Nine months ago I thought that eating raw meant carrots and walnuts for dinner and desserts of dates and bananas. I also thought it was all or nothing.  So I chose nothing. Veganism, at the time, was entirely for ethical reasons and I didn’t feel any need to further restrict my diet.

In starting this blog last April I started working with new foods in my kitchen experiments. I eliminated tofu and processed vegan substitutes (mostly) in search of natural, whole food substitutes. And through that I began to discover that raw food was a whole lot more than carrots, walnuts, and bananas. I also learned that eating raw (for me) did not have to be all or nothing. Rather it could fluidly appear in my vegan diet for certain seasons, days, or even meals. Most interestingly of all, my ventures into raw food revealed new and creative ways to prepare and eat that in no way felt restrictive. A similar feeling, I am now reminded, to when I transition to a vegan diet.

This last week was the first time I ate raw for any length of time. Live food felt so good to my body and I didn’t have to feel bad when I ate way too many raw Salted Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies:

And many of the recipes I created this week will definitely become regulars in my house. Especially this one. IMG_2085 Raw Taco Salad Serves 4

What you need:

1. A large head of lettuce, shredded
2. 1 lime
3. Walnut Taco Meat
2 cups walnuts, soaked 4-6 hours
1 tbsp dehydrated minced onion
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt pinch of cayenne

Blend walnuts in a food process until they break down into small crumbs. Do not over mix, they will quickly form a paste. Add remaining ingredients and pulse a few times until well blended. Remove from processor and set aside.

4. Easy Guacamole
2 small, ripe avocados
1/2 cup tomato, diced
3 tbsp red onion, diced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
salt to taste

In a small bowl mash the avocados until fairly smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.

5. Pico de Gallo
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup of cilantro, minced
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
salt to taste

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl.

6. Cashew Sour Cream
1 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Blend the soaked cashews with 1/2 cup water in a food processor or powerful blender until very smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.

IMG_2094 To assemble, mound a generous handful of lettuce on each plate. Spoon the Taco Meat, Pico de Gallo, and Guacamole onto the bed of lettuce. Drizzle Cashew Sour Cream over the top and finish with the juice of a lime.

Serve immediately.