Choosing Raw: Cookbook Review

Choosing Raw

My friend and blogger, cookbook author and writer extraordinaire Gena (pronounced like Jenna) Hamshaw gifted me her new cookbook Choosing Raw and I am happy to tell you all about why this book should be in your hot little hands!

Now to be clear, if you’ve been to Gena’s fabulous blog, you know that her recipes are not exclusively raw. They are all vegan, but she’s definitely found a balance between raw and cooked foods in her health journey. We all are on our own journeys, so there’s no “right” way or formula for combining raw and cooked and absolutely no judgment.


Choosing Raw Cookbook


Raw Food You’ll Want to Eat

Gena’s subtitle is Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat so you’ll find that this cookbook is an excellent tool to help you take your raw food intake far past a mundane salad. Like her blog, her cookbook combines both raw and cooked recipes to give you a great source of variety and freedom in the kitchen.

If you think that raw food means a crudité platter or a garden salad, think again! Gena gives us an excellent background into the why behind a vegan diet, the what of how to stock your pantry and and introduction to new ingredients and foods that you will be using, and of course the how with meal plans to help make it simple to put this new lifestyle into action.

Her 125 recipes are divided up in a super helpful way. Here are some to look forward to:

  • 15 Essentials: Almond Milk, Cashew Cheese, Chia Pudding
  • 5 Juices: Green Lemonade, Cucumber Cooler
  • 10 Snacks: Easy Roasted Chickpeas, Hummus Kale Chips
  • 20 Dips, Dressings, Sauces, and Spreads: Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette, Creamy Maple Chipotle Dressing, Hemp Parmesan
  • 5 Meal-Size Salads: Acorn Squash, Frisée, and Brown Rice Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts
  • 13 Desserts for Everyone: Raw Peach Cobbler, Burnt-Sugar Coconut Ice Cream


She then divides the rest of the recipes into levels which progressively add more raw foods, cooking techniques, and new ingredients going up the levels. This is a great way of adapting to where you are, the ingredients you have on hand, and your comfort level with raw foods with the option to stretch yourself a little in the raw food realm.

Aside from a very useful index that will help you use what you already have in your fridge and cupboards, another thing I love is that, for the most part, the recipes are short and simple. Many don’t require fancy equipment and incorporate a great variety of flavors, colors, and textures so that you can awe your non-vegan dinner guests with both the presentation and the taste!


A Yummy Raw Breakfast Recipe

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes from her book. I am a big fan of oats but usually eat them cooked as oatmeal. Gena’s muesli recipe is a super raw blend of oats, nuts, seeds, the most delicious Honeycrisp apple and other antioxidant-rich fruits. It is delicious and certainly gives my normal bowl of oatmeal some friendly competition.

Gena was generous to share this recipe with all of you!

I hope you try it, enjoy it, and consider adding more raw foods to your diet with Gena’s help!


Bircher Muesli

©Hannah Kaminsky


Raw Vegan Bircher Muesli

Makes 4 Servings

2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apple (or apple of choice), grated with a mandolin or box grater (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup goji berries
1/3 cup dried mulberries
4 tablespoons chia seeds
3 cups homemade or store-bought almond milk (homemade will be richer)

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and soak overnight. In the morning, you can add a little extra almond milk, if needed, before serving.

From Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014.


Gena Hamshaw Head Shot

©Jeff Skeirik

Gena Hamshaw is a certified clinical nutritionist, raw foods enthusiast, vegan, and author of the book Choosing Raw. Learn more about Gena and her book on her website, blogTwitter, and Facebook.

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