Rice-a-RAWma IV: Moroccan Cauliflower Couscous

We travelled to Morocco a few years back and I remember feeling like I stepped back in time.  In the medina we visited in Fez, there were no cars.  The local mode of transportation was bicycle, donkey or your own two feet.  Meshing with the locals adorned in sandals and flowy kaftans, at each turn there were spice stalls, snake charmers, tagine makers, Kobhz bakers or shisha smokers.   The passageways were narrow with walls built high.  There were levels upon levels of private residences and shop fronts.  There was constant movement and noise – gypsies begging for money, prayers being chanted in a mosque, children playing, bells ringing, chicken squawking.  It was sensory overload and an unforgettable experience.

Marrakesh Night Market

Marrakesh Night Market

I recall my fail safe meal in Morocco being couscous (ok, so technically not rice but it’s pretty darn close).  Guaranteed vegan, available anywhere and consistently good – from market stalls, coffee shops to high-end restaurants.   Revered as a national dish, I never had a crappy couscous experience.

I had couscous with raisins instead of prunes, but I was all out this time.  Prunes work just as good!

raw cauliflower couscous

raw cauliflower couscous

 

Raw Moroccan Cauliflower Couscous

1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 cup almonds
2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/3 c prunes, roughly chopped
handful of diced onion
pinch cayenne pepper
sprinkling of dried mint leaves
sea salt, to taste

Blitz cauliflower and almonds in a food processor until it resembles rice.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

All I can say is.. YUM!  Something different from the usual raw cauliflower rice.

Wonder what raw rice recipe I should try next – any ideas?

Hope you’re all having a good week so far 🙂

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Pasta Power: raw vegan guilt-free comfort food

Raw pasta?  You bet.  I’ve made raw pasta from zucchinis, carrots and coconut flesh.

This version uses zucchinis (aka summer squash, courgette) for the pasta.  A few health benefits of the zucchini:

  • Very low calorie at 17 calories per 100g, moderately rich in folates and high in potassium – useful in weight reduction, cell division and reducing blood pressure
  • No saturated fats or cholesterol.
  • Zucchini peel is rich in dietary fibre, helping to reduce constipation and protect against colon cancer.
  • Golden-skinned zucchinis are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin.
  • Fresh pods are rich in vitamin A and C, with moderate traces of B-complex vitamins thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

This member of the squash family has smooth tender skin, high water content and small seeds in their flesh.  A versatile vegetable, they can be consumed raw or cooked.  In the raw, they can be sliced and added to salads or grated into raw patties.  When I do actually ‘cook’, I throw grated zucchini into chocolate muffins, top pizzas with them or roast them in the oven with herbs and spices.

Raw Zucchini Pasta and Marinara Sauce

Zucchini Noodles

2-3 raw unpeeled zucchinis (aka courgettes)

Cut the ends off the zucchini.  Use a veg peeler or spiralizer to make noodles.

Marinara Sauce

½ cup sundried tomatoes (reserve some oil)
1 cup almonds (soaked the night before)
1 heaped tbs tomato paste
½ red capsicum, chopped
½ cup dried basil
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
Optional: 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes

Puree all ingredients together in either a food processor or blender until creamy.  Add more water if the mixture is too thick.

This recipe easily serves 4. Oh, and I sprinkled sprouted buckwheat on top for some crunch.

The marinara sauce packs a heck of a lot of flavour, and the nuts give it a thick consistency.

It can double as a dip for vegetable crudites or as a spread on toasted bread.  There’s no nutritional yeast in the sauce, however it tastes quite ‘cheesy’ – reminiscent of a sundried tomato infused cheese.

You could also use a melon baller to shape the thick sauce into balls a la meatballs.

Pasta is a widely popular dish – for ages I went without as I did not know of a healthier alternative.  Now you can put plenty on your plate without feeling plump at the end of it!

raw vegan zucchini pasta

raw vegan zucchini pasta

5-minute Asian-inspired Coleslaw

Can barely muster up the energy to change the TV channel, let alone make yourself something to eat?

Enter one of the easiest ‘no brainer’ dishes ever.

I usually make a large batch and I’ve got lunch for the next few days.  Winner with hubby’s taste buds too.  For those interested, see this previous post regarding the nutritional benefits of cabbage, and especially its anti-aging properties.

Refreshingly light, this version skips the heavy processed mayo characteristic of traditional coleslaw.  If you’re not a fan of garlic omit one clove.

