One misconception I always had about raw foods was that it was all either terribly boring or way too involved for me to bother with. I had no interest in schlepping all over town for weird ingredients and buying special equipment online or spending 8 hours sprouting seeds and another 4 hours dehydrating them for an afternoon snack. While these things are definitely true sometimes, I've started dabbling a little in eating more raw food and I've realized that it's definitely doable.
So what exactly does raw mean? Although there are varying definitions, it's usually a vegan diet that consists of food that hasn't been heated above 104 to 115 degrees. (Different people have different preferences for the temperature.) Because some heating is allowed, dehydration is often used to "cook" raw foods.
I'm not a nutritionist, but the reason I've decided to incorporate more raw foods into my diet is because I believe that some foods are healthier when raw, while other foods are healthier when cooked. I'm not looking to go entirely raw, just seeking a little more balance, so I've been eating more raw lunches, snacks, and desserts lately. And guess what? I still don't have any special equipment or strange ingredients. There are lots of beginner-friendly raw recipes out there if you know where to look and, failing that, there are more and more prepared raw foods on the market today. Here are some of the resources I've been using:
Ordering Raw Food Online
Triangle Raw Foods // I have to mention my local favorite, Triangle Raw Foods! If you don't live in the Raleigh/Durham area, you can order their raw protein bars, salad dressings, sprout nut butters, and sweet, sweet candy online.
Raw Food Books
Annelie's Raw Food Power by Annelie Whitfield // I received a review copy of this book and I've been enjoying it, although there are a lot of recipes in here that require a dehydrator or ingredients I don't generally have on hand. My favorite recipe from the book, Pumpkin Pesto, is posted below. I toss it with raw vegetable noodles made with julienned yellow squash, zucchini, and carrots--so delicious! (And super easy too.) You can enter to win a copy of Annelie's Raw Food Power on the Marketplace this month too.
In The Raw: Small Indulgences from The Sweet Life // This ebook by Sarah from The Sweet Life is the second raw cookbook I bought. I am loving raw desserts right now and this book is full of them. There's also a guide to raw kitchen necessities, which is a great resource.
Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make by Amber Shea Crawley // If, like me, you are a dabbler when it comes to this whole raw food thing, this book is for you. Flexible? Anyone can make? Yes, I clearly needed this book.
Going Raw by Judita Wignall // Another raw food book for beginners with lots of information on raw food preparation techniques like dehydration and sprouting.
Raw Food Blogs
Rawmazing // I love Rawmazing for its beautiful photography and unique recipes. Guess what else? Rawmazing has a store! So if you do feel inclined to buy some raw food equipment, you can buy it there.
Chef Amber Shea // Well, I love Practically Raw, so is it a surprise that I love the author's food blog too? This is another blog that includes some cooked dishes too, but the raw recipes have their own category.
See? Raw food doesn't have to be intimidating and it can definitely be more interesting than a handful of celery sticks or almonds.
- 1 c. pumpkin seeds pepitas, soaked for 2 hours then drained
- ½ c. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. raw honey
- 1 c. fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until very smooth. (I like my pesto a little chunky, so I kind of ignored the very smooth part.)
Disclosure: The links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links, so if you were to make a purchase, I'd receive a small percentage of the sale price.
This looks fantastic. I love raw foods in general, though I don't make a huge effort to follow a raw based diet (obviously!!). I recently bought a spiralizer and this recipe makes me want to pull it out and make for all the beautiful zucchini and squash I've been seeing!
I really want a spiralizer! I can't wait to see what you do with it--I'm sure you'll have some amazing ideas! 🙂
Excellent! So happy to have found a recipe for a Paleo-friendly pesto. I think this will be great brushed on chicken.
Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie says
I have been dabbling in raw food a bit too lately - like you mainly snacks and desserts. So this is such a handy post for me! I'll definitely have to check out some of those cookbooks - the Practically Raw one sounds right up my alley!
I like making my own pesto so that I can control the amount of oil and other ingredients that go into it (usually I find them too oily)...I've never tried using pumpkin seeds in a pesto, but I imagine they would add an interesting dimension to the flavour! Glad to hear you're getting more into raw food too, hope to see some more raw recipes (that don't require a dehydrator) on here!
Yeah, some store-bought pestos are way too oily and cheesy. We used to get a really good locally-made brand in Wisconsin and I miss it. 🙁
Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
I love fruits but I'm still learning to eat raw vegetables... I like all the websites, thank you for sharing it. I was always supposed to look for them but you know how it is 😉
Yeah, me too. I have never enjoyed eating raw veggies, but I'm working on it!
Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian says
Oh what a pretty dish. I really need to get myself a spiralizer. It's such a nifty little gadget and I've heard people swear by its ability to actually change the taste of raw veggies! Amazing what the mind makes us believe – make a veggie look like pasta and it will taste like pasta 🙂
I want one too! It's on my wish list. 🙂 In the meantime, I've been using the julienne setting on my mandoline slicer. It's not as pretty, but it works in a pinch!
Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom says
I had no idea that raw food dishes could look so delicious and filling! When I think of raw food my mind usually goes directly to salad.
Chef Amber Shea says
Your pesto looks delicious, Kiersten! Love the dab of honey in there.
Thanks for the links, too - so glad you enjoy my books and website. 🙂
They've all been such great resources--thank you for the inspiration!
This is tasty but I found it way too salty so I will make another recipe without salt and combine the two.
My husband is asking why the apple cider vinegar? We keep seeing raw or vegan pesto recipes with lemon juice or vinegar (and this one with honey, too) when traditional pesto doesn't have an acid. So just curious. Thanks.
Ashley Woodward says
I've been dabbling into a raw food a bit from time to time, much like you, I think that there are many benefits to incorporating more raw foods into your diet and you have great resources listed here so, thanks for sharing!