Are you a “newbie” to the amazing world of health through living and raw foods?
Here are some tips to consider:
- Raw foods are prepared at low temperatures so the natural enzymes in the food are not destroyed. This is beneficial for digestion and your immune system. A raw-foods diet is known to be anti-inflammatory. However, there are some cautions to observe. As with any new diet, consult a Registered Nutritional consultant or your Doctor before you begin.
- There are many excellent books on raw foods. Some have detailed notes on equipment, food preparation, and health benefits while others highlight how to sprout, dehydrate and ferment. Some also focus on managing a raw-foods diet with a busy lifestyle, children or a limited budget. I contributed to one such book; “Raw Food Gourmet” by Gabrielle Chavez.
- Kitchen surfaces and cutting utensils must be kept clean because your finished product will not be cooked.
- As with many gourmet raw-food recipes, I adhere to the Ayurvedic principles of the Six Tastes to please the palate. In balance, these have multiple health benefits and are especially good for digestion.
- With most recipes, I attempt to have at least four of the Six Tastes included.
- This recipe has all six: salt, sweet (yams), sour (sauerkraut and lemon), bitter (kale), pungent (garlic) and astringent (aromatic herbs, especially dill and rosemary). The nutritional yeast and the sauerkraut along with the sprouted quinoa give them a slightly cheesy aroma.
- When you add salt to taste, go gently. Crackers will dehydrate and it will become saltier. Whereas the other flavors will be somewhat diminished from dehydrating. So be generous with your herbs and lemon!
Special equipment needed:
- Vitamix or another high-speed blender, or an 11-cup food processor.
- Dehydrator with a thermostat for temperature control that can adjust down to 110°.
- Flex sheets or parchment paper for square dehydrator trays. Or parchment paper, folded in eighths with the center cut out for round dehydrator trays.
- Fresh zucchini, 1 1/2 cups chopped
- Fresh kale, 6-10 large leaves
- Sauerkraut, 1 cup
- Sprouted quinoa, 1-1/2 cups
- Yams, peeled and chopped, 1-1/2 cups
- Chia seeds, 1 cup
- Pumpkin seeds, soaked, 1 cup
- Nutritional yeast, 3/4 cup
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- Lemon juice, 2 T.
- Salt 1-1/2 tsp. or to taste
- Rosemary 1-1/2 T. dried
- Thyme 1/2 T.
- Dill, 1 tsp.
Sprout the quinoa seeds a few days ahead. Rinse and drain them about four times a day. Timing will depend on your quinoa seeds and climate. When they are fully sprouted, they have a delightful, slightly fermented sweet-sour aroma. Soak the pumpkin seeds about 4-6 hours and use as is, or dehydrated.
Remove the larger stems from the kale leaves. Chop the zucchini and peeled yams (I prefer Jewel yams, as they add sweetness and can be eaten raw. Not sweet potatoes.). Raw, fermented sauerkraut works best for this recipe rather than canned.
Using a Vitamix with a 2-quart jar, add the chopped zucchini, kale leaves, sauerkraut, yams, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, and seasonings. Add enough water to allow it to mix and blend well.
It should be pretty thick. If your jar is too full, pour the contents into a bowl. Add in the dry Chia seeds and stir them in carefully all the way to the bottom. Let the mixture sit for about an hour or two while the Chia seeds absorb the extra water and thicken it.
Pour onto dehydrator sheets and smooth with a spatula. Score them for cutting. See Options below for toppings.
Dehydrate at 113°F for about 12-16 hours. If you’re using flex sheets, turn the crackers over after 4-8 hours so the bottoms can also get crispy. This is not necessary if you are using a round dehydrator with parchment paper.
- Add hemp seeds or raw organic hemp flour in the original mix for additional protein.
- Slice additional zucchini thinly. Put on a platter or flat surface. Add salt and then drizzle with olive oil. Arrange the zucchini rounds in the centers of scored cracker batter.
- Break additional kale leaves into smaller pieces. Add salt and olive oil and massage in until the kale has softened. Layer on top of the scored cracker squares (wedges if you’re using a round dehydrator), and place thinly sliced zucchini on top.
- Especially valuable if you have children. Slice beets thinly and make funny faces out of beet wedges. As you can see, the color goes away after dehydrating, but the crispy beet is yummy. Works best if the beet segments are embedded in the batter.
Let me know your favorite raw food recipes it the comments section below. It’s okay if it’s just a salad, a salad dressing, or fruit and coconut dessert.