Pasta With The Preacher is an annual dinner tradition at my church, full of friendly conversation, belly-laugh entertainment, and plenty of pasta. This year, things were different. Alongside the veggie lasagna oozing with cheese and the carnivore version of the same, was a raw food option – Cucumber Noodles with Cashew Cream Sauce sprinkled with capers and parsley. WHAT?
It’s true. Quite the cadre of raw congregants has formed lately. These are folks who have come to understand that raw food is about more than uncooked fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts. It’s a spiritual adventure of extreme well-being. A way to clear toxins and make Spirit welcome.
Not long ago, the head chef for the Pasta With The Preacher event, arrived unsuspectingly at the home of a raw congregant for dinner. Before he could slip out the back door, he found himself eating a raw meal… and actually loving it. In fact, so blown away was he by the food, that he has become our new raw ally – sort of like when a straight person picks up the cause of the gays – he thinks what we are doing is AMAZING, but he’s pretty glad he’s not one himself. That’s what led to his call, inviting me to prepare a raw option for this year’s event.
The ‘raw side’ of the cafeteria kitchen looked curiously different from the ‘normal’ side – 40 English cucumbers peeled and awaiting ‘noodling’, two top-of-the-line high speed blenders, 10 bags of raw cashews, 20 juiced lemons. As dinner approached, we revved our blenders like drag racers before a race, making sure all systems were go.
Blended cashews, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and garlic were the main ingredients in our raw version of Alfredo sauce. A razor sharp julienne peeler caressed the length of the English cucumbers creating perfectly formed noodles that were sure to make any Italian wreck his Ferrari. We took our place in the cafeteria line-up, awaiting our first customers.
“Would you like to try cucumber noodles with cashew cream sauce?”, I asked. “Ahhhh, not really.”, said the first. This was all a HUGE mistake. Then came the second, who said, ” I’ll give it a try.” and then the third, and the forth, and suddenly it seemed that everyone had became raw-curious, willing to try what must have looked to the untrained eye like cucumbers and Miracle Whip gone wrong. Then reports started filtering back to the kitchen – “Everyone’s surprised by how good it is.” “They LOVE it.” By the end of the night, we had gone through four batches of cream sauce, all 40 cucumbers, and the newly converted raw foodies were coming back for seconds, asking for the recipe.
I went home that night with a non-stop smile, proud of my church for stepping beyond the ordinary, and grateful for the opportunity to introduce a few more friends to the power, beauty, and magic of raw foods.
Cucumber Noodles with Cashew Cream Sauce
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 green onion
1/2 Tablespoon garlic
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons capers
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
Place everything except cucumber, capers and parsley in blender and blend until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds. Serve cream sauce over cucumber noodles. Sprinkle with capers and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
I was there and the cucumber “pasta” was amazing! I was one of the shocked diners. I thought ok this is going to taste like a salad but I was so wrong. Quite a few of my friends are now on raw food and I was curious but thought it would be too difficult to prepare. I’m more of a frozen mircrowave dinner kind of guy. 15 seconds in a blender to make that incredible sauce? I can do that! Not quite ready to give up my carniovore ways yet but looking forward to trying more raw options. Thanks Pam!
Love this post, that raw lasagna sounds amazing!! At the restaurant I work at, we have a meat and veggie lasagna, and I ALWAYS recommend the veggie version. I think it tastes WAY better. I have never tried any raw dish so this sounds so good! Wish I had been at “Pasta with the Preacher”!