I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ode To Raw Sammies (And Wraps Too!)

As much as we enjoy a complex, raw gourmet meal, we often eat quite simply. For me, nothing beats a simple supper of soup, salad, and an open faced sandwich on raw crackers or bread. Oh, and sprouts, lots and lots of sprouts! Yum! Simplicity at its best! Plus, sandwiches are always a perfect answer for those days when I don't have a great deal of time or energy to put into preparing our evening fare.

Revamping An Ol' Favorite
Once upon a time, before the advent of microwave ovens and TV dinners, sandwiches (in their many forms and shapes), were the obvious choice when it came to eating something that needed to be simple, quick, and even portable. Between school, work, road trips and parties, I'm sure we've all eaten our fair share of them. I never knew how much I missed having sandwiches, though, until I discovered raw breads. "Can't reinvent the wheel," you say? Well, maybe you can after all...

WonderBread: The Raw Generation
Like most people, bread used to play a prominent part in my diet. Toasted bread for breakfast, bread for lunch or dinner, and sometimes bread for late-night snacks. I even worked at an artisan organic bakery at some point, eating soooooo much of it; I was turning into a Pillsbury Dough Girl.

When I seriously started cleaning up my diet, bread was one of the first things to go. (I gotta say that my sensitivities to gluten really helped breaking my bread addiction!)

We never dreamed of having raw breads until we got our Excalibur dehydrator. I mean, sure, we had tried the 'Manna Bread' sold in health food stores, but never quite took to it. (Tasted too much like cake to me!) However, I was thrilled when I unbaked my first batch of raw bread. Yay! At last, something simple to enjoy with our daily soups!

I discovered the Onion Bread and Russell James' Almond Bread recipes early on (both of which I have already posted, just check the Recipe Index). These have become our staples and make such fantastic bases for sandwiches, that it sort of stopped my bread quest in its tracks. As a result, I haven't been experimenting much with sprouted grain-based breads. However, Alissa Cohen's calzone dough (another house favorite), is made with sprouted buckwheat and is so wonderfully adaptable that you can use it as a base for whatever bread you want. Just play around with the seasonings...

Aside from the many bread recipes in her book 'Living on Live Food', Alissa has a Rye Bagels recipe. Although I haven't had a chance to try it yet, it's said to be very good. She has actually shared the recipe on the Forum. Just look here.

Still, I haven't totally given up on new bread recipes. In fact, I just made RawGuru's Tomato Herb Bread. Although the recipe needs a little tweaking (see my comments), it is absolutely delish! A new favorite!

Tomato Herb Bread
Posted by RawGuru in his latest newsletter

1 cup almond flour
1 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbs. flax seed meal (I doubled the amount)
½ apple (chopped)
1 fresh tomato
2 tbs. avocado oil (olive oil works fine!)
1 teaspoon Himalayan Crystal Salt
2 teaspoons Wild Tomato Concentrate (I just used more sun dried tomatoes)
½ cup soaked sun dried unsalted tomatoes
1 clove garlic
½ cup parsley
1 teaspoon dry Italian herb seasoning
1 tbs. lemon juice

In a food processor or high speed blender, grind the almonds and sunflower seeds until fine. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend till thick. Add this mixture into the nut/seed flour. Stir everything with a wooden spoon or by hand. The dough should be pliable and elastic. Add more flax seed meal if you think it's necessary.

Line a few dehydrator trays with teflex sheets and spread a thin layer of the dough with a spatula. Make it about 1 inch in height. (!?!) Using a butter knife cut through the dough to form 9-10 squares. Dehydrate for 3 hrs. and remove from the teflex sheet and place on the mesh sheets. Dehydrate for 8 hrs or until firm.

