We go through many transition steps in life, including those that come with embracing a plant-based diet.  The next step in my own dietary growth and evolution is to get back to a place where I was before I starting testing recipes for my book.

I was (and still am) very interested in the transition a person must go through to accept a raw foods diet and I was spending time in the kitchen learning how to make dishes that would help others with this transition. My personal progress with the vegan raw foods diet seemed to set up a challenge for me, as I was already experiencing my taste buds starting to really crave raw, healthy foods..

For the most part, I would test myself to see how hungry I truly was at the moment by taking an internal inventory of whether I wanted to eat a food that was simple in taste – or whether I was craving a “tasty” and “rich” food. I would use this barometer to guide me. Sometimes a fruit snack or small fruit meal are the perfect substitute, if you are not too hungry for the simpler tastes at that time.
Many times, by the time you do eat a meal, the simpler food will appeal to you in a greater way.

Whether an exclusive raw foods diet is your goal, or it is just to increase your percentage of raw meals, I strongly encourage you to experiment in the kitchen with more raw dishes.
Although these 2 recipes are not 100% raw, you can see how raw foods are included in the recipe. And of course these basic dishes can be transformed to fully raw if you wish.

This first recipe: Spicy Beet Borscht includes a raw beet. If you would rather make it a raw cold soup, then add fresh vegetables including tomatoes to your blender, instead of V8 juice.
Spicy Beet Borscht /Cashew Sour Cream

Up the garlic and cayenne and call this soup ‘Count Dracula’s Blood’. Adjust the
lemon, garlic and spice to your taste. This soup is best chilled before serving,
and is easy to make up in advance. This soup is a ‘winner’ for those who like
beets. You can store the borscht in the vegetable juice bottle.

1 quart vegetable juice, bottle, organic (R.W. Knudsen ‘Very Veggie’)
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
4 small or 2 cups beets, peeled, cubed small
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 pinches cayenne pepper
dill sprig garnish (optional)
Cashew Sour Cream
1 cup cashews, whole and raw
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water, pure

1. Blend 1/3 of the vegetable juice in a blender with the garlic. Add the beets,
lemon juice, remaining vegetable juice, and cayenne into the blender.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Chill in the refrigerator.
Cashew Sour Cream
4. Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy
consistency is reached. Chill in refrigerator.
5. Place the borscht in a serving bowl. Then add two dollops of the cashew
sour cream to the top of the soup and serve. Garnish with a dill sprig.

Yield Borscht - 1 quart + 1-1/2 cups Sour Cream -1-1/4 cup serves 4-6
For the recipe for the collard wraps, wash and pat dry the collards, de-spine them, line the leaves with a lettuce leaf first and then fill them with the Sun-dried Tomato Pate' recipe.

Sun-dried Tomato Pate'

This pate’ can be used as a spread on crackers, cucumber rounds, celery sticks or a sandwich. It can also be a filling in rolled Collard leaves or Belgium endive. If soaking sun-dried tomatoes, soak for 15 minutes. Use the soak water instead of adding the pure
water in the recipe. This pate’ has a very good refrigerated shelf life.

1 cup walnuts, soaked, rinsed and drained dry = 1-1/3 cups
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed tight, (or 1/2 cup from an 8.5 ounce jar. Drain)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup basil leaves or 6 medium leaves (packed tight in a measuring cup)
*4 - 6 tablespoons water, pure (see *note below)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic, rough chop
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch black pepper, ground