Monday, July 9th, 2012

Easy Raw Vegan Transition Ideas

by Kristen Suzanne in Kristen Suzanne, Motherhood

Although I have a lot of days where I eat all raw food, it’s not always my norm. My schtick is all about balance, keeping it simple, healthy, delicious and doing what you can when you can. Therefore, there are some times that I don’t eat all raw. And, I’d say that although my cooked choices are usually top notch healthy (as far as cooked foods go), I do leave room for the occasional cookie, Coconut Bliss ice cream, Chipotle Burrito, and vegan fair-trade dark chocolate bars. Thankfully, I can officially call it “occasional” – I tell ya, I’ve come a loooong way since my Madame Gluttonia Days that I wrote about during my Raw Reboot.

I know that I’ve mentioned many times how I’m really busy with motherhood (attachment parenting is a busy experience), and spending time in the kitchen preparing food isn’t something I get to do much of these days. That’s OK though, because with easy to prep foods like I’m sharing with you today, you get two bonuses:

  1. They’re, well, EASY!
  2. They’re perfect raw vegan transition foods (whether you’re transitioning to raw or just enjoy a life of mixed raw and cooked vegan – tis all good!).

Don’t know what a raw vegan transition food is? Well, let me share a bit with you. For me, a raw vegan transition food is simply a meal (usually a recipe) that combines both raw vegan food and cooked vegan food in an effort to get more raw foods into your life without freaking out. It’s a way to combine both nutrition and comfort in one bite. These kinds of meals are perrrrrrrfect for families because sometimes serving something all raw can, well, freak some people out. Not with transition recipes though. In fact, I wrote a hot-selling book loaded with delicious raw vegan transition recipes that you can buy here.

Stored grains and such for cooking.

OK! SO! Back to motherhood and making things as easy as possible so I can spend quality time with my little ducky… I have a great tip for you. One I live by these days. Pick something like organic beans (BPA-Free canned or freshly homemade – I use a kick ass All-Clad pressure cooker to make mine usually to which I searched high and low for the perfect pressure cooker, otherwise in a pinch I like Fig’s tetra-packed BPA-free beans), brown rice, oats (I wrote about these here), buckwheat, or quinoa and make a big batch. Don’t season it – just make ‘em plain. Then, you have a large portion in which to dip into for different meals (and then adding lots of great raw fixings and toppings depending on the meal). The greatness of this is three-fold:

  1. Flexibility: You can make it hearty-full of the cooked, whole food staple, by loading up your plate with it. Or, if you’re transitioning into more raw, then go easy on the cooked part, and add more raw foods.
  2. Healthy: You load it up with all kinds of raw goodness, which changes based on what you have on hand (no real planning needed), for awesome health and energy.
  3. Variety: This unseasoned, cooked whole food can serve for many meals, both savory and sweet!

Let me elaborate with some specific examples.

Here is a batch of organic red quinoa. I used 1.5 cups dry quinoa, cooked in 3 cups of filtered water, and it gave me about 1.5 quarts of cooked quinoa.

Organic red quinoa, cooked, and ready to go into the refrigerator for future meals.

Another night I made a big ‘ol batch of cooked organic (yellow/white) quinoa… I put it in the fridge. The following morning I scooped some out, added raw cashew milk (60-Second Raw Nut Milk recipe here), organic apple, organic cinnamon, and Living Fuel’s Cocochia – Voila – Easy, Fast, Raw Vegan Transition Meal.

"Sweet-ish" Quinoa Breakfast

Then, later that day I went the savory route. I scooped out some of the already-made quiona and added whatever I could find in the fridge. It included shredded organic carrot, diced organic celery, quality organic capers, diced organic cucumber, and organic (non-raw) salsa. I wanted to add some avocado but they weren’t ripe, so this served as a nice low-fat meal, protein rich.

Savory Quinoa Lunch

The following morning, I easily threw another powerful breakfast together. This time it was the plain organic quinoa to which I added diced organic apple, raw organic cacao nibs (no better time to use raw cacao than in the morning, eh?), and get this… instead of just using the (plain) raw pili-hemp nut milk I made the night before, I shook the milk with some Sun Warrior protein powder so the end product was pouring my protein shake on top of my quinoa breakfast for massive energy sustaining power. I remember back in my former body building days, we frequently added protein powder to our oatmeal. Love that! I want all the energy I can get.

Powerful Extra Protein Rich Breakfast for this hardworking mama!

One last example: On July 4 we had planned on a day where we wanted to snack, relax, and for one of our main meals Greg was going to pick up vegan burritos from Chipotle. But, turned out they were closed. Well, I didn’t have much on hand in the refrigerator… BUT… I did have my staple quinoa (this time an organic tricolor quinoa) and a few other odds n ends. So, I took the quinoa and dumped it in a bigger bowl, and added a 1/3 english cucumber, diced. Tossed it to mix. Then, I took to the stove and cooked up some (organic) plain tempeh, onion, and garlic in olive oil, tamari, and black pepper. While that was cooking, I decided I wanted more flavor in my quinoa so I added a couple hefty squirts of organic mustard, a couple drizzles of organic maple syrup, and a dash of lemon juice. Stirred it all up to mix, added the cooked tempeh mixture and tossed it all together. We ate some out of the bowl and some wrapped in raw organic collard greens. Friends, this was FAB-ulous! The great thing is that I just mixed it all as I went, adding things here and there, and with no real planning (although I wrote down the recipe after because it was scrumptious!). Having that plain quinoa on hand saved the day.

Delicious tricolored quinoa with tempeh, cucumber, onions, and collard greens to wrap!

As you can see, you can get so creative with a base like quinoa, brown rice, millet, beans etc. Here are favorite things I like to add in addition to what I’ve shared above… raisins, nuts or seeds, tamari, sauerkraut, olives, fresh herbs (fresh herbs transform a dish beyond belief!), and obviously all the other fruits and veggies I didn’t mention. Not all at once, of course! These are just ideas that you can dip into.

But that’s not all I used the “staple” quinoa for… One of the nights I made some Fig vegan boxed soup for Kamea and scooped in some of the quinoa to make it a thick stew (quinoa is great for her but it’s not so easy or interesting to eat on its own, so mixing it into a luke warm stew – to which I also hid added hemp seeds – She loved it!).


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