I tried some of Inspiral’s Crispy Baobab & Onion Kale Chips the other day and loved them so much, I wanted to recreate my own, but without the baobab bit, as I have no idea what baobab is. According to the list of ingredients on the back of the packet, the chips seemed to mostly involve kale, cashew nuts and onion powder, and so I thought, ‘I can do that’ and I also thought, ‘I can do that for a lot cheaper than £2.19 for 30g’.
So I did. What I also did is make them cheesy, so they’re kind of like cheese and onion flavour crisps, kale-stylee. Oh yeah.
If you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix (and if you do have a Vitamix, I am green-eyed with jealousy), you might not need to add as much olive oil. I needed to add it though because my cashews refused to blend without some liquid added (this is because I only have a £20 blender and not a Vitamix, sniff).
I ended up dehydrating these kale chips for about 24 hours. Depending on how big your kale pieces are and also on how efficient your dehydrator is, you may need less time. Just keep checking until they’re crispy enough for you.
Recipe: Dehydrated Vegan Cheese and Onion Kale Chips
My cheapy food processor chopped the dry cashews okay but it didn’t like the bananas and refused to chop them, so I bashed them with a wooden spoon and the pecans kind of stayed whole. But the end result was delicious, so who cares if they look a bit ‘rustic’, eh?
As you’ll see from the recipe, I left my biscuits in the dehydrator for 10 hours but they were still a bit moist in the middle and therefore more cakey than biscuity. If that’s the texture you require, great – but if you want them a bit drier, then leave them in for another hour or two (or three or four).
While I was thinking about what next to make in my dehydrator, I remembered I had a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Desserts and remembered that the reason I’ve never taken much notice of raw food ‘cook’books in the past was because a lot of the recipes needed a dehydrator. So I grabbed my copy off the shelf and flicked through and a couple of recipes immediately looked appealing.
Like this recipe for strawberry and coconut macaroons, for example. Ani’s recipe in the book says to dehydrate them for 3-6 hours but my macaroons were still too moist in the middle for my liking after that amount of time and also had a strange bitter taste, so I lowered the temperature and left the dehydrator running all night. In the morning, they were perfect.
I’m assuming my mix was so wet and took so long to dry because, when Ani stated in her recipe 1 cup of strawberries, I had no idea whether that meant whole strawberries (therefore leaving a lot of gaps/air), or to cut the strawberries up so they fit into a cup. I went for the latter method and ended up with a mix that was practically liquid. Still, even if I did go about things the wrong way, the end result was perfect, so that’s the recipe/method I’m going to post here.
I kept thinking these macaroons should be pink but then the logical part of my brain told me that this is natural food and the pink confection you see in the shops is pink because they’ve got food colouring added to them. If you like those biscuity kind of coconut macaroons you find in the shop, you’ll love these. And unlike those ones you find in the shop, these are healthy.
Why did I wait so long to get a dehydrator? What I’ve eaten from it so far has made me want to give up pizza and become a raw foodist. Well, that might be a bit hasty, especially as it’s Friday and Friday night is chippy chips night, so any new raw foodist lifestyle will have to hang on for a bit.
But, these raw crackers I made are amazing. I tried some raw crackers a couple of years ago when I bought some at VegFest but I didn’t like them. So I wasn’t expecting great things from these but now I never want to eat anything else, ever. They’re especially good spread with the best ever hummus and topped with olives.
The original recipe is here but I added chilli flakes because, well, you know… chilli…
Ssh, don’t tell anyone, but when my delivery of raw cacao arrived in the post this morning, I got excited and skived off to the supermarket to get the rest of the ingredients I needed to make this raw vegan fudge my friend Vivianne had told me about on Facebook. I should have been writing my assignment, oops. Still, this fudge only takes five minutes to make, so I don’t feel that guilty.
