Last week I reviewed all of Victoria Botenko’s books on smoothies and adding more greens to your diet. The two books in the bottom of the photo focus more on how to set up your kitchen for a raw food diet. (Keep in mind that food can be warmed up to 118 degrees and still be called raw. I prefer the term “living foods.”) While these two books are similar, they each have something different to offer.
Lisa Mann’s The World Goes Raw Cookbook, published by Square One Publishers, is subtitled “An International Collection of Raw Vegetarian Recipes. ” As Mann states in Chapter One, Basics, getting into raw foods needn’t be complicated, confusing, or scary. And the author proceeds to demystify the process of eating raw. First she lists some essential equipment, such as a blender, a cutting board, a grater, a peeler, and a food processor, which I already own anyway.Â Optional equipment (with photos) includes a dehydrator, a juicer, a mandolin slicer, and a spiralizer for peeling veggies. (I don’t own any of these, and so far I have not needed them, but I am considering a dehydrator, which I used to own and lost.)
Mann also includes a comprehensive list of vegetables, since they are a staple in any raw food diet. The veggie list starts with arugula and ends with zucchini. Next the author lists fresh fruits from apples to sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and spices, dried herbs and spices, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, dried beans, grains, condiments, and sweeteners. All these lists have brief explanations and occupy about 17 pages. At the end of these lists is a sample shopping list. Organic foods are also emphasized.
Since sprouts are a favorite of mine, I was glad to see a sections devoted to Growing Your Own Kitchen Garden. In the last part of Basics is a half page called Getting Your Kids Involved, followed by a few pages on general guidelines, and guidelines for making salads, soups, and desserts. Mann concludes by noting that the Basics provide you with everything you need to start a raw food diet. (The whole Basics chapter is well worth the book!)
The next chapters are devoted to raw cuisine from different countries of areas: Italy, Mexico, the Middle East, Asian, Caribbean, and South American. The line drawings, menu ideas and tips help the reader to create raw cuisine with an international flair. Some of the dishes are simple salads that the reader can easily create, such as Vegetables Marinated in Oil and Lemon, while others may not be quite so familiar, such as Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Walnut Tapenade.
I suggest starting with recipes you feel comfortable making and then proceed to the more challenging ones. I chose about eight that I would like to start with. Here is one of them from p. 56.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
This pesto is a unique and unique alternate to basil pesto. It tastes great as a topping for soups, salads, and raw pastas.
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I buy organic-es)
2 cups cold water
Â½ cup chopped basil
Â½ cup cold pressed olive oil, plus more to drizzled
Â½ teaspoon sea salt
- Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the water for 1 hour, or until soft. Drain the tomatoes and discard the water.
- In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and sea salt. Pulse until smooth. If desired, add more olive oil until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Use immediately, or transfer sauce to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: About 1 ½ cups
(The author recommends using it with Zucchini “Fettuccini” or Fajitas, both of which are included in the book. The Zucchini Fettuccini is the raw pasta mentioned in the note under the recipe title.)
The 159 page World Goes Raw Cookbook is available from Amazon.com. for $16.95. Just click on the icon below.
Square One Publishing has also released Kate Woodâ€™s Eat Smart, Eat Raw cookbook, subtitled “Creative Vegetarian Recipes for a Healthier Life.” In the Foreword, written by author Shazzie of Naked Chocolate and other books,Â states that â€œThe world of living foods is based upon cutting edge information, yet itâ€™s the oldest diet in the worldâ€¦.Before fire, man ate raw, and man was strong!â€
Woodâ€™s Introduction explains how she began her raw food diet more than 10 years ago.Â Reading the authorâ€™s personal experience helps the reader understand the changes the body makes and how the body adjusts to living foods.Â Since raw foods are nutrient dense, the requirements the body needs to heal and stay healthy are quickly met. She notes that if you can maintain a 50% raw food diet, â€œyou will experience a huge increase in your well being.â€ (p. 3) So no need to feel guilty if you cannot go â€œall raw.â€ Just as Viktoria Botenko notes in her smoothie books that adding green smoothies to your current diet will reap wonderful benefits, so too, your efforts to increase the amount of live foods in your diet will help you stay healthy.
The author continues to discuss the health aspects of a raw foods diet in lay terms, answering questions as to why we should eat raw foods and what do you eat once you start adding them to your diet. She also touches upon other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise, rest, and water. Thus, raw foods are just part of staying healthy, but one you can actively participate in and enjoy.
Like Lisa Mannâ€™s book on international raw recipes, Woods discusses the basics for adding raw foods to your diet, including the equipment, shopping tips, sprouting, nutrients and a word about her recipes. She concludes by saying that there are so many resources now for raw food enthusiasts that now is an exciting time to experiment with her recipes and your own variations.
Woods recipe sections read more like a regular cookbook. They are broken down into Breakfasts, Soups, Dips & Dressings, Salads, Main Courses, Cakes & Tarts, Breads, Sweet Things, Drinks, and Not Really Raw. The Contents end with Resources, Recommended Reading, a Metric Conversion Table, and an Index.
As with Lisa Mannâ€™s book, many of the recipes have a ring of familiarity, using common foods we all enjoy, but couched in a raw food philosophy. Other recipes are more challenging, because they may use ingredients that are unfamiliar to you or equipment that you do not own, ex. a dehydrator.
But there are enough recipes in this 165-page book to explore and experiment with until you find recipes that satisfy your taste buds as you seek more uncooked dishes or dishes heated to under 118 degrees F.Â Here is a recipe for Raw Hummus that I made with a slight variation and it turned out fine.
The notes in italics are the authorâ€™s.
If you love hummus, try this raw version, which uses the same ingredients, but made from sprouted chickpeas rather than cooked ones. Raw chickpeas* are quite difficult to digest so eat this with a simple salad or vegetable dips—avoid mixing with crackers or dips unless you have very efficient digestion.
8 oz. sprouted chickpeas (directions below from p. 13 of the book)
2 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. tamari
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. water
*I soaked my sprouted chickpeas in hot water that was under 118 degrees F. because I donâ€™t like the taste of raw chickpeas. es
Put everything in the blender, and blend for a couple of minutes until you have a thick puree.
Sprouted chickpeas: In a one quart jar, soak one and one half ounces, soak 10-12 hours, sprout 3-4 days by rinsing and draining 2-3 times a day.
My Note: The author recommends one to two rinses, but chickpeas spoil easily, especially in summer, so I rinse them 3 times a day and drain them. Also, I use a colander instead of a jar for the same reason, because the colander allows more air flow than a jar. Have a bowl under the colander to catch extra water after draining. Also, not sure the 1 Â½ oz. actually equals 8 oz. sprouted. (these are just general directions, in a separate chapter.) They tend to triple in size, so I think you should soak 3 oz. for the hummus recipe. Any extra sprouts can be frozen for later use.
Kate Woodâ€™s Eat Smart, Eat Raw is published by Square One Publishing and is available through Amazon.com. Click on the icon below to purchase directly from Amazon.