High Raw Tacos with Broccoli Apple Slaw and Maple Mustard Dressing

I am a lover of salads. It’s a rare day that I don’t have a large salad for one of my meals. Occasionally though, the thought of making yet another large salad is unappealing. When I want to jazz things up, I will make a raw dish like zucchini pasta, a collard wrap, or soup. The other day, my creative juices were flowing, and these festive tacos were the result. They are bursting with flavor and are beyond amazing. I combined crisp apples with crunchy raw vegetables and the sweet pop of pomegranate arils and tossed it all in a sweet and salty dressing. Garnish with pepitas (I added them after I took the pics). Heaven. Normally, I marinate the collard wraps so they are soft and lose some of the bitter bite. I chose not to do that for this recipe because I wanted it to be more like a hard taco shell (as much as a collard leaf can be) than a soft, pliable burrito wrapper. The lack of bitterness in the shell was a pleasant surprise. I’d encourage you to try it out. Nibble an end of the leaf. If it’s too bitter, a lemon and salt rub will solve the problem.

Let’s take a minute to talk about sodium. I don’t think salt is a demon food, but I don’t think that it should be consumed with abandon either. We should be eating way less salt than we do, but people often forget that increasing dietary potassium is just as important. Even mainstream outlets are recognizing the important role that potassium plays in our lives. I’ve found that as I switched over to a well-rounded whole foods vegan diet (bonus: a diet that is naturally high in potassium!), I wanted to use salt less and less. It is a wonderful agent for creating more pronounced flavor, but a pinch will do. Let’s not use salt as a crutch to overstimulate our taste buds. Let’s appreciate each food for what it is!

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Tropical Cherry Mambo: A Dessert Soup Recipe

This soup had me gleefully dancing around the kitchen, hence the “mambo” in the title. I’ve only had cherries twice this summer which is not nearly enough for a cherry-lover like me. I was overjoyed that frozen organic cherries were added to the freezer section at my grocery store, so I grabbed several bags. Since I love pineapple and cherries together, I was just going to blend the two together and pour into a glass. But, then I saw the ripe mango on my counter. Mango and cherries are another match made in heaven, so I couldn’t resist adding it to the mix. The diced celery provides some texture and crunch. When I get on the roll with smoothies and juices, it is nice to have something to chew every once in a while. Continue reading

Link Love and a Recipe for Stuffed Green Peppers

Me and this pretty lady have been cooking up a storm. 
My love has been making the switch to a vegan diet. He eats completely vegan except for the occasional designated “cheat day”. Some hardcore vegans might scoff at the thought of him having a cheat day. I prefer to be encouraging; I think it’s counter-productive to be outraged at someone for not changing on another person’s timeline. I don’t judge him. This is a man who held nary a vegetable to his lips for the first year we were together. He says he needs the cheat days right now to stay 100% on every other day. I trust him and his process, and it’s working for him so far. His taste buds have even been changing, so some of the foods he used to crave are no longer appealing to him.

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Creamy Raw Tomato Herb Soup

When it comes to my cooking abilities, I’m fairly confident that I can whip up something satisfying no matter the circumstance. Give me a random hodgepodge of ingredients, and it’ll look like a mini version of Chopped in my kitchen. In the event that I’m feeding someone who is scared to try new things or has dietary restrictions, I can always come up with a healthy dish that pleases the company. I like expanding my repertoire by trying recipes from other cultures, broadening my horizons by using new spices/blends and superfoods, and giving myself options by testing out substitutions.

One thing I’ve never completely figured out is raw soups. It seems simple enough. It is a savory version of sweeter smoothies I make all the time. Same concept, different flavor profile. I think the problem is that I think too much about it being a soup and end up muddling the flavors. Cooked soups get rich flavor from several things that are not available to me when making it raw. Cooked soups often begin with sweating onion and garlic in oil, followed by a hearty stock and sometimes a bouquet garni, all of which infuse the soup with a mouthwatering aroma.

When it comes to my own recipes, I’m used to winging it. I’m not yet comfortable doing this with raw soups. I’ve made a few raw soup recipes that were very good (like Natalia KW’s savory green smoothie and the celeriac and green apple soup from Raw Food, Real World), but haven’t been able to make anything recipe-worthy on my own until now.
Some things that I think would be useful to me when making raw soups are things like sun-dried tomatoes with their concentrated, tart sweetness, umami flavor in nama shoyu or nooch, and nuts/seeds or avocado to give the soup a creamy consistency (instead of potatoes or beans/legumes which I’d use in creamy hot soups).

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