Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Raw January Day 6 - 11: Marinara Sauce and Orange Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

It's been a whirlwind of a week. No, I didn't fall off the raw wagon, but I did spend a couple of days not eating at all. I received news of the passing of a good friend on Saturday, and my appetite has been in the negative realm.

This blog is about food, though, and I have food topost! I've been embracing the lettuce wraps lately--mainly because I've been getting a TON of
lettuce from the organic co-op.

Shown here is a wrap with pickled herring (my local grocer let me watch it being made, so I know its rawness is intact), tomato, avocado, and red onion. Super tasty and super filling. This was a great meal to have at work.

Next on the list was to perfect the raw marinara
sauce. I've tried several recipes, and ended up
with this hybrid. I found it to be closest to how I
think marinara should taste. Plenty of herbs and garlic give it the Italian kick needed to meet my approval. We had it over a bed of zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper noodles (shown right). Two zucchini, one yellow squash, and one red bell fed three of us with no leftovers, so adjust according to your family size.

In my meals I've also had a variety of salads, and for breakfast it's been almost exclusively smoothies. Today was an exception, however, as I (after 3 tries) have perfected the raw cinnamon to suit our tastes. The recipe originally came from The 30 Minute Vegan and is shown here. I appreciate the jumping off point, but I couldn't get their recipe to really taste like much more than a mouthful of sugar and cinnamon. I know, I know, what else is a cinnamon roll supposed to taste like? Well, my palate demands a little more challenge than sweet on sweet....on sweet.

So, below you will find my take on the raw cinnamon roll, as well as my marinara recipe. Enjoy!

Raw Marinara Sauce

3 c fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water until
soft, liquid reserved
1/2 c fresh mango, diced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeño, deseeded and diced
1/3 c fresh basil, packed
1/4 c fresh oregano, destemmed
1/4 c fresh thyme, destemmed
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and deribbed
2 sun-dried black olives, deseeded
1 large shallot, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c liquid reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Set aside one cup of diced tomatoes for later. Place remaining ingredients except liquid from sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor and purée. Add sun-dried tomato liquid as needed to smooth out the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Pour purée into bowl and stir in remaining tomatoes. Serve over pasta, marinated veggies, or as a dip for raw garlic bread. Makes about 7 cups of sauce.

Orange Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

1 c raw buckwheat groats (unsoaked, or soaked and dehydrated until dry)
1 1/2 c raw pecans, finely chopped
2 1/2 c Medjool dates, pitted, packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs + 1 tsp honey
1/4 c orange juice
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c golden raisins

Process the buckwheat groats for 40 seconds in a food processor, or until finely ground. Add ONE cup of the pecans and process an additional 30 seconds. Add TWO cups of the dates and continue to process about 30 seconds. Add ONE teaspoon of the honey and all the vanilla. Process for 30 seconds more, or until a sticky dough forms. If necessary, add an additional teaspoon of honey to achieve a dough that will form a tight ball and hold its shape.

Transfer the dough to a flat work surface covered with wax paper. Using your hands, press the dough into a rectangle 9" x 11" and 1/4" thick.

Process the remaining 1/2 cup of dates, honey, juice, vinegar, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor until smooth. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving about 1" along the far long edge. Sprinkle raisins and pecans evenly over the cinnamon layer.

Roll up the dough by making a small fold along
the long edge closest to you, pressing it down, peeling back the wax paper, and continuing to roll in the same way, making as tight a roll as possible (similar to rolling sushi, if you've ever had the pleasure). When completely rolled, wrap entire log in wax paper and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Cut the log into twelve even slices. Makes 12 rolls. Top with icing if desired.

Orange Zest Icing

1 c cashews
3 tbs almond milk
3 tbs agave
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes about a
cup of icing, enough to drizzle over 12 cinnamon rolls.

You can see my youngest spawn enjoying one of these breakfast rolls here. That's icing on her lip, not a snaggle tooth!


  1. I'm sorry to hear about the death of your friend. :(

    What is it about marinara sauce that makes it so tricky to duplicate raw? I've found that a combo of fresh and sundried tomatoes works well, too. I'm intrigued by the inclusion of mango!

    I'm not a fan of orange, as you know, but I do like that you added pecans AND upped the dates in the cinnamon rolls to cut the buckwheat.

    Hehe, it DOES look like icing-snaggletooth in the last pic! :)

  2. Thank you for your condolences. With marinara, I think it is just difficult to find the right balance of tomato-to-herb ratio, especially when raw. Usually marinara is cooked down, allowing the flavors to meld together over time....not so when raw. And all tomato-based sauce needs sweet to pull out the flavors properly. Normally I use sugar in cooked sauce. This time I had a slice of mango sitting there, so I went with it. The flavor of the sauce was much fresher tasting than the attempt I made adding a date to the puree.

    I'm not huge on orange, either, but these cinnamon rolls really needed some acid to them. The orange is just in the background, cutting through the syrupy sweetness. By only using the zest in the icing, it's very subtle.

  3. Hi,
    thanks for sharing this lovely post!!!
    i like varity of salads,and i have got raw cinnamon this is also very tasty and love this ttype of recipes...
    raw buckwheat