Cookbook review: Eat Raw, Eat Well, by Douglas McNish!  »

When Vegansaurus gave me the chance to review Douglas McNish’s new cookbook, Eat Raw, Be Well, I consented enthusiastically and chomped at the bit until it arrived. I love making raw, vegan, gluten-free food (obviously) that isn’t too complicated or hard to prepare. In my opinion, overly intricate raw food cookbooks do more harm than good for the aspiring raw food chef. Sure, the pictures are nice, the descriptions fanciful, and their promise of gastronomic decadence enticing—but once casual chefs attempt some recipe with a mile-long ingredient list and super-complex instructions, they often grow discouraged that they drop raw food preparation altogether. I think that’s so sad!

When it comes to feeding myself, my friends, my family, and my dearest, I prefer recipes that favor simplicity and easy-to-digest combinations. I heard that this cookbook focused on easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t go overboard with ingredients required to make everything. Eat Raw, Eat Well recipes range from super-simple, three-ingredient raw cauliflower popcorn (nutritional yeast! salt! cauliflower!) to dishes that will take a bit more time to prepare.

This book has tons of recipes for the very beginner chef, including some great tips on how to make them on the left. Before reading this book, I reached into the knife drawer at my communal household in Glendale and pulled out whatever seemed cleanest. Now, I often search for the pairing knife that we keep sequestered in a special drawer when possible, because Mr. McNish says it’s good to do that and I think he’s right! Now I cut with ease and confidence, bitch.

The publishers gave me permission to post one of my favorite recipes in the book, the Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccine (page 236).

This dish is a great way to get as many healthy ingredients into your body as possible without having to sacrifice any of the things you love. The softness of the root vegetables makes it reminiscent of traditional al dente pasta.

Makes two servings

3 large carrots, peeled
3 large parsnips, peeled 3
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil (15 ml)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (60 ml)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fine sea salt, divided (22 ml)
3/4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil (175 ml)
1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds (125 ml)
3 cloves garlic
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves (750 ml)

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and parsnips into long, thin strips, dropping into a bowl as completed (see Tips) Add olive oil, 1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt, and toss until vegetables are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes, until softened.

2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process hemp oil and seeds, garlic and remaining lemon juice and salt, until somewhat smooth but the hemp seeds retain some texture. Add cilantro and process until chopped and blended, stopping the motor once to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add pesto to fettuccine, toss well and serve.

Substitute an equal quantity of parsley leaves for the cilantro.

Toss the fettuccine from Step 1 with another sauce, instead of the pesto.

Peeling the vegetables lengthwise produces the long, thin strips required for this recipe. For best results use a Y-shaped (slingshot) vegetable peeler. When using a regular peeler, you can glide down the length of the vegetable to make one long, thin strip.

If you prefer, combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl before tossing with the vegetables, to ensure even integration.

I am not a big fan of agave and kind of think it’s gross, so I was happy to see the desserts go light on them. In general, Eat Raw, Eat Well's recipes are nutrient-rich and focus on using low-glycemic, healthful ingredients. There are better books out there if you're just getting into raw food. Raw Food for One and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine top my list for raw beginners, but I think this book would be a very good choice for the beginning to intermediate raw food chef. Happy uncooking to you!

Recipe and photo from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog Queer Vegan Food.

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