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In the Raw - OTM Summer

The raw food diet has been around since before fire was invented!

But its popularity as a lifestyle choice increased in the 1990s. Followers of this diet believe that consuming raw, unprocessed food is ultimate for general health and weight loss. The raw diet doesn’t stem from an environmental or moral stance but more from a nutritional view that

you benefit from the full amount of nutrients that would otherwise be lost during the cooking process.

To follow the raw diet, at least 75% of your food intake must be raw. To be considered raw, the food consumed mustn’t be heated above 48°C. Due to the nature of this heat treatment limit, the raw diet consists almost entirely of fresh fruits, raw vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, dried fruits and meats, nut-based milks and butters, cold pressed oils, fermented foods, and sprouts. Cooking methods like dehydrating, juicing, blending, sprouting, and soaking are used to prepare meals.

Raw diet recipes are often gluten free, dairy free, and vegan due to the limitations of what can be eaten, so master a few dishes and you will tick all the boxes for your customers. Summer is the perfect time to embrace some raw dishes and offer clients some choices. But don’t feel the pressure to make a raw version of something that shouldn’t be raw. Instead, focus on seasonal produce, varying vegetable cuts and flavoursome dressings for a tasty dish.

Salads cater to those who follow the raw diet as well as those who don’t, making them a smart move for your cabinet or menu. Seasonal summer produce offers a wide range of textures, colours, and flavours, giving you plenty to work with.

Make a stunning carpaccio of nectarine and cucumber, garnished with micro basil, cubed avocado, and cold pressed avocado oil, plus a splash of red wine vinegar to make the flavours pop. Beets and all their colours work well too. Or keep it classic with a caprese salad using fresh heirloom tomatoes, and a nut cheese in lieu of the mozzarella.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods provide good probiotics and add tang and sour notes to raw dishes. Toss chopped kimchi together with shredded cabbage, fresh coriander, spring onion, julienned daikon, and chopped cashews for an Asian slaw.

Soaking nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes in water activates their enzymes and helps boost the nutrients as well as making them easier to digest. Once the soaked grains have sprouted, toss them with chopped radish, cherry tomatoes, mesclun, cucumber, and other crunchy vegetables for a fresh chopped salad.

Vegetable cuts are important for variety and interest in raw foods. Use a veggie spiralizer to create ‘noodles’ out of zucchini, butternut, beetroot, and carrots. Toss each veggie in a complementary sauce, such as a pesto, raw puttanesca, tahini dressing, satay sauce, or a simple vinaigrette.

For something other than salads, cabbage leaves, iceberg, and cos can all be used as a wrap base. Fill them with avocado, shredded cabbage, cucumber ribbons, and capsicum and dress with a raw satay sauce. Rice paper can also be used as an exception to the raw rules, so make rice paper rolls for the cabinet or as an entrée. For a non-vegan option, fill cos cups with fresh ceviche or beef tartare. These can be served as a canapé, entrée, or light lunch.

For a quick breakfast option, whip out the blender and juicer to make nutrient dense drinks. Add in soaked nuts, oats, and seeds as well as nut butter to smoothies for added nutrition, texture, and flavour. Make a thicker smoothie for a smoothie bowl, then top it with fresh fruits, seeds, and coconut yoghurt. Get creative with juice flavours. Incorporate veggies such as beetroot, spinach, carrot, and turmeric, which pair beautifully with citrus fruits and apples.

Everyone needs a sweet treat from time to time – the health conscious included. From pumpkin pie to raspberry cheesecake and even chocolate mousse, raw baking masters have done an incredible job of turning classics into raw versions. Use this opportunity to highlight new season berries, mangoes, stone fruit, and later in the season, figs and passionfruit. Bidfood’s range of Exclusive Brand nuts will provide the perfect base for raw slices, cheesecakes, and bliss balls.

While it may seem challenging to prepare meals without the traditional cooking methods, with a bit of creativity, the right techniques, and Bidfresh’s seasonal produce, preparing raw meals will be a breeze.


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