Okay, so I know some of you are looking at this picture and thinking ew that’s so green, I would never eat that! But let me tell you, this is the best tasting raw soup I have made so far. It’s fresh, creamy, tomatoey and so full of flavour. Spinach is one of the most palatable greens around, it blends really well and it’s actually quite sweet. Plus it’s 30% protein! This recipe has all those delicious italian flavours that everyone loves so much. And it takes less than 5 minutes to make. I like to use powdered garlic and onion rather than fresh when I’m making raw food as it’s not as harsh and has more of a cooked flavour. Adjust the amounts to suit your tastes as fresh ingredients are different every time.
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 lebanese cucumber or 1/4 telegraph cucumber
1 Large organic or heirloom tomato (something with a lot of flavour)
About 4 cups of baby spinach leaves
6 large basil leaves
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 avocado
Chop the cucumber tomato and carrots into chunks.
Add everything except the avocado to your blender. Add them in the order listed so that the juicier ingredients help to get the blending started better.
Once everything is blended up nice and smooth, add your avocado and blend for a short time just until it’s smooth. We add the avocado last because it can make the soup go fluffy if you blend it all together.
If you like you can also add some extra diced tomato and cucumber to serve.
This also makes a great base for adding steamed vegetables if you don’t want a fully raw meal. Try pouring it over some steamed potatoes and broccoli and adding some extra diced tomato, or mashing some in with steamed potatoes for some clean comfort food.
Sometimes when you think you don’t have anything left to make what you wanted for dinner you end up making something really delicious. Salads can be created from almost any fruits and vegetables that you have in the refrigerator, there are no set rules so just throw a few things together and see what happens. Sometimes it may not work out, but other times you might discover a combination that is unexpectedly delicious! So the other night, I had no tomatoes which is something I would often use in a savoury salad and the only fruit I has left was a big ruby grapefruit so this salad is what happend out of almost bare cupboards and it was delicious.
Shredded Cos/Romaine Lettuce
Diced Ruby Grapefruit or Regular Grapefruit
Sultanas or Raisins
Soaked Sunflower Seeds or Pumpkin Seeds
A squeeze of lemon Juice
Pinch of Himalayan or Sea Salt
These delicious nutritious nori rolls can be whipped up in less than 15 minutes. I made these after getting home late after my yoga class and was too hungry to make anything that would take any longer. I’ve used a homemade raw brazil nut sesame tahini in these rolls but feel free to use store bought raw tahini if you can get it or just regular tahini. You could also mix it up and use some raw brazil or almond butter instead. By using another leaf inside the nori it will prevent it from becoming soggy, so these would be a great lunch snack too. When shopping for Nori sheets check the packet, if it’s not raw it will usually say toasted somewhere. Most brands are toasted, so if you want to keep it strictly raw try a wholefoods shop or an online raw foods shop. In Australia and New Zealand I usually buy the spiral foods brand nori.
Swiss or rainbow chard (or romaine/cos lettuce)
Himalayan or sea salt
1. Lay the nori flat on a board
2. Remove the stalk end from a large chard leaf. The leaf should be around the same size as your nori sheet or a little narrower. Lay this on top of the nori.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the carrot into long ribbons, cut the cucumber into long sticks and dice the tomato.
4. Spread some tahini along one edge of the chard following the direction of the stalk. Use as much or as little as you like. You may prefer to thinly spread it over the whole leaf or have one thick line of tahini.
5. Layer your carrot ribbons, cucumber and tomatoes lengthways next to the tahini so that the come to about 1/3 of the width across. Add salt to taste.
6. Now simply roll from the filled side over, pressing in as you do so, to form your nori roll. Wet the end of the nori with a small amount of water to help it stick together.
I like to just cut these in half and eat them as they are but you could also make a little dipping sauce from tamari amd lemon juice if you like.
Don’t limit yourself to the fillings that I have used. This was just what I had in the fridge at the time. There are so many other veges that would be great in these rolls. Try some red bell pepper, mung bean shoots, alfalfa sprouts, fresh herbs, grated beetroot, or even add some tofu. The tahini could also be substituted with avocado for a lighter tasting roll.
Orange Tahini Salad Dressing
The sweet creamy dressing makes the most of the delicious navel oranges that are in season now. It comines well with greens like cos lettuce or cabbage. Top with some grated carrots and raisins for extra sweetness and you’re good to go!
Orange Tahini Dressing
2 Tbsp Raw Tahini*
3 Medium Oranges
1/4 Cup Water
1 Head of Cos/Romaine Lettuce
3 Large Carrots
1/4 Cup Raisins
Optional: Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds (soaked & dehydrated)
Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt to taste
Peel the oranges and blend with the tahini. Add the water a bit at a time as needed depending on how juicy your oranges are. You don’t want this to turn into a smoothie!
