Category Archives: raw

Hummus + Tabbouleh = Love

Who doesn’t love hummus? This middle eastern creamy stuff makes everybody lick their fingers in amazement. And of course it goes perfect with his sister salad, the juicy tabbouleh.

P1080241After experimenting with different ways of preparing these dishes, I arrived at these basic rules:

1. the hummus

– forget about making hummus if you don’t have tahina (sesame cream) – you should always add it in generous amount – as well as a good quality olive oil

– part of the secret resides in how you boil the chickpeas. first of all, do it yourself: canned stuff won’t hold a tad of your energy :))

– always soak the chickpeas overnight (the more the better) and preferably boil it over the pressure cooker. add salt and whole spices for enhanced flavor

– keep the water in which they boiled handy and add it progressively during the preparation until you get a fluffy texture

– play around with spices: cumin, garlic, zatar, sumac, nigella seeds; I always choose to add ground cumin or crushed garlic into the composition, whereas I keep the other spices as add-ons

– balance the taste with enough lemon juice and salt, otherwise your hummus will turn out too heavy (it’s a pretty heavy dish anyway!)

– use a high power blender or your immersion blender to get the right texture; it can take in plenty of liquid (the chickpeas water & lemon juice) but make sure it doesn’t turn too watery. i’ve discovered that adding red lentils (around a quarter of the whole quantity of chickpeas) will help a lot in achieving a soft fluffy hummus.

2. the tabbouleh

P1010328

– the main ingredients should be: parsley, tomato, (cucumber), red onion, bulgur (cracked wheat), olive oil, pomegranate juice/concentrate or lemon juice

– depending on your taste, you can decide upon the quantity of each one; however, the main one is parsley and you should use it abundantly (especially because the citric acid contained in the pomegranate/lemon juice will half the initial quantity you started with)

– don’t add too much salt or you risk loosing the unique sweet & sour flavor of the salad

– alternatively, you can use buckwheat instead of bulgur. even cauliflower rice works out well, but then it’s something else than the original 🙂

– garnish it with pomegranate seeds or some nice olives

And if you don’t have bread – a good homemade bread or pita – try for once to have the hummus on spinach leaves. It could look like this 🙂

P1010413

Or you can simply go for your favorite salad as a side dish

DSCN0810

IMG_7353

list of ingredients

1. hummus

  • chickpeas – soaked overnight and boiled until tender
  • tahina
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

optional:

  • cumin, garlic, zatar, sumac, nigella seeds

2. tabbouleh

  • parsley
  • tomatoes
  • (cucumber)
  • onion
  • bulgur / buckwheat
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice/pomegranate juice or concentrate (careful at the preservatives inside!)

optional:

  • pomegranate seeds
  • olives

Energy Balls

There’s one great thing about this desert: you can make it from whatever comes handy. All you need to have is some presoaked nuts and dried fruits, the rest is just improvisation!

I gathered some of my favorite ingredients along with a few tips of how to mix it:

– if you are in a bit of a rush and you don’t have any  presoaked nuts, go for those that require less hydrating time (cashews – 4h; sunflower seeds – 2-3h) instead of the ‘time consuming’ ones (almonds or walnuts – roughly 8h)

– if you’ve just made nut milk, you can use the leftover pulp

extra fat is not necessary, but welcomed; especially when you’re using just the pulp (which is already fat depleted) instead of the whole nuts. go for a bit of coconut oil, cream or butter or, if you fancy chocolate, cacao butter. even tahini works out pretty well.

dates or figs are the best to go with, but you can also use raisins, dried cranberries or plums. don’t forget to take out the pits 🙂 soak them for half an hour and strain;  if you have a high power food processor, you might not need to do this, but consider rinsing simply to have them safe and hygienic

P1010458

– mix these two base ingredients in the food processor – you should have more nuts than dried fruits or else the composition will turn out too sweet

grated coconut is necessary as you’ll need something to eat up all the water from the soaked ingredients. otherwise the composition will be too sloppy and you won’t be able to mold it into balls. alternatively, you can use psyllium husks, a good source of dietary fiber which helps in providing a good transit, or plain oats

IMG_8672

– now you have to decide on the flavor: you can have choco mint balls or lemony balls, rose water balls or cardamom cinnamon balls, black or white, pink or orange, and so on. just use your imagination!

– always take into consideration that whatever ingredient you might add, the final texture should be doughy enough for you to shape the balls.

