To me, eating raw is the freshest, tastiest, and healthiest way to enjoy food. I actually was a raw foodist a few years ago, and I felt amazing. It was just hard to be social and to eat out. Now I still try to keep it as an integral part of my diet, while incorporating cooked meals in the mix. This way I get to appreciate delicious flavors from both.
A lot of people think raw foodists only eat raw fruits and veggies. They could not be more wrong. The raw food chefs have found many ways to recreate cooked meals into raw goodness. It is by far the most creative style of cooking (or should I say un-cooking!).
If you are seeking a healthy path, I highly recommend you to up your raw food intake, It could be from eating more salads, juicing, or trying some fun raw food recipes. It will make a huge impact on your health, as raw food contain the most nutrients (we unfortunately kill from 50-80% of those nutrients in the cooking process).
I have friends that ate raw during the week and cooked food on the weekend. I love that idea! There are many other ways to do it, You could also eat raw during the day, and cooked at dinner. Or one day raw/ one day cooked! I don't really have a system, but I am pretty good at making sure that I get plenty of raw food in my body. I used to give a salad to my meal plan clients with each of their meals while offering a variety of both cooked and raw foods as their main course. I don't think they even realized that I was doing so on purpose to up their raw food intake, but they loved the food, and felt great, so that's all that mattered.
This recipe makes a great side dish or appetizer. If you want it as a main course, I would suggest serving it with a salad, to make it more of a complete meal.
ZUCCHINI ROLL-UPS WITH BASIL/ WALNUT PESTO AND TOMATO SAUCE
For the basil walnut pesto:
1 cup of fresh basil, packed
1/2 cup of raw, unsalted walnuts
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the tomato sauce:
2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to soften, drained
1 date, pitted and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to soften, drained
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers
1/4 cup of water
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini lengthwise to form long, thin strips.
Place your strips next to each other and season them with sea salt and pepper. Do not use the 3 first slices as they won't be wide enough. Similarly, the ones in the very center might be too soft because of the seeds.
In a food processor, place all of the ingredients for the pesto except the olive oil, and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until smooth.
Take a zucchini strip and spread a thin layer of the pesto mixture along the length of the zucchini.
Roll it up starting from one end to the other. The zucchini being thin, should hold together.
In a high speed blender, put all of the tomato sauce ingredients together and blend until very smooth. This might take a little while to achieve depending on the strength of your blender and the softness of the sun-dried tomatoes and the date.
Serve in 4 small individual plates, placing some of the sauce at the bottom and the rolled zucchini pesto pieces on top.