Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Falafels with Cashew-Tahini Hummus

So my three week of mostly eating raw and gluten free is coming to an end.  I guess that my husband and I ate 90% raw and 100% gluten free for the entire three weeks.  And we were both really quite surprised about how good everything tasted.  My husband kept commenting that he felt so healthy eating this way and that everything was so fresh and flavorful.  Also, unless you stop eating gluten for a period of time, you have no idea how many bread/wheat products you consume on a regular basis.  So needless to say, I am definitely going to incorporate more raw and gluten free dishes into our vegan diet. 

However, there are some challenges with eating raw and also with gluten-free baking.  When preparing raw food you really have to plan ahead, unless of course you're just going to drink smoothies or eat salads.  But if you want to prepare gourmet raw food you need about 2-3 days in order to soak, sprout or dehydrate your ingredients.  It's really a whole new mindset to cooking.  Also, it's quite expensive.  If we were to eat raw full-time I would look into purchasing ingredients such as nuts and seeds through wholesale.  Plus "everything" you purchase "has" to be "organic", so that's an added expense.  Gluten-free cooking isn't difficult at all as long as you read labels carefully and make sure no gluten is lurking in the ingredients.  But baking is another story, but once you start experimenting with different flour combinations you become more confident in the outcome.

Several foods that I missed during the three weeks were:  whole grains, cooked brown rice, any type of cooked beans, tofu, and tempeh.  New techniques/ingredients that I starting using:  making nut milks, sprouting beans, dehydrating ingredients, eating hemp seeds, drinking hemp milk, nama shoyu, goji berries, Celtic sea salt, gluten-free flours and xantham gum.  I have also decided to purchase a Vita-Mix blender.  I have wanted one for the past two years and kept putting it off because I didn't want to spend the money.  Not any longer...I have so many uses for it now that it will pay itself off in no time.  One thing that eating raw has taught me is that I was eating too many prepared and processed foods/ingredients.  From now on, every condiment I use whether it be ketchup, mustard, vegan mayonnaise, sour cream, almond butter, peanut butter, etc., will be made from scratch instead of purchasing it at the store.  I will also cut back on using processed oils as well. 

So for tonight's dinner I wanted to try a recipe for falafels by Russell James, The Raw Chef (you can find the recipe on his website).  His recipe calls for a wrap made out of zucchini and flax meal, but since I don't have a dehydrator, it was very difficult to obtain the right texture for the wrap and it was breaking apart and so I just cut it into smaller pieces.  Also, his recipe called for a macadamia nut hummus, but I made a cashew hummus instead because I didn't want to purchase macadamia nuts at $19/pound.  Anyway, the falafel and hummus had great flavor and texture, and it is very similar to my "cooked" Middle Eastern Falafel Plate that I made previously.

Anyway, I learned so much over the past three weeks and I feel so much healthier by changing my diet.  Also, I hope that you'll try some of the raw or gluten-free recipes that I've posted even if you're not into eating this way.  And if you are interested in raw and gluten-free baking, keep checking back because there will be many more to come!  And once I get my Vita-Mix, I can't wait to start making raw desserts--they look absolutely yummy!   

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