– you can make it crunchy by rolling the energy balls over a combination of grated coconut and sesame or poppy seeds. moreover, you can save some roasted nuts and add them either into the mixture or on the surface

IMG_6655

list of ingredients

1. base

  • presoaked walnuts/ cashews/ almonds/ sunflower seeds, etc
  • slightly soaked dates/ figs/ raisins/ plums/ cranberries, etc
  • coconut oil, butter or cream/ cacao butter/ tahini, etc

2. texture

  • grated coconut, psyllium husks, oats
  • poppy/ sesame seeds or roasted nuts

3. flavor

  • cacao powder/ carob
  • grated lemon/ orange peel
  • rose/ orange blossom water
  • ground cardamom/ cinnamon/ nutmeg, etc

 

Seasoned Lentils & Carrot Salad

This salad is perfect when you expect more-than-just-veggies in your healthy bowl. Power to the carbs!

The main trick is not to overboil the green lentils as you would do it in a cooked dish. Test them with a fork – if they get easily squashed after being put off the fire, you’d better turn it into a soup 🙂 or try them: they shouldn’t taste like raw beans, but still keep a firm ‘al dente’ texture.

IMG_6205

Until the lentils get cold, you can prepare the dressing by mixing in a bowl cold pressed sunflower oil, soya sauce, lemon, grated ginger and thyme. If you love spices as much as I do, then this is the time to add some cardamom or cinnamon powder and some raisins.

The only thing left to do is to bring all ingredients together in your salad bowl. I usually use more carrots than lentils, but it goes different with each taste. I also prefer adding the onions at the very end so they don’t become too dominant.

If you’re not having the salad right away, don’t forget to check before serving how much dressing it still has – both lentils and carrots are great ‘suckers’. And to sprinkle with grated orange peel and sesame seeds!

IMG_7315
list of ingredients

  • green lentils – soaked overnight & lightly boiled
  • carrots
  • grated ginger
  • lemon juice
  • soya sauce
  • cold pressed sunflower oil
  • thyme (dry or fresh)
  • red or green onions
  • optional: cardamom, cinnamon, grated orange peel, raisins (or similar dried fruits), sesame seeds, sunflower sprouts

 

 

Cauliflower Forever

Most of the people are simply astonished when they have raw cauliflower. Wow, it’s so great! but…what is it? rice….or cheese? If you’re not familiar with it, you literally have no idea what is that you’re eating. We of course owe it all to the food processor, able to break down the cauliflower into tiny white pieces resembling rice. You can do it by hand as well, but the result will be slightly different.

I haven’t yet discovered a better and faster recipe than the cauliflower rice.  It goes like this: you shred the cauliflower in your food processor and you mix it with peas, corn (both fresh or frozen) pepper (capia or capsicum) and green onion/garlic. In case you want to add some greens, I totally recommend lovage or dill. Make a basic dressing out of olive oil and lemon juice and that’s it. Now you can enjoy the best summer salad!

IMG_6301

Another vegetable that goes pretty well with cauliflower is carrot. I’ve used it in this thai version of the cauliflower rice. The whole idea is to make a coconut based dressing, keeping everything else the same. For this you would ideally need coconut cream or milk (I use Renuka or Biona brand as it doesn’t have any additives). You can also add shredded coconut or coconut flakes directly into the salad, but be aware it will draw in all the liquid, so you might have to add some more in a few minutes. The perfect seasoning is curry, mild or hot, and fresh basil. In the picture I’ve served it with sunflower seeds pate spread on bell pepper.

list of ingredients

  • cauliflower
  • peas
  • corn (if not fresh, see that it doesn’t have added  sugar)
  • pepper/capsicum
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

optional:

  • green onion/garlic
  • lovage/dill
  • coconut milk or cream
  • shredded coconut
  • curry
  • fresh basil

 

The Pink Thing

IMG_8489IMG_8883Every time I want to have a colorful impressing dish, I make this wonderful pate, which goes perfect as a spread on any vegetable.

I drop in the blender hydrated sunflower seeds, grated beetroot, lemon juice, salt and coriander powder. If you wish, you can add a bit of oil, but it’s not really necessary as the seeds provide enough fat. In summertime, fresh mint goes excellent as well. That’s it!

 

Here are some presentation suggestions:

list of ingredients

  • sunflower seeds – soaked for a few hours
  • grated beetroot
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • coriander powder
  • fresh mint
  • optional: olive oil, sesame seeds

 

 

Summer Salad

IMG_8497Summer is the best season for tomatoes. Actually, the only one! I’ve always preferred to avoid the out of season tomatoes, as I never know what kind of fake substitutes I’ll get in the supermarkets. I wait instead for the rich tasty ones of august and the crooked sunburnt ones of late september (grown directly in the fields). So delicious!

