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vegetable ceviche + chipotle pepita “pilaf”


My friend asked me if I had any ideas for a simple, raw, vegetable-heavy dish (that wasn’t a salad) to make in the heat of summer. I had some things in mind, but they involved a bit of blending, or use of a food processor, a spiralized vegetable, or maybe a dehydrated component. Adding a sprouted grain was tempting, but would prolong the process of having the actual meal by a day or so. My mind went to work is what I’m trying to say. It moved too fast for the simple task at hand. I needed to step back and reconsider it all.

I take a few things for granted when I post recipes on here. I always get such lovely feedback and kind words from many of you and I’m grateful for that, fully. There are a lot of directions here, however, that call for blending, mandoline-slicing, ice-cream-maker-churning etc. These are assumptions about accessibility, something I strictly set out to avoid when I created this space.

My kitchen has a few bells and whistles, sure, and I approach recipe development from that privileged stance. The very hard reality is that you can never assume too much when assessing the task of making food at home. I have access to a car/bike that can take me to at least 15 purveyors of healthy and fresh food in my area at any time. This is unusual for many. Same goes for the kitchen I work in. We have functional plumbing, hydro, a 2+ HP blender and a host of other (possibly unnecessary) devices that simply make food. That’s all they do. This state of dwelling is surprisingly common and overwhelmingly “other” at the same time. I sense that duality every time I approach the food and the tools and the task at hand.

I know that so many of you just want to eat well and feel as good as possible, but may not have a spiralizer slicer or a mortar and pestle or whatever. Or maybe it’s just too hot to crank out a meal with a heat-based cooking method right now. Whatever the case, we all have that same basic goal in mind I think, and there are infinitely varied ways to get there that are within all of our reach. This vibrant, simple and delicious recipe is my offering, a way of trying to get to that place.

This dish is beautiful and healthy, but my favourite part? You only need a knife, a vegetable peeler and your own two hands to make it happen. It’s perfect for balmy end-of-summer days. Use whatever nuts/seeds you like in the cauliflower “pilaf.” Same goes for the elegant lime, spice and mustard-cured vegetable tangle on top. It’s an honest and filling plate of goodness built up very simply. And it’s within all of our reach.


vegetable ceviche with pepita & almond cauliflower “pilaf”
serves: 2
notes: The peeler isn’t even totally necessary here. Just small or thin cuts/dices is all you need to get the job done. Also, as noted you can use whatever veggies you have around that you like, but I will highly HIGHLY recommend the corn while it’s in season. So good.

for pilaf:
2-3 cups cauliflower florets, most of the stem removed
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds + extra for garnish
handful of chopped almonds
1/2 tsp dried chipotle powder
salt and pepper
2 sprigs of mint, leaves chopped

for ceviche:
1/2 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1 large cob of corn, kernels removed
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and julienned
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
juice from 3 limes
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp raw agave nectar
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 sprigs basil/cilantro, leaves finely chopped

Chop the stemmed cauliflower florets super fine. This can be done by milling your knife over them repeatedly, as if you were mincing garlic. Place into a medium bowl. To the bowl, add the pumpkin seeds, almonds, lime juice, olive oil, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside while you prepare the ceviche. Chop and add the mint right before you’re ready to serve.

For the ceviche, place all ribboned/chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the lime juice on top. Add the mustard and agave nectar. Toss with your hands to combine. Scrunch the vegetables down near the lime juice pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Allow this mixture to sit for about 10 minutes, tossing it up here and there. This is where the “curing” and softening up of the veggies happens.

After 10 minutes, drain out most of the juice from the ceviche, reserving about 1-2 tablespoons. Toss the remaining vegetables and lime juice with the olive oil and season to taste.

To serve: divide the pilaf between two plates, flattening it slightly. Divide the ceviche among the two plates next, placing on top of the pilaf. Garnish with the chopped basil/cilantro and more pumpkin seeds if you like.

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Michelle15/08/2012 - 3:47 pm

Yes! The dish I’d been dreaming of! Especially now as I lie in bed drinking a smoothie recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out…ah…solid food..

julie15/08/2012 - 7:51 pm

Beautiful dish ! This will be had very soon, especially while fresh corn is still in season. Thank you :)

Corrine Collins15/08/2012 - 11:41 pm

Perfect. I’m planning on doing this tomorrow: I love raw cauliflower.

sara16/08/2012 - 12:36 am

so frickin creative!

Hannah16/08/2012 - 2:10 am

gorgeous recipe, even more beautiful sentiment. accessibility is such an issue across the board with food … getting good fresh ingredients home is a challenge enough for so many, it is nice to have a simple, fresh, true way to prepare them. (And simultaneously a great reminder that even the simplest dishes can be stunning to look at when we take an extra moment or two!) thanks as always …

Courtney16/08/2012 - 4:33 pm

What a creative and yummy recipe! It gets hard sometimes to think of new ways to enjoy fresh, seasonal produce, especially without too much complicated prep. Bravo!

Isabella18/08/2012 - 6:33 pm

Yum. Looks delicious. Will have to try it!

Kathryne18/08/2012 - 6:42 pm

Laura, I’ve been away from the internet for a couple of weeks and just have to say that your posts lately have been, like, extra stellar. Love this recipe, I wish it would magically appear for dinner. Aren’t vegetable peelers just the handiest little things?

Sarah20/08/2012 - 10:52 am

Oh, dear. I don’t even know what a spiralizer IS, haha.

This, though, is beautiful. I love when things are raw, but still something I’d eat without setting out to make a raw recipe. That’s what this is like. Love the “pilaf” idea.

Kelsey20/08/2012 - 11:28 pm

“a knife, a vegetable peeler and your own two hands…” this would do, everyday and always… :)

Linda20/08/2012 - 11:59 pm

I’ve recently found myself falling trap to buying kitchen tools with only one purpose, as if the more of these gizmos I own, the more legitimate of a cook I am. (Case in point, I recently bought biscuit cutters, which are totally superfluous!) It’s good to be reminded that a lot of the time, all you need are the basics.

Ricki21/08/2012 - 8:14 pm

Holy jeepers this looks incredible! I just ate dinner, but I think I’d like a big plate of this. . . now. :)

This is such a creative recipe! I love how you used mostly vegetables! You have such beautiful pictures!

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Jess13/09/2012 - 11:02 am

Oh my gosh… this looks amazing. And it’s absolutely gorgeous! What camera do you use? Thanks for sharing:D

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Colleen28/09/2012 - 2:37 pm

A dish of such immense beauty it has taken my breath away and has me dreaming of eating it now…come ON summer! I have been going through a process of reconstructive jaw and oral surgery and have not been able to chew for the past 18 months. I am starving for beautiful food like this right now. Soon! I have just discovered your beautiful blog and am loving it. Thank you for sharing xx

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