Carmella's Notes:
This bread tastes totally awesome, however, it needs a little tweaking. Nothing that can't be easily overcome though! I don't know if I did something wrong here (all I can think of is that I used left-over almond pulp instead of almond flour), but it did not yield a lot of dough at all. There is no way you could spread the dough an inch thick and fill several trays like the recipe suggests! I also ended up adding some of the soak water in order to make the dough more manageable and still, it just barely filled a single tray, spreading the batter more like a 1/4 inch thick. In any case, I'd strongly recommend doubling the recipe to make it worth your while. It's so delish, you won't regret it!

As always, you can check out the Raw Food Talk archives, but here's a couple of threads you might find of interest in regards to breads:

Fillings Galore
If I was to list all the possibilities of sandwich fillings to choose from, this could easily turn into the longest blog post in history! Nut 'cheeses', spreads, pates... Just take your pick!

There are raw renditions to virtually every SAD fillings you can think of, including Zucchini Hummus, Egg-less 'Egg' Spread, Mock 'Chicken' Salad, Tuna Salad, and Mock Salmon Pate. I've even made a Mock 'Liver' type spread (although I prefer to call it 'Nuts for Mushroom Pate'. It just sounds so much more... well, shall we say 'appetizing'?)

Nuts for Mushroom Pate
Inspired by Richard Salome's Vegetarian Chopped Liver Pate

1/2 cup soaked pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup soaked almonds
1/4 cup soaked walnuts
1/8 cup brown sesame seeds
1/8 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp powdered kelp
big handful of fresh parsley
1/4 tsp sage
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tbs oil
Braggs or salt, to taste
a little water

Blend nuts and seeds in processor until smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, adding water until desired consistency is reached.

Of course, there are also excellent raw versions of all-time favorite condiments. Here are a few of them:

Avocado Mayo
Posted in RawGuru's most recent newsletter

2 ripe avocados
1.5 tbs. lemon juice
2 pinches Celtic Sea Salt
½ cup soaked raw cashews
1 tbs. parsley
1 tbs. avocado oil
¾ cup water

Blend until smooth.

Posted by Doe on Raw Food Talk

1 cup brown soaked mustard seeds
¾ cup lemon juice
½ tsp salt

Blend until smooth.

'Aioli Sauce'
Posted by Doe on Raw Food Talk

1/2 avocado
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp nama shoyu
1 tbsp prepared mustard (optional)
1 clove garlic
1/4 C chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped basil
Fresh water as needed
Pinch sea salt or to taste

In a blender, blend avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey or maple syrup, nama shoyu, mustard (if desired), garlic, parsley, and basil until smooth. Add fresh water a few drops at a time to blend to desired consistency. Season with sea salt. Sauce should be thick and smooth.

For more yummy raw condiment ideas, you may want to visit this thread.

Just Make A (Sand)Wish
Some of our favorite sandwiches include nut cheese, avocado, tomato, marinated mushrooms and lettuce on almond bread (shown on left) and BLT on onion bread. Yep, there's even a raw approximation of bacon made with eggplant (although, eggplant bacon doesn't really taste like the 'real' thing - which is totally fine by me!) The recipe is a classic on Raw Food Talk.

Eggplant as a bacon
Recipe by Top Raw Men, posted
by Sweet lips

1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
3/4 c. oil (I only used 1/4 cup oil)
1 tsp. cayenne
2 Tbl. honey
4 Tbl. Ume Plum Vinegar (ACV works good too)

Marinate for 2 hours. Place on teflex sheets and dehydrate for 9 hours. Turn bacon over and dehydrate another 9 hours. (Didn't take me that long though.)

But wait, since pictures are worth a thousand words, how about I let Raw Food Talk's many talented raw chefs give you some more great sandwich combos?

