Tag Archives: parsley

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

Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto (Raw Vegan)

raw vegan amuse bouche

It’s no secret that I love pesto, and I love to experiment with different varieties because of all the herbs that I’m growing. I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many uses as I can for them before the weather cools and they are no longer flourishing. This parsley and dill hemp seed pesto was created as part of a class assignment, through Matthew Kenney Culinary, to create two amuse bouche dishes.

The pesto is the base for this particular dish, atop which is stacked some red and yellow grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, thinly sliced radishes, scallion, a few alfalfa sprouts, and some sprigs of dill. A tiny pinch of salt is sprinkled on top to tenderize and enhance the flavor of the vegetables. Every tiny mouthful allows for a little variation in which vegetables are paired with the pesto. It was really wonderful. I enjoyed both eating it and plating it.

Parsley and Dill Hemp Seed Pesto (Raw Vegan)
A delicious herbal pesto made from parsley, dill, and hemp seed. Parsley is a great source of iron and hemp seed is not only a source of good fats, but also offers a full range of essential amino acids.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
  2. 1/2 cup dill, loosely packed
  3. 1 clove garlic (bonus: use fermented garlic to add some probiotics)
  4. 2 TB hemp seed
  5. 2 TB cup extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil
  6. 1 TB nutritional yeast (optional if you feel opposed to eating it, as it is not truly raw)
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. few twists of black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until herbs are thoroughly and finely chopped. This produces a chunky pesto. If you'd like a smoother pesto, use more olive oil.
Notes
  1. Use 1 tsp dried garlic for a milder garlic flavor.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

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). πŸ™‚

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

 

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 2

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

On to day 2 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary! Today’s delectable treats included a raw vegan gnocchi and a vegetable miso soup. Not only was there was ample opportunity to continue honing my skills, every dish provided an opportunity to make culinary art and continue improving my plating skills as well. I have truly enjoyed learning new things each and every day.

The first thing I did today was to do a bit of rearranging in the dehydrator. I checked on the olive bread that I put in yesterday and removed it when I found that it was nice and crispy. In its place, I put in the eggplant that I left to marinade overnight. 

Our first lesson for today was on the second of the five raw mother sauces, the vegetable stock. That’s right! You don’t have to give up that tasty soup or your favorite recipes. We can still make flavorful raw vegetable stocks through juicing, blending, and dehydrating. It doesn’t take any more time than simmering a cooked stock would, and all of the vitamins and enzymes are kept in tact. This is especially important when you consider the heat-sensitive vitamin C and that unlike other primate and mammalian species, humans cannot manufacture their own!

Isn’t this broth beautiful?

raw vegan vegetable stock

 

 

Our next lesson was starting on a root vegetable gnocchi. I really love that we have the creative freedom to customize the flavors and ingredient choices in this class. It allows the recipe creation process to feel a lot more personal when the selected ingredients are close to your heart (and tongue!).

For the gnocchi, we were allowed to select any root vegetable that we wanted. The demo was shown using beets. Indeed, they offer many health benefits and are fantastic liver cleaners. I wanted to use a root vegetable that I hadn’t been able to work with over the duration of these courses yet and picked one of my personal favorites, sweet potato! I’ve really been into the color orange lately too. Beta carotine, FTW!

We were given the option to shape them into fancy French quenelles, or to roll them and use a fork to give them more of a “rustic” look. I chose the latter. I really love the traditional look of gnocchi with the ridges across the middle. After forming our selected shapes, into the dehydrator they went!

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

 

While waiting a few hours for the gnocchi, there were plenty of other projects to work on, one of which was more fermented nut cheese! We made a few of these in our Level 1 class, but this time around, we’ll be using our own probiotics and aging them to build some additional character in the flavor and texture. I’m a bit of a mad scientist when it comes to fermenting things, so I had to make sure there were enough batches to experiment with. πŸ˜‰

I’ve got a “control” batch of cashew with a standard probiotic powder, a brazil/pine nut combo with water kefir, a couple pistachio experiments with kimchi and sauerkraut brines, and some macadamia cheeses with fermented coconut water and rejuvelac. 

raw vegan nut cheesesraw vegan nut cheesesprobiotic fermented food

 

The second recipe we worked on while waiting for the gnocchi to dehydrate a bit more was a “new style miso soup”. This soup was a great opportunity to test out the versatility of the raw vegan vegetable broth. It was a flavorful and creative cross between a vegetable soup and a miso soup. It was also slightly creamy, but retained a lightness to it, which made for a satisfying appetizer. Working on this recipe gave me a lot of creative ideas for just how versatile our second mother sauce really is.

raw vegan vegetable miso soupraw vegan vegetable miso soup raw vegan vegetable miso soup raw vegan vegetable miso soup

At long last, after being taunted with the wonderful smells coming out of my dehydrator (don’t forget, the eggplant bacon is still in there too), something was ready to come out and be eaten. I removed the gnocchi after warming the lemon cream sauce from yesterday’s lesson a bit.

