Raw Almond-Veggie Pate

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When I was in nutrition school, one of the alternative diets we learned about was the raw food diet, also known as the living foods diet.  The diet consists only of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains (such as your garden-variety bean sprouts), as well as the occasional raw milk, cheese, or yogurt.  “Living” is defined as anything not heated above 118 F (some adherents say 115 F), as that is the temperature at which the foods’ enzymes are denatured (and why pay for denatured milk when you can still get some raw milk for free?–or something like that).

I was not immediately drawn to this diet, as it does present some difficulties for me. First, and most important, eating a “living” diet 100% of the time is somewhat unrealistic in a Canadian climate, as an abundance of locally-grown raw foods is not available all year; further, your body craves warm foods in a cold climate.  It’s also not varied enough for my personal palate.  I have my favorite raw dishes, and I try to eat them as much as I can, along with the usual array of fruits, salads, and any other uncooked goodies I can find (some dried fruits also qualify here), but I don’t believe it’s necessary to do so all the time.  And finally, I have an aversion to trying out anything completely “in the raw” (what with my 36.5 pounds of excess avoirdupois–I’m sure you understand).

Well, after learning about some of the principles behind the diet and the theory as to why it’s healthy, I was intrigued enough to sign up for a “cooking” class that featured entirely raw dishes.  Everything was astoundingly delicious–I could barely contain myself from slurping up the velvety carrot and cashew soup, munching on the brilliant red peppers perfectly contrasted with the deep, glowing emerald of the broccoli florets in the “Pad Thai,” gobbling up the juicy, smooth and tangy apple pie with crushed nut crust–it was enough to make me wax poetic about produce, even.

When I got home, I pulled out my newly purchased raw foods cookbook and set about reproducing the veritable feast I’d enjoyed in the class.  Once I got to work, I quickly realized, however, just how much work was involved.  Regular vegetarian cuisine can be challenging enough, requiring several slots on your daytimer just for the peeling, washing, coring, seeding, slicing, dicing, chopping and grating–not to mention all the other prep–but at least you’re able to do up huge batches at at time and freeze the leftovers for later consumption.  With raw cuisine, you have to eat it all within 4 or 5 days, or it spoils.  Darn that oxidation!

Still, there are other benefits to eating raw.  The major draw, for me, was the fact that raw foods actually aids the digestive process by providing a certain percentage of digestive enzymes needed to break food down in your body.  When you consume cooked foods, your pancreas must produce the enzymes to break it down to its most basic parts–glucose molecules in carbs, fatty acids with fats, amino acids with proteins–so they can be easily absorbed through the small intestines.

Raw foods, on the other hand, already contain some of these enzymes, so your pancreas can relax a little.  I’ve read that, when eating a completely raw diet, the body produces something like 60 percent fewer enzymes than when eating entirely cooked foods (which amounts to several cups’ worth in one day).  Accordingly, with raw foods, your body will then have more energy to focus on other functions, such as maintenance, strengthening the immune system, or going to see Bruce Willis in Die Hard 27.

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This recipe is one that I made at a recent cooking class.  The participants loved it, and were even adventurous enough to try the sweet potato “crackers” (thin slices of peeled raw sweet potato) on which it was served.

(This is just a regular rice cracker in the photo, but do give the sweet potato ones a try; they are really good.  Seriously.)

(“Mmmm, Mum, we love this raw pate!  And, as you know, we always eat in the raw.  You should try it some time, really.  It’s very liberating.”)

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Comments

  1. looks good – I was surprised there was no tofu in it as I assumed it was a tofu spread when I saw the photos – I have never really started to understand the raw food movement so your post was interesting as a start – and timely as I made some of your raw truffles which were excellent – will post on them soon 🙂

  2. Johanna,

    Glad this was of interest. I enjoy raw foods, but as I said, don’t eat them all the time, thought there are many benefits to eating this way.

    I guess the light color (the almonds) resembles tofu in this, but this is not a soft, smooth pate–more like a grainy pate. And I’m so glad that the truffles worked for you!

  3. Ooh, that sounds and looks really tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t eat miso due to my soy allergy. Any suggestions for an alternative to add?

    I also enjoyed your concise explanation of raw. Very interesting!

  4. Sensational, Ricki!

    Thanks for stopping by – you’ve no idea how thrilled I am that your comment has led me back here, to you. Dogs! Dessert! Diet! All my favourite things rolled into one blog…

    The raw food thing does have a lot of appeal but, as you rightly point out, it’s a lot of work. That said, this is a great little recipe.

  5. Sally,
    I think you could use tahini with similar results in the texture, but you’d have to add salt, as that’s pretty much what the miso does. I haven’t tried it with tahini, so can’t vouch for that alternative. Or how about avocado, as you did with your tuna melt? That would be worth trying, too.

    Lucy,

    So glad you found me, and thanks for visiting! Well, obviously, the 3 D’s are my favorites, too 🙂 .
    Eating raw all the time is very time-consuming, but with this recipe, you can just soak your nuts overnight (or all day, while you’re at work), and then whip it together before you’re ready to eat it. The actual prep for this dish is pretty easy given that it’s raw, since there’s no fine chopping or mincing involved (the processor does all that!).

  6. Carol Gallup says:

    Reply to Sally: There are many kinds of miso without any soy that you can buy. For example: chick pea miso, barley miso, also some more exotic (and expensive) kinds. The chick pea is mild, useful for lots of recipes.
    Besides saltiness (characteristic of lots of cultured foods), the miso is a probiotic. I use non-soy miso often more than once a day, because I can’t eat dairy yogurt and won’t eat soy yogurt (it tastes awful, and how can we be sure it’s non GMO contaminated?). Hope this helps.

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