Raw for the Holidays

By Organic Spa Magazine / November 7, 2013

Chef Matthew Kenney at M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica, California. Courtesy of Paras Photography

Top raw-food chefs share favorite holiday recipes and remind us that you don’t have to be a strict raw foodie to incorporate raw dishes into your repertoire.

While the holidays come with their fair share of delicious comfort foods and traditional seasonal specialties, they can also bring a lot of guilt. Those butter cream cookies and gravy-covered meals take their toll, and while we may spend the rest of the year eating well, there is something about this time of year that has us breaking our usual rules.

But eating during the holidays doesn’t have to weigh you down. Just switching out a few dishes can make an enormous difference. And why not make some of those dishes raw?

The basics of raw food mandate sticking to a diet of organic, unprocessed, uncooked, plant-based products never heated above 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping food under those temperatures is about preserving essential enzymes and beneficial nutrients. Think fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. While it may seem daunting, remember that you don’t have to be a strict raw foodie to incorporate raw cuisine into your culinary repertoire.

So this holiday season, add a few raw dishes to the table, indulge in a delicious raw dessert, and know that come January 1, you’ll be way ahead on your New Year’s resolution of eating healthier. For additional recipes, visit organicspamagazine.com.

Matthew Kenney


Courtesy of Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Chef, author and entrepreneur, Matthew Kenney opened his newest restaurant, M.A.K.E., in Santa Monica, California, this year, next to Matthew Kenny Culinary, a state-of-the-art raw food cooking school. Here are his tips for eating raw for the holidays:

Keep it simple and focus on good ingredients. “Prepare simpler dishes that are just flavor combinations that you like. Most people who like eating raw food are pretty flexible in terms of not expecting everything to be gourmet. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t just love a good avocado or a salad.”

Take a side dish and make it the main. “Swap the balance of what’s usually considered a side dish

Everyday Raw Express

with a main dish like turkey. People will love it and they won’t stop talking about how much better they feel.”

Indulge in a dessert that makes you feel good. “Raw desserts are just a miracle. They’re gluten-free and lactose-free and sugar-free, or at least refined- and processed-sugar free, and are just as good as any dessert. Dessert is a way you can totally indulge and not compromise at all.”

Jason Wrobel


Crazy Legs Productions

A leader in organic raw vegan cuisine, culinary education and epicurean entertainment, Wrobel is the host of the new Cooking Channel TV series How To Live to 100. He is also releasing his own vegan recipe and lifestyle book in 2014. The best part about eating raw for the holidays? “You don’t have that turkey trauma after you eat,” Wrobel says. “When you eat like this you don’t get a food coma.” His tips:

Start small. “If you just make a few small changes—one raw meal a day—it’s going to make a massive difference in the way you feel.”

Adapt a dish that you know will please a crowd. “I wouldn’t advise bringing a kale sprout salad the first time around, but it’s really easy to modify a pumpkin pie recipe.”

Ani Phyo

ND13_RawForTheHolidays_06Author, nutritionist, health coach, TV host and entrepreneur, Ani Phyo has written six award-winning and best-selling books. Her new book, Ani’s Raw Food Detox, comes out January 2014. When it comes to eating raw for the holidays, “You only need a blender and a food processor. I don’t even use a dehydrator!” says Phyo. Here are her tips:


Courtesy of Tyler Golden, Ani’s New Raw Food Essentials

If you’re attending a party, take food with you. “I recommend taking food to share, that way we make sure that we have food we want to be eating, and we also help others who are there to try it and inspire them to eat healthier too.”

Start with the whole, unprocessed foods first. “I like to encourage people to eat the unprocessed, whole foods part first. They notice how great and how much lighter they feel.”



A Raw Food Feast

Matthew Kenney



1 large or 2 small butternut squash
Olive oil

2 cups pine nuts or cashews
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon miso (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 1⁄2 cups stemmed and chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 1⁄2 cups stemmed and chopped cremini mushrooms
1 cup stemmed and chopped oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nama shoyu Salt and pepper

5 to 6 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon minced oregano, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon thyme, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice Salt and pepper


Peel squash, cut into quarters and remove seeds. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, cut the squash lengthwise into very thin slices. You want each slice to be approximately 3 inches long. Toss with a generous amount of olive oil and salt. Allow to soften for at least 30 minutes. Rinse and drain before using.

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor

With clean hands, toss the spinach with the remaining ingredients. Gently massage to “wilt” the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 2 to 3 slices of butternut squash, slightly overlapping, in the center of each plate. Spread on a generous amount of ricotta. Layer with wilted spinach, then mushroom medley. Repeat once more. Garnish with oregano and thyme. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper before serving.

MOCHA PUDDING (Servings: 4)


2 1/2 cups young coconut meat
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup agave
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract


Blend all ingredients until smooth. For a finer texture, push through a fine chinois.

Jason Wrobel

HOLIDAY MACA EGGLESS NOG (Yield: two 16 to 18 oz. servings)


16 ounces coconut milk
2 tablespoons maca powder
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/2 cup pitted dates or dried figs, soaked for 30 minutes
1 teaspoon mesquite powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Big pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of ice cubes


Add all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for 30-45 seconds until very smooth and creamy. Serve in a frosted glass or mug for the authentic eggnog experience.

Ani Phyo

BRAZIL-BROCCOLI MASH (Makes 4 servings)


1 clove garlic
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Brazil nuts
2 cups broccoli, chopped


Process the garlic, pepper and salt into tiny pieces. Add Brazil nuts and process into a powder. Empty this powder into a bowl and set aside. Next, process broccoli while slowly adding the Brazil nut powder back in.



1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted dates

1 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 cup water

4 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds whole, before peeled)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon psyllium powder


To make crust, process sunflower seeds into a fine powder in your food processor. Use this to “flour” the bottom of your pie dish. Next, process pumpkin seeds and salt into a coarse meal. Slowly add 1 cup dates to make your dough. Press into pie dish. Set aside.

To make syrup, blend 1 cup dates with water until smooth. Set aside.

To make filling, process small batches of cubed pumpkin and cinnamon into a puree. Slowly add in the syrup. Process until completely smooth. Place pumpkin filling in a bowl and hand mix in psyllium powder really well. To serve, scoop filling into pie crust.

Keeps for four days in the fridge.