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Broccoli Salad

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Got broccoli?.....


…then you got good quality protein, loads of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate. It doesn’t stop there! It’s not only a cruciferous vegetable that helps prevent cancer but also a very good source of highly absorbable calcium. Also present, and in high amounts, are magnesium, manganese, iron, and pantothenic acid, which all aid in calcium absorption. And guess what?! Tahini happens to be a very good source of calcium as well (among other minerals)… So pairing these two up is like a therapy for your bones! : )

Greens are always emphasized and discussed in the raw community. Recipes for juices, smoothies, salads, and even some desserts call for them. Doesn’t if feel like broccoli has been left out? Variety is key to health and I think I can speak for most of us: we don’t eat a great enough selection of foods. We all have our favorite few and stick with those, ok maybe slip in something different every now and then, but not often enough. I know I need to widen my horizon and remind myself of the existence of other vegetables and fruits and nuts and seeds….and go beyond the few I eat on a daily basis.  
But how to eat broccoli raw? Well, this is one, delicious way….

Broccoli Salad
Serves 1
2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
splash of umeboshi vinegar
2 pinches of salt
water as needed
1 large floret broccoli (about 1.5 cup chopped)
1 slice red onion
red chili flakes

Make the dressing by mixing the tahini with the lemon juice, the vinegar, and some salt. Mix well until you get a completely smooth consistency. Add enough water (~ 1 tbsp) to end up with a pourable dressing. Make sure to do a taste test and adjust the ingredients….remember, it’s all in the dressing!
Chop up the broccoli into small pieces and place in a serving dish. Break apart the onion slice and spread the pieces on top of the broccoli. Drizzle your veggies with the dressing and add some chili flakes.
Crunch, crunch…

Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine

Carob Bites

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feel like sweets but trying to avoid refined sugar? How about something that’s naturally sweet and nutritious?!  Combining just three main ingredients will get you there!  Most recipes for raw desserts include dates but I made this simple dessert with prunes instead. You can substitute your favorite nut and dried fruit and have similar results. I will list some options…


Carob Bites
(Makes 8 pieces)
¾ cup walnuts/pecans/brazil nuts/almonds/macademia nuts/hazelnuts/cashews/peanuts
1 cup prunes/dates/raisins/dried apricots
¼ cup carob powder
1 vanilla bean/few drops of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


Is carob better than cocoa/cacao?
It’s not about one being better than the other. It’s more of a personal choice. I believe everybody is familiar with cocoa/cacao and maybe less familiar with, or never heard of, carob. Some people are worried about the stimulating effects or the caffeine content of chocolate. Carob has no caffeine and if you suffer from headaches after eating a chocolate bar, then carob may be a better choice for you. It is also practically fat-free and has a lot less calories than cocoa. An added benefit is that it’s very high in calcium and has no oxalic acid so your body will probably be able to absorb some of that calcium. Since it’s naturally sweet, when used in recipes, less sweetener is needed!

Dried fruits in the running...
So how do they compare? The reason dates are so popular is their flavor. They have a naturally very sweet, caramel-like taste and a smooth, creamy texture when mixed with other ingredients so they’re easy to work with. They are quite nutritious too…very high in fiber and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Prunes have a somewhat lower fiber content and, of course, will not have the same flavor but they’re also high in minerals and very high in vitamin K. (I decided to use them this time because I’m very sensitive to fructose and can’t tolerate too much dates….so I’m experimenting with different dried fruits.)
Golden raisins and dried apricots are also high in minerals and most dried fruits will have similar mineral content but raisins stand out with their vitamin B6 content and apricots are very high in vitamins A and E. So pick one of them, see how you like it, and maybe try a different one next time.

