Yes, you read that right—raw! This soup is completely uncooked, just made in a blender. It’s not even heated up. And don’t think I’m off my rocker, hehe. Think cold soups and gazpacho!
My husband and I have decided to incorporate healthier eating into our diets, in a couple of ways. One, by adding one or two vegetarian meals per week, and two, by adding a couple of raw food recipes to our repertoire every week or so. What are some benefits of eating raw foods? Well, the obvious, of course—you’re not cooking the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals out of the food. Then there’s the fiber—that's an important benefit. But so is feeling good about what you eat.
I’ll be the first person in line when someone’s grilling a steak, chicken, or a burger—I love meat. But maybe I don’t want to eat it every single day. Who says I have to? No one, of course. Maybe some of you are feeling the same way. Especially in the summertime, when eating lighter and not heating up the kitchen sound like two really good things. And eating lots of raw, locally grown and organic foods appeals to us right now.
With these thoughts in mind, we went to Barnes and Noble last weekend, grabbed a bunch of raw (un)cookbooks off the shelf, grabbed a table in the cafe, and immersed ourselves in “uncooking.” Some of the books were exactly what we expected. Recipes were complicated, with three, four, or five separate components. You “needed” a special blender, and a “must have” was a dehydrator. Sure, the food looked amazing, but these recipes were no way to ease into a raw food lifestyle. Not for us, anyway.
Two books stood out among all of the ones we looked at, though. First, Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes, by Ani Phyo, and Everyday Raw, by Matthew Kenney.
See them both here, on Amazon:
Both of these books make adding raw foods to your diet easy and definitely not daunting. The recipes are droolworthy and beautiful. The ingredients aren’t hard to track down. There may be a few new ingredients you haven’t seen or heard of yet, but that’s what google is for, right? And so far, I’ve had no trouble tracking down the few things I didn’t have in my pantry.
In Everyday Raw, Matthew says you don’t even need a dehydrator, which I don’t have. You can use your oven on it’s lowest setting, with the door propped open. What’s the dehydrator for? Well, it’s for raw breads, crackers, crusts—in other words, they’re dried, not heated and baked.
I’m going to try my hand at making raw bread from Ani’s book this week, and will keep you posted. It’s for the Sun Burgers on Black Sesame Sunflower Bread that she’s enjoying on the cover of her book. They look and sound incredible! My husband and I figured that since we’re just starting out and testing the waters, we’d compromise with crusts and breads for the most part. In other words, if we want raw pizza, we’ll make the healthiest pizza crust we can find, bake it, and then add raw toppings. Same thing for tart and pie crusts, breads, etc. As we get better at this, maybe we’ll invest in that dehydrator and see what we can do. A side note—Ani’s tart and pie crusts are not dehydrated—just held together with dates and pressed into the pan.
So far, Ani’s book seems to be the best place to start. She rarely uses a dehydrator—very few of her recipes call for one, and we already know we can use our oven. She also has a website, where you can see some of her recipes.
When we left the bookstore, we headed over to our local natural foods store. It was fate. They were serving samples of this raw soup. Who can resist a free sample? It was delicious—cool, creamy, fresh tasting, and had a little crunch from some fresh corn sprinkled over the top. And guess what? They had copies of the recipe, and everything to make it, right there in one place. Of course we picked up everything to make it at home!
This one’s very good for summer meals when you want a little bit of a starter. Serve a small bowl or a pretty little cup of this to guests and I’m sure they’ll love it. I don’t think I could sit and eat a whole bowl of this, though. It’s amazingly creamy and rich for something that has no cream in it! The creaminess comes from raw cashews blended right in, and an avocado. There’s also coconut water in this. Not coconut milk, but water. That’s refreshing on it’s own! And delicious, too.
Every single ingredient in this recipe, except for the raw cashews, can be found at my local grocery chain. In fact, many of them were cheaper there than at the natural foods store. It’s all trial and error. Also—I think you could easily warm this soup up if you prefer!
Raw Cream of Asparagus Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 bunch raw asparagus
1 ripe avocado
1 liter coconut water
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup fresh dill
juice of one lemon
1 tsp tamari
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 ear fresh corn, with corn removed
Add all ingredients except corn to blender.
(If it's too much to fit all at once, do it in two batches and mix together.)
Blend until smooth or desired texture.
Top with fresh corn and serve.
Another benefit of raw cooking? For the most part, it’s pretty quick. This one was, anyway. Keep an eye out for more recipes like this one, raw and uncooked. But don’t worry, there’s still meat in the freezer, and bread in the oven, hehe. Baby steps.