With its focus on nuts and fresh fruit (and coconuts and fresh herbs), I’ve long been a fan of raw food. Every raw dish I’ve ever had has been delicious and innovative. Vegan dishes are tasty, too, but unfortunately vegans seem to rely overmuch on soy and wheat products. I’m not a big fan of soy for a variety of reasons – ranging from health issues to environmental ones – and I avoid gluten, so lots of otherwise-interesting vegan dishes are out for me. Raw food, on the other hand, doesn’t use soy or wheat or anything processed…which means it’s always innovative, always fresh, and always scrumptious.
I’ve been wanting to make more raw dishes at home (especially raw desserts, which are unbelievably good!), but I don’t have a Vitamix and probably won’t any time soon. My trusty Cuisinart food processor just isn’t powerful enough to rip through damned near anything the way a Vitamix can. (I seriously think you could powder diamonds with one of those.) Chopping nuts and grinding them into coarse meal works in some settings, but raw dishes often call for silky-smooth nuts as a main ingredient.
About a week ago, I finally had a “duh!” moment and hit upon a solution to my sans-Vitamix-but-want-raw-food dilemma: use raw nut butter! Nowadays, you can find everything from almond butter to walnut butter to cashew butter. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon jars of macadamia butter sitting next to jars of pecan butter. They all have different flavors, of course, but what they all have in common is that their textures all fall somewhere between velvet and satin. I might still splurge on a Vitamix someday, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy experimenting with already-made-smooth nut butters. They make anything taste incredibly creamy and rich.
Almond Butter & Banana (or any other fruit) Smoothie
Note: since nut butters are highly perishable, store them in the refrigerator as soon as you get them home. If you are fortunate enough to have a Vitamix or other warp-speed blender/processor, you can make your own nut butters by grinding shelled nuts until they’re smooth. You may wish to add a matching unrefined oil to give the butter a little more creaminess. (Use unrefined almond oil with almonds, unrefined walnut oil with walnuts, etc.)
Place a heaping tablespoon of almond butter and either 1 full-sized banana or 2 small ones (I prefer the little guys) in a blender. If you use a large banana, break it into three or four pieces before adding it. Add 1 tsp. maple syrup and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Pour in enough cool water to barely cover everything and blend on high until smooth. You can add a few ice cubes if you’d like more froth and coolness.
Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.