I’ve found myself flirting a lot more with raw foods lately. Maybe it’s the muggy warmth in the air? Perhaps I’m inspired by Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast which I’ve been reading & preparing for? Don’t get me wrong, I eat quite healthfully, however I do have a slight penchant for chocolate & wine (what girl doesn’t?). I’ve also become more of a stress-eater due to recent circumstances in my life. That being said, I’ve been trying to cut back on the indulgences, exercise everyday, & eat lighter.
Cameron’s recent “Simple Pleasures” post got me thinking about some of my own favorite simple pleasures. With a fresh basket of plump heirloom tomatoes, & bags full of cucumbers, onions, & sweet peppers from my CSA, the first thing that came to mind was a cool gazpacho. Ani’s diet encourages consuming a lot of smoothies & blended raw soups, & she also has a simple gazpacho recipe. I took inspiration from her & added miso to my go-to recipe. I also had some serrano chilies left over from the previous CSA share & decided to add those to the mix to give this cool soup a bit of a spicy kick. Not to mention that chillies have thermogenic powers!
- 2 large tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cucumber, peeled & cut into chunks
- 1 small red onion, peeled & quartered
- 1 large green bell pepper, quartered & seeded
- 2 serrano chillies, cut is half & seeded
- 2 banana peppers, cut in ½ & seeded
- 1 Tbsp. light yellow miso
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 cups purified water
- salt & pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix & blend. If using a Vitamix, select variable 1, turn on & increase speed to 5. Blend for 30-45 seconds.
- Season & serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro or diced avocado if desired.
I once went to a wedding where the gazpacho was elegantly served as an appetizer in a martini glass, in fact, let’s be honest it was my own wedding (too bad it didn’t last). I loved the presentation & often do the same, even if I’m just sitting down to dinner for one! This soup is a snap to prepare & is so full of summer flavor. I like to blend it just enough so there is still a bit of texture. The kick from the serrano chilies gave it plenty of pizazz. This soup truly highlights the flavors of summer.
I also took inspiration from Ani & put together some “Raw Swiss Chard Rolls” to go along with my soup. She uses collard leaves & fills them with a savory cashew pate & raw veggies. With a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard in my hands, I used that in place of the collards, made the cashew pate (cashew meal, celery, miso, ACV, & garlic) & filled the leaf with the pate, shredded carrots & pea sprouts.
Remove the stem & rib from the chard leaf. You will have 2 halves. Use each half to make one roll. Spread on pate (even a cashew cheese would be lovely) & add veggies – whatever your heart desires. I recommend shredded carrots, sprouts, sliced cucumber, avocado, scallions, etc. Roll up lengthwise & enjoy immediately.
This light meal was delicious & satisfying. A winning combination! I’ve only ever had steamed chard, but the leaves were wonderful & delicate enough to eat raw. The cashew pate had a rich & savory flavor. If Ani’s 15-Day Fast Blast is filled with foods like this I am going to be just fine.