Beckla's romaine and tomato using calzone crust for bread:

Eilene's Mediterranean Almond Bread with Eggless-Egg Salad, Avocado, Romaine and Tomato:

JennaBoBenna's Onion bread sandwich with creamy cashew cheese, tomatoes, zukes, romaine and orange bell peppers:

Petals' Meatloaf Sandwich made with Rawlife's meatloaf, Rawkinloc's garlic bread, Alissa's spinach dip, some onions, tomatoes, and lettuce:

Crisyn's Open Faced Sandwich - Mediterranean Almond Bread, topped with Eggless Egg Salad, baby greens, tomato and some perfectly ripe avocado:

Ertarox's Deli Sandwich: Avocado Spread, Zesty Herb Cheeze, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, and a thick layer of marinated portabella mushrooms on rye bread (made with Alissa's rye bagels recipe):

And last but not least, RawVeganMom's BLT on chewy onion bread with sunflower mayo:

Mmmmmmmmm... Making me fall in love with raw sammies all over again!

Raw Wrhapsodies
Wraps are the healthy, 'hip' version of sandwiches; perfect for those times when you feel like something a little lighter. We used to make wraps out of Ezekiel sprouted tortillas, but these sort of fell by the wayside too, as we embraced a fully raw diet.

Last summer, my good friend and raw chef, Chantale Roy, was selling wonderful, tasty veggie wraps at the farmer's market. So light, pliable and uniquely different from anything we'd ever tried before! Armed with the list of basic ingredients, I tried to recreate them at home, but let's just say that the results weren't too conclusive (and I'm being generous! LOL) In any case, they looked more like crackers (and crumbly ones at that!) rather than soft wraps. Disappointed, I gave up on my wild wrap experiments, hoping I'd eventually come across a similar recipe.

When I recently stumbled upon Cherie Soria's veggie wraps (thanks to s.alubrio.us' del.icio.us raw recipes bookmarks), I instantly knew I had finally hit the jackpot!

You'll find 3 of Cherie's recipes for soft tortillas/wraps on this site. If you look closely, you'll notice that they all follow a basic formula of 10 to 12 cups of veggies, avocado, seasonings, and psyllium husk powder (to help the ingredients bind). Once you get a feel for it, you can easily adapt the wraps to suit whatever you have handy. A great way to use up those veggies that are wrinkling away in your fridge too!

Here is my tweaked up version of Cherie's Salsa Wraps:

PepperAma Wraps
(This one is for you, Ama, pepper-lover that you are!)

5 cups seeded and chopped red and yellow bell peppers
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup tomato, seeds removed
1 cup sundried tomato, soaked and drained
1 tablespoon leek (although green or red onion would work too)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and mashed
3 tablespoons psyllium powder
¼ cup chopped cilantro, packed (optional)

1. In a high-powered blender, purée the bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and leek or onion until smooth. Add the onion powder, garlic, and salt, and purée again. While blender is still turning, add the avocado, and then the psyllium powder, and blend well for a few seconds.

2. If desired, pulse in the cilantro until it is broken into pieces. Do not fully process; the cilantro should be in small pieces.

3. Using 1/2 cup of the mixture for each wrap, use a flat rubber spatula to quickly form four flat disks on a dehydrator tray lined with a nonstick sheet. Each disk should be about 7 inches in diameter, and they should not quite touch each other. Spread the wraps into round disks quickly, or the mixture will thicken and become difficult to spread.

4. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 4 hours, or until you can easily remove them from the nonstick sheets.

5. Turn the wraps over onto mesh dehydrator screens. Place an additional mesh screen on top of each tray of wraps. This makes them flatter and easier to store. Continue dehydrating another 3 to 4 hours, until dry but still flexible.

6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to two months.

As you can see, I also experimented with making some square wraps. It does save a little work, although you do get the hang of making the circles after a while. Just spread the batter (maybe a little over 2 cups) on an entire teflex sheet and then score it into 4. Alternatively, you could probably cut the wraps after they're dehydrated, with scissors or pizza cutters.

Here they are on the way to the D...

More Rawesome Fillings
For some reason, it just feels like you can be a lot more creative with wraps than sandwiches. Perhaps because you get to fit that much more filling into them (which has always been my favorite part anyway! LOL)

Actually, the veggie wrappers are so deliciously flavorful themselves that you'll find you don't need much more to make a tasty meal.

