Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rawsage & Cheezy Rice

Sorry if you’re getting sick of the raw kick, but I’m trying to get the biggest bang for my bucks spent on a ginormous food dehydrator AND I'm having fun! I have made several recipes (and actually somewhat followed them) from 2 different raw cookbooks that are good for starters, but now I’m ready for more improvisation. When I read an omnivore recipe, I know almost instantly how to make a vegan analog. Raw analogs are next but for me they require much more innovation. This kind of challenge is clearly my cup of tea.

So how did I come to even think of making raw cheesy rice? Last week I made an eggplant biryani with raw “rice” based on a recipe from a local vegan chef in Phoenix. First of all, I didn’t know you could eat eggplant raw - I actually thought it might be lethal. Secondly, I had a lurking fear of eating raw cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts) because of the foreboding side effects caused by our stomachs trying to breakdown all of that fiber. Who knew that cauliflower was the super-secret stand-in for raw rice? Now you know. Not only is it incredibly delicious, but breaking it in a food processor helps with digestion. Combining it with soaked almonds or cashews gives it a certain silkiness you find in cooked rice.

Now for the secret to cheesiness. On my last trip to Sedona, I purchased some raw kale chips from Frontier Market made by a local raw food shop. They tasted like Cheez-its and had the same addictive quality. So of course I memorized the ingredient list and told myself that someday I’d buy a food dehydrator to reinvent these chips. I’m a little impressed with myself that months later I actually did. Though I remembered the ingredients, I also perused through recipes online to come up with my own version. If you don’t have cashew butter, just use ground cashews. The texture will be a little more granular, but still yum. I could scoop this onto raw bread or eat it plain it’s so good. Mixed into rice is like a good ole casserole.

And lastly…raw sausage? Gross! Well of course its vegan and involves no “casing” (what a fancy term for stomach lining…next time I have heartburn I’m going to refer to my enflamed “casing”). Walnuts and pecans are common ingredients for raw meat analogs and of course walnuts have the Omega 3 edge going for them which his why they star in this recipe. When ground us, their meaty texture can be seasoned any way you want. Have cumin or chili powder? You can make raw taco meat. So I basically thought of a typical stuffing recipe and used the spice combination I use when making cooked vegan sausages. This method was WAY less labor intensive than and tasted SO good (eating a cup of nuts is high in fat though which is why it’s so tasty). You can even top this all off with some raw mushroom gravy if you’re feeling adventurous.

Rawsage & Cheezy Rice
Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Dehydrating time: 1 hour


For the Rawsage
1 c. walnuts
8-10 sundried tomatoes, soaked if not soft already
½ c. onion, chopped
½ c. celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 T. applesauce
2 tsp. sage, dried
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. poultry seasoning (optional)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. white pepper

For the Cheezy Rice
2 T. cashew butter
2 T. tahini
2 T. Lemon juice
1 T. Nama shoyu or tamari
¼ c. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ c. water (or more)

3 c. cauliflower, chopped (or about 1 ½ heads)
¾ c. almonds, soaked 2 hours and skins peeled
Salt and pepper to taste


For the rawsage: Combine all of the rawsage ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is crumbly but can hold together in larger chunks. Add 1-2 T of water or additional applesauce if too dry (do not process into pate). Transfer to lined tray in food dehydrator or oven and heat at 110ºF for 1 hour or more until rawsage is warm and slightly dried. Prepare the rice while mixture dehydrates.

For the rice: In a small bowl, combine the first three ingredients and whisk vigorously with a fork until mixture becomes very creamy, about 2 minutes (the lemon juice will separate the cashew butter and tahini - as you whisk they will emulsify and become creamy). Add the nama shoyu, nutritional yeast and spices and mix so all are blended into a thick sauce. Thin using ¼ cup of water at a time until desired consistency is reached. Taste cheese sauce, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse cauliflower and soaked almonds together until it reaches a rice texture, small and crumbly. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in cheese sauce. Let sit at room temperature until rawsage is warm. Serve rawsage over rice and enjoy!

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