I started dabbling in the world of raw food back in the spring and it was a glorious adventure. I decided long ago that I would save these recipes for our January theme because it would make for an excellent cleanse after the heavy foods consumed from Thanksgiving until now. You understand the basics of raw foodism from the title. Everything you eat is uncooked. The only time I have ever seen raw recipes bake anything it is referred to as dehydrating. You actually use a dehydrator or you can simply set your oven as low as it will go (100-150 F). Raw food consists of mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Like any of our health choices you can choose how strictly to follow the “raw rules”. There are some recipes that I follow exactly and others that I change to fit my needs, sometimes introducing a non-raw element. The ideology behind raw food is receiving all the nutrients the food has to offer. Once we remove food from its natural and raw state by cooking it we are removing a lot of the nutrients. Something I love about raw food is that everything is fresh and light, which makes me feel great about the fuel I am giving my body. Now that we have covered the basics of rawism, let’s get to the truly important stuff… like today’s salad. We have made this for parties, family dinners and dinner with friends and I haven’t met someone who didn’t like it. My favorite experience with making this salad was over the summer. We were on vacation with my husband’s family and we all took turns making dinner for everyone. When it was our night we made some of our favorites, including this salad. My brother-in-law kept telling me how much he liked it as he went back for seconds, thirds and even fourths. After dinner he said that he has never been able to eat peas and at first he only took a little to be polite, but that he truly loved it. The next day he asked what kind of peas I used. He asked if they were gourmet/expensive and he looked even more shocked when I told him I bought the cheapest bag of frozen peas I could find. How is that for a testimonial? I personally think the secret is in the dressing and avocado… but you can decide what the secret is for you because it might be different. Now I really wish I could claim this recipe, but most of our recipes this week are coming from two raw food blogs that I love. This recipe comes from a blog called rawmazing. She has incredible stuff and I would highly recommend perusing her site. However, like usual, I have made some changes from her original. I have left the dressing untouched. I thought it was perfect as written. I noticed from the first time I made this that the dressing made way too much for a single batch of the salad. I have taken to doubling the salad and leaving the dressing alone. The recipe I have listed below has already been doubled for you. This is great for larger groups, but if you don’t want to make that much than you can cut the salad back down and have some extra dressing available (both are great options in my book). I also changed the onion from red to sweet and cut the onion down by half. I quickly learned that raw red onions did not agree with my system. Anytime you are using onions raw I would recommend sweet onions and chopping them into as small of pieces as possible. The original recipe called for corn, but at the time I was having a few problems with corn so I decided to use the peas instead. I’m sure my brother-in-law would like this even more with corn:-) You can use whichever one you want or even do a mixture of both. The only other change I made was to add in the beans. I wanted a little more protein in the salad. I don’t know if beans fall under the raw category, but I like having them in there. I could do an entire new paragraph about the dressing, but this post is already pretty long. I will talk more about the use of cashews tomorrow… I promise!
Tomato, Pea, Avocado, Bean Salad with Chipotle Dressing
6 C diced tomatoes (8-10 roma tomatoes)
4 avocadoes, cubed
2 C black beans
½ sweet onion, finely diced *
1 lb of peas, fresh or frozen
- Mix all ingredients together and set aside until dressing is ready.
½ C cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
½ C water
1 T olive oil
2 T lime juice
½ t minced garlic (1 clove)
3 T nutritional yeast
¼ t paprika
¼ t cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to blender and process until the cashews have blended into the liquid or there are only very small pieces left. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss salad to spread dressing throughout the bowl.
As we go through this raw week, my goal is to introduce new options and ideas. If there are things you don’t like, change it (that’s what I do!). It is okay if you don’t want to eat raw 100% of the time, I know I couldn’t, but I hope you will find some fun new recipes out of this week to sprinkle into your life:-)