Sesame Seed ‘Slaw

1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 grated carrot
handful diced onion
lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 diced tomato
1 tsp sea salt
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
sesame seeds

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  Let the flavours develop for at least 10 minutes.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.

The colours in this dish make it appetizing to both the eyes and the tummy 🙂

To add more ‘bulk’ and turn this side dish into a complete meal, top with slices of avocado or throw in a mugful of sprouted chickpeas, buckwheat or quinoa for added protein.

Bahhh… Mondays.  Where did the weekend go?  Hope you survived yours in good nick.

rainbow coleslaw

rainbow coleslaw

middle eastern mania: 3 dishes in 30 mins for a party of six

raw baba ghanoush

raw baba ghanoush

When travelling abroad, falafels have always been a safe choice for me.  It’s a traditional Arab street food which is served in pita bread (like a sandwich or wrap) and sometimes topped with salads, pickled veg, hot sauce and lashings of tahini-based sauces such as hummus. When made with chickpeas, falafels are rich in protein, soluble fibre and complex carbs.  The only bummer is that falafels are usually deep fried.

Chickpeas are low in fat, salt (if possible make your own out of dried chickpeas; if you buy the canned version, rinse them a few times under running water to reduce the sodium content) and contain no cholesterol. Its key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, Vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B, and folate.  Because of its high fibre content, it’s effective in lowering blood cholesterol.

Baba ghanoush is made of eggplant mashed and mixed with olive oil and various herbs and spices.  The process usually involves oven roasting or wood-firing the eggplant prior to mashing it with the other ingredients.  I’m a huge eggplant fan! Eggplant is rich in a myriad of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Some of these are:

  • dietary fibre
  • manganese
  • potassium
  • vitamins C, K, B6
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • folate
  • niacin
  • nasunin and chlorogenic acid

Here is a comprehensive nutritional profile on this humble vegetable.

Tabbouleh is an Arab salad.  I’ve usually had tabbouleh comprising of couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and various other seasonings.  It can also be made of bulgur wheat.

So the challenge was:  how to veganise (and uncook) traditionally deep fried or wood-fired dishes like falafels and baba ghanoush?  Although there are far greater ‘unhealthy’ foods, I wanted to reinvent tabbouleh too!  Mission accepted. The guests were die-hard onmivores. The odds were stacked against me.  Cue cold sweat here.

A true litmus test is when non-vegans gobble up the food.  Hurrah!  Big sigh of relief.

I also created the tabbouleh again for a potluck picnic where the response was overwhelmingly positive.  So as promised, here they are below – quick, easy and super fresh.

Raw Baba Ghanoush

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplant, diced frozen and thawed
1-2 heaped tbs tahini
lemon juice
olive oil
sea salt
paprika (to sprinkle on top)

The day before, dice and freeze the eggplant.  The eggplant will need to be thawed before you start.

In a food processor with the “S” blade fitted on, add diced eggplant until it forms a chunky paste.  Add the remaining ingredients (except paprika) and process until creamy.

Empty into a bowl and sprinkle paprika on top.  Drizzle with additional olive oil if you want.  Serve as a dip for flatbreads or smother onto pitas, add the falafels and devour!

raw cauliflower tabbouleh

raw cauliflower tabbouleh

Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh

1 large cauliflower head – florets only
1 cucumber, finely diced
black pepper
3 cups parsley
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1/3 cup onions, finely diced
juice of 4-5 limes
olive oil
1 tbs sea salt

Whizz cauliflower until it resembles couscous in a food processor.  Don’t over-process as you want to maintain that ‘crunch’ factor.

Empty into a big bowl and add other ingredients.  Mix well and let sit for a few minutes to let the flavours develop.

Sprouted Chickpea Falafels

2 mugs sprouted chickpeas
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/3 c dried parsley
1 tbs tahini
1 tbs chia seed mixed with 3 tbs water, whisked and left for 10 mins (this acts as an egg replacer which binds the felafels together)
3 tbs almond meal (you can also use rice flour or potato flour)

the humble falafel

the humble falafel

Process the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, parsley in a food processor until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl, add almond meal and chia mixture and mix well.

Shape mixture into balls or patties.

If you let these sit in the fridge for 30 mins, they will firm up nicely.

There’s 2 options:  you can serve them as is (bring out of fridge about half hour before serving) or put them under a grill on the lowest setting if you want a falafel with a harder outer shell and a still-chewy inside.  However, this means it’s not entirely raw.

Happy eating! 🙂