You won’t need to feel guilty eating these either, as they’re raw, only using natural ingredients, which makes them super-healthy (although the coconut oil is slowly melted, so I’m not sure if that makes them not raw? Feel free to let me know. I’m aware of the 45C degree thing but have no idea how warm the oil got in the pan. Probably not very warm as it melted almost immediately).
They’re so super-healthy, I’m going to totally ignore how many calories they have in each piece. Not that I’ve counted them, but I’m sure it’s zillions.
The original recipe is here but I’ll post what I did below (halved the ingredients and used peanut butter and soft dates).
I bought the raw cacao from Goodness Direct (free delivery) and the coconut oil from Tesco (on the shelf with the other oils). I couldn’t see any pitted dates, so bought Crazy Jacks Organic Soft Dates which are ready to eat, so I didn’t soak them.
This fudge is rich and bitter – if you like dark chocolate, you’ll love these. Next time I’m going to add some whole nuts – maybe macadamias, that’ll be amazing.
Raw vegan chocolate peanut butter fudge (makes 16 pieces)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cups raw cacao
1/2 cup soft read to eat dates
1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt
Carefully melt the coconut oil on a very low heat.
Place all the ingredients, except the peanut butter, in a food processor and blend until soft and well combined.
Add the peanut butter at the end to keep the crunch.
Spread evenly in a 8” square tin.
Place in the fridge for about one hour.
Cut into 16 pieces and store in an airtight container.
Raw food has always intrigued me. I’m a firm believer that the healthiest diet you could have is a raw one. A few years ago, I was going to go on a month-long raw food challenge and bought a couple of books on Amazon, but the recipes either looked fiddly and time-consuming, involving dozens of never-before-heard-of ingredients or they didn’t look or sound appetising. The books went back to Amazon and I went back to my pizza.
MY Food do a plan that takes all the hassle away from you. Their 5 day Raw Blitz Body plan contains everything you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they even supply a selection of Dr Stuart’s teabags, a litre of almond milk, snacks and fresh fruit.
I was sent a sample 2 day plan, texted with a delivery date, then texted the day before the delivery date with a delivery time which was a very specific 10:46-11:46am. If you’re not in at the time they text you with, you’re given options to choose from to text back with a more convenient time.
Because I was doing a two day plan, all my food came in one delivery. For people doing the 5 day plan, in order to keep the food as fresh as possible, they’ll get two deliveries. My box turned up promptly at 10:50 and I ripped it open, eager to see what was inside. It all looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to get started.
The next morning I woke excited about going on my raw food journey (as short as it was; I’ve never been much of a traveller, anyway). You’re given a plan with your food and my breakfast on day 1 was “Love the Feeling” Red Berry Smoothie, served with 200ml of chilled almond milk.
Yes, despite being called a ‘red’ berry smoothie, it’s green. It’s made of mango, mixed berries, banana, orange juice, ginger, agave and linseed. This was thick, fresh and tasty. As I’m used to having smoothies for breakfast, I was pleased not to have anything too ‘scary’ to start me off.
As mentioned before, the plan includes snacks (so no excuses for raiding the chocolate drawer). This morning’s snack was some seeds and nuts from the packet of Seeds of Love mix.
This 100g packet contains almonds, hemp seeds, Incan berries, mulberries, pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs.
Lunch on day 1 was Oriental Salad with Thai Dressing.
I won’t list all the ingredients (or for any of the other meals), as there’s so many, you’ll get bored of reading them. All the ingredients are fresh, raw and natural with nothing you won’t have heard of (unless you’ve led a very sheltered life).
This massive portion of salad was fresh and spicy. I was a bit worried about the coriander as I’m not a fan but although I could taste it, it wasn’t overpowering. So far, so impressed.
After lunch, I – as usual – fancied a mug of hot chocolate. I scanned the plan but couldn’t see any hot chocolate on there, so I had a cup of herbal tea. The afternoon snack was fresh fruit. MY Food had supplied a kiwi fruit, but unfortunately it turned up a bit battered and split, so I had a satsuma instead.
