Veganizing your favorite recipes is a breeze with the myriad meat and dairy substitutes available on the market today, but what about rawifying classic dishes like lasagna, sushi, and sandwiches? Taking advantage of a raw diet—whether for health benefits or just a change of pace—doesn’t have to mean a thrice-daily regimen of salads and wheatgrass. Even if you fancy yourself a pizza- and cookie-loving lost cause, read on to uncover the living smorgasbord that awaits you.
Ready for Spaghetti
Raw cuisine can be surprisingly hearty, as evidenced by the many recipes for rich yet healthful living incarnations of Italian favorites like pasta, lasagna, and even manicotti. Spiralized zucchini—meaning zucchini cut into long, thin strips—and kelp noodles are popular substitutions for spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine, and as a bonus, are suitable for low-carb and gluten-free diets. The aptly titled living-foods site Raw Food Recipes offers instructions for pasta dishes such as Spaghetti Alla Bagutta, which smothers kelp noodles with sundried tomatoes and a cashew-based cream sauce, or Butternut Squash Ravioli Stacks with a spinach-cheese filling made from seeds, nutritional yeast, and herbs. Rawmazing’s Spaghetti and Meatballs has nourishing zucchini pasta topped with hearty mushroom sausage made from carrots, mushrooms, and walnuts, or if you’re craving something creamy, try raw Spinach Manicotti, which overflows with savory sunflower-seed cheese filling. If you love the fresh, energizing flavor of pesto, whip up a raw vegan version that has the same punch of garlic, parsley, and basil along with a dash of umami from the addition of white miso paste.
Pizza: light of our lives, fire of our ovens. Does the thought of giving up its melty, savory, cheesy goodness for the sake of raw living bring a tear to your eye? You’re not alone, as dozens of raw chefs have decided to alleviate your worries by offering their interpretations of living pizza. Some of these recipes call for the use of a food dehydrator, but conventional ovens can also work in many cases, or you can fire up the old bean (your brain) and improvise substitutions for dehydrated components. With a little bit of extra prep time and patience, Raw Sausage Pizza with Zucchini Crust is waiting to make all of your pepperoni dreams come true. Savor a pepper-olive version with smooth nut-cheese and an almond crust. Rawmazing’s Tomato-Spinach Tart is a pizza in disguise, as it is loaded with marinated cherry tomatoes and rich cashew filling. As with any pie, the sky’s the limit in terms of toppings and fillings. Get creative and add avocado, broccoli, hummus, or any other uncooked veggies that you like to nosh on.
Lunchtime favorites have gone live. Maybe constructing a pizza isn’t going to cut it for your afternoon snack, but how about a raw BLT? Rawmazing’s version uses eggplant bacon and a chipotle-avocado spread to go above and beyond the requisite lettuce and tomato—just substitute agave nectar for the honey in the bread. In the mood for Mexican? Veg chef Sarah Britton’s blog, My New Roots, has a killer guide to making raw tacos complete with walnut mix, cashew sour cream, and kale or romaine lettuce in place of a shell so that you can eat as fast as you can wrap. If you’re a veggie burger addict, cool your chops with The Full Helping’s Spinach Burgers, made from wholesome sunflower seeds, green-juice pulp, and flax meal. Garnish them with avocado and the classic lettuce, tomato, and mustard for an authentic bite.
Even if you’ve succumbed to the idea that many of your favorite savories can be successfully and deliciously rawified, you may be skeptical about taking the “baked” out of baked goods. If the notion of forfeiting warm, spicy cinnamon buns is holding you back, get ready to wrap your head around Rawmazing’s recipe for the gooey breakfast favorite, this time made with almond flour, a coconut-cashew filling, and maple-cinnamon icing. If your sweet tooth is more attuned to fruit, Karolina Eleonora’s raw dessert blog, Love Raw, has just the ticket: Peach Cobbler, an easy chilled treat with a peach-smoothie filling and crumble topping. You can even switch out the peaches for other fruit to customize the dish for optimum seasonality and tastiness. Even chocolate chip cookies—the final frontier of baked classics—have been rawified using protein-rich cashew flour, making them guilt-free incarnations of the perennial favorite.
With a little practice in the kitchen, eating raw can be a scrumptiously rewarding way of enjoying the health benefits of living nutrients. If you’re new to raw cuisine, start simple with dehydrator-free recipes incorporating on-hand ingredients, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll find that wholesome versions of your favorite meals are only a blend, chop, and mix away.
Photo courtesy of Callie England