janet @ the taste space

Classic Cheesy Kale Chips & Choosing Raw Cookbook Review+Giveaway

In Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on July 1, 2014 at 7:56 AM

Classic Cheesy Kale Chips (Choosing Raw)

It is my pleasure to share with you Gena Hamshaw’s new cookbook, Choosing Raw. Named after her widely popular food blog, her simple, bright and healthy recipes shine through onto paper. Full disclosure, I have loved Gena’s recipes ever since I discovered her blog (and her infamous banana soft serve recipe). My previous gushings can be seen here and here and I was thrilled when Gena asked me to be a tester for her cookbook. The best part of help her test the recipes? She actually cared about my feedback beyond recipe bloopers, making this a truly phenomenal cookbook.

Just as her blog attests, the recipes are fresh and flavourful. All vegan, some raw, some cooked, some mixed, some with options for either raw or cooked. You might think you recognize some of the recipes from her blog, but they have all been reworked and rewritten based on reader feedback. With 125 recipes, spanning essential foundation recipes (including cashew cheese, chocomole, banana soft serve, lemon turmeric vinaigrette, ginger miso dressing and hemp parmesan) and breakfasts, meals and desserts separated based on the degree of raw components and familiarity to traditional meals. She includes a primer on making meal-sized salads, including a Dinosaur Kale and White Bean Caesar Salad and a Raw Cobb Salad with Eggplant Bacon.

Choosing Raw Cookbook Review

Gena’s level 1 or introductory recipes are truly tried-and-true. Breakfasts options include the (delicious!) Raw Vegan Bircher Muesli, and (even more delicious!!) Chickpea Tofu Tahini Scramble. Gena has different suggestions for lunch and dinner (for me, lunch is always dinner in leftover form) and I can highly recommend both her Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad and Easy Red Lentil Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry.

Slowly, Gena encourages you to branch out from the familiar with a hybrid of new and old. Her Avocado Black Bean Scramble was fresh and bright, the Raw Falafels have a carrot base which was the first falafel recipe I liked, and I love that her Raw Pad Thai actually includes tamarind (although I recommend adding more tamarind… because, that’s just the way we like it!). The Pumpkin Quinoa Risotto with Pomegranate Seeds was a fun twist for an autumn side, although I added chickpeas for a heartier meal.

Within her level 3 recipes (aka Brave New World), Gena introduces you to chocolate açaí bowls, jicama fiesta rice salad, raw corn chowder, and coconut curry kelp noodles. From this chapter, I highly recommend the Zucchini Pasta with Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salsa (I substituted peaches which was still glorious) and her Raw or Cooked Ratatouille.

Desserts are typically the star of raw cuisine, and her recipes do not disappoint. Her Simple Raw Vanilla Macaroons are flawless and her Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting is spot-on. I cannot wait to try other dishes like her Cherry Vanilla Tahini Ice Cream (no ice cream machine required!) and her No-Bake Tartlets with Raw Vegan Chocolate Ganache Filling has been on my hitlist for a long time.

Choosing Raw Cookbook Review

For me, the most important part of a cookbook are the recipes (and the index so I can find the recipes), but the recipes are only a portion of Gena’s book. Her first chapters explain “The Why”, “The What” and “The How” of a eating a vegan diet that includes raw. Normally I skip over these sections, but Gena makes these sections practical, useful and insightful with her background in nutrition. Finally, a raw cookbook that tells you the theory of keeping your food “enzymes” intact will all get decimated in your stomach’s harsh acidic environment anyhow. Likewise, her focus is on nutrients from a plant-based diet.

Gena explains how to properly balance your meals, explaining the importance of fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. She debunks myths including “Eating spinach raw is bad for you because it blocks the absorption of nutrients”, “Soy disrupts hormones, causes breast cancer and should be avoided”, “You should always eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach”, and “It’s essential to separate proteins and starches, because they require different digestive environments and will cause bloating if you eat them together”. To top it off, there are 21 days of worth of meal plans along with tips on how to transition to a vegan diet.

Classic Cheesy Kale Chips (Choosing Raw)

For this review, I had a hard time deciding which recipe to highlight. I decided to share her Classic Cheezy Kale Chips. The mixture of cashews, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast and miso coat the kale leaves which are dehydrated until they are crispy and flavourful. I don’t usually bother with pretty photos while recipe testing, and I had good intentions of taking better photos. Until I ate all the chips. And then they were all gone. They were incredibly addictive.

Gena also has a higher protein kale chip that I am dying to try: Hummus Kale Chips (made with chickpeas)!

Classic Cheesy Kale Chips (Choosing Raw)

Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite vegetable. I will randomly select a winner on July 30, 2014. Good luck!

