Summertime – a season that is synonymous with renewal and resetting. School is out, and, if you’re lucky, work has slowed down. The sun shines more often, casting an upbeat vibe that engulfs the entire city. The winter doldrums have passed, and it is time to come out of hibernation and dive into new ventures and discoveries. Days are longer, skirts are shorter, smiles are wider. Tucked away is the crock-pot, and rolled out is the Barbecue. Food is lighter, and refreshment is at the top of the priority list. What better way to refresh and renew than to eat live, raw vegan food? Now, I’m not talking about a 100% raw diet. While that might appeal to some, it is certainly not for all (for many different reasons that I won’t get into here.) However, incorporating more raw vegan components into your daily diet is almost certain to make you feel pretty darn good.
Eating live food is a stepping stone to hitting that refresh button on your body. Some benefits of eating raw: raw food is cool. Not hipster-cool, but literally cool – temperature wise! Eating cool foods more often is said to reduce inflammation in the body and reduce stomach irritations. Furthermore, many raw foods are known to contain certain good-for-you enzymes that are lost in cooking. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about raw diets, and a lot of bias, as there often is in the agricultural industry. However, as with anything, in moderation, there are definitely benefits to eating this way.
My first experience with full-out raw vegan was at a restaurant earlier this week called Crudessence. What intrigues and attracts me the most to this dietary choice is the incredible creativity that goes into preparing such meals. For example, I went in asking myself, what would a “wrap” possibly be made out of? Seaweed and rice paper! Well of COURSE that stuff is raw – but I never thought of it that way before. This experienced opened me up to trying even more new things. I started sprouting my own seeds. I tasted nutritional yeast (surprisingly delicious, slightly reminiscent of tempura flakes). And, I made quite a few rice paper and seaweed wraps.
And then, I made this: The Un-burger. Now, it is not completely raw, as I roasted the mushrooms. (Portobellos should not really be eaten raw due to possible carcinogens that are killed in the cooking process. Which brings me back to the point of how a 100% raw diet is not ideal.) In making this, I found a place to incorporate both my sprouted beans AND my nutritional yeast. Ok, and I added some Veganase. So I guess this isn’t REALLY all that raw at all… BUT it is vegan. And it is DE-LI-CIOUS.
Make it and see for yourself!
Roasted Portobello Burger with Sprouted Seeds & Avocado
note: I sprouted my own seeds for this. Very easy, and very tasty. So much fresher than the sprouts that come already packaged at the store! I use the hemp sprouting bag as I find it’s the quickest method, and it yields the best results. For more information about sprouting, visit Sproutman’s website, full of useful tips and tricks!
what you’ll need
for the burgers:
2 portobello caps
2 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
for the topping:
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup arugula (aka roquette/rocket)
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, but delicious!)
1/4 cup sprouted seeds/beans
2 tbsp Vegenaise or mayonaise
how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub portobellos with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in parchment (creating a papillote) and place in shallow baking dish. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached. Toss beans, avocado and nutritional yeast together. Divide greens over two plates and place burgers on top. Spread each burger with Vegenaise/mayo and top with mixture.
Eat and enjoy!
Summertime cooking tends to pair well with three particular descriptors: light, fresh, and fast.
With pot-lucks and BBQs-a-plenty, it’s sometimes hard to stick to the “light” and “fresh” part of that equation. I’ve been known to generally bring along my no-fail-crowd-pleasing spinach dip whenever the occasion permits. Today, however, I felt like being a little different – I wanted to bring it up a notch. I decided that I was going to make something healthier, fresher, brighter…
Leaning further toward the vegan side of life these days, I was inspired to make an egg-free, dairy-free dip. You’d think this would have limited my options, but in fact, it just opened a whole new door into the world of food. Last week, I fell in love with a simple salad that I picked up at the grocery store – edamame beans, cilantro and sesame. A flavour combination that would certainly blend well into a dip, I thought! Well, today was the perfect day to try it out. Gathering all my fresh ingredients, I knew I was ready to wow the crowd. I threw everything into my blender, hit pulse and… watched it fail. My blender just didn’t want to whip up something so thick and creamy. What a jerk! Just when I was about to give up, a tiny imaginary lightbulb hovered over my head and lit right up – hand blender to the rescue! The result: Hummus meets Guacamole at a party and they make a delicious baby together.
Sounds about right.
Edamame Hummus with Avocado
original recipe by allison sklar
what you’ll need
1 ripe avocado
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup shelled edamame beans, steamed (cooled)
pinch sea salt (to taste)
handful chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1tbsp lime juice
sesame seeds or cilantro for garnish (optional)
how to do it
in a small bowl, whisk together tahini and oil. Using a fork, mash in avocado. Mash in beans and chickpeas, a little at a time. (Mixture will be a bit chunky!) Sprinkle with salt, lime juice and cilantro. With hand blender, smooth to desired consistency. If dip is too thick/dry, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, and blend until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, or refrigerate well covered and stir well before serving.