Raw Recipes

FAST FOOD – COSTA RICAN STYLE

Last time I visited my father in Costa Rica, I saw a street vendor selling some sort of hot meat meal served in a plastic bag placed inside one of these rolled up almond tree leaves! How cool is that!

I couldn’t wait to try it for myself. I plucked a giant leaf off of one of dads trees – (thank you tree) and stuffed it full of a version of my raw Tropical Slaw (see previous recipe post down below). Any dressing used always just lightly covers the ingredients so it wasn’t drippy or anything.

So I could eat it like this hand held – which I tried without utensils, but ended up sitting down with a fork. The same thing could be done with a banana leaf, readily available in your yard in South Texas here or in Mexican grocery stores. Or a really large collard green leaf would work splendidly!

This slaw was simply white cabbage, cilantro, red bell peppers, chayote squash with a light dressing of one of those orange colored limes they have in Costa Rica, some olive oil, cinnamon, honey and ginger root. Very refreshing and crispy! The trick is to toss it with very little dressing.

Check out the cool placemat I made from palm fronds. As it dried up it got a little loose – but the meditative process of striping the fronds and picking perfect ones and weaving them together was the part I really enjoyed.  

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COCONUT CEVICHE

Ceviche is really popular in Costa Rica. Here is Texas we make it a little more spicy. Many of the sodas (outdoor cafes) you stop at in Costa Rica will bring you a little cup of cevice with your beer. It is usually just fish, lime juice and maybe some chayote squash or jicama or onion. Raw fish soaked in fresh lime juice, will cook the fish in minutes. For those that have never tried it, it really is refreshing and satisfying.

My original raw version uses coconut instead of fish.

  • meat of one young coconut, cut into short ribbons
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green or red onion, chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 chayote squash, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced pablano pepper (or other spice pepper your choice, to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and serve in small bowl with sliced jicama (good to scoop with) and avocado. The lime and tomato give it enough juice, but if you find you need more juice or want it juicer, add some carrot juice or rejuvelac. Granny Smith apple would also bring a fresh taste to this.

Also, with chayote squash: I peel it first, slice it in half and remove the woody seed area. After I slice it, I rinse or soak it in water to remove some of the astringent qualities. If you haven’t tasted one, they are much like a Granny Smith, without the tartness. And again, any of these ingredients can be increased, decreased or omitted. That’s the beauty of raw food recipes!

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CHINESE KALE SALAD


When I have cravings, it’s usually for Chinese food. And to be more specific – I crave the flavors of soy sauce, ginger, garlic andseseme oil. If its just a little craving, I will tear up a couple of kale leaves, mince a bit of ginger root and toss them with some pure sesame oil andNama Shoyu sauce. And eat it with chopsticks – yum, hits the spot.

If I want to make a meal out of it I’ll add a bit more. Measurements do not really matter with this and any ingredient is optional if you don’t have it in thefrige. Get a big bowl out and add all of this together, toss and serve.

  • 1-2 kale leaves torn off the stem and chopped
  • small handful sliced red and or green cabbage
  • handful snow peas or sliced thin celery or mung bean sprouts
  • handful cilantro leaves or mint leaves, torn
  • red bell pepper, diced or sliced
  • small handful soaked raw cashews
  • 1 young coconut meat sliced into noodles (optional)
  • minced ginger root to taste (1/2 teaspoon or more)
  • drizzle the sesame oil over it all (to taste, 1-2 teaspoons)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu

You can add minced garlic or onion, but remember, without cooking the flavors are really strong. I usually don’t add it as there is enough flavor with these ingredients. Sometimes I have used only kale, cucumber, cashews, bell pepper and coconut. It’s an easy one to play with – have fun, enjoy.

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NATURALLY RAW IN COSTA RICA

I lived in Costa Rica a while back and though I had not heard of “raw food” and “live vegan diets” back then, I see it would be very easy to live raw in the tropics. Coconuts falling off the trees, mangos, papaya, rambutan, cashews, almonds…all readily available fresh and raw.

I never saw the fresh greens like romaine and spring mix salads we have here in North America. But crisp cabbage was served often. Usually in the form of a “slaw.” I think it was because cabbage can stay around for longer than any usual Romaine type salad lettuce. I saw all kinds of these wonderful cabbage slaws and nothing like the creamy drippy kind we have here in the states.

It was always fresh and crispy, sometimes with just shredded white cabbage and jicama and lime juice. Just like the fresh ceviche that you would see everywhere. Usually raw Tilapia (a white fish) “cooked” in lime juice with jicama and chayote squash. (Raw fish put in lime juice will “cook” in a few hours.)

Anyway, below is my version of a slaw that we used to serve at the restaurant my dad and I created (Frescos in Sugar Land, Texas. We sold it some time ago, it’s still in operation) It’s really bright and refreshing served cold on a hot summer day…under a palm tree, with monkeys echoing in the distance. Pura Vida!

Tropical Slaw

TROPICAL SLAW

1 head green cabbage sliced
1/2 small head purple cabbage sliced
1 small carrot fine grated
2 Granny Smith apples chopped and tossed in lemon juice
1 – 2 red bell peppers diced
1 bunch cilantro chopped
Toss in a large bowl

Dressing
1 orange juiced
2 limes juiced
1/4 cup raw honey or Agave nectar
dash cinnamon
1″ ginger root minced

Stir ingredients together. This makes more dressing than you will need. Save in a glass bottle in the refrigerator. Toss dressing with the slaw just just enough to coat. Some have suggested that chopped pineapple would go well with this too.

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Mango salsaMANGO SALSA

2 cups chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons juiced lime (about one small lime)
1/4 cup juiced orange (about half an orange)
Mix well and refrigerate. Serve as a condiment or scoop mixture into lettuce boats and serve as a refreshing salad. Chopped avocado is a nice addition – fold in last so they keep their shape and don’t get too mushy. Other suggested additions: chopped tomato, chopped pineapple, walnuts, pinenuts, macademia nuts. I personally prefer twice the amount of cilantro.

PapayaPINEAPPLE PAPAYA SALSA

1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, seeded
1/4 cup shopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons juiced lime (about one small lime)
Real Salt to taste
Mix well and refrigerate. Some people like this with more lime juice and no onion. It’s really refreshing and papaya is packed with enzymes.

Fresh MangoTIP: Mangos placed in a brown paper sack will ripen faster for you – keep watch though because it works fast. Otherwise, cubed mango can be found in the freezer section of grocery stores.

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Salsas are fun and easy to create. They are colorful and you can change the recipes up a hundred ways. They can be created as a condiment when you are preparing meals for your friends that still eat cooked food. (like grilled fish). Or you can put a beautiful scoop into a bowl of romain and have it as a salad.
Consider these recipes is a “base” – good “as is” or add chopped avocado, raw walnuts, pineapple, tomatoes, pinenuts. You get the picture. Leave the onion off for a sweeter salsa or add the onion and a small amount of raw jalapeno pepper if you really want to spice it up. Get creative and enjoy!

Remember to use fresh ingredients – using canned or processed versions of any of these ingredients defeats the purpose of preparing a vitamin packed raw food meal.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. randomguru  |  January 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    wow! nice recipes… i will have to try these. thanks for sharing.

    i’ve been 100% raw since last November 10, 2008. and about 75% raw since Summer 2005.

    it’s still a learning experience as far as the recipes go. :o)

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