Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

I was never a fan of Fig Newtons growing up — I opted for Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. But as people say, your preferences, including your tastebuds, change every seven years. While I still love sinking my teeth into a rich piece of fudge, my sweet tooth often opts for fruit flavors instead.

Last year, I followed a raw diet for three days, and after three days, I was ready to eat simple things like steamed vegetables and cooked quinoa. Nonetheless, I still like to experiment with raw recipes because eating foods in their raw form keeps all of nutrients intact and at their highest levels. This raw recipe hits the fruit lover’s sweet tooth and is easy to make. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of the filling and topping, so if you’d like to eliminate some of the carbs here, just try those two layers.

Raw Fig Bars with Pecans

Ingredients:

> 1 cup brown rice flour
> 3 tablespoons maple syrup
> 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
> 2 cups dried Mission figs, soaked in water for 3 hours
> 1/4 teaspoon salt
> 1 1/2 cups pecans

Instructions:

To make the crust, combine the brown rice flour and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a medium bowl. Add fig water until it sticks together. Press into a 9×9-inch pan.

To make the filling, blend the figs, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and salt in a food processor. Add the fig water until it’s a smooth consistency but still thick. Spread the filling on top of the crust, leaving about 1/4 cup in the food processor.

To make the topping, add the pecans to the food processor and pulse until there are small but chunks, but it’s not too fine. Spread and smooth on top of the fig filling. Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

Makes 9 servings.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Raw Vegan Risotto

Risotto is typically a creamy, decadent dish that I feel guilty after eating, even though my stomach is filled with yummy flavors. Whether you’re looking for a low-carb risotto dish or you’re testing out a raw or vegan diet, this risotto dish that my friend Brooke of Naturally Wholesome Life made leaves your tastebuds satisfied and your stomach filled.

Raw Vegan Risotto

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup soaked cashews
> 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
> 3 tablespoons water
> 1 1/2 cups cauliflower
> 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes
> juice from 1/2 lemon
> 1 cup peas

Instructions:

To make the cashew cheese, blend the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast and water in a food processor until it becomes creamy. Set aside in a separate bowl.

Combine cauliflower, sundried tomatoes and lemon juice in a food processor, and blend until the mixture has a rice-like texture. Mix in peas and cashew cheese.

Makes 1 serving.

Adapted from Naturally Wholesome Life.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Pasta is delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it often leaves me feeling stuffed to the brim and on a carb overload. That’s why when my friend Brooke, author of Naturally Wholesome Life, mentioned that she recently made zucchini pasta, I didn’t wait another day to give it a try.

In the past I’ve oohed and aahed over raw pasta recipes, but I thought since I didn’t have a spiralizer, I couldn’t make those dishes. Quickly I found that a spiralizer isn’t necessary because the same thin, yet textured, effect can be created with a peeler.

I chose zucchini and heirloom carrots to make the pasta and whipped up a sun-dried tomato sauce with cashews which added a whole new level of flavor. Enjoy!

Raw Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients:

> 2 medium-sized zucchini
> 1 heirloom carrot
> 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, in olive oil
> 2 tablespoons raw cashews
> 1 clove of garlic
> salt and pepper
> 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
> 1/2 cup chickpeas

Instructions: 

Peel zucchini and carrot into thin, pasta-like strands, and mix together.

To make sun-dried tomato sauce, add sun-dried tomatoes, cashews and garlic to food processor and season with salt and pepper. Process until pureed and smooth.

Assemble veggie pasta, sun-dried tomato sauce, tomatoes and chickpeas on plate, and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.

Raw Apricot Lemon Bites

When fresh fruit doesn’t sound like it’s going to satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to this dried fruit and nut recipe that combines for the perfect balance between sweet and salty. The bites are so dense that it only takes one bite to give you a sugar boost.

Apricot Lemon Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped walnuts
> 1 cup dried apricots, torn into pieces
> 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1 teaspoon salt
> zest from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 1/4 cup shredded dried coconut

Instructions:

Process walnuts in a food processor until they resemble a gritty flour. Add the dried apricots, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until well combined, and the mixture is sticky.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut and apricot-lemon mixture. Combine with a spoon or your hands until the coconut is distributed evenly.

Press mix firmly into a parchment lined pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate for two hours and cut into bars or form into bite-sized balls.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Raw Vegan Lasagna

Lasagna is a comfort food for many, full of guilt, but this raw vegan recipe makes lasagna guilt-free and full of nutrients and flavor from veggies. When regular meat lasagna leaves you unable to stand from your seat, this version leaves you satisfied and ready to take on the world. The secret ingredients are the homemade cashew cheese and broccoli pesto.

Raw Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients:

> 2 zucchini
> 2/3 cup cashews
> 2 garlic cloves, peeled
> 1 tablespoon lemon juice
> 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
> salt and pepper to taste
> 1/2 head of broccoli
> 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
> mushrooms, sliced
> tomatoes, sliced

Instructions:

Cut zucchini in very thin slices with a knife or on a mandolin. Set aside.

To make the cashew cheese, place the cashews, garlic, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of water or as little as necessary, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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To make the broccoli pesto, place the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Add 5 tablespoons of water or as little as necessary, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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Assemble the lasagna by layering a zucchini noodle, cheese, pesto, mushrooms, tomatoes and any other ingredients you’d like. Top with a zucchini noodle.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Blueberry Cashew Bars

A vegan picnic calls for hummus, pita bread, veggies, sweet potato chips, guacamole, apples and peanut butter — but the missing link is the dessert. To add a sweet something to the menu, I made these blueberry cashew bars that were marketed as cheesecake bars but really take on their own nutty consistency. They are full of flavor and delicious to all, regardless of following a raw or vegan diet.

Blueberry cashew bars

The recipe was adapted from Choosing Raw.

~ 1 1/2 cups walnuts
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1 cup apricots, cut into bites
~ 1 cup blueberries
~ 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours and drained
~ 1/3 cup maple syrup

1. To make the bottom layer, place the walnuts, raisins and apricots in a food processor and pulse to break the ingredients down. Process until the mixture is ground up and sticking together when you squeeze a little in your hand.

2. Press the bottom layer into a 9 x 9-inch pan that is lined with aluminum foil, and chill.

3. To make the top layer, process the blueberries, cashews and syrup in a food processor until they’re as smooth as possible, about two minutes. Pour the top layer over the bottom layer in the pan. Use a spatular to smooth the top layer evenly.

4. Refrigerate for at least three hours. Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 15-20 bars.

Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

With the new year come new resolutions and goals to live a healthier lifestyle. For many, that not only includes exercising more but also making more conscious decisions about what you’re putting in your body. Just because you promised to watch what you eat and reduce the sugar intake doesn’t mean you have to exclude all desserts. This raw and vegan dessert redefines dessert by providing healthy fats and nutrients that your body needs.

Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

The recipe was borrowed from FitSugar.

~ 1 cup raw almonds
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
~ 10 dried apricots, chopped
~ 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Place the almonds, raisins and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until mixed thoroughly into a thick almond paste, about three minutes. Add chopped apricots and pulse for 30 seconds. Add coconut and pulse for 10 seconds.

2. Remove the dough and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Seal dough in 1/4″-thick rectangle. Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes to solidify.

3. Cut into small squares and store in fridge.

Makes 20 bite-size servings.