Feastival—Composed Raw Salad Platter

Feastival

One thing I like to do when I have a little extra time is to make a bunch of raw salads, pâté, dips and/or sauces and keep them at the ready in the refrigerator. It’s a lot easier to stay on track when hunger pangs hit and you have a bunch of things to choose from. The great thing about making an all raw dish or pre-made dip or pâté is that it’ll keep up to 5 days. They do lose some of the nutritional value the longer they rest, and the flavor will slowly dissipate after a couple days or so. But still, these little salads are a great go to!

One of the things I do with a bunch of pre-made salads is to do a little composed platter like this. Mixing and combining all these different flavors and textures makes each bite different and exciting. This particular type of raw salad platters was inspired by one of the best raw restaurants I’ve ever been to, Quenna’s Raw Vegan in Norfolk, Va (unfortunately Quenna moved to Pennsylvania and has since closed her amazing restaurant).

In the picture above, I started with a bed of arugula, seasoned with lemon and a little himalayan sea salt, and the salads are a beet salad with fresh orange juice, a basil and walnut pâté, a grated carrot and cumin salad, mushrooms marinated in a little nama shoyu and in the middle are soaked sunflower seeds with curry and garlic. Then I just chopped up half a tomato and topped the whole thing with some sprouted peas. Oh! And an oil-cured olive is on top of the walnut and basil pâté.

The recipes are simple. And obviously, you can make one or a couple of these dishes and keep them in your arsenal. They’re great all together like this as a composed plated dish, wrapped up in a collard leaf like a burrito or tossed in a lettuce cup.

Raw Beet and Orange Salad
1 beet, peeled
1 orange, zested and the juice of

Directions: Using a box grater (and gloves!) grate the beet into a bowl. Add the zest and juice of an orange, toss to combine! That’s it! So sweet and refreshing and  a little goes a long way! A little bit of advice… If you’re not used to eating raw beets, don’t eat a lot at first. A serving size should really not be more than a quarter cup. You’ll be tempted to eat a large bowl of this on it’s own, but resist that urge. Unless, of course, you are having, uhm, let’s say… elimination issues – and you have the rest of your day off and are at home. Alone.

Basil & Walnut Pâté
2C of basil leaves
half a cup of walnuts
1 clove garlic
the juice of 1 lemon
1 zucchini, chopped
salt (preferably, himalayan sea salt)

Directions: Pulse the walnuts and garlic clove in a food processor until combined and broken down well. Add the zucchini, and lemon juice and pulse until the mixture is combined and looks the right consistency (the zucchini is replacing the olive oil found generally found in pestos—which is how this recipe started as—and it gives a nice body to the pâté). Taste for needed seasoning. This mixture alone is a great dip, it’s good in wraps, and it makes a great pesto sauce for zucchini noodles.

Grated Carrot & Cumin Salad
10 carrrots
the juice of a lemon
1T cumin* (not really raw, but it’s amazing with this dish)
1T grade A light amber organic maple syrup* (I know it’s not raw, but it’s less processed than agave, and half my family is from Vermont. It’s a staple for me.)

Directions: Grate the peeled carrots with a box grater  into a bowl. Add in the lemon juice, maple syrup and cumin powder and toss together with a fork until combined. Taste and add more lemon, cumin or syrup to appease your palate.

Marinated Mushrooms
1/2lb of cremini mushrooms
nama shoyu (or Braggs’s Aminos, or soy sauce* if in a pinch)

Directions: Shave the mushrooms with a mandolin (or slice very thinly). Add to a bowl and shake in a few dashes of the nama shoyu. A little goes a long way with the seasonings, so if in doubt, under season first. Toss with a fork to combine and lightly coat all the mushrooms. Then let them rest in the bowl for about 15 minutes. The moisture from the mushrooms will be drawn out from the salt in the seasoning making a nice light sauce.

Soaked Sunflower Seeds with Cumin and Garlic 
1C raw sunflower seeds
1T cumin*
1T garlic powder*
1/2T curry powder*
1T nama shoyu (or Braggs’s Aminos, or soy sauce* if in a pinch)

Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well so every seed is covered and the spices are evenly distributed. Then add enough water to the mixture to barely cover the seeds. Let soak for 6 hours to overnight. Soaking will aid in the digestion of the seeds and makes them a little softer and more enjoyable to eat. Drain the water out of the bowl (it’s ok if there’s a little left, just mix it well before serving). This keeps great in the fridge and makes a great salad topper or snack.

*These items are not raw. I like to use traditional spices and sweeteners (like organic  maple syrup) in my recipes. My goal with raw food is to get the most nutritional bang out of my food as possible. Adding flavor enhancers that aren’t raw are not that big of a concern to me as long as the veggies and fruit are there.

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