In addition to the cream sauce, we learned how to make gremolata, a parsley and lemon based condiment that adds a refreshing quality to an otherwise rich or heavy dish. The flavors and textures paired very well with the Meyer lemon cream sauce, and the textural contrasts looked beautiful on the plate as well.

The most rewarding part of all this is that the parsley came from my porch garden! Food is so much more rewarding when you’ve grown it yourself.

The whole thing was topped off with some micro-greens. I chose some baby chard here, not only for their mild tangy flavor, but also for the beautiful pop of color that the red stems added to the plating. I was really thrilled with how this all came together. It is by far the most beautiful dish I’ve ever put together, and I learned all of the skills with the help of my wonderful instructors. I am really impressed with the quality of the culinary education I’ve been receiving from an online program!

raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi raw vegan root vegetable gnocchi

 

That wrapped up my second day! Looking forward to tomorrow’s projects! We will be putting a mezze platter together and learning about tomato sauces!

Ranch Kale Chips

kale chips

Kale chips are one of my favorite healthy snacks, and they fit right in with my rule to eat some leafy greens with every meal. Snacks are an added bonus. πŸ™‚

This recipe was also part of a class project to come up with my own kale chip recipe. They only asked for one, but I had a lot of kale, so I experimented with two separate recipes! The turned out great. The dehydration process really works to bring out the savory flavors in the fresh herbs. Two thumbs up!

kale chipskale chips

Ranch Kale Chips
Trying to eat healthier, but missing your old Ranch Doritos? These kale chips use a blend of ranch seasoning herbs to make delightfully savory kale chips!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr 30 min
KALE
  1. 1 large bunch kale, de-stemmed and ripped into chip sized pieces
KALE CHIP SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  1. 1 cup cashews, soaked
  2. 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (any color)
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. 1 shallot (or 2 TB chopped onion)
  5. 2 TB lemon juice
  6. 2 TB nutritional yeast
  7. 3 TB fresh parsley, chopped
  8. 2 TB fresh dill, chopped
  9. 2 TB chives, chopped
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until well combined. The sauce will be thick, so you might need a tamper to help it blend. If it is too thick to blend, add a little water - 1TB at a time until you can get everything mixed.
  2. Pat your kale leaves with a towel to ensure there is no excess moisture on them. This will help the sauce stick better.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale pieces with the sauce. Mix it up thoroughly with your hands (I wear rubber gloves) until everything is well-coated.
  4. Spread the kale out on some dehydrator sheets and dehydrate overnight.
Notes
  1. Nuts are best soaked to reduce enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, and make them more digestible. However, if you are in a hurry and you can't wait the 2 hours for your cashews to soak, just use 1 cup raw cashews and about 3 TB of water.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Italian Pasta Salad (Vegan, cooked w/raw option)

Pasta Primavera Salad - Vegan and Gluten Free

This Italian pasta salad recipe is heart-healthy and easy to make. It is low in fat and full of raw vegetables with a flavorful flax seed oil pesto sauce.

My Dietary Transition

I have been working to transition my diet to that which follows the protocols outlined by Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for optimal human health. (Check out the health resources link on this blog to find some of their work if you have not already.) Essentially, it is a low fat whole foods plant based diet. I was already eating a whole food plant based diet with a lot of raw food, but still eating far too many nuts and oils with the wrong proportions of omega fatty acids. I am giving their recommended 80-10-10 (carbs-protein-fat) approach a try, which hypothetically should be achieved simply by eating a varied diet of whole plant foods. If I use oil, I am trying to use flax oil exclusively for my cold dishes, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid, and using coconut oil occasionally, but sparingly for my occasional cooked dishes (and in large amounts on my skin as a moisturizer!).

