As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been super hot here on the East Coast. Really hot. Like fry a block of tofu on the sidewalk hot. And as the heat and I don’t get along so well, the last place I want to be is in a kitchen with a hot stove firing away. Fortunately, I have a copy of Amber Shea Crawley’s new book Practically Raw, so I’ve been able to feed myself without turing the oven on. And feeding myself well, I might add!
If you’ve been wanting to try raw foods but have been afraid of all of the gadgets, kitchen doodads and weird ingredients that you’ll need to buy, this is totally perfect for you. The recipes are flexible and most come with lists ingredient substitutions, preparation variations and cooking instructions if applicable. Don’t have a dehydrator to make kale chips? No problem! There are instructions for how to make them in an oven. Can’t find medjool dates for your smoothie? Don’t worry! There’s a list of substitutions. This book is perfect for the raw-curious, and for people who want to ease themselves into raw eating.
If you are familiar with raw food prep, you will still enjoy this book, as it’s packed with lots of delicious and creative recipes. I’ve been eating lots of raw food during hot months for a few years now, and I had a lot of fun with this book. Oh, and my favorite thing about Practically Raw? There’s an entire chapter on kale chips! Yes, you read that right – a whole chapter dedicated to my favorite summertime snack, the kale chip.
So here’s what I’ve made so far:
Kale Tahini Salad. This has become my favorite summer salad. Kale and tahini go together so well, and there’s a nice kick in this dressing in the form of a chipotle chili. I added some avocado to this salad, because the only things that go together better than kale and tahini are kale, tahini and avocado.
Insalata di Trattoria. This is a pretty simple salad made with romaine, tomatoes and onions, but the tomato based dressing is really amazing. Another one going onto my favorites list!
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Smoothie. I can’t think of anything better than an ice-cold fruit smoothie on a hot summer’s day, can you?
Cherry Mash Smoothie. Cherries are my favorite summer fruit, so this smoothie has gone on to my favorites list as well. (Have you noticed that I have lots of favorites?)
And because raw food isn’t just about salads and smoothies, I made all the fixin’s for raw tacos: Taco Nut Meat, Nacho Cheese Sauce, Garden Fresh Salsa and Garlicky Guacamole.
Fiesta Taco Roll-Ups. The finished taco almost looks too good to eat! Almost.
Primavera Pesto Pizza. I love pesto, and I love pizza, so this was a perfect meal for me. I cheated here and instead of using the Basic Nut Cheese the recipe called for, I made a non-nacho version of the Nacho Cheese Sauce.
Italian Sausage Pizza. And because I was making pizza crusts, I had to make enough to try this “sausage pizza” as well. The sausage is walnut based, and suspiciously tastes like the real thing!
Spaghetti alla Marinara. I posted this picture on Facebook and people thought it really was cooked wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce. It’s actually zucchini that I ran through a spiralizer and a marinara sauce made with sun-dried and fresh tomatoes that I whipped up in the blender.
Kale Chips. Like I said, Practically Raw has a whole chapter full of kale chip recipes. I’ve been working my way through them, and so far I’ve made Sour Cream and Onion, Cheesy Chili and Smokin’ Hot. I still have quite a few more recipes to try too!
The beauty of all of these dishes is that I wasn’t in the kitchen slaving over a warm dehydrator for hours on end. I was able to prepare a few things and make them stretch out for several meals. Dennis and I had taco roll ups one night, and then I ate taco salads for lunch for the next two days. I made a double batch of the nacho cheese sauce and used it on kale chips as well as the tacos and the salads. I made 8 pizza crusts in the dehydrator one day along with a batch of cheese, so we were able to have two different types of pizza for lunch and dinner for a few days. And I used the same marinara sauce for the sausage pizza as I did for the spaghetti.
I have quite a few recipes marked that I want to try, and as we’re still in the middle of summer, I imagine I’ll be uncooking from Practically Raw for quite some time!