It’s Spring! Well, it is here in Central California, anyway. If you’re still shivering in thick wool sweaters, my condolences to you. As I type this, I’m looking out the window at blue skies, sunshine, and vibrant shades of green everywhere. Our fruit trees are producing, our garden is coming along nicely, and our flowers have begun sprouting. The temperature has settled in the 70’s, and it’s time to pack away our Winter coats and dig out our Spring and Summer clothes. The warmer temperatures also mean the end of hearty winter soups, heavy meals and rich comfort foods. These days, I’m craving fresh, light fare, as close to its natural state as possible, which means the new, BIG nutritional changes in our family couldn’t have come at a better time. Guess what?
We’re going raw! Yep – the Dawson household is going raw for Spring and Summer, and we plan to remain 80-90% raw indefinitely. I know, it sounds crazy, or at least impractical, but we’ve been researching it for some time, and after a lot of reflection, discussion and prayer, my husband and I both feel led to enter a season of eating the purest, most nutrient rich, natural food possible. We’ve both been dealing with some stubborn minor health issues as well as fatigue, sluggishness, weight gain, and just not feeling our best. We’ve both been high raw (80% or more) in the past, and miss the numerous, dramatic benefits of that lifestyle. So, beginning April 1st, we’re all raw through August. We’ve already begun phasing cooked foods out of our system in preparation for our raw food adventure, and we’re both feeling lighter, more energetic and positive.
Even if you’re not ready to embrace a raw or high raw lifestyle, it’s still important that a large portion of your diet consists of fresh, uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. But if you’re anything like me, you can only eat so much salad before your taste buds stage a mutiny, so it’s extremely helpful to have at least a few raw recipes on hand that are decidedly un-salad tasting. Today’s first recipe is one of my very favorites, raw or otherwise. I was first introduced to it ten years ago by a friend in Lodi, and I’ve loved it ever since. I bring you… angel hair zucchini marinara!
The summer before my freshman year of high school, I had a job harvesting zucchini for a local farmer. It was horrible work – hot, humid, long backbreaking days hunched over a conveyor as we worked our way down the field, for a grumpy, high-pressure boss. Zucchini plants are prickly, so we had to wear long-sleeve shirts and gloves and still got painful scratches on our arms. It was so bad my grandmother and her sisters were betting on how long I’d last, if at all (I stuck it out all summer, thank you very much!). After that summer, the very smell of zucchini made me sick, and I determined that I would hate it forever, flat out refusing to eat it in any form. Fortunately, my friend was an amazing raw cuisine chef, and I’m so glad she talked me into trying this raw “pasta” dish – after just one bite, I was hooked! I’m betting you will be, too. 🙂
If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can use a vegetable peeler to create “fettuccine” instead of angel hair. I highly recommend getting a spiral slicer if you’re able to – they’re inexpensive and fun, and it’s a great way to get kids excited about eating their veggies.
And what’s pasta without a side salad? I’ve recently discovered the curly-leafed wonder that is kale, and this Mediterranean Kale Salad is a scrumptious way to load up on living foods and get more of those all-important dark leafy greens into your diet. Add it to your “pasta” marinara, and you’ve got a delicious raw meal packed with loads of nutrition. Your cells will be bursting with energy!
- 6 medium zucchini or yellow crook-neck squash (or combination), cut in half (by width, not length)
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil*
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
- Dash of cayenne
- Dash of black pepper substitute (optional)
- 2 tsp. dried basil, OR 1/4 C fresh
- 2 tsp. dried oregano, or 2 Tbls. fresh
*OR dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 3 hours or more (overnight is best) in 1C water. Add tomatoes AND water.
Create zucchini or squash “noodles” using a vegetable peeler or spiral slicer. Place all other ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until smooth. Keeps for 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container.
Toss the zucchini noodles with enough marinara sauce to coat well; serve immediately. Makes 6 servings
Mediterranean Kale Salad
- 2 small bunches lacinato or curly kale, stems removed
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked 10 minutes, drained, and rinsed
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper substitute (optional)
Stack the kale a couple of leaves at a time. Slice into very thin strips and place in a mixing bowl along with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Toss well with your hands, working the dressing into the greens. Add the pine nuts and raisins and toss gently, then season to taste with black pepper substitute (optional).
Bring to room temperature before serving. Mediterranean Kale Salad will keep for 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container.
Variation: Eliminate the raisins and the pine nuts. Add 1 seeded and diced tomato, 1 diced avocado, one diced red bell pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Makes 6 servings