I love carrot cake. And carrot cake is actually fairly easy to veganize and make gluten-free. But we are going for easy this week. That's why I came up with a raw bites version. You aren't going to believe how much it really tastes like carrot cake.
Let's break down why these are surprisingly good for you first.
- Carrots - They have plenty of beta carotene, vitamins A and C, and are loaded with fiber. Antioxidants and your digestion system will be happy.
- Walnuts - High in omega-3 fatty acids and copper. Anti-inflammatory properties for your heart and joints and more antioxidants. Studies have shown the walnuts have unique antioxidant polyphenols which help with liver damage and to improve lipid panels. These nuts don't get the attention they deserve.
- Dates - Potassium, copper, and fiber abound in this sweet fruit nuggets. And they are perfect for giving you the energy you need to make it through the day.
- Cinnamon - The spice that at one time was more coveted than gold; cinnamon is packed full of amazing nutritional value. It's known for lowering fasting blood sugar levels, which can be a powerful tool for those with diabetes. It's also used in lowering your bad LDL cholesterol level and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Who knew this common spice held so many health benefits?
Now that you have been convinced that eating a few of these a day is a good thing, let's show you how easy they are to make.
First, have the right tools. A food processor is necessary for these. If you haven't invested in a food processor yet, you are cheating yourself out of making a lot of really amazing recipes. Raw bites are just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with a food processor. Salsa, hummus, tapenade, pesto, and vegan cheese are just a few of my favorites things to make in my food processor. How about real carrot cake with a bowl full of shredded carrots in less than a minute. Or homemade coleslaw. Both are so easy to do with a food processor. I love my basic Cuisinart that I have had for years. Get the same one I use by clicking here:
You actually want to get started a few hours before actually making the bites. Soaked cashews are used to make a creamy top layer in these carrot cake bites. Make sure you are using raw nuts for all elements in all raw recipes, unless otherwise noted. Soak the cashews for at least 2 hours and then drain and rinse them well. Set aside and get started on the base layer.
Start by processing your nuts for 10-15 seconds. Then add the rest of the base layer ingredients.
Although my food processor comes with a grater attachment, it really only takes one large carrot to create 3/4 cup of grated carrots and so I don't bother with it. I don't even peel my carrot and just use my handheld small grater to do the trick. It takes all of 30 seconds and is much easier to clean than my Cuisinart grater attachment, which I only use for big jobs.
Process until everything is ground up and incorporated, pour it out into a lined bread pan and press down firmly to create the first layer.
Place it in the freezer to start setting while you move on to the top layer.
For the top layer, clean your food processor or use your Vitamix or high powered blender. I have used both for this and both work just fine, although I prefer using my Vitamix. Add the drained soaked cashews and the rest of the top layer ingredients. A note on the canned coconut. Don't over-complicate this and do not replace this step with carton coconut milk...completely different ball game. Take the can from your pantry, open it up and with a spoon, scoop out the top of the can (it's solidified on the top) and fill up a 1/3 measuring cup and add that coconut cream to mixer. Then, take your spoon and punch a whole through the remaining solidified top of the canned coconut milk and you will find the coconut water underneath. Pour out a few tablespoons and then store the rest of the entire can in a glass container to use in another meal later in the week (dare I suggest a coconut curried vegetable dish over brown rice).
Process for a few minutes until smooth and creamy, stopping and scraping down the sides often. Remove the base layer from the freezer and pour the creamy mixture over the base later.
Spread evenly over the base and garnish with chopped walnuts and orange zest.
Put back in the freezer for an additional 45 minutes or more to set, remove and cut up into bite size pieces.
That's it. I know, so easy! Once you start stocking your pantry with raw nuts and dates, the possibilities are endless. You could absolutely make just the base layer of these and roll into balls. They taste just like that name brand bar that costs almost $2. And they are perfect for eating before and during a long-run, on hikes and are ideal for traveling.
These taste just like spring should—fresh and earthy, coconut creamy, with just a hint of orange zest. I hope you enjoy them!
Time: 2 hours cashew soak, 20 minutes to make, 1 hour in freezer
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. dates
3/4 c. shredded carrots
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
zest from 1 orange
1/2 c. raw cashews
1/3 c. solidified top of can of organic, responsibly sourced, coconut milk (not carton kind)
2 tbsp. coconut water from the can of coconut milk
2 tbsp. responsibly sources coconut oil, melted
2 -3 tbsp. pure maple syrup, sweetener to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped raw walnuts
Two hours before beginning, soak the cashews in double the amount of water for at least 2 hours. Drain and set aside.
In your food processor, blend the almonds and walnuts10-15 seconds until they form a course meal. Add the rest of the base layer ingredients, except about 1 tsp. of orange zest, and process another 10-15 seconds to combine.
Line a bread pan with parchment or wax paper. Dump contents into pan and spread evenly with clean hands. Press down firmly to mold. Place pan in the freezer until the top layer is ready.
In the cleaned food processor or a Vitamix, add drained soaked cashews and the rest of the top layer ingredients. Process for a minute or two, stopping to scrape down sides. It is ready when it resembles a creamy consistency.
Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the top layer on. Spread evenly and garnish with chopped walnuts and reserved orange zest. Put back in the freezer until hardened, approximate one hour in total.
Remove by the parchment paper and place on cutting board. Cut into bite sized pieces. Serve after 10 minutes at room temp. Store any leftovers in the freezer.
Makes approximately 15 bites.