The Recipe Origins

As my grandfather recently passed away from heart disease, I’ve been encouraging my family to adopt some more heart-healthy dietary habits by preparing meals for them this week while I am visiting. I was originally going to take this recipe to a vegan potluck dinner with some friends, as I thought it would be a nice light meal that would appeal to most people. When I ended up back home over the news about my grandfather, I made it for my relatives instead. 

A Note About Grains

I chose to include some grains in this recipe to make it more appealing to the audience I was preparing it for. One important thing to note is that when following the heart-healthy protocol, any grains which are consumed should be whole grains. This means that the germ, endosperm, and bran are not removed in processing. Otherwise, the grains lack fiber and nutrients. I found an organic rice pasta at my local grocery store (I LOVE PUBLIX!) that uses whole grain rice flour, which worked out really nice for the recipe. If your local hippy market doesn’t carry any such thing, you can order it from Amazon: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.

HOWEVER, I generally prefer to limit my consumption of grains, due to their phytic acid content (which can be reduced by sprouting and fermenting, and offset by a healthy population of lactobacilli in the gut), but I digress. We can discuss that in another post at another time. Until then, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! πŸ˜‰

How to Make it Raw

The rice pasta is the only cooked ingredient in the dish, so if you’d like it to be a completely raw vegan meal, you can just make noodles out of the zucchini instead of slicing it as I did for this version of the recipe, and omit the rice pasta all together. This was my original plan for the recipe. However, if sharing with hungry omnivores, the whole grain rice pasta makes the recipe a bit more familiar.

Pasta Primavera Salad
Serves 4
This light heart-healthy pasta primavera salad contains an array of colored raw vegetables, marinaded in a flax oil pesto dressing, and a whole grain organic rice pasta. The pasta is a great option for non-raw family members, but can be omitted if you would like the dish to be completely raw vegan. In that case, just spiral cut your zucchini into noodles instead. πŸ™‚
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Pasta Ingredients
  1. 3 spiral cut zucchinis OR 1/2 lb whole grain rice pasta
Salad Ingredients
  1. If using pasta, then chop 2 zucchinis for the salad (don't chop any extra if they are your noodles)
  2. 1/2 heart celery, thinly sliced (appx. 1.25 cups)
  3. 1 cup grated carrot (appx. 3 medium carrots or 4 small organic carrots)
  4. 2 cups chopped grape tomatoes (1 pint package)
  5. 1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (appx 3 sweet peppers or 1 yellow bell pepper)
  6. 1/2 cup chopped artichoke heart (appx 5 hearts - marinaded in brine, not oil)
  7. 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (up to 1/2 cup if you love parsley)
  8. 1 cup chopped kalamata olives (reduce to 1/2 cup to reduce the fat - stored in brine, not oil)
  9. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (5-6 stalks)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1 large handful fresh basil
  4. 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pasta Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions OR spiral cut zucchini and massage in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until soft and pliable, then rinse with cool water.
Salad Directions
  1. Chop all vegetables as indicated and add them to a very large bowl.
  2. If you are using pasta noodles, then chop some zucchini for the salad. If you are using zucchini noodles, then omit zucchini from the salad.
Dressing Directions
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
Assembly Directions
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until it is evenly distributed. Let the dressing sit on the vegetables for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften and soak in the flavor.
  2. Mix the pasta (either zucchini or rice noodles) into the large bowl with the salad and dressing.
Notes
  1. This pasta salad recipe will feed 4 people as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish. We had 6 at dinner and finished the bowl, but one of us had 3 portions and made a meal of it. πŸ˜‰
  2. Feel free to double the recipe for an extra large or extra hungry crowd. I made a double batch so that there would be leftovers for lunch the second day.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

This is a light and easy zucchini pasta with raw vegan tomato basil marinara is a dish that I have enjoyed preparing in the past for its simplicity and the easy availability of seasonal ingredients. It is great when you would like something quick and healthy without having to think too hard about it. It is literally slicing the zucchini and blending the sauce.

Zucchini Pasta with Raw Vegan Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Now that I have tomato plants which are producing a few newly ripened tomatoes for me every few days and a healthy basil plant that gives me a giant handful of leaves every few weeks, I have really enjoyed putting them to good use. It’s really rewarding to be able to make something with ingredients that I’ve grown myself, and perfectly ripened garden tomatoes are one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. Truth be told, most of them don’t even make it into a tomato basil marinara sauce. I eat them as soon as I pick them. πŸ˜‰

Now that I have tomato plants which are producing a few newly ripened tomatoes for me every few days and a healthy basil plant that gives me a giant handful of leaves every few weeks, I have really enjoyed putting them to good use.

