Globe-Trotting with Raw Foods - Theme Night Menu Ideas That Will Take You Away
Posted on June 01 2010 | (0) Comments
Category:Easy Raw Meals
In doing research for my raw food cookbooks, I learned just how global the raw foods movement is...and has always been as it turns out! You see, while Americans may think of raw food diets and raw food recipes as unusual, people from around the world have been going ‘raw’ for centuries.
So when I wrote Raw Food made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert, I developed raw food recipes that reflect the cuisines of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and, of course, America.. The soup recipes alone read like a United Nations of flavors: miso soup from China, gazpacho from Spain, and Papaya Lime soup from the South Pacific.
In this article, I’m going to show you a theme night dinner that will take you on a culinary trip to Italy without leaving your kitchen...or lighting your stove!
Raw Food Basics
What is a raw diet? It’s simply eating fresh, wholesome fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains in their natural, uncooked state. The raw food approach to nutrition is as old as man. It dates to the Prehistoric era...before fire was invented.
But why should you eat a raw diet? Let me tell you quickly about some of the health benefits. You see, heating strips food of vitamins and minerals. This leads to excessive food consumption in the body's attempt to gain adequate nutrition. So does food processing, which adds extra sugar, white flour, fat and chemicals to extend the shelf life of commercial food products.
Raw food, on the other hand, retains all its natural goodness, including taste. That, in my opinion, is the best reason of all to include raw foods in your menu-planning. And remember, raw food isn’t an all-or-nothing concept. If you simply increase the amount of raw food in your diet, you’ll be doing your body (and your tastebuds) a favor.
Do you love spaghetti, but hate what the processed white flour does to your blood sugar...energy...and hips? Me, too. Even whole wheat pasta can weigh you down. Or perhaps you or someone you know has Celiac Disease or can’t tolerate gluten in any form, but still loves the idea of a big dish of spaghetti and meatballs.
Well, my Zucchini Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Not Meat Balls is a hearty Italian feast that delivers all the good flavors of an Italian ‘cucina,’ but in a tasty new way. This is a great meal-for-one that is easy to increase into a romantic dinner for two, a family dinner for four, or a party platter when you’re throwing a ‘theme night’ get-together.
This is SO easy! Just figure one medium-sized zucchini per person. Peel it and slice it into long, thin strips. If you use a vegetable peeler and make long slices down the side of the zucchini until you reach the core, you’ll get strips that look quite a bit like green fettuccine.
Toss your ‘noodles’ with another of my raw food go-to recipes: Marinara Sauce. Here are the ingredients
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup sun-dired tomatoes, soaked or oil packed
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh bail (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic (1 clove)
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until smooth.
You can make this ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days, so you can plan your Night In Italy in advance.
To add protein to this meal, serve Not Meat Balls. Walnut pate (soaked raw walnuts combined with lemon juice, onion, olive oil, and spices) stands in beautifully for ground beef.
To turn your Italian dinner into an Italian theme night for two, pick up a bottle of sparkling wine and a Fellini film or a ‘spaghetti western’ from the 60’s. For a group, I’d suggest a light-hearted film like ‘Married to the Mob.’
Feast from the North
Pasta with a red sauce is typically a southern Italian specialty. To take this dish north, toss the pasta with a white sauce instead.
My Zucchini Fettucini Alfredo raw food recipe use soaked raw cashews, lemon juice, dill weed, basil and other spices to replace the dairy fat and cheese in traditional Alfredo Sauce.
Feast From the East
If you enjoy Thai cuisine, my mock peanut sauce is a raw food recipe you’re sure to enjoy. It uses raw almond butter instead of processed peanut butter as a base. Then I add other typical raw food ingredients such as lemon juice for acidity and agave nectar for sweetness, along with crushed garlic, tamari, and ginger.
A quick whirl in the blender and you’re ready to go high-style with a Thai-style main dish.
Any way you slice it, Zucchini Fettucine is a raw food recipe that turns a simple meal into a celebration of flavor and fun. Buon appetito!