Nothing says springtime like fresh asparagus! Eating it raw is one of the nicest (and most surprising) ways I've found to enjoy it. No mushy stalks in sight, just crisp and delicious goodness with a touch of lemon and butter.
Remove the woody ends of 10-15 stalks of fresh asparagus, leaving about 175g. Slice the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon melted butter (or olive oil), 1/4 tsp wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, and sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Garnish with lemon zest (optional).
You can't throw a stick these days without hitting 50 food bloggers raving about how smashed avo on toast has changed their lives... But we can do better! Swap the wheat for protein- and omega-3-rich flax. Now THAT'S life changing!
It's pretty easy to make flax crackers at home (have a look at Ani Phyo's raw recipes), but I usually take the cheat way out: I buy Flax Pumpkin Crackers by Raw Health. To get the benefit from the omega-3s, it's important that the crackers be 'raw'--that means baked or dehydrated at no more than around 40 C/104 F. Grab 2 of these big, hearty guys, an avocado, tomato slices, and a bit of sea salt and fresh black pepper. Smash the avocado into a chunky paste or simply slice and layer the ingredients together on top of the crackers. A filling snack or an awesome breakfast!
Does white rice leave you feeling lethargic or bloated? Try this super clever alternative using the humble celeriac root! I absolutely adore it because celeriac has a starchy texture, composition, and flavour similar to refined white rice but won't leave you tired and dragging. Instead, your wonderful gut microbiome will be singing, and you'll have oodles of spring in your step.
Quickly slice up your favourite stir fry ingredients. Include two big handfuls of sliced carrot, celery, onion, red peppers, or even a bit of kale. Choose a protein source like chicken, cooked chickpeas, or tempeh. Sautée on medium heat, stirring regularly, in a tablespoon of coconut oil until tender (if using chicken, cut into small chunks and sautée until cooked through, then add vegetables). At the same time, grate a big chunk of celeriac root (make sure you cut off the peel first!). When the vegetables are almost done, you can add the grated celeriac to warm it through or you can leave it raw. Add your favourite spices at the end, like garlic, ginger, chili (or all three!). Stir in a nice drizzle of soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos (this last one's my favourite). Finish off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Keeping protein and healthy fats high and carbohydrates low at breakfast is the absolute best way to bound with energy without the mid-morning slump!
Rather than being 'healthy', most granolas are shockingly high in quick-release carbohydrates and added sugars. Then there's the fruit yoghurt with honey added on top... Instead, combine a big scoop of bio-active plain yoghurt with a large handful of raw mixed seeds (sesame, flax, chia, sunflower, and pumpkin). Don't skimp on the seeds! This modern take on the traditional granola is jam-packed with protein, anti-inflammatory fats, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Exactly what you need to feel energetic all morning long. Go wild and try adding coconut flakes, lemon juice, cacao nibs, vanilla powder, or cinnamon.
Why does butternut squash steal the show? That's what I'd be asking myself, if I were a pumpkin.
We rock out this orange fellow at Halloween and Thanksgiving, and that's often it. Two days each an every year. Why such holiday-based discrimination against this wonderful guy?
My guess is that pumpkins are a bit intimidating. They're big, they've got seeds and stringy bits inside, and they've got that bright orange skin covering them up... But funnily enough, this is actually why pumpkins, indigenous to the Americas, were highly valued for hundreds and hundreds of years over in that neck of the woods. The first European explorers of the region reported being amazed at how widespread these guys were in the daily lives of those native to the Americas.
The flesh of pumpkins is amazing, with loads of beta-carotenes--powerful antioxidants. Pumpkins do contain carbohydrates, but they are mostly in the form of non-digestable fibre. Ever heard of anyone using pumpkin as, eh-hem, a way to get their bowels moving? That's the fibre! So, unless you are very insulin resistant, don't worry too much about the starches in pumpkin.
And the seeds are an incredible source of zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese--all essential minerals for our bodies. Zinc is a co-factor in the absorption and utilisation of a majority of our vitamins, which is why you keep hearing about it for things like immune system health. But the conventional way of cooking with pumpkin ignores the seeds! That's no good!