Finely grate the carrots. Using a fine grater will give you more flavoursome carrots.
Finely slice the lettuce and toss everything together with the raisins and pepitas
Add salt to taste.
*How to make raw tahini
Raw tahini is expensive to buy and I’ve never seen it in Australia or New Zealand, so I make my own in my Vitamix blender.
Simply take a couple of cups or more of raw sesame seeds and blend on a low setting.
Use the tamper to keep pushing the seeds down as the mixture will rise up the walls of the blender. It will take a few minutes for the seeds to begin to release the oils and start forming a paste. You may need to stop now and again to prevent the mixture from overheating. You’ll be able to feel it warm up on the ouside of the container.
Then just continue to blend until you reach a consistency that you’re happy with.
All you do is take a romaine/cos lettuce heart, leave it intact and stuff in all of your favourite veges with some avocado or raw tahini or dates. Today I used grated carrot, cucumber, tomato and avocado. It stays together pretty well which is what makes it a great lunch to take to work or out for a picnic.
So, many of you who are brand spanking new to this whole raw thing might be wondering what the big deal is with green smoothies. What’s so great about them? How many greens do I use? What kind of equipment do I need? How much do I need to make? How long will it keep for? Why can’t I just eat a salad? Or even just where to get started. So this is a short guide that will hopefully answer many of those questions. Just a few things I have learned over the past couple of years. The good news is that it’s easy, it’s delicious and no, it won’t just taste like spinach.
What’s a Green Smoothie?
A green smoothie is a combination of tender green leaves blended with fruit and water. Pretty much any greens and any fruit you like.
Why should I drink green smoothies?
Green smoothies are very alkalising on the body, and an alkaline body is a healthy body. Disease loves an acidic environment, so the more alkalising food you can eat the better. They are full of vitamins and minerals and good types of carbohydrates. Greens are full of chlorophyll straight from the sun, which is very cleansing for the blood, making you smell nicer! Many people have cured themselves of all sorts of health problems by incorporating green smoothies into their diet. Your body is an amazing machine, if you give it the right fuel, it knows how to heal itself.
What’s the ratio of fruit to greens to water?
This is up to you really. You might want to start off with around 25% greens until you get used to it and then slowly build that up to as much as you like. Ideally if you are doing a 1 litre smoothie you should be looking at about the equivalent of 1 head of lettuce or more. The amount of water is also up to you. Some people like a thick soupy smoothie that you might even choose to eat like a pudding while other people like it thin and watery. Keep in mind though if you are going to make it a thin consistency you’ll probably want to make more overall so you can still get a good amount of fruits and greens in.
What kind of greens should I use?
You want to use any type of green leafy vegetable that is soft enough to wrap around your finger. Things like cabbage or broccoli are too starchy and don’t mix well with fruit. Spinach is a great one to start with as it has a mild flavour and blends easily. Among the many other greens to try are silverbeet, chard, many types of lettuce, romaine or cos lettuce is a great one, parsley, celery leaves, mint, coriander, beetroot tops, kale, cavolo nero, asian greens like bok choy, or wild greens like dandelions, cleavers or sorrel. You might even like to try a mixture. It is important to rotate your greens though. Don’t just stick to one kind. Greens have a very small amount of alkaloids in them so your body won’t like it if you overdose on one type of greens for an extended period of time. So try curly kale one day, spinach the next, then parsley and so on.
What kind of fruit should I use?
Whatever tastes good to you. You could stick to one type or use a few. I do suggest using what is fresh, local and in season if you can although it is nice to have a few frozen berries now and then. Bananas make an excellent base for a creamy smoothie and blend well with most other types of fruit. Then you have a whole variety of things to choose from, berries, citrus fruits, apples pears, tropicals fruits like pineapples and mangoes, you might like to add a some fresh dates for extra sweetness or throw in a few goji berries or raisins after you’ve blended for something to chew on.
Why blend? Why not just chew the greens?
Many people are not used to eating greens, especially a large amount of greens. It may make some people feel nausous due to low hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach. Blending greens with fruits makes them more palettable and easier on the stomach. Eventually the hydrochloric acid levels will normalise and you’ll be able to handle more greens. Blending allows the cell walls of the greens to be broken up, releasing more of the nutrients and breaking up the fibres a lot more. Often when we chew, we don’t really chew our food enough and it would take a long time to get through a giant bunch of kale! Of course it’s great to get in some extra greens with a salad or two, but green smoothies are just a quick easy way to eat your greens. It’s also a great way to hide them if you are trying to get your kids to eat them, or if you aren’t really into the taste of greens on their own. They are also handy if you are busy working and don’t have a lot of time to make a fancy meal.
When should I drink my green smoothie?