Evening meant my first ‘proper’ raw meal. ‘Proper’ as in ‘not a salad’. My dinner that evening was Lasagne with Cheese Layers.
Obviously the lasagne wasn’t made from pasta but was a delicious mixture of courgettes, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, green olives, sundried tomato and a whole heap of other vegetables and spices such as onion powder and garlic. I’ve had raw cheese before made with cashew nuts and nutritional yeast, so I’m assuming that’s what gave this dish its cheesy flavour. If you’re wondering if it’s like vegan cheese, don’t worry, this is much nicer – it is made with natural ingredients, after all. There’s nothing artificial or processed about this dish.
Despite being ‘raw’, this lasagne can be heated up in your oven at its coolest setting, but only until it’s finger warm. To keep the food’s nutrients and vital enzymes as intact as possible, raw food shouldn’t be heated above 42C. Unfortunately, I got my Celsius and Farenheit mixed up and heated it up too much, which is why it looks a bit cooked in the photo. Still, this didn’t ruin the taste, I just killed off a few nutrients and vital enzymes. Oops.
This was also a massive portion and kept me full all evening.
Day 2’s breakfast was Raw Fruity Granola (buckwheat, golden flaxseeds, figs, raisins, apricots, cranberries, goji berries).
The instructions said to serve it with 200ml of chilled Almond Milk and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. I’m used to granola and usually like it. I’m sorry to say I didn’t like this at all. For my personal taste, I don’t think I should have left it to soak, as the texture was slimy and after one spoonful, I threw it away and made myself a banana and raspberry smoothie instead.
Lunch on day 2 was Moroccan Carrot Salad with Avocado Salsa.
I hate avocado. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a minging ball of green slime, so I hoped the avocado salsa would be a little pot I could ignore but, alas, it was half the packet. Luckily it was sectioned off so it was easy to avoid. I tried a bit of the green sli– oops, sorry – avocado – and it wasn’t quite as disgusting as I remembered it being but I couldn’t eat more than one piece. If you like avocado, you’ll love this as there’s a huge amount of it. Luckily the other half of the salad was huge too and was a beautiful lunch for a sunny day, so I didn’t go hungry.
The afternoon snack of the day was an Energy Ball.
There were no ingredients listed on the packet but whatever it was, it was tasty and plugged that afternoon-munchies gap.
In the list of ingredients for the Coconut Curry with Lime Infused Vegetables that I was to have for dinner was the dreaded avocado.
I was even more scared when I saw that the avocado wasn’t in big lumps I could pick out but made the base of the curry. I tried a bit but, again, couldn’t eat it so I left the creamy bit and just ate the vegetables. As with the lasagne, this could be heated in a cool oven until finger warm.
I’d recommend the MY Food Raw Blitz Body plan for anyone curious about raw food or experienced raw foodists who want a break from ‘cooking’ (or should that be ‘assembling’?). Everything is provided, so there’s no shopping for ingredients, no thinking about what to have, no cooking and therefore minimal washing up. Because I only did the 2 day plan, I didn’t get a choice of meals but my friend Astrid did the 10 day plan (review here) and was asked if there were any ingredients she didn’t like, so they could omit those. I’m not sure if you get that flexibility with the 5 day plan but I’d definitely be specifying no avocado.
The 5 day plan costs £195. Okay, so that sounds like a lot of money (well, let’s face it, it is a lot of money) but when you take into account how many ingredients go into each dish (there are twenty three in the Moroccan Carrot Salad alone) and how much they’d cost to buy individually, along with everything prepared for you, it’s not bad value at all.
The MY Food Raw Blitz Body plan is seasonal and not available at the moment (keep checking their website or Facebook page for announcement of the next one) but they do have plenty of other plans, including vegetarian, gluten-free and lots more. You can see their range of Diet Plans for Women and their Diet Plans for Men.