I have been very fortunate to grow up in an environment where brains were valued over beauty. None of my friends were ever on diets. If I made New Year’s Resolutions (I doubt I did; my last decade has been more of a daily self-evaluation), they were short-lived vow to be nicer to my brother. My mother (and brother) may not believe me.
It was only after I started reading food blogs, did I encounter the dizzying world of detoxes, cleanses and diets. Not that I have ever condoned detoxes. Barring liver disease or overdoses, our liver does a great job “detoxifying” our body every.single.day. Imagine my surprise when not one, but two of my friends in Houston told me they were eating 100% raw shortly after New Year’s, spurred by Kristina’s 21-Day Raw Challenge. I love the creativity that comes from cooking/uncooking/eating raw foods, but they complement my cooked vegan eats. Let’s be honest, even in Houston, winter is not the ideal time to go all raw.
My friend hosted a potluck to kickstart her first day on her raw diet and this is what I brought to share. I used it as an opportunity to make something from a new cookbook, Balanced Raw. Raw sushi is easy to share at a party, so I tried the new recipe. I have made raw sushi before, and the recipes are quite similar, but I decided to share this version, too, mainly because Rob took some impromptu sushi rolling action shots. Using a placemat makes sushi rolling very easy. Parsnip rice is spiced with a bit of chile powder and filled with an assortment of vegetables.
A note about the cookbook, though. The recipes are built around a 3-week vegan “cleanse” with a meal plan for every day. The recipes span both raw and cooked meals, but they seem to follow a low-fat 80/10/10 vegan diet. While Kristina is good about mentioning the need to eat enough calories, the meal plans in this book look woefully inadequate calorically. However, the recipes are interesting and would be a useful adjunct to whatever your typical eats may be. There are ideas for vegetables beyond salads. I use raw foods to enhance my vegan diet. It is a great way to eat more vegetables and fruits.
The publisher is letting me give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom (YES!). To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me what you think about cleanses and detoxes. Have you done one? Are you doing one? I will randomly select a winner on January 20, 2014. Good luck!
Balanced Raw recipes elsewhere:
PS. There is still time to enter my giveaway for Superfood Smoothies here.
For the rice:
3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped, (3-4 cups, 330-440g)
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tsp agave
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
For the tamarind dipping sauce:
1/2 cup tamarind paste or concentrate, softened
3 tbsp agave
1.5 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp coconut water
1 tsp coconut aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
For the rolls:
6 nori sheets
1/2 tsp togarashi spice powder or other chile spice blend (optional, I did not use)
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 medium seedless cucumber, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/2 medium bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, and julienned
1 handful sunflower sprouts (optional)
1. To make the rice, pulse the chopped parsnips in a food processor fitted with an S-blade until it resembles rice. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Transfer to another bowl and stir in the vinegar, agave and salt. Set aside.
2. To make dipping sauce, combine tamarind, agave, lime juice, coconut water and coconut aminos in a small bowl. Whisk to combine then set aside.
3. To assemble the rolls, place nori sheet down, shiny side up (I didn’t notice a difference), on top of a mat, and place 3/4 cup parsnip rice on half of the nori sheet, closets to you. Use your ahnds (or spatula) to press the rice down completely, covering the bottom two-thirds of the sheets, edge to edge horizontally. Leave a 1-inch border of nori on the edge furthest away from you.
4. Lightly sprinkle the rice with the togarashi and sesame seeds and then stack a few pieces of each vegetable and a few sprouts (if using) on top of the parsnip rice, leaving them hanging off the side edges for a nicer presentation.
5. Now you can roll. Use your mat to roll the sushi together. (The book has more detailed instructions). Dip your fingers in the warm water, and then run it along the border of the exposed nori and seal the dampened nori to the roll.
6. Remove from the mat and use a sharp nice (not a serrated knife, I tried and failed) to cut into bite-sized pieces. Serve each roll with the tamarind dipping sauce.
Makes 4-6 rolls.