Friday, July 13, 2012

Italian Night

Italian Chia Seed Crackers
Garlic Bread with Macadamia-Brazil Cheese
Antipasto Salad

Italian Chia Seed Crackers  (shown above with eggplant bacon and raw sweet corn chips)

8 oz. chia seeds soaked in 4 cups water
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp oregano
4 basil leaves

Stir the chia seeds in the water until the mixture thickens.  It could take an hour or longer.  The thickened mixture including the water will be used.  Blend all ingredients including the chia seed mixture in a blender or food processor.  The mixture should be uniform with no large pieces.  The chia seeds will remain whole.  It's fine if the mixture is nearly pureed but it's not necessary to go that far.

Pour the mixture onto dehydrator sheets, either by the spoonful in smaller cracker shapes, or in one large piece to be broken into smaller pieces after drying.  Dry according to your dehydrator instructions for at least 12 hours or until dry.  We dried ours at the lowest setting.

Garlic Bread
Recipe Courtesy of Russell James

2 cups almond pulp  (reserved from making almond milk)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup psyllium
1/2 cup flax meal
3 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp garlic powder
3 dates, pitted
t tsp sea salt

Blend the zucchini, garlic and dates in a high speed blender until smooth.  Transfer to a food processor and combine with the rest of the ingredients until combined and mixture starts to come together.  Form into four small loaves and press on dehydrator mesh screen.  Dehydrate 12 1 14 hours.  Remove and refrigerate.  Two hours before serving, slice each small loaf into three pieces, and place back into dehydrator cut side up, and dehydrate for an additional 2 hours.
Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Serves 8-12 with a meal, or 4 if the bread and cheese is the meal.  This bread is even better on the second day!

Macadamia-Brazil Cheese
This recipe adapted from Russell James' Raw Nut Cheese Ebook, which was a great investment!

Step 1:

1 cup each Macadamia and Brazil nuts, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 cup water
1 tsp probiotics, (5 opened capsules of NOW Foods Gr8-Dophilus)

Blend the nuts and water in a high speed blender.  Pull apart each capsule of probiotics and empty into mixture, then blend again.  Place the mixture in a colander lined with a cheesecloth.  Wrap the mixture in the cheesecloth, with the ends of the cheesecloth brought together on top of the mixture.  Twist the ends together and place something heavy on top, in order to press the extra liquid out of the cheese.  We used a glass measuring cup.  Leave to culture in a warm place for 24 hours.

Step 2:

Transfer the cheese to a bowl and stir in 1/2 tsp sea salt and 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast.  Place the mixture into a mold, cover and place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.  Remove from the mold and serve.  This recipe made 3 1/2 of the cheese "stars" shown above, and we enjoyed the leftover cheese on crackers throughout the week.

Antipasto Salad
(Note:  The olives in this recipe were not raw.  For those who choose a 100% raw lifestyle, it is possible to obtain raw olives, but I wasn't able to in time for this recipe.)


Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive brine (substitute with raw apple cider vinegar if 100% raw)

sea salt to taste, (may not be needed with olive brine)


1 small head cauliflower, stem, leaves and core removed, broken into small bite-sized florets
1 small bunch of kale, washed, trimmed and chopped, (at least 4 large leaves)
1 red pepper, trimmed with seeds removed and finely chopped
1/2 cup organic mixed deli olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts

Whisk the dressing ingredients, toss salad, and dress salad.  Allow the dressing to marinate the salad in the refrigerator for several hours, tossing occasionally to distribute dressing.

Lasagne (With Marinated Mushrooms)

This recipe reflects our adjustments to the recipe we featured here.  It came out much better this time.  Practice makes perfect!

One of the tricks to making this recipe work is to bust out your cake-frosting skills.  Each delicious layer of this lasagne is thick and can be spread somewhat like frosting.  When we approached it this way, it was easier to put it together.  We found that by dotting the mixture on by the spoonful prior to spreading, it was easier to make sure the layer was evenly distributed.

Start by marinating the mushrooms:

1 lb. small portabella mushrooms, (Baby Bellas)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
squeeze of lemon
pinch pepper

Wash, trim and slice the mushrooms.  Whisk the marinade ingredients and pour over mushrooms, tossing well to coat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Now for the lasagne:

Nut Cheese Layer

2 cups macadamias and 1 cup pine nuts, soaked overnight and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 yellow pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Process in a food processor until well blended.  If necessary, add a little water to the food processor to help get it going.

"Meat" layer

1 cup marinated mushrooms
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked overnight
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in love oil
1 tablespoon miso
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon Braggs liquid Aminos
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Combine in a food processor until well blended but still somewhat chuky

Tomato Sauce Layer

1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 dates
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Process in a food processor until smooth.

Pesto Layer

2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
3/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

Spinach Layer

6 cups torn spinach, tightly packed
5 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat well.  Place in the dehydrator on the low setting for an hour or two, tossing occasionally.


5 medium or 7 small zucchini,sliced thinly lengthwise so that they resemble the shape of lasagne noodles.  A mandolin works well for this.
1 tablespoon of salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch black pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over zucchini slices.  Toss well to coat.  Marinade for ten minutes.  (If you have any leftover zucchini slices, they can be dehydrated overnight for a snack.) 

Assembly method:  (Use a large lasagne pan)
1. Line the base of your dish with a layer of the zucchini strips, overlapping them slightly.  
2. Spread 1/2 half the walnut and mushroom "meat", reserving half for another layer.
3. Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture, reserving half for another layer.
4. Repeat with the 1/2 of the tomato sauce, followed by 1/2 of the the pesto. Remember to think of it like you are frosting a cake.

Next, spread the spinach layer.  Place all of the spinach in one layer.

On top of the spinach, repeat steps 1-4 above.  First the zucchini, then the remaining "meat," then the "cheese", then the tomato sauce, and finally the pesto.

Garnish with about 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts.  For Russell James' original recipe, go here.

Refrigerate several hours before serving.  This recipe will serve 12 people generously if part of a full meal.


1 cup pecans, soaked overnight, rinsed, and dehydrated  (reserve 1 tbsp for the coffee layer)
12 pitted dates

Process together in a food processor until finely chopped and well combined.  Press into the bottom of a pan.


1/2 cup macadamia nuts and 1/2 cups pecans, soaked overnight and rinsed
6 ripe bananas
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 vanilla bean
2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend ingredients in a high speed blender until liquified and pour over base.

Coffee Layer

Grind together 1 tbsp reserved pecans, 3 tbsp cacao powder and 3 coffee beans in a spice mill and sprinkle over filling.  Note:  Coffee beans are not raw.  If 100% raw, omit coffee beans, or if simply avoiding caffeine, substitute with a 1/2 tsp Caffix or other caffeine free substitute.


Mix together 2 tbsp ground cinnamon and 2 tbsp cacao powder and sprinkle over the top

Place in the freezer until 15 minutes before serving, then slice and serve.  Serves 12.

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So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?