. 1/4 cup water
Garnish/Topping Ingredients
  1. Fresh ripe tomatoes
  2. Sprouts of your choice
  3. Pumpkin seeds
  4. Sprig of basil
  1. Spiral cut (or julienne cut) the zucchini into noodles. Sprinkle with salt and mix in with your hands. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes (when they are soft and "noodle-y" in texture) and then rinse the salt off the noodles using a large strainer or colander. This is enough time to blend the sauce and get everything else set up.
  2. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender until they are well-incorporated.
  3. Chop up the tomatoes for the dish.
  4. If your noodles are done, stack them up on a plate.
  5. Pour the sauce on top of the noodles.
  6. Add the tomatoes, sprouts, and pumpkin seeds. Top with a few basil leaves, if desired.
  7. Enjoy!
  1. If you are opposed to nutritional yeast in raw food recipes, you may omit it. It lends a subtlety cheesy flavor if you are sharing the dish with non-raw friends or non-vegans.
  2. It is best to eat the sauce fresh. I found that it did not keep well the second day. The addition of avocado caused the top layer to brown and the flavor was not as fresh.
  3. If this is your main dish, serve it as 2 portions with a large and visually impressive stack of noodles. If you have side dishes, break it up into 3 portions.
  4. The addition of juicy ripe tomatoes really adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish. I recommend that you add plenty of them. Mine were fresh from the garden! πŸ™‚
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Healthy Coleslaw w/Avocado Dressing (Raw Vegan)

Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw

Growing up in Florida, I remember having many varieties of coleslaw served at summer cookouts and birthday parties. I use the term, “summer” loosely, of course. It feels like summer here for 6 months out of the year, so we had coleslaw at Memorial Day and Labor Day cookouts as well. 

Now that “summer” is creeping up on us down here in the southeast US, I thought it would be nice to put together a lighter and healthier version of the traditional mayo and sugar-laden coleslaw dish.

My recipe uses Napa cabbage instead of regular green cabbage. Napa cabbage has a more delicate texture and flavor, and it has a higher concentration of folate than other varieties of cabbage. I have also added some scallions for a little extra texture and flavor. 

For the coleslaw dressing, I chose to use ripe avocados to create a creamy base instead of mayonnaise. This recipe is entirely free of eggs or dairy, so it won’t turn rotten if you have it outside for a picnic. I also used a garlic-infused raw ACV (apple cider vinegar) that resulted from from fermenting some raw garlic in the ACV for 8 weeks (and still counting), and a small amount of low glycemic raw unrefined coconut sugar.


Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw
Serves 2
A healthy alternative to a traditional coleslaw, this recipe uses no egg, no dairy, and no refined sugars.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Slaw Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  2. 1 cup shredded carrot
  3. 2 stalks scallion, chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe avocados
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup garlic infused raw apple cider vinegar (sub: plain ACV + 2 tsp garlic powder)
  4. 2TB extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tsp mustard powder
  6. 1 tsp celery seed
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  8. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
  9. 2 TB raw coconut sugar (I like this one, as it is unrefined and low glycemic: Coconut Secret Coconut Crystals - Raw Coconut Sugar)
  1. Mix shopped vegetables for the slaw in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix
  3. Mix dressing into slaw
  1. Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish
  2. I am planning to experiment with a sunflower seed base as well, for those who may be turned off by the green color of the avocado, but I think it imparts a nice creamy texture.
  3. I used Napa cabbage here instead of regular cabbage because I like the softer texture than regular cabbage.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Collard Rolls with Lemon Dill Sauce (Raw Vegan)

Raw vegan collard rolls with a creamy avocado lemon dill sauce

Oh, how I love collard rolls. Heck, I love collard greens in general. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of calcium, they are available for most of the year, they are usually pretty cheap, they have a subtle flavor that works well in green smoothies, and of course, the texture is perfect for wraps and rolls!

Collard rolls with shredded vegetables and a creamy lemon dill sauce.

I missed out on the goodness of collards for way too long. I don’t think I even tried collard greens until maybe 2 years ago. I grew up in Florida, which is technically south of “The South” according to a true Southerner, BUT I still heard rumors of collard greens and how they were served in traditional recipes. Those recipes all sounded very unappetizing to me, so I developed a negative association with collard greens and never bothered to give them a second thought… until I got my husband on the green smoothie bandwagon and he came home with a big bundle of collard greens one day. I thought he was nuts until I tried his smoothie and realized that I had sorely misjudged the mighty collard green.

Shave the collard green stem down to make it more flexible for collard rolls and collard wraps!

When I first started eating more raw foods, I saw a lot of people suggesting the use of collard greens for wraps and tortilla alternatives. I tried it out, and couldn’t seem to figure out how to get them to roll nicely without some kind of ripping and breaking due to the thick stem in the middle. After looking at the leaves for a while and realizing the stem was only thick on one side, I eventually got the bright idea to just shave the stem down so it was relatively flat against the underside of the leaf. Alright, you got me. I figured it out as I was working on THIS recipe. I’ve been doing it wrong for years.

Behold, the more flexible collard green – now even more perfect for collard rolls and wraps! 


With a little sauce, the wraps hold together nicely too. Notice the edge of the leaf in the above photo is magically holding itself down without the aid of toothpicks or sticky rice! Speaking of the sauce, in the name of using ingredients I already had on hand, I opted for a creamy lemon dill sauce that uses avocado to provide the desired texture and thickness. It’s easy to spread over the greens, and it holds the outer layers of the collard rolls together nicely, even after they’ve already been cut into smaller pieces.

