If you’re rocking a raw foods diet and need some cooling summer recipes, we’ve got a list of 17 you’re going to love. What is a raw foods diet? Raw foods are those that are not cooked or consumed at more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit (~47 degrees Celsius). In most cases, the raw foods diet comprises the consumption of foods that haven’t been heated at all, although, in some cases, dehydration is used.The idea behind the raw foods diet is that heating food destroys vital nutrients and enzymes that are needed for digestion and to battle chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. With raw foods, your body is able to benefit from powerful antioxidants and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium, which are vital to healthy body functions.
Here are our 17 picks for refreshing recipes for your raw foods diet:
The great thing about wraps is that they’re versatile and great for on-the-go noshing. The key to a raw wrap? Grab a large leafy green such as collards, stuff it full of your favorite vegetables, and pack it with proteins such as avocado or nuts for a delicious snack or lunch. Wraps are also great for kids because you can pile the table full of fresh, raw veggies, fruits, and proteins and let everyone assemble their own. Here are three recipes to inspire your wrapventures:
- Raw Vegan Collard Wraps: Packed with avocado, red pepper, alfalfa sprouts, and pecans and seasoned with ginger, garlic, and lime, this wrap is bright, balanced, and gluten free too. The best part? You don’t have to go anywhere near the stove, so you can eat healthy and stay cool.
- Rainbow Wraps: These wraps have a fresh, serious crunch, thanks to curried sunflower seeds and tons of vegetables, including carrots, cilantro, and bell peppers. However, you can customize them with whatever veggies you want, and they’re low carb too.
- Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps: If you’re dining al fresco and want something cool, these wraps will give you the refreshing kick you desire. For a boost of protein, add edamame or avocado, and whip up a ginger-soy or peanut sauce for dipping.
Just like wraps, salads are the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure solution to those blisteringly hot summer days. Start with a base of greens or zoodles, and pile on other vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other proteins to have a fresh, balanced meal. Here are a few fresh summer salad recipes we love:
- Raw Vegan Pad Thai: Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are all the rage right now, and they make a perfect base for a raw pad thai, but you can also use butternut or other types of squash or sweet potato for your “noodles.” Then, get creative by adding cilantro, sprouts, lime juice, and raw nuts, and top with an almond butter sauce.
- Asian Raw Kale Salad with Red Pepper Dressing: Would you believe that kale has more vitamin C than an orange, is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, offers 133 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, and has more calcium than milk? So, basically, kale is your friend. This recipe is vibrant, fresh, and bursting with phytonutrients.
Gone are the days when drinking your smoothie was in. Nowadays, the trend is all about smoothie and acai bowls. The great thing about a smoothie bowl is you can take your favorite smoothies, pour them into a bowl, and top them with healthy additions such as nuts, berries, shredded coconut, seeds, and more. Here are two bowls for inspiration:
- Enlighten Smoothie Bowl: This breakfast bowl blends berries full of antioxidants with protein powder and almond butter so you can start your day right. Pile on superfood seeds such as chia or hemp hearts to boost the bowl even more.
- Superfood Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Breakfast Bowl: With avocado as its base, this creamy smoothie bowl features coconut oil, cacao, shredded coconut, hemp protein powder, and more to keep you full and give you a morning boost.
Flatbreads and Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, and raw pizza is the perfect summer pizza. Although pizza is often hot and heavy, raw pizza is a light, refreshing alternative to the classic. Try these three ways to enjoy pizza raw:
- Crispy, Raw Vegan Pizza: The crispy crust for this recipe uses buckwheat groats as a base and features seasonal zucchini and flaxseeds for a super healthy boost. The secret weapon, however, is zucchini cheese! Once the crust is finished, top with your favorite toppings, but keep them seasonal, raw, and local.
- Portobello Mushroom Pizza: We’ve got two words for you: portobello mushrooms! There are plenty of ways to make a delicious pizza without a traditional crust or stewed pizza sauce. Portobello mushrooms are a great alternative because just one cup of mushrooms can potentially release 15 different vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals into your body, and a single portobello has more potassium than a banana.
- Raw Pizza with Red Pepper-Flax Crust: If you’ve never considered using your oven as a dehydrator, now is the time. Although it’s hot and running the oven is the last thing you want to do, this raw pizza crust is slowly crisped up at the lowest temperature over several hours. Then? Top with your favorite fresh, seasonal toppings and enjoy.
Preserving and Fermenting
Although most traditional pickled vegetables aren’t acceptable on a raw foods diet because the vinegar base is boiled, there are lots of raw, fermented options for your summer vegetables. Fermented foods use salt and water to create their own preservative—lactic acid—as the starches and sugars are converted by the lactobacilli bacteria. It’s this lactic acid that provides fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut with the sour smell and flavor, but it also makes them incredibly nutritious and beneficial to digestion—and they last for months in the fridge. Here are a few options for fermenting and preserving at home:
- Raw sauerkraut: Top your favorite raw buddha bowls or salads with sauerkraut to reap all the benefits it has to offer.
- Preserved lemons: Preserved lemons are the perfect addition to salsas, salads, salad dressings, and more.
- Fermented Veggies: Yes, you can ferment just about anything from your overflowing garden or bursting CSA basket. Cultures for Health provides the “how to” on fermenting berries, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more.
Last, but not least, are desserts. During the dog days of summer, a refreshing sweet treat can really round out those long days.
- Banana Ice Cream: Would you believe that freezing and blending bananas creates a creamy, healthy alternative to summer’s favorite store-bought frozen treat? The best part is that you can mix in whatever you want—we recommend a raw nut butter, cocoa powder, or your favorite spices.
- Raw Oreos: There are tons of recipes out there that use dates and nuts to create raw pie crusts, but in this recipe, this clever combo creates the cookie sandwich for raw oreos. In moderation, dates have countless health benefits, including the prevention of the body’s absorption of bad cholesterol (LDL).
- German Chocolate Chia Pudding: Another thing that might surprise you is knowing that chia seeds make a delicious pudding when they’re soaked overnight in a raw milk. Chia seeds are a serious superfood—they’re high in protein, and 75 percent of their total oil content consists of omega-3s.
- 5-Minute Raw Banana Splits: A summer classic, this twist on the banana split is rich in fiber and protein. Also, you don’t need to save it for dessert; it makes a great post-workout snack or midday treat.
When the weather is hot, a raw foods diet not only offers refreshing options, but raw foods also provide countless benefits that haven’t been lost during cooking and heating. If you are passionate about raw foods and healthy living, sign up now to receive a Free Sample Course and learn how you can refine and use your expertise and passion to launch a career in health and wellness.