IMG_8525

 

 

I usually chop it directly into any kind of salad, but I do enjoy a lot to prepare a tomato based dressing – some might call it a soup 🙂 I mix it in the blender with some of the following: olive oil, mustard, tahina, garlic, fresh basil, thyme or melissa. You can even incorporate hydrated nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc). The result is a rich dense dressing ready to be poured over a fresh greens salad or to be scooped with cucumber, squash or carrot sticks.

 

 

 

Here the beet root surprised me with its heart shaped stems 🙂

IMG_8913

 

You can add zatar or grated orange peel into the greens salad for an even more fresh taste.

 

list of ingredients

  • ‘real’ tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • mustard / tahina
  • fresh basil, thyme or melissa
  • nuts (sunflower, walnut, almonds, etc) – previously soaked overnight

 

Go Red with Beets!

Beets are just amazing! I remember that during my childhood it was the only vegetable I use to consider it rather awkward. Maybe because most of the times we were having it roasted and served with grated horse radish?

Anyhow, since I’ve discovered beets are to be consumed raw, it doesn’t seem I’ll get bored of them anytime soon. I love to turn it into spirals and marinate it in soya sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and thyme, like Cynthia taught me to do it at the beginning of my path. Adding sesame or hemp seeds at the end creates a pretty nice effect!

 

You can leave the beets to marinate overnight.

One of the things you should have in mind when preparing beets is that there’s no way back from red! Once you add another vegetable – either in the marinade or in the mixing – it will sooner or later become red. So instead of throwing everything into the beets salad, better leave the rest of the vegetables or greens for a side dish. Or, if you want to create a reddish coloring, choose something like cauliflower or sprouts and mix it right before serving .

IMG_6566 P1010454

list of ingredients

  • beetroot (grated or spiraled)
  • olive oil
  • soya sauce
  • lemon juice
  • dry thyme
  • crushed garlic
  • sesame/ hemp seeds

Vegan Mayonnaise

Along the time I tried a few types of mayonnaise, some of them  occurring unexpectedly from one dressing or another. Let me tell you about my favorite ones.

IMG_6610

The one and only is the avocado mayo,   righteously deserving all its fame and glory. It’s also incredibly easy to prepare: you just crush the avocado (fork/blender) and mix it with cold pressed sunflower oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt. Its best companions are green onions and cucumbers, but I felt that it could also taste nice on kohlrabi (as in the above picture) or in a chickpeas based salad (as in the picture below).

IMG_8547

Here I garnished it with peppers, tomatoes, raisins and fresh mint.

IMG_6157

It happened that one day I’ve tried a mustard dressing that turned out to be pretty similar to mayonnaise. I simply mixed mustard, olive oil, onion flakes (previously rehydrated) and lemon juice in the food processor (you can also use the immersion  blender). If you’re not happy with the texture, help yourself with some starch flour. At the end I spiced it up with salt, black and red pepper and serve it on a cabbage, carrot and parsnip salad.  Mayo certainly asks for roots!

The third one is a tahini based mayo and it’s slowly turning into a favorite 🙂 You will get an amazing flavor only if by using a good quality balsamic vinegar. Besides that, you need olive oil, salt and ground flaxseeds – so it goes creamy enough and adds up to those omega 3 and fiber levels! Its superdelicious oily taste is again well balanced by pepper – use any type you wish according to your taste.

P1010718

Again with coleslaw (cabbage, carrot and celeriac) and green garlic on top. I’m sure you can crush it inside the mayo if you’re a true garlic lover!

list of ingredients

1. avocado based mayo

  • avocado
  • mustard
  • sunflower oil (cold pressed)
  • lemon juice
  • salt

2. mustard based mayo

  • mustard
  • olive oil
  • onion flakes
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: starch flour

3. tahini based mayo

  • tahina
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • ground flaxseeds
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: garlic

 

 

 

Cashew Pate

Ever since I’ve encountered cashew I found it intriguingly soft and exotic. The best part of it is that you can easily turn it into a salty spread or a delicious desert.  Either way, be generous with the lemon juice.

For this one I used fresh mint, garlic and salt. Put the hydrated nuts into the food processor, add the seasonings and mix well.  I was inspired by the way my mother use to stuff the peppers with soft cheese and then slice it, but I have to admit the texture here is not firm enough as the cheese 🙂 Better serve it as a spread on any kind of peppers or leaves.

If you don’t have enough cashew, you can easily incorporate some grated coconut and carrot. Instead of fresh mint, use dry one or simply mint water . Just get rid of the garlic and you’ll get a pretty fancy spread.  Serve it with pomegranate seeds and juice and you’ll have a winner for the dinner!

P1010294

list of ingredients

  • cashew nuts, soaked for a couple of hours
  • fresh or dry mint/ mint water
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • option 1: garlic
  • option 2: grated coconut and carrot + pomegranate