Raw food blogger and author Gena Hamshaw has us swearing up and down to add more raw foods to our diet after reading her new release, Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat ($20).
Plus, we’ve got our own selfishly lazy motivations: Eating raw food means turning on the stove and the oven a whole lot less during these dog days of summer. Score!
Hamshaw is no hard-liner: She enthusiastically writes about the digestive and nutritive benefits of a fiber-rich, plant-based diet that includes many raw options without insisting that we all give up the comforts of cooked food forever and ever.
Her approach feels easy and refreshing, instead of intimidating. The book starts off with more than 100 pages of knowhow, including everything from meal plans to the basics of healthy vegan nutrition, before jumping into the recipes.
As tomatoes and zucchini reach the apex of their season for both flavor and nutrition, take a spin at making a raw ratatouille brimming with fresh herbs.
This flexible recipe drives Hamshaw’s fuss-free philosophy home: “Though the word ‘ratatouille’ may conjure up images of casserole dishes, roasting fragrantly in the oven, this raw spin on the French classic is surprisingly delicious,” she says. “I love it without any heating at all, but I offer up a dehydrator option for gentle heating, and an oven option if you’re craving a more traditional presentation.”
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thinly into coins
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced
1⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into thin strips
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pine nuts, cooked or sprouted lentils, or chickpeas
1. Combine all the ingredients except for the pine nuts in a large mixing bowl. Adjust the seasonings to taste (you can add more herbs if you like, or more lemon for a more tart taste).
2. Let all the ingredients marinate for a few hours, so that the flavors can marry. If you’re serving it cool, simply stir in the pine nuts or legumes and plate. If you’re heating it, use one of the options below, and stir in the pine nuts or legumes right before serving.
Oven option: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the vegetables in a small casserole dish and cook for 15 minutes. Give the vegetables a stir, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until they’re soft throughout.
Dehydrator option: Set your dehydrator to 140°F. Spread the vegetables onto two Teflex-lined dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for an hour before serving them warm. If you keep the dish raw, it will last overnight in the fridge.
If you cook or dehydrate it, it will last for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014