Why go nuts?
They’re good for you! Nuts are very high in fat…that is, the good kind you want to eat! In general, they’re high in minerals, fiber, and protein. They are, however, very different in flavor, texture and additional health benefits. Some are also oilier than others and some may work better in one recipe than another. Let’s compare them…
As far as flavor…well, everyone is going to favor a different one and you’ll have to try them all because they do have very distinct flavors. Cashews have a very buttery texture. Walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, and macademia nuts taste oilier, while almonds hazelnuts and peanuts seem dryer. But when we look at mineral content…wow, they’re all packed with nutrition and it’s best to eat all of them once in a while because they contain different stuff! Going down the list…almonds are the highest in calcium, vitamin E, and riboflavin. Walnuts win if you’re looking to increase your omega 3 intake, and they’re a good source of vitamin B6. Pecans are the highest in fat and very high in manganese. Brazil nuts, of course, are the all time selenium president and the highest in magnesium, and phosphorus as well. Macademia nuts win the thiamin level competition. Hazelnuts are, by far, the richest in manganese and rich in vitamin B6. Peanuts have the most protein, niacin, and pantothenic acid. And cashews take three trophies, for iron, zinc, and copper content!

Once you picked a fruit and a nut…

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until you get a smooth and somewhat sticky mixture. Check and see if it needs a spoonful of water to hold together, and if you don’t think it’s sweet enough, then add some of your favorite sweetener. Pour the mixture into a bowl and roll into bite size balls, or press the balls flat into cookies, or use molds if you want them to be a certain shape. Decorate them with nuts or seeds or dried fruit. I placed a goji berry on top of each piece. Enjoy! : )


Guacamole & Buckwheat Chips

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just a few years ago I couldn’t even look at guacamole. I never liked mushy or soft foods and based on its appearance I didn’t think I would enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong!!? That was several years ago. Since then, it has become one of my favorite dishes! I can eat it with a spoon, without any chips or anything…just love it so much!
Well, it’s been quite chilly around here, so spicy, warming foods feel really good to snack on. Both of the following recipes are rather on the spicy side! 


Serves 1, or as many as you’re willing to share it with : )
2 avocados
1 small hot jalapeno
2 slices red onion
handful of cilantro (the leafy part)
salt to taste

This couldn’t get any easier…
In a mixing bowl, mash up the avocados. Add some salt and mix well. Chop up the onions, the jalapenos, and the cilantro really fine and add to the rest. Mix well, do a taste test, adjust the amount of salt. Serve immediately with some chips or anything that needs a dip. You can also use it as a spread on sandwiches or in wraps!

There are endless ways to make guacamole. The only common ingredient is probably the avocados! Most people add tomatoes to it. Having been a macrobiotic for so long and avoiding nightshades, I never put tomatoes in it and I still prefer it that way. The reason is because I prefer it as creamy as possible and tomatoes will make it somewhat juicy. You can also use garlic, either in addition to the above ingredients or in place of the onion. If you are a fan of ground black pepper, you can add some of that too. Here are some variations I’ve tried and love…

Skip the tomatoes and the jalapeno. You can also skip the salt and use umeboshi paste. Umeboshi is salty and sour and it will give it a rather unique and delicious taste! Add about a half a teaspoon.

New Mexican
If you can get a hold of some roasted green chili (obviously not a raw ingredient) then try it with just onions, green chili, and salt. It’s unbelievable how tasty that is!

I’ve had the honor of a friend from Mexico making it for my family once. She made it exactly the way I “knew” it to be original. She used Serrano peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, limes, and salt. Delicious!

Buckwheat Chips/Crackers
These are the first raw chips I came up with and they’re fabulous! I soaked and sprouted some buckwheat and used carrot pulp from making juice. Finally, I added some flax seeds to help the mixture bind.