Other recipes from Choosing Raw shared elsewhere:

Green Herb Dressing

Plant Protein Shake

Asparagus Quinoa Sushi Rolls

Zucchini Pasta with Quinoa Meatballs

Raw Carrot Falafels

Hemp Seed Tabouli with Yellow Tomatoes and Mint

Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad

Zucchini Pasta with Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salsa

Raw or Cooked Ratatouille

Easy Lentil, Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry

Heat-Free Lentil and Walnut Tacos

Raw Corn Salsa

Sunflower Seed Pate

Root “Rawvioli” with Nut Cheese and Pesto

Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

Avocado Black Bean Breakfast Scramble

Raw Bircher Muesli

Raw Cashew Banana Yogurt

Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream

Burnt Sugar Coconut Ice Cream

Coconutty for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fig Bars

Raw Key Lime Pie

Raw Peach Cobbler

Classic Cheesy Kale Chips
Reprinted, with permission, from Choosing Raw

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours (or overnight), drained, and rinsed off
juice of 1 lemon
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into rough pieces
1 tbsp mellow white miso
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 bunch curly kale, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 12 oz or 6 cups after prep)

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the kale, in a high-speed blender and add 2 tbsp of water. Blend until smooth, adding your tamper attachment to facilitate. Add another tbsp or two of water if the mixture is much too thick. You can also use a food processor for this step, stopping to scrape it down frequently as you blend.

2. Place the kale pieces in a large mixing bowl and drench them in the sauce. Use your hands to mix the kale and the sauce evenly and thoroughly. It will seem like a lot of sauce, but you’ll be glad for it when you have super cheezy and flavourful kale chips!

3. Place the kale onto 2 Teflex-lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115F for about 4 hours.

4. Flip the kale chips gently to expose the less dry parts and keep dehydrating until they are totally crispy, about 4 more hours.

5. Store the kale chips in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 4.

Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

  1. Ohhh yeahhh…!!! Another wonderful giveaway !!! This cookbook is definitely my kind of thing 🙂 Your review convinced me that I absolutely need this one. It sounds super interesting.

    At potluck, I know it could sound boring, but I like to bring all kind of vegan dip with raw veggies. Or a guacamole, hummus, etc. The next time though I’ m invited to a potluck, I’ll bring a potato and asparagus salad from the Oh She Glows Cookbook. Yummm !!! Any finger foods is good. Yummm !!!

    I’ll definitely put your kale chip recipe on my to do list. Yummmm !!

  2. Wow! Your review makes this book sound like it’s the perfect choice, whether you are new or experienced in plant-based foods; sounds like it would be great as a crossover, to give to people when you’d like to introduce them to eating for health instead of for disease. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

    Going to a potluck means a SAD potluck, in my world. I take an entree + dessert that the kids and I can enjoy (I admit that I often label the foods as vegan, whole food, no-sugar-butter-flour, so that there will still be some left when we get through the line!). For dessert my boys typically want granola bars or brownies or fudge (all wholesome, I promise!), and entree might be soup, casserole or a big ol’ salad with no nasty surprises like the other ladies put in their salads. I always keep a bag of baby carrots in my purse, in case ‘our’ meal is already gone when we get through the buffet line, despite the ‘warning’ label that it is healthy.

  3. i love to do the pasta salad frm bettie goes vegan.. it is out of this world. would LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!

  4. So hard to choose one favorite veggie… but since I have too, I would say broccoli. I just love how it soaks up sauce like peanut butter sauce. It becomes kind of meaty too.
    Great review and thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Those are some of the best looking kale chips I’ve ever seen! My favorite vegetable is cucumbers 🙂

  6. […] my lovely friend Janet, who was one of the recipe testers for the book, wrote a wonderful review, featuring a lot of her own recipes (and insider thoughts as a recipe […]

  7. It depends on the potluck, but usually a bean salad or dessert. (raw cheesecakes are always popular!)

  8. Great review! I love Gena’s blog, so I have no doubt that her cookbook is just as fabulous. My favorite vegetable would have to be cauliflower, but I haven’t had a vegetable yet that I don’t like. Others that I adore are plantains (technically a fruit), mushrooms (fungi, really), bell peppers, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, green beans, summer squash, and cucumbers.

  9. Looks really interesting.

  10. my favorite vegetable is probaably zucchini 🙂 came here from gena’s website, love what im reading so far!

  11. That’s different! My favorite vegetable by far is brussels sprouts–I could happily live off of pan after pan of them roasted with olive oil and salt.

  12. mhmmm… raw, i LOVE cucumbers! i eat a few a day 🙂 cooked, tie between zucchini/greens!

  13. I looooove asparagus 🙂 And loving that it’s in season right now!

  14. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a vegetable I didn’t like! Sweet potatoes are definitely in my top ten though. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  15. What a lovely review, my friend. Thank you so very much! ❤

  16. I love Gena’s recipes! My favorite vegetable? That’s a hard one, I love so many! I think cauliflower and zucchini are at the top of my list, though 🙂

  17. Oh how I love kale chips. They are the funnest snack food!
    This book looks gorgeous! I love her blog and would love to check out her cookbook =)
    You are such a lucky duck to be selected to test her recipes!! Yay you!