Here are some yummy fillings we've tried so far:

  • Rich Cheddar Sauce, marinated zucchini and Portobello mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, red and yellow peppers and black olives.
  • Creamy Spinach Spread, mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, red and yellow peppers.
Creamy Spinach Spread
This is actually a very simple recipe. I got the idea one day when I had left over 'cream cheese'.

Cream Cheese
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
½ cup pure water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Lemon juice

3 cups of spinach (we like it with lots of spinach but you could use less if you want)
minced garlic, to taste
Tamari or salt, to taste
your favorite fresh or dried herbs (optional)

Prepare the cream cheese (or use some you have already made).

Pulse chop the spinach in your food processor until finely minced. (You don't want a green mush though!)

Gently fold the spinach, garlic and seasonings into the cream cheese.

That's it!

Another scrumptious and quickly whipped-up filling is avocado mashed up with a little pesto of your choice, tomato, lettuce and sprouts. Simple but so tasty!

My friend Chantale makes delightful, exotic wraps. Here are a few of her awesome filling ideas:
  • California: pecan paté, veggies, mango, avocado, clover sprouts
  • Tuscane's sun: Brazil and cashew nut 'cheese', sun-dried olives and tomatoes, marinated onions, peppers, clover sprouts
  • Pizza: Pine nut ricotta 'cheese', basil pesto, veggies, clover sprouts

These wraps make such a wonderful, light alternative to nut or seed-based breads and crackers. They also make ideal traveling food. (In fact, the wrap recipes were posted on a site about raw foods to bring when going hiking.)

There you have it! Countless, delicious possibilities to play with! I can just tell that we'll pretty much live on sammies and wraps this summer, when the heat (can hardly wait!!!) will naturally move us away from the heavier, more complex meals. Plus, I doubt that I'll feel like uncooking up a storm and cranking up the D too often while the sun is shining outside... unless, of course, we relocate The Sunny Raw Kitchen on our deck! (Is there such a thing as raw BBQ's? LOL)

Sunny Raw Tips
Make sure to assemble your wraps a little ahead of time before serving. This will allow the fillings to soften the veggie wrappers. They'll just melt in your mouth! Mmmmmmmm

For an even easier and lighter alternative, simply wrap your favorite fillings in lettuce, chard, collard or cabbage leaves. Oh, and I almost forgot nori sheets!

Photo Credits
Almond Bread Sandwich by Fairygirl
Onion Bread (adapted from Rawvolution's recipe) Sharon in Colorado
Alissa's Rye Bagels by Veganforlife
Onion Bread Sandwich by SeaGrass7
Eggplant Bacon by Veganforlife


  1. Orange BP... bell peppers would be my guess. =] Thanks for the great posts (like always!) I love your kidness and helpfullness over on RFT!

  2. Hehe,
    Thanks Claire for clearing that up! Off to change it right now...

  3. How cool is that... I have my own wrap! (PepperAma) You know I must try that one. It sounds so yummy!

  4. Thanks for this post. Inspirational. We are new raw food living so this post was great!

  5. Ok there Carmella~~~ may I come over for a bit of sammie?
    This is a beautiful plethora of yumminess you have here.

  6. Amazing photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Hey Carmella,

    Wonderful post as always...i do check in from time to time and you never cease to amaze me girl!!!!!

    hope all is well, ill send u an email soon!


  8. Oh.... a fairygirl sighting!! Poor Healthy is probably just drooling over all of your gourmet creations... then again, she's probably enjoying some luscious exotic fruits... mmmmm

  9. Looks yummy. I have a question...you have the ingredients for cream cheese but no instructions??? How do you make it?

  10. Ooops! Gotta change that... ;-)

    Simply blend all of the cream cheese ingredients in a food processor until smooth.


  11. Your recipes look really good. Especially since I love avocado. Great blog, keep it up!

    James Reno