Dehydrating Woes

Dehydrating Woes

I’m becoming a fan of Russell James, the popular raw chef in the UK. His foods look beautiful and tasty. A lot of his recipes require a dehydrator though, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the Excalibur 3900 series, the five tray. It wasn’t too much and had good reviews from a friend who has recently also gone “raw.”

When it finally arrived, it was quite a shock when I saw how big it really is – this big black box. It’s about the size of a decent microwave, a little longer though. It takes up half of my kitchen table, but I have one of those smaller kitchen tables that’s all white and cute so it may not take as much room on yours.

My first attempt at using the dehydrator, I made apple chips and banana chips. I chopped them thin and laid them out on the tray and left it overnight in the dehydrator at 135 degree F. They came out well and were gone by the next morning. Yum.

So I decided to make a dinner using the dehydrator. Prep for these kind of meals always take some time, so it’s best to do it the night before and put it in the fridge to be ready for dehydrating the next day, unless you have time to do it all the next day then by all means, have at it!

My first time making dinner in the dehydrator didn’t turn out too well. The wrap didn’t harden enough to be foldable even though I followed the instructions to the dot. After some research and talking to some of my raw foodist friends, I am learning that dehydrating isn’t fixed. Times are loose and can be ignored based on you keeping an eye on your food. The way you prepare the food for dehydrating also matters. Maybe I put too much liquid or didn’t make them thin enough on the tray. Either way, it still came out tasting great and I would make this again.

The flavors really pop in the falafels – spicy and crunchy. And I was so pleasantly surprised by how the “roasted” vegetables really tasted roasted. Dehydrating foods really bring out the flavors and I am falling in love with this new method of cooking. My body is probably thanking me, too.

Falafel & Hummus Wrap with Mediterranean “Roasted” Vegetables

For the tortilla

3 cups peeled courgette (zucchini)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flax meal*

– Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

– Add flax meal and blend again until smooth.

– Pour mixture onto 2 dehydrator sheets and spread evenly into a circle on each.

– Dehydrate for 8 hours at 105 degrees F, or until able to peel of the sheet.

– Once the dehydrator sheets are removed, return to the dehydrator for 30 – 60 mins, until both sides are dry to the touch but still pliable.

* Flax meal is flax seed that have been ground in a coffee grinder or similar, to produce a fine flour.

For the falafel

1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
8 sun-dried tomato halves, soaked for 1 to 2 hours and then chopped
3 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 clove garlic
2 shallots
1/4 cup olives, stones removed
2 teaspoons oregano
Pinch cayenne
Pinch pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

– Process all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed.

– Form into Falafel and dehydrate on a Paraflexx sheet at 105 degrees F for 6 – 8 hours.

For the hummus

1/2 cup mac nuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

– Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender until smooth.

Optional “roasted” Mediterranean vegetables

1/2 cup courgette (zucchini), sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 a medium red onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

– Marinate all ingredients for a couple of hours, then place on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 1-2 hours, until soft.

– You could just miss out the marinating & dehydrating part of this recipe to save time, and eat the veg crispy

To assemble

– Start by arranging a selection of your favourite salad leaves at the bottom of the tortilla, so it covers half the tortilla, leaving a small gap at the bottom.

– Arrange the vegetables in a line along the salad leaves.

– Place 3 – 4 falafel along the top of the vegetables.

– On top of the falafel, spoon over a generous helping of the hummus.

– Fold up the left and right hand sides of the tortilla.

– The bring the bottom of the tortilla up over the 2 sides that have already been folded up.

– Using your thumbs, and keeping the sides and bottom rolled up, roll over the main part of the wrap towards the top so it starts to form the wrap and keep everything tightly packed together.

– Once completely rolled, cut at a diagonal with a sharp knife.

Enjoy! It’s a great tasting meal even if it doesn’t come out the way the recipe calls for! Stay tuned as I keep learning about eating a raw food diet.

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