Eat Real Food, Daily.

November 9th, 2010 · Lisa · gluten-free, raw, Recipes, Savory, sugar-free, vegan mofo · Comments

I often find myself dreaming of living in Southern California. When Toronto is experiencing blizzards and wind chills I am easily enticed by talk of sunshine and surfing. In my mind, Los Angeles has a Trader Joe’s on every corner and the word vegan on almost every menu.

With well known restaurants like Madeleine Bistro, Juliano’s and Real Food Daily it does seem like a place where vegetables reside in that prestigious center of the plate location.

Today, my virtual restaurant tour continues with a lovely lunch at Real Food Daily. If you saw something called “Living Paradise” on a menu, you would order it right? I want to live in paradise – so this seemed like a thoughtful step forward with in my plan.

Okay, fair warning with this recipe, there are steps…quite a few. But that’s the delightful difference in playing with recipes created for restaurants rather than the home kitchen.Β Since restaurants are focused on making food, rather than analyzing social policy, they set aside time to make special items, like cashew cheese.
I think recipes with instructions that include letting things “set” for a day or two is what intimidates many people from attempting gourmet raw food. But I have found it just requires a little forethought and some counter space. Otherwise, creating great raw meals allows me to continue on with my daily routine unencumbered by culinary obligations.

Once you learn how simple it is to make cashew cheese I can imagine you’re counter will look like this quite often (plus – soaked cashews can also become ICE CREEM!!)

With a Blendtec a rich, raw sauce takes seconds. I won mine over four years ago and we’ve been very happy together ever since.

This Raw Food Dailyrecipe also suggested that I play with one of my favourite gadgets, my spiralizer (found on Craigslist years ago). If you don’t have one, you can use a vegetable peeler to make curly veggie noodles.

Once all the ingredients are prepped (remember the cheese preps for two days), it is time to roll.
If you haven’t made fresh rolls before, my best advice is – don’t add too much filling.
Okay, so too much might be a bit subjective.
I know it looked like a pile of produce but it fit perfectly in this little roll.
See it’s all in there.

If I was enjoying this roll on the patio, in Los Angeles, I’m pretty sure I would feel like I was living in paradise. It has a beautiful balance between the crisp veggies and the creamy cashew cheese. It taste light and fresh but is actually quite filling. I highly suggest you roll your own.

Living Paradise with Raw Tomato Dipping Sauce
Raw Cashew Cheese
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked 2 hours)
1/3 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine the drained cashews, water, garlic and salt in a food processor. Blend until very smooth (5 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use. The cheese will keep for five days in the fridge.

Raw Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cup water
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and water in your blender. Let soak for 2 hours or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Living Paradise Rolls
1/2 cup Raw Cashew Cheese
1 (4 inch) piece diakon radish, peeled
5 cups hot water
8 rice paper sheets
2 cups fresh arugula
1 cup julienned English cucumber
3/4 cup julienned yellow squash
2/3 cup julienned red bell pepper
1/2 cup julienned green onion
1/2 cup julienned peeled carrot
1/2 cup julienned zucchini
1 1/2 cups Raw Tomato Sauce

Put the cashew cheese in a piping bag or small ziploc bag with and cut-off one corner (or you know, use a spoon).
Using a spiral slicer cut the diakon into long, curly strands. Pour the water into a large bowl. Dip 1 sheet of rice paper in and soak for a few seconds, until pliable. Place it on clean, moist towel.
Transfer the rice paper to a large plate or cutting board. Place one-eighth of the argula, radish, cucumber, squash, zucchini, pepper, onion, and carrot across the centre of the rice paper. Pipe the cashew cheese over the vegetables.
Fold the sides of the rice paper over the ens of the filling. Starting at the long side, roll into a cylinder. Continue with each rice paper. Serve with tomato dipping sauce. The spring rolls will keep for 8 hours, covered and refrigerated.

Included with permission from The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry, copyright Β© 2005. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

And so it continues, the amazing Vegan MoFo, we’re just nine days in. I have already discovered so many amazing bloggers. I hope you’ve found some new favourites as well. Blogs and restaurants often inspire me to give new ingredients or new techniques a try. Has a recent meal out or online encouraged you to try something new?


  1. Posted November 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I would love those tonight! But I have a hugely long list of recipes to try. Including injera. I saw 2 other people post injera attempts today. Perhaps inspired by you?

  2. Posted November 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Lisa, this looks amazing! I've been thinking of making some rice paper rolls lately, and this recipe is perfect. Hope you are well – I'm still out in there in the blogosphere, despite my recent lack of posts. I'll get back there, I promise πŸ™‚

  3. Posted November 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I love, love, love your recipes from yesterday and today. I think the two of them would make a fabulous meal, because they include many things I love (kale, mushrooms, rice paper rolls). I'll have to pretend I'm eating them in California. Thanks, Lisa!

  4. Posted November 9, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I'm totally going to have to make this cashew cheese. I think I might add some probiotic powder for a little extra zing. And, uh, for the probiotics πŸ™‚

    I've got some rice paper in the cupboard just waiting to be turned into an amazing lunch like this. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Posted November 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    we make a version similar to this as well…definitely a favorite. thanks for the recipe variation!

  6. Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Yes, actually YOUR posting of the pumpkin dhal did! I had literally never cooked with pumpkin before except once making the pumpkin pie brownies from VCIYCJ.

    After making the pumpkin dhal (which was delicious), I still had plenty of the canned pumpkin leftover, so I made pumpkin cookies. Then I STILL had canned pumpkin leftover, so this past weekend I tried the pumpkin pancakes from vegan brunch.

    Three pumpkin centred meals in one week after going my whole life without using pumpkin! Thank you!

  7. Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    These look amazing!

  8. Posted November 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    These look so beautiful! I love spring-esque rolls so much, but haven't made any in so long. I have never made cashew cheese before! Mostly because I can't find raw cashews (they are always roasted).
    I am always inspired by everything I see on all my favourite blogs – I don't know if I've made any one thing recently that was inspired by them, but goodness, so much of what I eat!

  9. Posted November 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I have the same fantasy! Yep, 365 days of summer for me. These rolls would get me in the right frame of mind, for sure. πŸ™‚

  10. Posted November 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    this looks amazing and you make it seem very 'do-able' i'm adding it to my list of incredible recipes to try!
    thank you for sharing it!

  11. Posted November 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    There really are a LOT of Trader Joe's stores here in LA! I highly suggest you come visit soon. πŸ™‚ You're most definitely invited.

  12. Posted November 21, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I'm glad you all share my love of summer and summer rolls.

    Vegyogini – if you're looking for a visitor I'll keep you posted – it will soon become -20 here.

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