Eat Well: Baby, it's hot outside

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
We’re having a heatwave here in Southern California. I have no right to complain of course since most of the country has been sweltering all summer. We're incredibly spoiled here in coastal Southern California so when the temperature spikes to 95 degrees and there is actually HUMIDITY (what’s that?) we whither. We moan. We curse the fact we didn't put in an air conditioner last winter when we were thinking about it.

I don’t know why I wilt with warm weather. I wish I were like my husband, Larry, who announces on the hottest day of the year, at the hottest time of the day, that he is going on a 5 mile hike, straight up the mountain behind us. “Are you CRAZY???” I say, sitting in front of the fan with my bathing suit on and cold washcloths pressed against my forehead. He LOVES the heat, embraces it with every sweaty pore in his body. It might be because he grew up in hot climates—Chicago, New Jersey, Cleveland—and I grew up next to the beach. Maybe our heat tolerance has to do with where we spent our childhood. And I spent mine in the ocean (literally, all summer long).

By now you probably have figured out that I love to cook, but not when it’s hot. All of my normal passion in the kitchen goes on vacation to places like Antarctica while I am left behind trying to stay cool. But since I am still committed to eating well, I have my favorite no-cook recipes that get me through hot spells. I do all of my chopping in the morning before the house gets too hot then throw everything together at the last minute.

Cold soups are easy and refreshing. Served with a salad, some sliced melon and a baguette they taste wonderful on the hottest day of the year. I’ve posted some of my favorites here and here. The gazpacho and cucumber soup don’t require any cooking at all so are perfect on the hottest days. I found this cold black bean soup recipe on the Internet and it sounds yummy, also requiring no cooking.

Large dinner salads are perfect meals on hot days. You can layer whatever you want on a bed of greens. I like any of the following on my dinner salads: cold asparagus (you can use canned if you don’t want to cook it first), beans (garbanzos are my favorite), tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, cold hardboiled eggs, hearts of palm, fresh corn (taken off of the cob either cooked or raw) and generous amounts of toasted sunflower seeds or slivered almonds. If you eat tuna and salmon, add these straight out of the can. Then cover the salad with generous amounts of your favorite vinaigrette. This is a complete meal served with a crusty loaf of bread. One of our favorite hot day dinners when the kids were little was tuna salad or chicken salad, both made with grapes and fresh herbs (thyme, basil, or dill are my favorites), stuffed into either a cantaloupe or a tomato and covered with toasted almonds (try a papaya for the ultimate decadence).

Here is a raw vegan twist on this summer favorite. We had this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous!

Mock Tuna Salad 

1½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw almonds
3 stalks celery, finely minced
½ small red bell pepper, finely minced
¼ cup red onion, finely minced
½ cup diced seedless grapes
2 Tbsps fresh dill, finely minced
1 Tbsp dulse flakes (kelp granules)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons tahini
½ t salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Cover seeds and nuts in separate bowls with 2 inches of fresh water. Soak for 10-12 hours (overnight). Drain seeds and nuts, and take the skins off of the almonds. Rinse.
soaked and drained seeds/nuts
Grind seeds and nuts in food processor with tahini.
process seeds and nuts with lemon juice and tahini
With processor going, add lemon juice and if needed, a few tablespoons of water. Process until a smooth paste is formed. Mix together all ingredients.
finely mince vegetables
dulse flakes
(dulse flakes)
Serve stuffed in tomatoes, a half of melon, half an avocado, or half a papaya. Garnish plate with roasted sliced almonds, more fruit, raw veggies and avocado. This makes a great filling for a wrap. Spread on a flour tortilla, lavash, or collard green. Add some shredded lettuce, veggies of your choice and garnish!



Red Stethoscope | 6:42 PM

Wow, thank you so much for this WWW! I always drool over the restaurant chicken salads that have almonds and grapes in them, but I never have a clue about what proportions or spices to use. Also, I like having some non-meaty options every now and then, so this is perfect. Stay cool!

Megg | 6:45 PM

I had NO idea you could do that with seeds/blender!!! This looks amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

Amy K | 9:01 PM

Thank you for this! Seattle is having a heat wave too, and I want to spend as little time in my non-air conditioned kitchen as possible, eating as many chilly foods as possible.

Olga @ MangoTomato | 7:37 AM

Please thank your mom for linking to my black bean soup recipe. Let me know if you try it.

Btw, I saw you have twin girls: I'm a twin!!! What fun ;)

Allie E | 9:16 AM

Isn't this a recipe from Matt Amsden's fantastic book Rawvolution?? Please do give credit where credit is due.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Woolf | 10:06 AM

Allie..thanks for your concern. I have never heard of Matt Amsden's book, but will enjoy getting it. Just for the record, I always give credit for recipes. I got this recipe by experimenting after eating Mock Tuna at a restaurant but changed a lot of the ingredients and made it my own. If it resembles Mr. Amsden's, it is by coincidence. There are a lot of Mock tunas floating around!

Wendy Woolf | 10:10 AM is the link to Matt's recipe...
You will see that it's very different from mine but I'm sure it is delicious! (although mustard in spreads isn't my favorite! :)

Victoria | 10:15 AM

Wanted to let you know that I made the grits and okra recipe from last week and EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY LOVED IT. We fought over the leftovers!!! Can't wait to try this newest one.

Wendy Woolf | 10:32 AM

Olga...can't wait to try your recipe. And Victoria, glad you liked the grits and okra! It's addictive!

mykidisspecial | 11:28 AM

sheesh all that food looks good. I wish I could make anything nearly as delicious as that. Unfortunately, my cooking tends to end up like this:

Unknown | 6:35 AM

I am SO happy you posted this! We only have one raw vegan restaurant in town and I absolutely LOVE their mock tuna salad....I can't wait to make my own now! Practically drooling thinking about it....