So, this reinvented recipe for pumpkin soup focuses on 1) taking the fear out of using pumpkins (groan, pun intended...); and 2) ensuring that the seeds aren't ignored.
Bonus: this makes the recipe loads easier than its conventional cousins! Please note, however, that since we'll be using an entire pumpkin (helping remove the fear factor), and pumpkins vary in size, the measurements for this recipe depend much more on taste than on precision portions. But this is a bonus, too! It gives you a chance to trial your own gastronomic chef-y skills in a totally nothing-can-go-wrong kitchen safe space. Because, seriously, it's pretty impossible to ruin pumpkin soup.
Potatoes are back! Just not how you might think. This yummy, creamy, deliciousness can be blamed on the humble cauliflower. But when it tastes just like mashed potatoes, who's cares! Sneaky!
What is even more amazing is the incredible nutritional difference between conventional mashed potatoes and this reinvented recipe. Cauliflower contains 7x less carbohydrate and 5x more vitamin C than potatoes while otherwise comparing similarly in mineral and vitamin levels.
But cauliflower's true superpower are the skills that it has inherited as a member of the cruciferous/brassica family: incredible detoxification support for the body. It up-regulates phase II liver detoxification and ensures that the bi-products of our lifestyle can be safely excreted from the body. Without this, you probably feel old, tired, and sick.
Mashed potatoes are also a great way to easily sneak in herbs and spices into the diet. The abundance of polyphenols and flavonoids they contain are only just beginning to be understood scientifically. But we do know that they reduce inflammation, protect our DNA, and help regulate brain neurotransmitters. Who wouldn't want a bit of that?
To get a lovely, creamy consistency, it's best to use a high speed blender with a tamper (like a Vitamix). However, a food processor or standard blender will work (leaving a few lumps) if you use a spatula to scrape the sides down throughout the "mashing" process.
Just recently, I've received amazing, massive stalks of fresh red rhubarb in my weekly fruit and veg box. And inspiration struck! Rhubarb's tartness would be incredible combined with the sweetness and crunch of fresh pomegranate, apple, and dates.
This little parfait is a true gem. A dessert that feels completely decadent and scrumptious while being full of beautiful fresh ingredients. I wanted to keep this recipe 100% raw to celebrate the brilliant flavours and crisp sweetness of the fruits. Combined with the luxurious feel and vanilla flavour of the chia, it all practically bursts off of the tongue.
There are a whopping 3.7g of omega-3 fatty acids. Those little chia seeds--what a star they are. And because it's a low GL meal in a cup, there's no reason that you couldn't enjoy this parfait for breakfast, but I'd recommend removing the dates if eating in the morning to keep your energy levels balanced and add a bit of additional protein of one sort or another on the side to bulk out the 6g in the parfait. (I'm thinking some raw vegan vanilla protein coconut creme on top, yum--I'll get right on inventing that recipe!).
When it comes to the pomegranate, I admit it--I buy them already seeded. If you buy the whole fruit, you'll probably need a couple of pomegranates in order to make up the 1 cup of seeds needed for the recipe.
Summer is nearly upon us! This means that it's time to pack up the hot soups and swap them for lovely and delicious gazpachos. Possibly the real reason I love gazpacho soups so much is that they take about two seconds to make! Lazy? Always! But they are also a fab way to get in loads of the fresh vegetables just bursting out of the ground this time of year and enjoy them in their fresh, gorgeous, sweet, raw state. Lovely sunshine, lovely vegetables!
However, I don't know about you, but I'm kinda bored of normal old tomato gazpacho. It's sort of like tomato soup someone forgot to cook. Plus, it's summer. Time to enjoy the light, fresh flavours of the season! Ramiro peppers represent this perfectly--bright red, sweet, and crunchy. They taste like sunshine to me (no clue why, they just do). I've combined them with courgettes and tomatoes for the base and then thrown in some nuts, dates, and lemon juice to brighten the whole thing up and add extra creaminess and pizazz.
