Maybe the silveriest lining of having a restricted diet is that it forces a person to try out new tastes and flavors, to make up for what they can no longer have.

It turns out, there’s a lot of stuff out there that we can eat — but sometimes we just don’t know where to look. One place I’ve been looking lately? To raw food.

What is the raw diet? Well, it’s sort of exactly what it sounds like. The fundamental belief is that heating foods past a certain point makes them less wholesome (115°F-118°F depending on who’s talking). Generally speaking, the raw diet focuses on fruits, veggies, nuts, seaweed, sprouted grains and seeds, and beans. It’s also normally vegan (no dairy/eggs/meat, not even uncooked meats like sushi or steak tartare), and frowns on alcohol/caffeine/processed sugar.

I can’t speak to the health properties of the raw lifestyle — it’s not for me — but some of it, sometimes, is healthy and tasty. And, more importantly, it’s largely gluten-free.
Now, committed raw foodists feel very strongly about their dehydrators, as dehydrating is the main way to add crunch to foods when you can’t cook them. I am not one of these people. I have no plans to purchase a dehydrator (although it sounds kind of neat). Point is: all the recipes I’m going to share with you here are maybe more raw-by-accident than anything else.

One of the first raw dishes I ever had was a zucchini pasta. This recipe from We Like It Raw is a good base to start with, and even includes a video.

If you wanted to get more adventurous with your zucchini pasta, you could top it with pesto. There’s nothing inherently not-raw about pesto (except for the cheese, depending on which cheese you use). However, leave it to a raw foodist to find a way to take the oil out! This pesto recipe from Gone Raw cleverly uses avocado, to drastically cut down the fat.

What else is tasty? How about a chanterelle yuzu ceviche? Broccoli mushroom “stir fry” (be careful in your shoyu/soy sauce selection!)? Or some raw buckwheat chia porridge for breakfast?

No? How about a berry pudding parfait? Pumpkin Pie with a secret, wacky ingredient?

Ah. I thought I might get you with dessert.

If you want to learn more about the diet, I think WebMD does a good, impartial job of covering the risks and benefits. If you’ve had and enjoyed raw foods, what are your favorite tips and tricks?