Although I’m not a raw foodist per se, I love raw cuisine. It’s innovative, incredibly fresh, and — assuming there’s no dehydrating involved — quick and easy. Not having to turn on a source of heat also appeals to my thrifty side. And now that I have a Vitamix, it’s a lot easier to grind stuff up! (Not to mention make my own flour out of pretty much anything. I’m convinced I could make diamond flour if I wanted to. Being able to grind your own flour is so liberating!)
Even if you don’t have a high-powered blender, though, you can make lots of intriguing raw sauces, flours, and general ingredients with a plain old food processor. I still use my $15 coffee grinder on a daily basis — it’s ideal for grinding small quantities of nut and seed flours. And most sauces and soups will smooth out in a standard processor. If there are still a few chunks here and there, that’s okay. Just stick “chunky” rather than “velvety” in the recipe title and you’re good to go.
For this assemble-in-a-snap sauce, all you need to do is grind some raw cashews in a coffee grinder for a few seconds to turn them into a powder that you can use as the base for a flour-free sauce. No roux needed! You can then use a processor to puree in the remaining ingredients to make an ultra-smooth cream sauce, or you can do what I did and just use a fork to mix the sauce together in a bowl.
I opted to toss the raw sauce with kelp noodles (which are made of seaweed, are served uncooked, and have a deliciously crunchy/chewy texture) and steamed broccoli, but you could use any veggies and noodles that you like.
Cashew-Lemon Cream with Broccoli & Noodles This makes enough sauce for 2 light portions. Feel free to double or triple the amount of sauce, plus of course feel free to add as many veggies as you like.
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tsp. nutritional yeast* (optional, but adds a savory backdrop)
Pinch sea salt
Spritz of lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Steamed broccoli (or any other veggie) for serving
Noodles of your choice (I used raw kelp noodles, but you could just as easily opt for cooked whole-grain noodles, of course going with gluten-free noodles if you’re making a gluten-free dish)
Whir the cashews through a coffee grinder for about 10 seconds or until you have a fine powder. (If you have a few hunks of cashews, that’s fine.) You can either make the sauce in a food processor or stir it together in a bowl. The processor method will result in a smoother, creamier sauce, but the fork method is easier and less messy. I went with a fork.
Stir together the powdered cashews, the nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt. Squirt in a spritz of fresh lemon juice. Add a quick drizzle of oil and stir again. Your goal is to create a pourable sauce, so you can either keep adding more oil to the mix or go with water instead. (Same idea if you use a food processor — oil or water, it’s your choice.)
Set aside the sauce to let the flavors blend better while you steam/simmer your broccoli. I pop the trimmed florets into a pot of simmering water for 5 minutes and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Drain well. If you’re making cooked noodles, follow package instructions. The kelp noodles I used are good to go right out of the bag. Just be sure to refrigerate any leftover noodles! (Kelp noodles can be found in health-oriented grocery stores and/or in the Asian section — or sometimes “healthy” section — of well-stocked of produce markets and independent grocery stores.)
Toss sauce with drained broccoli and noodles and serve.
* This is not the same as the baking yeast — it doesn’t make things rise. Nutritional yeast is flaked yeast that’s deliciously savory in addition to being a great source of B12. Mainstream stores tend to put it in the supplements/health-food section, while health-oriented stores tend to sell nutritional yeast in the bulk section. Be sure to refrigerate it to prolong its life. It’s also fantastic on kale chips and popcorn!