This is not a hardcore raw food blog. You don’t need any fancy equipment to make these recipes. And you certainly won’t be making raw spinach and apple “tortillas” for raw “burritos”. This is not that kind of raw food blog, no offense. 

This is the kind of raw food blog that celebrates the bounty of summer produce while acknowledging summer’s reality: it’s really hot and running the AC is expensive. So let’s skip the oven, all heat sources really, and go straight to raw preparations of our favorite fruits and vegetables!

What is raw food? 

For some, eating primarily raw foods – uncooked and unprocessed – is a dietary and lifestyle choice. There are many definitions of what a raw food diet is, with most providing a temperature food should not be heated above. We’re not going to get too technical here. For our purposes, raw means we won’t be using heat (stove, oven) to prepare these veggie-forward dishes. 

I am not a raw foodie. A lot of my diet comes from cooked foods. In fact, my body has a much easier time digesting cooked vegetables than raw ones. But I can’t go through life only eating cooked veggies, so here are some of my favorite raw foods I’ve been eating on repeat! Find all of the ingredients for the recipes below at your Davis Food Co-op. 


Kelp Noodle Salad

I love this kelp noodle salad by itself, stuffed into spring rolls, or as a way to give second life to leftover proteins.

  • 1 package Kelp Noodles
  • 1 lemon, cut in half, divided 
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamari 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Water to thin
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ small red onion sliced
  • 2-3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • ½ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small daikon radish, grated
  • Handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Optional: lime wedges for serving

Rinse kelp noodles in cool water. Transfer to a mixing bowl or storage container and fill with water until covered. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over noodles. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes to tenderize noodles. 

In a large bowl, whisk together juice from the other half of the lemon, tahini, maple syrup, tamari, and sesame oil. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time if needed to thin to dressing consistency. Add veggies, cilantro, and sunflower seeds to the mixing bowl. 

Drain kelp noodles and transfer to a cutting board. Chop several times to make noodles smaller (2-3 inches). Add noodles to the veggies. Toss together and serve with lime wedges.

Crunchy Topper

I usually have a sweet and savory version of this in my pantry, although I toast everything in the oven at home. For this iteration, no toasting necessary. Use this sweet crunchy topper over yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, fruit, mixed into nut butter (then use on a PB&J), or over ice cream!

  • ½ cup raw walnuts or pecans

  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds

  • 5-8 pitted dates, depending on how sweet you like things

  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 

  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats 

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Big pinch salt

  • Optional: 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder

  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

  • Optional: 3 tablespoons roughly chopped dried fruit such as cherries, mangos, or blueberries

Add walnuts/pecans and pumpkin/sunflower seeds to a food processor. Pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add dates and pulse a few more times to loosely combine. Add seeds, coconut, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in any optional flavorings. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks.

Customizable Tomato Salad

I make this for dinner about 3 times a week in the summer. It comes in handy when I realize my dinner plate isn’t very colorful or when I have 6 cherry tomatoes and other odds and ends left from the week or when the tomato plants in the backyard just won’t quit.

  • Tomatoes (whatever you have on hand), cut into wedges (large tomatoes) or halved (cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 summer vegetable (cucumber, zucchini, or corn) OR 1 summer fruit (watermelon, peaches or cantaloupe)
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint or parsley) 
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Optional: feta cheese

Start with whatever tomatoes you have on hand. Little ones can be halved and large ones can be cut into wedges. 

Decide what your secondary ingredient is. Slice cucumber, cut zucchini into small cubes or cut kernels from the ear of corn. You can also choose a fruit as your secondary ingredient, which I do when I buy a large melon and need something to do with any leftovers. Cube whichever fruit you choose. Add to a bowl with tomatoes, red onion, and herbs. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little feta if you have it on hand, otherwise, serve at room temperature.

Caesar’s Zucchini

Caesar Dressing

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or tamari if gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, like avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the dressing, add cheese, egg yolk, mustard, lemon stuff, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire/tamari, oil, tarragon, chives, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise into long strips roughly the width of a pencil. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour half of the dressing over the zucchini and toss to coat. Add more dressing as desired. Let sit for 3 minutes, but not much longer as the zucchini will continue to release liquid. Serve zucchini pieces alongside a main dish or heaped on toasted bread.

Apple Horseradish Sandwich Spread

I like this on a whole wheat slice stacked sky high with a rainbow of veggies, plenty of pickles, and cheddar cheese.

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1-3 tablespoons water
  • Half a lemon
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped 
  • 1-4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Generous pinches of salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with the lesser amounts of water and horseradish, unless you know you love horseradish. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Spread on a sandwich!