Last summer I reviewed books on raw foods and fresh fruit & greens smoothies. I also noticed that last year in California the health food stores have an entire section on “unfired foods.” Here in Philadelphia there is one company that seems to be popular in all the stores I shop. It is called Awesome Foods. I recently purchased their Raw Hummus, made with sprouted lentils. My recipe below was inspired by Awesome Foods’ hummus, although I think the dish is more of a paté and mine is not totally raw.*
*Note: Foods can still be considered “raw” if they are not heated above 118 degrees F., which is the temperature at which enzymes in the food are killed and therefore reduce the nutrient content of the item
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, food processor, serving platter
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None, but there is sprouting time+ (See below)
+1/2 cup sprouted,organic lentils- lightly steamed for 5 minutes
1 carrot, washed & cut coarsely
one stalk of celery, washed and chopped one garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbl. (raw almond) butter (Feel free to use a nut butter of your choice.)
dash of tamari soy sauce (Tamari is wheat free soy sauce.)
dill, chives, or other herbs of choice (I used what I have growing on my patio.)
Veggies for dipping or spreading (In the photo I have snow peas, okra**, and green beans)
1. Steam the lentils for about 5 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. Remove and let cool slightly.
2. Place all the ingredients, except the veggies for dipping/spreading, into a food processor ad process until blended. Taste and add more seasonings, if needed.Â
3. Place lentil mixture in the center of a platter with raw veggies around it and enjoy! Keep refrigerated when not using.
**Raw okra tastes nothing like the cooked version,which many people avoid because of its “slimy” texture when cooked. Here’s a definition from http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/okra.cfm. I purchased my okra from our local Farmers’ market across the street. The pods should be young, because if the okra is too large, it is woody and inedible raw. I also found that okra comes in a red color that is very attractive. (See my photo above. There is a piece of curled red okra in the lentil paté and one on the edge of the plate. Also, see more info on okra below.)
+ Sprouted (Brown) Lentils
(These are the easiest to find in the health food stores. Supermarket lentils are often too old or poorly stored and will not sprout well.)
Sprouting grains, beans, andé seeds is a great way to increase their nutritive value. Lentils are actually the easiest to sprout.
1. Soak about one cup overnight in a glass jar with more than enough (filtered) water to cover.
2. Next morning, place a net over the mouth of the jar and secure with a rubber band. (You can use actual netting, cheesecloth, orÂ pantyhose fabric.)
3. Once the netting is secure, pour soaking water out or feed it to your plants for the nutrients. Keep the jar on its side so that water drains out. (Too much water will rot the sprouts.)
4. Rinse and drain 2 or 3 times that day. “Tails” should start to sprout. By the next morning, the sprouts should be ready, although you can grow them a little longer if you wish. Ideally, the tail should be no longer the the width of the lentil itself.
5. To use, steam for about 5 minutes or blanch with boiling water. Raw lentils taste somewhat chalky, so I recommend this last step.
Okra (also known as gumbo), is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable from the same family as hollyhock, rose of Sharon and hibiscus. The immature pods are used for soups, canning and stews or as a fried or boiled vegetable. The hibiscus like flowers and upright plant (3 to 6 feet or more in height) have ornamental value for backyard gardens….
Nutritional Value & Health Benefits
Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients. Nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half cup of cooked okra.
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra)
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates 5.76 grams
Vitamin A 460 IU
Vitamin C 13.04 mg
Folic acid 36.5 micrograms
Calcium 50.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Potassium 256.6 mg
Magnesium 46 mg