Café Gratitude, a small raw/vegan restaurant chain in California, has a delicious dish called the Grateful Bowl, with brown rice or quinoa, black beans, kale, and a tahini-garlic sauce. It’s a community-supported meal where you pay by donation. The proceeds go toward providing people with healthy vegan food at reduced or no cost. A server at the Santa Cruz Café Gratitude was kind enough to tell me the ingredients of the sauce, so I was able to create a similar-tasting version substituting truly raw almonds and leaving out the olive oil.
My twist also includes cooked sprouted quinoa. By soaking and sprouting the quinoa before cooking, the nutrition increases, and the phytic acid—an anti-nutrient found in seed coats—is reduced. Leaving out the beans makes the dish feel lighter.
If I’m in the mood for some tasty but healthy comfort food, this is a good semi-raw choice. This is also my favorite recipe to make for people who are new to plant-based eating and raw foods. I’ve had meat-eaters tell me how good it is.
I like to use truly raw almonds because they can be germinated and make a mild, sweet sauce, and I have access to a grower in California who sells at the local farmers’ markets. Unfortunately, the “raw” almonds sold in bulk or packages at the store are not truly raw and will not germinate when soaked since they have been pasteurized by law. I have not tried this sauce using raw pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds, but I think they may work.
Unpasteurized almonds can be purchased directly from the farmers, though. You can order organic truly raw almonds through Jaffe Bros. (http://organicfruitsandnuts.com/orshnu.html) or non-organic truly raw almonds through Stackhouse Bros. (209-988-0800).
Of course you can use the pasteurized almonds labeled “raw,” but they should still be soaked first. They just won’t be enzymatically active for greater digestability and the integrity of the fats may have been affected by the heat treatment.
Quinoa Kale Bowls with Tasty Sprouted Almond Sauce
Makes approximately 4 servings
Cooked Sprouted Quinoa
Makes about 5 to 6 cups
- 2 cups organic quinoa
- 4 cups filtered water to soak
- Filtered water for cooking
1. In a wide-mouth mason jar, add the quinoa and water.
2. Stir to ensure all the seeds are in contact with the water.
3. Soak for about 8 hours, and then drain and rinse (I use a fine mesh strainer over the mouth of the jar, but a piece of window screen cut to cover the mouth and secured with a lid ring makes a great strainer).
4. Allow the quinoa to sprout for 8-12 hours. Then rinse and drain again. You should see tails growing on the quinoa.
5. Place the quinoa in a 2-quart pot with a lid, and add filtered water to about ¼ inches above the level of the quinoa. You may need to add some additional water when cooking to avoid burning.
6. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower to low or medium, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. Check the water level around 10-15 minutes. If it sounds or looks as if the moisture is gone, add a little more water to prevent burning, and allow the quinoa to cook until tender and the seeds look expanded.
7. Remove from the heat, and fluff with a fork.
Kale lovers may eat up to 1 bunch each.
- 2-4 bunches organic curly leaf or lacinato (dino) kale
- Juice of 1 lemon per bunch of kale
- 1 pinch Himalayan pink salt per bunch of kale
1. Cut off the thickest part of the stems.
2. Working with 3-4 leaves at one time, bunch them up and slice them into thin ribbons.
3. Place the kale ribbons into a very large bowl. Once all the kale has been cut, toss it with the lemon juice and salt.
4. Use one or both hands to grab handfuls of kale and massage it for a few minutes until it has started to soften. The volume will decrease during this process.
Tasty Sprouted Almond Sauce
Makes approximately 2 cups (This sauce is really addictive. If you like a lot of sauce, you can multiply the recipe by 1 ½ or 2.)
- 1 cup truly raw almonds that have been soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1 cup filtered water
- ¼ to ½ cup (4 to 8 tablespoons) packed fresh Italian parsley (curly works, too)
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and process until smooth. For a thinner sauce, add a little more water.
Place some quinoa and kale in a bowl or on a plate, and then top with the almond sauce. It tastes really good all mixed together.