A creamy lemon dill sauce made from whisking avocado, olive oil, and herbs.

Collard Rolls with Lemon Dill Sauce (Raw Vegan)
Serves 2
These collard rolls are a healthier alternative to tortilla based vegetable wraps and rolls. Collard greens are high in calcium, and the vegetables inside provide beta-carotine and vitamin C. The sauce is avocado based, making it a source of good fats and potassium, as well as vitamin C from a tangy infusion of lemon.
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Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 5 large collard leaves
  2. 2 carrots, julienne sliced
  3. 1 jumbo pickling cucumber, julienne sliced (Pickling cucumbers have a nice firm texture)
  4. 1 Cubanelle sweet pepper
  5. 1 small wedge of sweet onion (How much do you like onions? πŸ˜‰ )
Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 soft ripe avocado
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1 tsp dried dill
  5. 1 tsp onion powder
  6. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  7. 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  8. 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Sauce Directions
  1. Mash the avocado until it is creamy (I use a potato masher).
  2. Whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients until well blended.
Preparing Wrap Ingredients
  1. Use a julienne slicer (or mandolin slicer with julienne blade) to cut carrots and cucumbers into thin strips.
  2. Cut sweet pepper and onion into thin strips with a knife.
  3. Turn each collard leaf over so that the bottom faces up and the fat part of the stem is on top. Carefully shave the stems down so that they are almost flush with the leaves.
Wrap Assembly
  1. Spread a thin layer of sauce over each leaf with a flexible spatula.
  2. Equally distribute the sliced vegetables among the leaves, placing the strips at the bottom of the leaves, where the stems were shaved down.
  3. Roll the collards up! As you roll, keep them somewhat snug.
  4. Slice down the center vein, and then slice in half again so that you get 4 pieces from each rolled leaf.
  5. Eat and enjoy! πŸ™‚
  1. You can use a sushi mat to roll if you want, but I found it was easier to just use my hands due to the size of the collard greens.
  2. Some of the sauce may push forward as you roll, and that is ok. Just wipe off the excess.
  3. You might have a little sauce left over. If you do, you can dip the rolls in it to intensify the lemon-dill flavor, or save it for dipping vegetables or adding to a salad.
  4. If after slicing, you feel that the end pieces are a little loose, you can unroll a couple turns, tighten them up, and then wrap the ends back up. Sushi is not that forgiving!
  5. Feel free to get creative and swap out the vegetables inside or use some sprouts. Mmm, sprouts!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa & Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto (Vegan)

Sun dried tomato quinoa with pumpkin seed avocado pesto

This quinoa and pesto dish was inspired by an over-abundance of basil on my porch, and some ACV fermented garlic that I’ve been culturing for the last 6 weeks. I’m a big fan of cultured foods. I try to incorporate some into my diet every single day.

I created a twist on traditional pesto based on the ingredients I had on-hand and my dietary restrictions, and I’m quite happy with the results! Pumpkin seeds are a lot more budget-friendly than pine nuts. They add a little bit of texture and some health benefits, like being a good source of zinc, which is a great immune booster. The avocado provides a familiar creamy texture that pine nuts and cheese would have provided, and is a healthier source of fats than dairy.

apple cider fermented garlic and fresh basil, waiting to become pesto

Garlic cloves fermented in unfiltered apple cider vinegar and fresh home grown basil. Pesto is a natural thought that comes to mind when pondering the ways to marry these flavors.

Here in sunny Florida, we’ve already got a head start on our spring planting, even those of us without yards. Right now, on my small 3rd floor terrace, I’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, marigolds, basil, aloe, a small avocado tree (which will eventually need a yard), and some micro-greens.

I am looking forward to creating more unique pesto recipes throughout the warm weather season as my little plant continues to blossom and produce more basil leaves. By the looks of it, I should have some fresh tomatoes to add to my homegrown ingredients list within a few more weeks!

Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa with Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Serves 3
This recipe is a delicious and filling vegan appetizer or side dish that is quick and easy to prepare. The quinoa contributes protein, the avocados add fat, and the pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which helps to strengthen the immune system.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 & 1/3 cup water
  2. 2/3 cup dried quinoa
  3. 2 TB sun dried tomato, chopped
  4. pinch of sea salt
  5. 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. Fresh squeezed juice of 1/4 lemon
Pesto Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  2. 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. 2 cloves of AVC-fermented garlic (substitution: 2 tsp garlic powder)
  5. 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 tsp coarse gray sea salt
  7. 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Directions for the quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Add water and a pinch of sea salt to medium sized pot on the stove until boiling.
  3. Add quinoa and sun dried tomatoes to pot and reduce heat - simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed (alternatively: you can use a rice cooker).
  4. When finished, transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Add another pinch of salt if you like (I do).
Directions for the pesto (prepare while quinoa is cooking)
  1. Add all ingredients into a variable speed blender and mix until well-combined. The basil should be shredded and the pumpkin seeds should be chopped. I have a Vitamix and the mixture incorporated well on the 4-5 setting.
  1. If you want to make it fancy like the photo, use a 2.5" ring mold and layer the ingredients so there is roughly a 3:1 ratio of quinoa to pesto.
  2. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, a bit of extra quinoa, and fresh ground pepper.
  1. If you decide to use a ring mold, twisting it gently will keep the top layer smooth as you remove the tamper.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/