Raw Recipes for a Modern Vegetarian LifestyleJanuary 2017
By Garry Messick
Solla Eiríksdóttir is a celebrity chef in her native Iceland, famed for her TV shows and four restaurants which cater to fans of vegan and vegetarian dishes and raw food. She has published five cookbooks in Iceland, but Raw: Recipes for a Modern Vegetarian Lifestyle is her first cookbook in English.
Solla, 55, collaborated with her 36-year-old daughter, Hildur, on the new book, and the duo had a specific aim in mind. “What we’re doing is transforming fruit and vegetables into real dishes instead of just making salad all the time,” explains Solla. “We love the freshest raw materials so your taste buds are screaming for more.”
Solla began investigating raw foods just after Hildur was born. She was suffering with a number of allergies at the time, and her doctor wanted to treat her ailments with drugs, but that would have required her to stop breast-feeding her infant daughter. She refused, and instead went to a nutritionist who put her on a vegan diet. Amazingly, Solla’s allergies vanished within six months. From there, she got a job in a vegetarian restaurant, where she began to develop her cooking skills. She subsequently went on to study at the Living Light Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg, California.
Why raw? In the introduction to her new cookbook, the Icelandic chef explains that while most vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes, “Some of these compounds are sensitive to heat and a significant amount can be lost in the process of cooking.” Enzymes, in particular, which catalyze digestion, denature with high heat, leading proponents of raw food to usually restrict application of heat in their cooking.
Raw features 75 recipes, all equally healthy and delicious. Solla and Hildur helpfully include symbols that denote when a particular dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, raw or vegan. The following are four sample recipes from the book. Bon appetit!
Chia and Millet Flake Porridge
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup rolled millet flakes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- ½ banana, thinly sliced for topping
For the raspberry compote:
- 1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces or grated
- 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon shredded fresh ginger root
Put the almond milk and chia seeds in a clean glass jar, put the lid on, and shake for 2-3 minutes, or until combined. Stir in the millet flakes, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice, and salt, then put the lid back on and set aside to rest for 15-30 minutes, or overnight.
For the compote, put the pear, raspberries, and ginger into a medium bowl and mash with a fork until it is the consistency you like. We like it slightly chunky. Alternatively, place the ingredients into a food processor and process using the pulse button.
When ready to serve, pour half the raspberry compote into a bowl or a glass jar, add the chia porridge, and top with a layer of thinly sliced banana. Spoon the remaining raspberry compote on top and eat.
Tofu Scramble with Kale and Avocado
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 kale leaves, stems (stalks) removed
For the tofu marinade:
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup tofu
- ½ avocado sliced
- Sprouts of your choice (optional)
Start by marinating the tofu. Stir the almond milk, nutritional yeast flakes, tamari, mustard, turmeric, red pepper (chili) flakes, and salt together in a bowl. Before adding the tofu, squeeze out all the liquid. A good way to do this is to wrap the tofu in a clean dish cloth and squeeze it gently so the water comes out through the cloth. Be gentle so the tofu doesn’t become a paste. You may need to use 2 cloths because a lot of liquid is likely to come out. When all the water has been squeezed out, crumble the tofu into a bowl with all the remaining marinade ingredients, and mix to combine.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the kale leaves, stir for 1 minute, then add the tofu and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with sliced avocado and sprouts, if using.
Rainbow Pasta with Pesto
- 1 rutabaga (swede)
- 1-2 carrots
- 1 beet (beetroot)
- 1 small zucchini (courgette)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the green pesto:
- ½ cup cashew nuts
- 1 handful of basil
- 2-3 kale leaves, stems (stalks) removed
- 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¼–½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ¼–½ teaspoon cold-pressed olive oil
For the pesto, put the cashew nuts in a bowl, pour in enough water to cover, and soak for about 2 hours. Drain and discard the soaking water.
Put the cashew nuts into a food processor with the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, and blend. The texture of the pesto should be chunky. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and add the olive oil. Stir gently to mix together. Spoon into a clean glass jar and set aside.
Peel the rutabaga (swede), carrots, and beet (beetroot) and use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to shred the vegetables into spaghetti-like strips.
Put your vegetable spaghetti into a bowl and add the lemon juice and olive oil. Stir together, then cover with plastic wrap (Clingfilm) and leave for 15-25 minutes to let the “spaghetti” soften. Serve with green pesto.
Quinoa Pizza Crust
Makes 1 pizza
- ¾ cup quinoa
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup grated vegan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Scant ½ cup vegan cream cheese
- ½ zucchini (courgette), very thinly sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3-4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
Put the quinoa into a bowl, pour in enough water to cover, and let soak overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.
Drain and rinse the quinoa, then put it into a blender together with ¼ cup water, the salt, garlic, black pepper, and oregano and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl and mix the cheese and olive oil.
Put a 9 inch tart ring on the prepared baking sheet and pour in the quinoa batter. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. Wearing oven mitts, flip the crust over by covering it with another baking sheet, grasping both sides of the 2 baking sheets, and flipping the sheets with the crust between them. Bake on the second sheet for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and lower the temperature to 345 degrees. Spread the crust with the cream cheese, top with the zucchini (courgette) slices, and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for another 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, briefly cook the rosemary sprigs in the truffle oil over medium heat. When the pizza is ready, sprinkle with the fried rosemary and serve.
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To order Raw: Recipes for a Modern Vegetarian Lifestyle, call 1-800-544-4440.