  18. This is one giveaway I’m not going to opt out of, because Gena’s book sounds really exciting! I have a big bunch of kale from our CSA pickup today that will be fantastic in chip form. 🙂 I have way too many favorite vegetables, but since it’s summer. I’m going to have to go for the classic backyard tomato. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  19. This one looks fantastic too! I would love to add it to my collection!

  20. I have often thought of that question…and I think my favorite vegetable is asparagus, although it’s so hard to choose!

  21. I actually really like Brussels Sprouts!

  22. Not sure I can chose a favorite veggie… love them all! Cauliflower, okra, turnip… nope, can’t even make a top ten. 🙂

  23. Carrots because they are so versatile

  24. Thank you for the giveaway! I respect, trust, and admire Gena so much.

  25. My favorite veggie is probably a potato… 🙂 While I love every vegetable, nothing beats a potato in any form.

  26. Cauliflower steamed until it is very soft. Plain. Maybe with some miso-tahini dressing.

  27. I love roasted cauliflower, so yummy and easy to make!

  28. I love roasted cauliflower, so easy and tasty!

  29. Wow! Those kLe chips look and sound amazing. Thanks for procuring giveaway copy! Squash is my favorite vegetable, and I love that it can bd eaten raw or cooked. I love butternut and spaghetti squash, particularly. 🙂

  30. Broccoli is definitely one of my favorites.

  31. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks? Really? Once I start eating kale chips, I don’t seem to be able to stop since KALE is my favorite veggie…wait, maybe carrots, no…broccoli, no…kale, definately kale…wait…
    I would love to have this book, as I am fairly new to raw food…unless you count smoothies, salad and store bought kale chips! Although I am now the proud owner of a dehydrator, it is still unused, as I don’t have a clue what to make! I NEED this book!;-))

  32. Great Review! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes! My favorite veggie is…that’s a tough one. Whatever is in season, really! I’m downing zukes and bell peppers in the summer, pumpkins and butternut squashes in winter. All the asparagus i can handle in spring…and sweet potatoes as often as possible 🙂

  33. I know it’s not the healthiest one in the bunch, but, potatoes are my fave, followed closely by broc and cauli. Love your site and thanks so much for the chance to win!

  34. I love Choosing Raw! Such a wonderful blog filled with delicious recipes! Two of my favorite vegetables are Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes–I could eat them forever!

  35. This cookbook sounds amazing! Great review. Favourite veggie…that’s a tough one, but if I had to choose I’d probably say spinach. I put it in most recipes.

  36. I think artichokes are my favorite, with lots of lemon…breading optional. 🙂

  37. Avocados, great for everything. Sandwiches, pudding, ice cream, smoothies and more importantly stuffed and deep dried. Yum. Thanks

  38. I’ve been meaning to make kale chips for a good while but never seem to get around to it. A must try for sure. As for a favorite vegetable, well, I guess mushrooms aren’t really a vegetable, so I can’t really choose as they all can play a shining role.

  39. It’s so much fun to test recipes for a cookbook, and even better when the author is truly receptive to – and makes good use of – our feedback! It’s lovely to read that that was your experience with testing for Gena. Her book sounds fantastic, one that I’d love to read, and not just for the recipes; the myth debunking section is one I’d really appreaciate, I think.
    As for my favorite vegatable, I’d say almost anything that’s in season locally – fresh, local produce is truly the best! If I have to name one, today I’d go with eggplant. I appreciate its versatility, it works well in so many kinds of recipes… including lots of Iranian dishes that bring back wonderful memories. 🙂

  40. Long time vegetarian, just getting to know about raw food and live food. It’s all so beautiful and I would love yo transition myself and my family to healthier eating.

  41. My favorite vegetable is fennel, but it’s so hard to find in my small city. So, when it finally shows up at the market, I buy lots.

  42. […] Black Bean Breakfast Scramble Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream Classic Cheesy Kale Chips Coconutty for Chocolate Chip Cookies Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad Fig Bars Green Herb Dressing […]

  43. […] easy, delicious and healthy curry. This is one I first discovered while testing/eating through Gena’s fabulous cookbook and has become a staple ever since. Having blog worthy photos also helps keep me more speedy in […]

  44. […] the Jamaican Jerk Chili with Quinoa and Kidney Beans is a fun twist on chili. Unlike Gena’s first cookbook, there is no particular focus on raw foods and the recipes seem a bit more grown up. Although that […]

  45. […] my lovely friend Janet, who was one of the recipe testers for the book, wrote a wonderful review, featuring a lot of her own recipes (and insider thoughts as a recipe […]

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