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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!

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! 😉

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. 🙂
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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. 😉
  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. 😉

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. 😉
  • 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/