Rawlicious Review & Basically Green Smoothie Recipe

Raw food is based on the idea that eating plants, lots of them, minimally heated, is good for you. No argument from me there. However, a lot of raw food books also assume that you have 1)  a dehydrator, food processor, power blender, and juicer; 2) unlimited time; and 3) unlimited money for ingredients so obscure that even Whole Foods doesn’t have them.

Uh…no. So I was intrigued by Rawlicious, which claims to be accessible even to the non-hardcore raw dilettante.  Talia over at North Atlantic Books kindly sent me a review copy. Written by South African raw food chefs Peter and Beryn Daniel, it’s an appealing  introduction to eating raw (all, mostly, or partly) with basics on sprouting, juicing, nut milks, and raw nutrition. There are over 140 recipes that range from the truly simple (salads, smoothies, juices) to the fairly elaborate (raw pizza, anyone?), and almost all of them are accompanied by gorgeous full color photos.

You won’t be able to make all the recipes in Rawlicious if you don’t have the standard set of raw cooking appliances, but you can make many of them with nothing more than a hard-working home blender and a good vegetable knife. I did.  And while some recipes call for superfoods like spirulina and maca, most of the ingredients are available in a well-stocked supermarket.  

I started with the juicing section, using my blender instead of a macerating juicer. The authors don’t assume that dark green juice is immediately palatable, so they offer a series of progressively darker green juices. I have to admit I stopped at the first one because it tasted so good and lent itself to so many delicious variations. Here’s the recipe — bet you have everything on hand already.

***

Basically Green
Makes 1 generous cup, dilute with the same quantity of water to make 2 cups.
2 apples
1/2 cucumber
2 celery stalks
1/2 lemon

Juice all the ingredients and dilute with water.

From Rawlicious: Delicious Raw Recipes for Radiant Health by Peter Daniel and Beryn Daniel, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2011 by Peter Daniel and Beryn Daniel. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

***

I can never resist the temptation to meddle with a recipe. I enjoyed the  light, clean flavors the first time I made it in my blender; the next time, I cut down on the celery and added a dollop of raw honey to sweeten it up. The time after that, I dumped in a cup of berries and a kale leaf and left out the celery altogether. It was terrific. I’ve always been afraid of putting leafy greens in a beverage, but I couldn’t even taste the kale. This juice has become my favorite way to get at least 3/5 of my daily servings of fruit and vegetables in one easy go. It’s a breakfast or light meal several times a week for me now.

Raw cashew cheese. Why yes, I made the bowl.

What really surprised me was how easy raw food can be to make. Nut-based cheesecake, which always seemed like it would be complicated, came together in a snap in my blender. I fed it to non-vegetarians, and we all enjoyed the thick, rich texture and mild flavor. Even simpler was an instant cashew ‘cheese’ sauce that made a tasty dip for [non-raw] crackers and would probably be great on a vegan burrito. Many of the techniques and basic recipes in Rawlicious lend themselves to improvisation.

The only recipe I didn’t care for was the raw leek and broccoli soup. Raw soups use warm water, but they don’t have the comfort food feel of a steaming hot bowl of cooked soup. Also, raw leeks are hot, even mixed in with other things.

I didn’t get into the gourmet section — that’s best left to raw food enthusiasts with dehydrators and lots of time — but the recipes I did try were enjoyable, and there are lots of salads and smoothies I want to try once spring produce has arrived in earnest.  Just looking through the photos of vibrant food makes me hungry. If you’re at all curious about raw, Rawlicious is a wonderfully friendly and unassuming resource.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bridget on 03/18/2011 at 11:24

    Hi there,
    I’m a raw foodie (over a year now) if it’s one is really interested in getting started low cost and minimal equipment. “Raw Food Made Easy” by Jennifer Cornbleet is an excellent book. The most any of the recipes require is a simple and blender and/or food processor (each can be purchased for about $30 if not already in the kitchen and a knife and cutting board. Her recipes and quick and easy no “strange” ingredient like “maca” or “spriulina” which the “average” person hasn’t heard of… Just “regular” food.

    Reply

    • Cool. I’ll have to check it out! And I’d love to hear more about your experience with eating raw, though I have to admit that I’m kind of on a bread-baking kick at the moment and unlikely to forgo the pleasures of fresh bread anytime soon.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Bridget on 03/18/2011 at 11:25

    Thanks for talking about raw food!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Emily on 03/18/2011 at 14:43

    Thanks for encouraging the raw food/ green smoothie newbie, like me. Fresh salad is my all time favorite meal and I love munching on raw veggies, but I’ve yet to venture into vegetable+fruit smoothies and other raw meals. I will need to find new ways of consuming all of the kale and zucchini I plan to grow this summer. I stopped making smoothies after moving away from Maine where I could pick oodles of wild (free) raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and huckleberries then freeze them. Alas, I only have a hand-held blender that is finally running out of steam. I am kind of wishing now that I had bought a blender or food processor instead of a crock pot.

    Reply

    • There used to be brambles around my residence hall in England, so I cashed in on pounds of free blackberries the entire summer. (The only down side: sharp thorns and stinging nettles. According to Rawlicious, however, stinging nettles are edible. Wish I’d known that!) I’m starting to become curious about foraging and wild greens, and spring always puts me in mad salad eating mode. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m beginning to enjoy kale (baked into chips, sauteed with onions in coconut oil).

      I tested the smoothie recipe in several incarnations on Kevin (a.k.a. Mr. Recovering Timid Palate), and we both thought it tasted good, so I recommend it without hesitation. I especially like it with the berries thrown in. I know you don’t like the thought of getting more stuff, but I really love my blender and use it several times a week to blend soups and make almond milk and smoothies.

      Reply

  4. […] reading here: Rawlicious Review & Basically Green Smoothie Recipe « It's Not … Tags: all-enjoyed, blender, came-together, comfort, even-mixed, raw-leeks, soups-use, […]

    Reply

  5. I’m intrigued by the raw cashew cheese, and cheesecake…yum!
    A friend of mine eats raw most of the year, except during Winter – she too misses the comfort of soups and baked veggies.
    I had a juicer but gave it to a friend because I never used it…maybe that was a mistake😦

    Reply

    • The raw cheesecake is actually easier to make than real cheesecake and doesn’t seem to upset my stomach the way the real stuff does. Like you, I’m somewhat lactose intolerant and can’t eat large quantities of dairy.

      It’s possible I’ll eventually cave on the juicer, but for now, my blender is doing a fine job, and I figure I’m getting more fiber anyway!

      Reply

  6. Posted by karen on 03/30/2011 at 17:22

    I tend to get, um…constipated with too much vegetables. Too much fiber, I guess. I wonder how raw food diet would be on my bowels.

    Reply

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