This past Friday I had the privilege of sharing some gourmet raw vegan recipes with a group of 18 gathered in the back room of Divine Treasures, a vegan chocolatier in Manchester, CT. Owner, Diane Wagemann, generously offered to be the host for this event, and I think it was the perfect location.
We started the evening in the Mediterranean with a raw falafel done two ways: fresh from the food processor as a pate, and dehydrated into the traditional looking yet healthier version of falafel balls. The base of the falafel is pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc and perfect for anyone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this time of year.
Both were enjoyed, but everyone agreed that the flavors intensified and the firm, slightly crisp, yet chewy texture of the dehydrated version were an unexpected delight. It's nice getting that same falafel satisfaction without the harmful trans fats from deep frying!
These were served with a raw hummus pureed in my Vita-Mix to smooth perfection with cashews, zucchini, tahini and various seasonings. Although regular hummus made with chickpeas is pretty healthy, everyone agreed that the raw interpretation was silky smooth and surprisingly decadent. Cashews will do that!
I began with the walnut meat filling which is pulsed together in the food processor with sun-dried tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and seasonings. You'd never imagine this much flavor can be contained in raw ingredients, but it's worth experimenting.
Next we moved on to the Jicama Rice, which is made by pulsing together chopped jicama and pine nuts in the food processor until it's the consistency of grains of rice. Jicama is a root vegetable native to Mexico. It's slightly sweet and not too starchy with the texture of a water chestnut. The brownish skin is very fibrous and often coated with wax to help it keep longer.
The skin must be washed, peeled, and removed before eating. Once it is cut away, the jicama can be diced into chunks, then put into the food processor where it is pulsed together with the soaked pine nuts.
We finished the demo with the Chipotle Aioli made with soaked cashews, dried chipotle, lemon, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. I topped it all off with a garnish of fresh red pepper diced finely for a little pop of color. Beautiful and delicious!