If you aren’t eating a full raw food diet you are going to want to drink your green smoothie before consuming heavier foods or quite a few hours after. Fruit digests very fast and if you eat it after foods that digest more slowly, like starchy foods or fats or grains or animal foods (if that’s something you are still using in your diet) then the fruit will have digested and starts to ferment on top of the other food, creating gas and digestive troubles and ultimately leave you feeling tired or cause things like candida. If you are eating foods that digest easily like other fruit, salads, steamed vegetables and so on then the timing is not as important. I like to have mine for breakfast, mid morning or as part of my lunch (before eating other food). I also like to drink them after my hot yoga class in the evening to replace the energy I’ve just used up. I don’t really like to eat anything too heavy that late in the evening, so a green smoothie is great.
How much should I drink each day?
Ideally you want to be drinking at least a litre to experience the full benefits of green smoothies. This means you are either drinking it as a whole meal or over the course of a morning or splitting it into a couple of smaller smoothies to drink during the day. If you’re not ready for that much just yet then start with as much as you can and slowly build it up. Some people go on entire green smoothie feasts where they drink only green smoothies and experience amazing and rapid results like weight loss or curing all sorts of diseases and health ailments.
What kind of blender do I need?
If you already have a blender, great, use that. Of course if you are really serious about it you’re going to want to get a high speed blender to pulverise those fruits ad greens. Look at getting something around 1000w or more. The lower quality blenders just don’t blend the greens very well and you end up with a pretty chunky smoothie. Here in New Zealand I use a Breville Icon 1000w Blender. The two most popular blenders in the raw food community seem to be the Vitamix or the Blendtec which aren’t really available here.
How long will my green smoothie keep for?
It’s definitely better to drink your smoothie fairly soon after making it, but it will keep a day or two in a jar in the fridge. It’s better to have a day old smoothie than none at all. One of my favourite containers to use is a wide mouth glass mason jar. It’s easy to carry them to work, the lids have a good seal so you don’t get green smoothie leakage in your bag and you just pop the lid off and drink it straight from the jar. I also like to keep my food in glass as plastic can leach toxins into your food.
Well that’s a few of the things I have learned over the last couple of years. I hope they are helpful. There are are great number of people more knowledgeable on the subject than I, so I have included a few resources below for further reading and viewing. I definitely recommend doing your own research. It’s your body and nobody knows it like you do.
Now get blending!
Green Smoothie Resources
Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. She is the woman who made the green smoothie so well known in the raw food movement. Her book gets right into the details of it all and it’s a really easy read. Her FAQ’s on green smoothies are here.
Here are a few videos that demonstrate making a green smoothie it a lot better than I can explain it:
Sergei Boutenko talking about and making a green smoothie
Victoria Boutenko talking about green smoothies
Karen Knowler demonstrating green smoothies
This was part of my delicious lunch today. I keep a packet of nori sheets in the cupboard at work so I can stuff them with whatever greens and veges I bring with me or grab from the supermarket. Sprouts make a great stuffing for nori rolls as they are nice and compact allowing you to roll it up nicely. Almost any vegetable works in a nori roll, zucchini or cucumber, grated carrot, tomatoes, olives, herbs, the combinations are endless. Asparagus is right in season now and it’s the perfect shape for a nori roll.
Asparagus Nori Rolls
Lay your nori sheet flat on a board or a bamboo sushi mat and cover with the lettuce leaves first to prevent the nori getting soggy. Leave about 2cm clear on one side.
Then add your remaining fillings lengthways along the centre of the lettuce.
Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on the fillings and on the clear edge to help it all stick together once you have rolled it up. You could also use water for this.
Now using your sushi mat or just your hands roll up from the opposite side the the clear edge. Press the roll tightly in on itself as you roll it up.
Cut in thirds or in half and use a little tamari & lemon juice as a dipping sauce if you wish. It also tastes great without it.
Red cabbage is one of my favourite leaves to use as a wrap. It looks amazing, it’s crunchy and you can fit a lot into one leaf. It’s really one of the things we raw foodies use as a bread substitute. The ingredients below are pretty much what I had in the fridge today. You could just as easily use things like cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts or leftover salad. Whatever takes your fancy.
Red Cabbage Tacos
5 smallish red cabbage leaves
2 medium sized carrots
1-2 tsp lemon juice
about 8 stalks of fresh chives
Greens of your choice (I used a mix of spinach, chard and lettuces)
Dulse flakes (Karengo Seaweed) for saltiness
Finely grate the carrot. If you have a fine grater like one usually used for parmesean you will get more juicy flavour from the carrot.
Mash in the avocado, lemon juice and finely chopped chives. Add a little himalayan or sea salt if you wish.
Take a red cabbage leaf and fill with a few green leaves of your choice and top with some of the carrot avocado mixture.
Top with some dulse (karengo) and a few chopped chives.