Friday, August 17, 2012

Eat Raw, Eat Well

To me, nothing tastes better on a hot summer day than a crisp, crunchy salad and a bowl of cool, flavorful soup. I do tend to eat a high-raw diet in the summertime, only because it's what my body craves and what makes me feel the best. The problem is, I eat lots of salad and I tend to make the same few variations. I also love raw soups when they're done right, but I've only had about a 50/50 track record with them. I'm always looking for new ideas and inspiration, so I was psyched when my library got a copy of Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish.

This book has 400 raw recipes (!!) for soups, salads, salad dressings, dips, entrees, desserts, breakfast items, snacks, and everything else you can imagine. What really drew me in was how simple and basic the recipes seemed to be...minimal ingredients, not a lot of fussy prep to be done, and not a ton of recipes requiring a dehydrator. I do have a dehydrator, by the way, but I pretty much loathe using it. It must take me 30 minutes to clean the damn thing every time I use it, so I don't use it very often. No-dehydrator-required raw recipes are always a plus in my book!

Because I love raw soups (but often strike out with them), I immediately turned to the soup chapter. The first recipe that caught my eye was the Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque, which seemed like a  perfect way to use my abundance of yellow tomatoes! It was my kind of recipe: just tomatoes, bell peppers, celery, avocado, sea salt, dried basil, water, and EVOO.

I really liked the clean, simple flavors of the soup. Nothing complicated or fancy, just straight-up delicious! I also made a big arugula salad with cucumbers, celery, and peppers, topped with the luscious Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette from Let Them Eat Vegan! New favorite salad dressing alert!!

Since the first soup turned out so well, I was definitely eager to try another one. I hit up the farmer's market for some fresh produce, including those juicy tomatoes and the two jalapenos you see at the bottom left. I had plans for these babies.

I had to try the Smoked Tomato and Jalapeno Soup. It was just calling my name.

I was intrigued that the recipe called for everything to be blended in a food processor, rather than a blender. Every other raw soup I've made has come out of the Vita-Mix. I was a little skeptical, but I decided to roll with it, and man, am I glad I did. This soup was AWESOME!! Holy moly...this might be my favorite raw soup EVER!! The flavors were so deep and complex, and the texture was thick and a little chunky. If I had used the Vita-Mix, that lovely texture would have been lost. This soup has fresh tomatoes, soaked sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, lemon juice, hemp oil (I used EVOO), smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and sea salt. The smoked paprika brought this soup to another level, I swear. I am going to have to add it to other raw soups! My hubby loved this soup, too, and asked me to make it again (which I did, later that week!)

I served the soup with a big salad on the spinach, baby arugula, yellow tomatoes, celery, purple pepper, cucumber, and avocado, topped with Detox Vinaigrette from the book. I found the vinaigrette to be a little...timid in flavor. I prefer big, bold flavors for my dressings, so I wasn't that impressed. Still, I liked that it included dulse in the ingredients. I love dulse!

 Overall, this was a very satisfying meal. That die for!

I think I might need to buy this book!


janet @ the taste space said...

I just got Eat Raw, Eat Well frm the library and completely torn about whether to purchase it. Glad to hear you'ev had successes, though! I will definitely have to try those soups. :)

Bethany said...

Hi Janet! The tomato-jalapeno soup is amazing and SO easy to make!! I really like the raw soups chapter in this book. I always have trouble finding good raw soup recipes!! Thanks for stopping by :)