On St. Patty’s Day this year, housemate Jessica and I managed to avoid the hoards of green-clad celebrators filling the streets of Ann Arbor thanks to an adventurous cooking project embarked upon in our kitchen. I’m sorry, did I say cooking? I misspoke. Yes, we spent the afternoon laboring in the kitchen but never once did we touch a stove, an oven, a microwave, or even a toaster. That’s because the three dishes we prepared last Saturday were (drum roll, please) vegan and RAW. You may ask what inspired such an undertaking, and the entirely lovely explanation is the opportunity to cook a meal for our friend Aaron’s mother, who, in her strength and wisdom, follows a raw, vegan diet.
And guess what? It wasn’t nearly so scary an adventure as I thought it would be. Turns out eating raw can be relatively easy and delicious. You can find recipes for all three dishes by following the links to the great blogs cited under each dish’s title.
curried cauliflower “couscous” salad
followed exactly from The First Mess
Chopping up a head of cauliflower into minuscule pieces so as to resemble couscous was a pain, it’s true. But totally worth it. This dish was crunchy and super flavorful. I loved the sweetness of the grapes and diced apple, and the fresh herbs (mint + parsley) made it perfectly refreshing on a warm evening. I, for one, will definitely be breaking out this recipe again.
zucchini pesto “pasta”
followed exactly from Blissfully Vegan
This recipe, like the couscous above, demanded a vegetable disguise itself as a cooked item, and, like the cauliflower, the zucchini performed admirably. It took me a couple squashes to figure out the best way to slice a zucchini into pasta-like strips, but once I got in the rhythm of it, the task was not too difficult. The pesto is everything you want pesto to be, even while being cheese-less. We went overboard with the garlic–and were not disappointed–and sprinkled the finished product with roughly chopped walnuts. Delicieux.
chocolate & orange avocado pudding
followed exactly from Eat Good 4 Life
To finish things off, Jessica put together a knock-your-socks-off, totally vegan orange chocolate pudding. The heavenly, creamy thickness came from a whole lot of ripe avocados. Before you stick out your tongue, let me tell you: I’ve never tasted more perfect pudding consistency. And the avocado taste? Totally masked by the chocolate and orange. (Almost) makes a girl convert to veganism.
By far the best part of the whole experience was sharing the meal with Aaron’s family, along with a few more college friends (and their loved ones), in a sun-soaked backyard, between rounds of horse on the basketball court and naps on the trampoline. Once again, it was confirmed: there is no better way to celebrate something–in this case, four-year old friendships, the warmth of family, and unbelievable spring weather–than with a shared meal.
Even (especially?) if that meal is raw.