Bring your Raw Chef Skills to the Next Level with my Top 3 Tips to make Raw Veggies taste Cooked!
Seriously these are next-level texture tips that I haven’t seen anyone else do in this way, be sure to check out all three tips below!
Right off the chopping block, I gotta say I love all types of textures and tastes, from crunchy to soft, slightly crisp to mushy, and yes even mushy!
Depending on the fruit and/or vegetable, the dish, or the occasion, I both love to enjoy nature’s bounty exactly how it is, or, change the texture to fit the traditional texture of a certain recipe with numerous methods that I use as a raw chef.
This video goes over three of my top tips to soften vegetables that can be utilized in many recipes, as with two of my favorite dishes of all time…
the Original Cocobutter Veggies 1.0
and Saag Veganeer
These three tips can really change your entire raw food kitchen skills helping to increase the enjoyment and variety in your diet with different veggies, adding in authentic tasting old favorite recipes that have the same texture and mouth feel of the original. When I discovered these top tips to make raw veggies taste cooked a whole new world of dietary nostalgia opened up to me without the drawbacks of eating those less optimal versions of the recipes, I am excited to share that with you! Whether you are mostly making raw dishes for yourself, if you’re trying to introduce more healthy raw vegan meals to your friends and family, or those new to/or seasoned in the raw food lifestyle, these top tips will turn your culinary skills up a notch!
Onward to my Top 3 Tips to make Raw Veggies Taste Cooked!!
– this is the most common way to soften certain veggies, especially tougher greens like kale. Simply squeeze some lemon, lime, or pineapple juice (squeezed from the “rind”) over top of a bunch of lightly chopped kale in a bowl and massage the leaves vigorously to break down some of the fibers then let sit for 20 – 30+ minutes. This essentially “cooks” the kale on a chemical level breaking down some of the fibers and rendering the kale, or any other tough leafy green, softer with a more cooked taste. Other veggies do really well with marination such as zucchini slices, mushrooms, and bell peppers, I love to marinate these in teriyaki or a cajun-type sauce and then also use tip 2 to turn it all up a notch further. In fact, many of my Pizza recipes from “Frickin Rawsome Pizza”
use one, two, or at times all three of these methods to achieve the most authentic texture and flavor!
Dehydration – now this may sound way too commonly known but not so many people know that some veggies such as dehydrated mushrooms, actually taste better than cooked mushrooms. I have found that many people who don’t like mushrooms come to love them with this simple tip. I often place my mushrooms in the sun or under a UVB light before dehydrating to boost the vitamin D content (see my video and written post “Top ways to Get Vitamin D as a Raw Vegan” for much more detailed info on this). All types of edible mushrooms dehydrate well, one can just slightly dehydrate for 1-1.5 hours as is my preference, or up to 6+ hours for a real crunch. In this video, I used crimini mushrooms for their specific shape and flavor, as well as for the fact that they have some of the lowest levels of toxicity found in raw mushrooms while also having some of the highest vitamin D content when sun charged! This all said if you check out the post linked above you will learn why the toxicity in these culinary raw mushrooms that some people cite as a reason to avoid raw mushrooms is actually nothing to worry about.
As a neat side note – dehydration has been found, like cooking, to reduce the toxicity of raw mushrooms! Often I pop off the stem of the mushrooms, break the caps in half, and then dehydrate both separately using the stems for one dish and the caps for another. This tip is used specifically for Cocobutter Veggies, using the caps in that dish, while using the stems for the Sag Veganeer dish both served together! One of my other favorite veggies that soften well when dehydrated is zucchini, great in “Pizza Bites” as found in TRA Retreat Treats ,
and especially when marinated first!
Freezing – yes this sounds so simple that it almost doesn’t make sense that more people do not use this tip in the raw food lifestyle but it is my favorite of the top tips to make raw veggies taste cooked. When you freeze vegetables the water expands and ruptures the cell walls to a degree, once thawed this leaves one with softer, more cooked-tasting, and textured veggies. As an added bonus freezing is the best method of preservation possible with the lowest amount of nutrient loss, much less than dehydration or cooking, which allows you to buy in large amounts when in season or on sale and to lightly prepare and freeze to save for dishes over the next few weeks or even months.
It can be helpful to note that not all veggies freeze well, zucchini, for example, takes on a rubbery texture, but some, like cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, corn, peas, cabbage, onions, and even leafy greens work amazingly. The water content and freshness of the veggie plays a big role in how well it will freeze and thaw, with the sweet spot being not too low in water content like a beet, and also not too high like a cucumber. The 8 ingredients above are some of my all-time favorites and soften very nicely. I really love cauliflower and broccoli crunchy, but in certain dishes, like cocobutter veggies or an authentic raw chili (grab that recipe here
), this softening method takes the dish over the top bringing an authentic cooked texture. Simply chop the florets off from the stem, arrange them separately on a cookie sheet or plate (I like to use the stems for thickening sauces and the florets in the dishes), and freeze for 6-12 hours. If using the next day remove from the freezer and thaw for 3-6+ hours before use, otherwise remove from the cookie sheet and store in freezer bags for longer storage.
For greens (spinach, chard, kale, mustard, arugula, collards, cabbage, herbs, etc) you can simply freeze them in the bag, potentially the one they come in, or place them on a cookie sheet/plate and freeze 3-6+ hours. Once thawed greens like spinach, kale, mustard, arugula, chard, etc work really well in dishes like my Saag Veganeer or in mock steamed greens recipes. A helpful tip, if you freeze the greens in the bag you can squish and break up the frozen greens into small pieces allowing for more room to fit TONS of frozen greens in a small bag. This works really well to add directly into sauces and dishes when straight out of the freezer to achieve a cut-up texture for certain dishes and of course, is perfect for green smoothies as well. I have often bought multiple bags of spinach kale and arugula when the stores put them on sale due to being a little less fresh and put them directly in my freezer to save big on these delicious greens.
I really hope you enjoy these Top 3 Tips to make Raw Veggies Taste Cooked and that they really do take your Raw Food Lifestyle to the Next Level!
So often it is simply about finding recipes and ways to curb your cooked food cravings, may these tips and many of the recipes in my books
, my rawsome recipes blog posts
, and free app
help you to do just that!!
Wishing You Much