Review: Eat Raw, Eat Well

I’ve been selfishly hanging on to this cookbook for several weeks now, thumbing through the large selection of juices, meals, snacks and desserts, and wistful about trying every recipe that catches my eye. But it’s not just the tantalizing photos and healthful, whole food ingredients that drew me to Eat Raw, Eat Well in the first place. It’s the author himself.

Twenty-nine-year-old Doug McNish is a professional vegan chef with a fierce commitment to health and organics, who has become somewhat of a celebrity in Toronto and beyond. I’ve known Doug for several years and, although he may not even know it, he was the first vegan I ever met. We still joke about how we randomly met on a subway in 2007. His “Vegan” tattoo immediately caught my eye and so I struck up a conversation. It turns out he was on his way to an animal sanctuary for the weekend, and I instantly felt a connection—in a sense, he connected me to a community that I never knew existed.

Since that day, I’ve watched Doug dominate the vegan food scene as a classically trained chef who changed career paths after moving to a plant-based diet, and also become an inspiring, outspoken activist who cares about animals as much as he cares about health. He’s prepared stellar dishes at Urban Herbivore, Live Organic Food Bar and Raw Aura, helped businesses incorporate organic vegan meals in their menu offerings, and shared his knowledge with enthusiastic audiences at food demos, festivals, other cooking events, and on TV.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed a number of dishes from his new book:

The Greek kale salad with a zesty lemon avocado dressing and cashew feta cheese will forever be a staple in my house. All of the components can be pulled together quite easily, resulting in a delicious and satisfying meal.

The lightly spiced Moroccan chickpea stew, served on a bed of cauliflower rice, are the first entree recipes I created from this book. The stew is packed with vegetables and also makes use of soaked chickpeas and a number of spices to resemble a traditional Moroccan meal. I also enjoyed the cauliflower rice as a light, fluffy alternative to starchy rice. The fresh parsley and lemon juice make it a lovely summer side dish.

The breakfast muesli, a mix of soaked buckwheat groats, seeds, nuts and raisins and sweetened with agave nectar, makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast served with almond milk or by the handful as a quick snack on the go. Of course, my review wouldn’t be complete without testing a recipe from the desserts chapter, and the gingerbread cookies were the perfect choice, a satisfying end to a delicious meal.

Although I’ve barely tapped the surface of this comprehensive cookbook, so far the recipes are all that I thought they would be: imaginative, delicious and a true reflection of Doug’s talent and commitment to healthful, cruelty-free cuisine. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the important information in the front section of the book that explains how to properly prepare ingredients and enhance their nutritional profile, as well as a full list of kitchen essentials.

Whether you’re new to raw cuisine or a seasoned veteran, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of Doug’s book today.



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