Why buckwheat?
Buckwheat is gluten free, very high in fiber, protein, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, but it’s most known for its rutin content and the health benefits that come with it. Rutin keeps your veins in good condition and it helps treating high blood pressure.
While, often, it’s referred to as a grain, buckwheat is a seed of the plant that belongs in the rhubarb family. The groats have a very distinguished shape and are sold in raw or toasted form. The latter is darker and often labeled “kasha”.

rawbuckwheatgroatsRaw Buckwheat Groats
Sprouted Buckwheat ~ 24 hrs
Here’s what I used:
1 1/2 -2 cup raw buckwheat
carrot pulp of  6 carrots juiced
½ cup ground flax seeds
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
water as needed

This makes a large amount, probably the equivalent of a family size bag of chips, but it really depends on how thick and large you make the chips. 


Soak the buckwheat for a couple of hours or overnight. If you don't get to use them right away make sure to change the water and rinse the seeds thoroughly every 8 hours or so. They will grow in volume significantly, if you let them sprout. Sprouting takes about 24 hrs, so you will need to plan ahead. After soaking and rinsing, spread them out on a flat surface such as a large plate or a tray, and let them sprout for 24 hrs to a couple of days. You'll see them grow little tails that can get quite long, quite fast. Keep checking on them and don't forget to rinse them about three times a day!
When the buckwheat is ready to be used collect some carrot (or vegetable) pulp after making juice. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor (I had to split my batch up into two portions because it was too much all at once) and process until you get a spreadable but still quite solid paste. Add some water if necessary but don’t overdo it. Taste it and adjust the seasoning. Now comes the fun part!
With a soft spatula or a large butter knife, spread the “dough” out on 3-4 teflex sheets about 0.1-0.2 inches (3-5 mm) thick. Score them to your liking. You can make bite size squares or triangles or larger pieces too if you would like to use them as pizza base or for sandwiches. Dehydrate at 115 ˚F  (46˚C) for 8-10 hours and then turn them over and continue dehydrating until they’re crisp, about 4 to 6 hours longer. Store your chips in airtight containers or bags. They would keep for at least a couple of months but, believe me, they won’t last that long! 


Tabouleh’s Cousin, aka Cauliflower Salad

Friday, May 13, 2011

RawCauliflowerSaladI felt like making something new and parsley sounded really appetizing. Of course, whenever I think of parsley, tabouleh comes to my mind. I'm fortunate enough to have visited Greece on several occasions and I always loved the delicious Mediterranean dish, which inspired me to come up with this salad. I used to prepare it the traditional way, with bulgur, which is not gluten-free and requires cooking.... Now here's a version you can enjoy without the undesirable side effects later : )

There's more good news:
Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a very good source of manganese. It has about 2 grams (in 100 g) of complete protein as well! If cancer prevention is high on your list than cauliflower should be on your shopping list! It has been shown to be especially good for protecting us from cancer in the ovaries, breasts, colon, prostate, and bladder. It also has a very high fiber content, which means it’s good for supporting the digestive system…so eat up!
Parsley is very high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, and is an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. What better combination!?

Cauliflower Salad
Serves 2 (or 1,  for a meal)
2-3 slices red onion, finely chopped
juice of 2 (or 1 Meyer) lemon(s)  
1/2 head or 6-8 florets cauliflower, very finely chopped
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced small
10 leaves fresh oregano or mint
(or 1 tsp if using dried)
3-4 tbsp olive oil 
Five colors in one meal!
salt to taste
1 large tomato, cut into small chunks
Start by chopping up the onion. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice. (Letting it sit while chopping up the rest of the ingredients helps break down the onion and you will not smell like it all day. It will also help if you're sensitive to fructose.) Next, chop up the cauliflower into tiny crumbs, and the parsley until it's really fine. (This takes a while using a knife, alternatively, you may use a food processor to chop up the cauliflower, and later the parsley, if you wish). Add them to the onion, along with the cucumber, add a couple of pinches of salt, and drizzle with olive oil, then mix well. Now do a taste test and adjust the amount of salt. Transfer the salad into a serving bowl and pile the chunks of tomato on top or, if served immediately, mix them in as well, it will add to the juiciness of it. Bon Appetit!


Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine