Summer is an ideal time to embrace some raw food eating — this time of year, you’ll find tons of local, fresh produce available. Since it’s so hot, no-cook meals are a simple way to avoid the oven and stove to keep the house cooler.
Why choose raw food?
Raw foods can be higher in water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins as well as higher in some natural enzymes. This is because there are particular vitamins and nutrients that can be diminished in the heating/cooking process. Additionally, eating more raw food meals is a great way to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Read on for some great raw recipes that are perfect for the end of summer!
“Zoodles” a.k.a. Zucchini Noodles
One of my favorite raw meals is zucchini or summer squash “pasta” that I like to call “Zoodles.” This dish can be raw, high fiber and gluten-free! Plus, zucchini and squash are abundant this time of year so you can often find them at great prices from local farms!
To make zoodles, use a spiralizer or simply grate zucchini length-wise on a box grater to create noodles. I’m partial to this spiralizer that you can find at many Whole Foods Market stores or on Amazon.com.
You can top your zoodles with classic spaghetti sauce, dress them with your favorite dressing for a cold “pasta” salad or just add olive oil, salt and pepper. Personally, I love pesto on my zoodles. You can buy ready-made pesto or make your own. Here’s a recipe we love:
Wrap ‘n Roll
Raw vegetable wraps and rolls are nutrient dense and great to prepare as a meal when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. I love no-cook spring rolls in the summer. Here’s a recipe for a shrimp spring roll (or lettuce wrap), make it vegetarian by leaving out the shrimp and replacing it with tofu or more fresh veggies!
Crudité is the fun French word for an appetizer of raw vegetables — and it’s making a comeback. Make your crudité platter trendy by using petite carrots with the sprout on top, radishes with the root and greens still attached, and celery with leaves. It makes the veggie platter look fresh from the garden! Or try adding in unique vegetables like jicama, purple cauliflower or romanesco broccoli to keep things interesting!
Sauces and dips
These no-cook sauces and dips are perfect companions to the raw dishes above. This sun-dried tomato gremolata is great on zoodles and this tangy olive spread is perfect for crudité. This classic basil pesto will complement either!
Here’s a raw food dessert idea… Avocados and sweet dates combine for a creamy chocolate dip—it tastes like pudding, but provides tons of fiber and healthy omega-3 fats. Try it with raw strawberries, bananas or raspberries!