Below is a breakdown of the health benefits for each of the main ingredients.

Zucchini

  • High in fiber, which helps to maintain blood sugar and lower cholesterol. It also helps to keep the colon clean, which puts you at a lower risk for cancer.
  • Good source of vitamins A & C, which prevent cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood vessels. This stops hardening of the arteries and heart disease. 
  • Vitamins A & C, along with the folate in zucchini, act as antioxidants, which additionally help to prevent certain types of cancers and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Men! The phytonutrients in zucchini can improve prostate problems. πŸ˜‰
  • Ladies! Zucchini is high in magnesium, which helps to stave off chocolate cravings (which are often a sign of magnesium deficiency).
  • Source: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/8-health-benefits-of-zucchini.html

Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes are good for your heart! They have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and to prevent your blood platelets from clumping together. Tomatoes are one of the best foods for accomplishing the latter of those. 
  • Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene (an antioxidant). When tomatoes are cooked, you absorb more lycopene, but the vitamin C is destroyed. As humans cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, eat your tomatoes raw, and with a little fat, you can still boost lycopene absorption! If you eat the yellow and orange tomatoes instead of the red ones, you can actually absorb the lycopene better too. 
  • 1 cup of tomatoes also contains 24% of the DRI (daily recommended intake) of biotin – they are good for your hair!
  • Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44

Basil

  • You might not always think of health benefits with regard to fresh herbs (admittedly, flavor is usually first on my mind), but basil has some great ones. 
  • Basil contains high amounts of compounts which may be useful in treating arthritis and IBS (inflammatory bowel disease). 
  • Likewise, it has also been shown to be beneficial with other types of inflammation and swelling. 
  • It has anti-aging properties, protecting against free radical damage in the liver, brain, and heart. 
  • It’s a great source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium (as all leafy greens are).
  • Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425.php
Raw Vegan Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Basil Marinara
Serves 2
A light and healthy pasta alternative made with seasonal summer ingredients. Unlike its grain-laden counterpart, these ingredients work together to reduce inflammation, provide you with useful fiber to keep your intestines clean, and give you a boost of vitamin C, which would otherwise be destroyed by cooking.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Noodle Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchinis, sliced or spiral cut into noodles
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
Marinara Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh tomatoes
  2. 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  3. 3/4 cups water (for soaking - do not discard)
  4. 1 cup fresh basil leaves (pack loosely or tightly, depending how much you like basil)
  5. 1 TB first cold press extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 dates
  7. 1 tsp garlic (probiotic upgrade: 1 pickled/fermented garlic clove)
  8. 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  9. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  10. 1/8 tsp sea salt
Optional Garnish Ingredients
  1. 2 TB hemp seed
  2. 2 TB nutritional yeast (not raw, but non raw family members will find this vegan ingredient pleasant, as it has a cheesy flavor)
  3. Sprig of fresh basil
Preparation Directions
  1. Add the 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, 2 dates, and 3/4 cups water to a bowl and let them sit for about an hour (longer is fine if that is more convenient for you) so that they become soft and plump. Do not discard the water. It goes into the blender with the tomatoes and dates.
Noodle Directions
  1. Cut the zucchini into noodles (I use this tool: Spiralizer Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer. You can also use a julienne peeler.)
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt over the zucchini noodles and massage it in for a minute or two. Let it sit about 5 minutes or until they become pliable and more noodle like.
  3. Rinse zucchini noodles.
Sauce Directions
  1. Add all the tomato sauce ingredients to the blender. The sun dried tomatoes and their soaking water both go in. Blend until everything is smooth.
Assembly Directions
  1. Split the zucchini noodles in half and add to two plates.
  2. Top with the marinara.
  3. Add optional garnishes if you desire.
Notes
  1. A high speed blender works best for this recipes. If you have a Vitamix, you can even warm the sauce in the blender, which is a nice treat.
  2. I like the sauce because it is raw, but if you have someone in your house that is not ready for a raw marinara yet, you could serve them a cooked marinara over the zucchini noodles and it would still be a healthier alternative.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/