Raw Vegan Cilantro Lime Rice

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raw vegan cilantro lime rice blender food processor
One of my favorite non vegan, but vegan friendly restaurants is Chipotle. I love that I can go there and get a vegan friendly salad bowl, anytime I am traveling or out and about. My all time favorite item there is their cilantro lime rice. It happened that as I was planning this week’s recipe, I was thinking about that tasty cilantro lime rice and that got me thinking how hard it would be to do a raw vegan cilantro lime rice.

Now, there’s a lot of rice inspired raw food dishes, but a lot of times they use finely chopped cauliflower or jicama. To be honest, the texture is not at all the same, and you can’t fool anybody. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, however for an Asian who grew up eating rice all her life, it’s a bit underwhelming. But then, I discovered wild rice being used in raw foods. It’s a superstar raw food ingredient that in my opinion, most closely resembles cooked rice when recreating rice dishes raw. Wild rice is a water-grass seed, and though it’s named “rice” it’s technically not a grain. It has twice as much protein than brown rice, and 30 times the amount of anti-oxidants of white rice. It’s also loaded with vitamin A, B, C, and E, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc, to name a few. So I can fulfill my rice craving and nourish my body at the same time! Amazing!

raw vegan cilantro lime rice
Now, normally you have to cook it to eat it, but you can actually eat it raw by soaking it in water. This is called “blooming” since wild rice doesn’t sprout. Blooming softens and swells the rice as if it was cooked.

raw vegan cilantro lime rice
There is a traditional blooming technique shown in several raw food cookbooks, but the problem is, this “blooming” step never worked for me. The technique is to place the wild rice in a closed mason jar with water, and put it into the dehydrator for 12-24 hours at 110℉. Unfortunately, every time I tried it, the wild rice never softened much, even after 24 hours and more. It just never made much progress. Pretty disappointing after all the hours waiting and wild rice isn’t very cheap. I was almost ready to give up on it.

Then one of the raw food pioneers, Chef B Live showed me how he makes his own raw vegan Spanish Rice with wild rice, using a blooming technique that he learned from the legendary Chef Ito, the executive chef behind one of the best raw and vegan restaurant in the states, Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA. Chef Ito’s techniques involves “scoring” the wild rice for a minute in a food processor in order to allow it to properly bloom when soaked in water. The scoring makes countless slices on the hard surface of the rice, which allows it to soak up the water fast and efficiently. Pure genius. This simple but yet vitally essential technique makes it fail-proof. If you ever choose to share this technique with others, please mention Chef Ito to give credit to him.

So the first thing you do with Chef Ito’s blooming technique is to score the wild rice for one full minute in the food processor. You have to continuously keep it running, so no pulsing here. FYI, it can be quite loud so I usually get out of the kitchen while it’s scoring. When it’s done, make sure the wild rice is completely covered with black powder. If it’s not, it’s a sign it’s not scored enough so keep it running a little longer.

raw vegan cilantro lime rice
Then rinse the wild rice well under water, until the water turns clear. Placed it into a large mason jar like the half gallon size, or a large bowl. Pour in water to soak and let it sit for 12-18 hours. Caution: Make sure the jar you use has enough room for the rice to expand 2.5 – 3 times. No kidding, 16oz of wild rice will literally fill a half gallon jar by the next day, it swells so much.
*I suggest you start soaking the cashews for the cilantro lime cream 2-4 hours before you are done blooming the rice, so that you can make the cilantro lime rice when the blooming is done.

raw vegan cilantro lime rice Once the wild rice is bloomed, rinse both wild rice and cashews and drain. Transfer the wild rice into a large bowl. Add all the ingredients for the cilantro lime cream except for the cilantro into the blender, and blend until smooth. If you own a Vitamix, use the tamper to help it blend to make a nice thick cream. If you have a normal blender and you have trouble blending, add a tiny amount of water, very little at a time to help it blend into a smooth cream. The idea is you want to only add the minimum amount of water it takes to make it blend smoothly. If you add too much water by accident, add some cashews to thicken it up. Pour the cream onto the wild rice, and mix until the wild rice is evenly coated. Mix in the chopped cilantro and stir until evenly distributed.

raw vegan cilantro lime rice Garnish with some more chopped cilantro and hurray! I give you raw vegan cilantro lime rice! It’s great by itself, or topped on salads with Italian dressing or balsamic dressing. I always make a lot of it, and use it in lettuce leaf tacos and taco salad, which I will be posting the recipe for this month, so stay tuned!

raw vegan cilantro lime rice

Raw Vegan Cilantro Lime Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: raw food, raw vegan, gluten-free
Serves: 8-9
Ingredients
  • 8oz of wild rice

Cilantro lime cream
  • 1 cup cashews
  • Juice of 1½ lime
  • Zest of 1½ lime
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • Some chopped cilantro for garnish
Instructions
Chef Ito's technique for blooming wild rice:
  1. Score the wild rice for one full minute in the food processor. You have to continuously keep it running, so no pulsing here. FYI, it can be quite loud so I usually get out of the kitchen while it's scoring. When it's done, make sure the wild rice is completely covered with black powder. If it's not, it's a sign it's not scored enough so keep it running a little longer.
  2. Rinse the wild rice well under water until the water turns clear.
  3. Placed it into a large mason jar like the half gallon size, or a large bowl. Pour in water to soak and let it sit for 12-18 hours. Caution: Make sure the jar you use has enough room for the rice to expand 2.5 - 3 times.
  4. Start soaking the cashews for the cilantro lime cream 2-4 hours before you are done blooming the rice, so that you can make the cilantro lime rice when the blooming is done.
  5. Once the wild rice is bloomed, rinse the rice and drain. Transfer the wild rice into a large bowl.

cilantro lime cream
  1. Rinse the soaked cashews and drain.
  2. Add all the ingredients for the cilantro lime cream except for the cilantro into the blender, and blend until smooth. If you own a Vitamix, use the tamper to help it blend and make a nice thick cream. If you have a normal blender and you have trouble blending, add a tiny amount of water, very little at a time to help it blend into a smooth cream. The idea is you want to only add the minimum amount of water it takes to make it blend smoothly. If you add too much water by accident, add some cashews to thicken it up.

assembly
  1. Pour the cream onto the wild rice, and mix until the wild rice is evenly coated. Mix in the chopped cilantro and stir until evenly distributed.
  2. Garnish with some more chopped cilantro. Serve by itself, or topped on a salad with Italian dressing or balsamic dressing.
Notes
I usually double the recipe and use a 16oz bag of wild rice, and use it in lettuce tacos, taco salads, and other various Mexican dishes.

Store in an air-tight container. Keeps in the refrigerator for 5 days.

 

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