My favourite way to eat this is with a few chunks of steamed rainbow trout chucked in at the end (tasty AND brings the protein level into good balance). Kind of like a summer bisque! But it's lovely on its own, too, never doubt it.
Food trends are funny stuff. Whoopie pies and cronuts popping up on every street corner, at least until the the novelty value wears off and they become eye-roll worthy... But for those of us in the know, bone broth is one of these recent trends that we hope is here to stay.
Bone broth is made by slowly cooking down over a very long period of time the bones from an animal carcass like beef, chicken, or fish. Exactly how long this takes--anywhere from 6 to 24 hours--depends on the thickness of the bones because the point of bone broth is to break down the natural collagen, gelatin, bone marrow, and minerals found in the bones, tendons, and ligaments so that they are dissolved into an incredibly nourishing and tasty liquid.
Some of the main documented benefits of bone broth are:
So, while bone broth is amazing if you're ill with the flu, it's also brilliant as a normal part of your diet. No joke--your skin really will look younger and firmer, your cellulite might decrease, your joints will feel great, and your iffy digestive tract symptoms will improve. And the reason that bone broth is so critical is that it's the only practical method for converting all of the goodness found in animal carcasses into a form we can eat and digest. The simmering process causes the bones, ligaments, and tendons to release the healing compounds like collagen, gelatin, proline, glycine, and glutamine. And the minerals that leech from from bones are in an ideal bio-available, absorbable form that our bodies recognise. This includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon along with chondroitin and glucosamine, which are otherwise only found in very expensive supplement form but are known for reducing joint pain and rebuilding joints. (DrAxe.com)
But here's where it gets top secret and what you won't find in other bone broth recipes: mushrooms, especially of the medicinal variety. One of the amazing hot topics in medical research right now is the beta-glucan molecule contained in mushrooms. Not so much your average button mushroom, but exotic mushrooms like reishi, turkey tail, or chaga. We're learning that mushrooms interact with many of the receptors in our body in a very special way and are incredibly beneficial to the immune system. The best way to take these mushrooms is by drinking them as a tea. Probably not something most people will do regularly. But it is incredibly simple to incorporate mushrooms into bone broth and ensure regular consumption via this method.
You can drink bone broth all on it's own, but my favourite way to use it is as an ingredient in other recipes. It adds a richness and depth that is incredible and that I never experience with store-bought stocks and bullion cubes. (No wonder, since store-bought stocks and broths don't contain any of the health-boosting compounds found in homemade bone broth!) I like to make a concentrated form of bone broth that I freeze into 1/4-cup portions and then use in soups, sauces, and different veggie dishes (like Cauliflower & Cheese). It's in a concentrated form, so if making soup, dilute each cup of broth with 1-2 cups of water (depending on taste).
Making bone broth is also great if you have a bit of frustration or aggression to get out of your system. It's essential to break the bones and joints before putting them on to simmer, which you can do with either a meat cleaver or a mallet. Bam, bam, bam! Whack, whack, whack!
I use only organic, naturally-fed animal carcasses in order to ensure that the broth has anti-inflammatory rather than pro-inflammatory properties. You can try roasting a chicken and using the carcass afterwards, but I like to order fresh carcasses for £1 each along with my weekly vegetable box from Abel & Cole. Bonus: they come with giblets, which you can use for making Italian Meatballs!
My new favourite brew! In a study of the antioxidants in hundreds of drinks, hibiscus tea came out on top, way above even the next highest, matcha tea (which, itself, is much higher than standard green tea!). (nutritionfacts.org) With fresh mint and lemon, it tastes just like a deliciously fruity punch. Drink hot or cold, it's great both ways!
I like Yogi Tea's organic "Women's Energy" hibiscus blend with liquorice, peppermint, raspberry leaves, angelica root, cinnamon, ginger and other lovely organic spices. The cinnamon and liquorice give the tea just a touch of sweetness without the need for sugar. But you can use any hibiscus tea that you'd like or even the whole dried flowers.
For a raw vegan version, use water below 40 degrees C/104 degrees F. Due to the cooler temperature, it will need to brew for about 15-20 minutes.