More and more people are incorporating raw foods into their diets, but the problem is that many raw recipes require significant planning and preparation (using a dehydrator, sprouting technique, etc.). Whether you’re just curious about eating raw, fully committed to the raw food lifestyle or simply wish to incorporate more energizing dishes into your mealtime routine it’s become easier to add these nutrient-rich dishes to your lifestyle. Here are two tantalizing recipes that can be prepared and on the table in 15 minutes or less!
Strawberry coconut shortcake tart
This luscious dessert is a creamy mixture of rich coconut butter, juicy strawberries, aromatic vanilla and sweet agave nectar—perfect for serving at special parties.
- Two 4-inch (10 cm) quiche moulds, lined with plastic wrap
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped hulled strawberries, divided
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut butter (see Tips, below)
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) raw agave nectar, divided
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) filtered water
- 1 tsp (5 mL) raw vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 mL) whole raw almonds (see Tips)
1. In a blender, combine 3/4 cup (175 mL) strawberries, coconut butter, 1/4 cup (60 mL) agave nectar, water and vanilla. Blend at high speed until smooth, stopping machine to scrape down sides of jar as necessary (see Tips, below).
2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process almonds until flour-like in consistency. With the motor running, drizzle in remaining agave nectar. Pulse to combine.
3. Divide mixture in half and press into prepared quiche moulds. Top with strawberry-coconut purée, dividing equally. Top with remaining strawberries, dividing equally. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
You may need to add a bit more water in Step 1, depending on the texture of the coconut butter. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) water at a time as needed.
Coconut butter is a blend of coconut oil and coconut flesh. You can usually find it in natural food stores next to the coconut oil.
Try substituting an equal quantity of cashews for the almonds.
Makes 2 servings
Mini chocolate banana flax cakes
These cakes are soft and dense and have a wonderful rich, dark chocolate flavour, with none of the hidden ingredients or unhealthy fats of traditional desserts. I like to serve them with a dollop of Chocolate Fondue (page 32) and some Lemon Vanilla Cashew Yogourt (page 47).
- One 1/2-cup (125 mL) ramekin, lined with plastic wrap
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chopped bananas
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw agave nectar (see Tips)
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) raw cacao powder
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) raw vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) ground flax seeds (see Tips)
1. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine bananas, agave nectar, cacao powder and vanilla. Process until smooth, stopping motor to scrape down sides of work bowl as necessary. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add ground flax seeds and mix well. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes to allow seeds to absorb the liquid and swell.
3. Using a 1/2-cup (125 mL) measure, scoop mixture into prepared ramekin and, using your fingers, gently press to distribute evenly. Turn ramekin over onto a serving plate and tap on the bottom to release cake. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
When purchasing agave nectar, be sure to look for products labeled “raw.” Most of the agave nectar on the market has been heated to a high temperature and does not qualify as raw food. If you have concerns, ask your purveyor.
You can purchase flax seeds that are already ground (often described as “milled”) in vacuum-sealed bags, or you can grind them yourself. To grind the flax for this recipe, place 1 cup (250 mL) whole flax seeds in a blender and process at high speed until finely ground.
Makes 6 small cakes[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full” icon=”none”]
Eating raw in cold weather
One of the stigmas associated with raw food is that much of it is served at room temperature, cool or cold. While food temperature may not be an issue in warmer climates or during the summer, it can play a vital role in how we eat when it’s cold outside. In chilly weather we tend to gravitate towards warmer foods because they feel comforting. When preparing or eating raw food, adding seasoning may help to compensate for the fact that it isn’t warm.
For instance, studies show that adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or minced fresh chilli pepper makes us feel warm by boosting our metabolic rate. Capsaicin, the substance in chillies that gives them their heat, also helps to improve digestion. Ginger is another ingredient that works to help us feel warmer in cooler months, and it too is an effective digestive aid.
And many recipes such as sauces and soups can be placed in a high-powered blender or food processor and processed for 45 to 60 seconds, until they are slightly warmed.
Learn more about raw foods in LIVING FOODS: Raw foodism is a lifestyle choice that honours the body>>
|Excerpted from Raw, Quick & Delicious! by Douglas McNish © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with publisher permission. Buy the book>>Douglas McNish is also the author of the best-selling cookbook Eat Raw, Eat Well. He’s a two-time Vegan Iron Chef winner, has been featured on national television, contributes to print magazine publications, and is a raw food consultant who is passionate about sharing his knowledge about the raw food lifestyle.|
image: Faith Goble (Creative Commons BY)