Now that that’s out of the way, I think a more accurate title for this cookbook review is “I tried cooking with Laura Miller and it didn’t work out.”
In case you’re not familiar with who Laura Miller is, she’s a YouTuber and raw vegan who started selling her raw desserts at a farmer’s market in San Francisco and moved up the entrepreneurial ladder to YouTube which then led to a really positive and large following on Instagram. The husky-voiced, raw vegan has a really fun and goofy personality on camera where she shares her raw food creations which include pop-tarts and cinnamon buns.
A month or so ago, Laura released her first raw, vegan cookbook titled “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross” which is also the name of her YouTube series. She’s great and I was beyond excited to see a vegan cookbook, much less a raw vegan cookbook at my local library in Iowa. The images are beautiful and in true Laura Miller fashion, there’s a lot of pictures of Laura wearing mushroom shoulder pads and hats made from bananas.
So similar to my last cookbook review on Minimalist Baker’s cookbook, I picked 3 recipes from “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” donned my avocado froobs shirt (I don’t know about you
but I always cook better when I have produce on my boobs) and got cooking. Without using the stove.
My mantra for this experience was, “Keep an open mind and try to eat everything.”
First up was obviously breakfast and the Feel Better Green Shake, which Laura Miller says isn’t for people who need their shakes to taste like a pina colada. Okay, point taken and I accept the challenge. It’s alkalizing! Low-glycemic! Packed with vitamins! And if you’re special, it can give you magical unicorn powers! Not really, I added that myself.
I added the kale and chopped the green apple. Threw in the cucumber and the cinnamon and ginger. And then I got to the part where you add a whole grapefruit. Like an entire mother-f***kn’ grapefruit!
Remember when I said that cucumbers were my most hated food? Yeah, I’m sorry but I forgot that I really, really, really, really hate grapefruits above anything else. They’re way to sour and I’ve never been able to understand how people, especially my grandparents, can just shovel a raw grapefruit into their mouths for breakfast. But I added it. I added the whole damn thing because I am stupid and bought two at the grocery store and needed to get rid of at least one. Speaking of which, if any of my co-workers are reading this and you want a grapefruit I’ll give it to you free of charge).
I know I said that my mantra was to try and eat everything. I really tried but even a mason jar couldn’t make this Feel Better Green Shake taste good. I don’t think it was the recipe. I think it was me because I hate grapefruits. By the way, did you know I hate grapefruits? I give this shake a 2 out of 5. The cinnamon was nice and the grapefruit overpowered the kale enough but it was just too much. Way too much and I dumped it out at work. Sorry guys.
Next, lunch! Well, a lunch snack. I saw that Laura included a recipe for ranch dressing and who doesn’t love ranch dressing? Ranch on pizza. Ranch with Chik’un tenders. Ranch with potatoes. Ranch with everything! Plus I really liked the name she chose, so I soaked my cashews and chopped up my dill and made When I Dip You Dip We Dip Ranch. I tried it with carrots. I tried it with Gardein tenders. I tried it on its own. I tried.
Long story short, the ranch turned out nothing like Hidden Valley or the salad dressing ranch you would expect and more like a cashew-tzatziki dip. I think it was the cashews which made the texture too thick and the dill which made it too Greek and less Midwest. But it wasn’t terrible so I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Edible, but not up to expectations.
At this point I felt like I was in a bad relationship with the cookbook. I was so close to saying, “It’s not you. It’s me. I just don’t like dill and I don’t like grapefruit. I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is working.”
I had one more recipe and I chose a cold avocado and ginger soup to try and have a real raw vegan dinner. I loved how little prep this recipe has. You just blend up avocados with ginger, cilantro, lime juice, and spices and you’re G2G (you know, good to go). Awesome! I
don’t have to get the stove dirty! YAY for adulthood!
I kept an open mind, but I just couldn’t finish the bowl. I put it in the fridge to try if eating the cold soup actually cold would help and it didn’t. Again, I don’t think it was the recipe. I think it’s me. I think that I added too much lime juice and the avocado texture was too rich. Out of all of the recipes, I have to rate this one lower at 1 out of 5 stars.
This is where the “It’s not you, it’s me” phrase really comes in. I don’t think the let down was “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” or Laura Miller. I think the let down was me and my tastebuds. Laura has created a beautiful cookbook with pictures that I would frame and hang on my wall, but my tastebuds were not prepared for real raw, vegan food. When you don’t heat your ingredients and when you take out oils the flavors get more complex and more real and I wasn’t ready for that.
Will I be purchasing my own copy? Probably not. At the beginning of this I would have said yes and bought my own copy. There is a really delicious looking banana cream pie plus some tasty-looking raw deserts in the back, but everything else is not for me. I’ll still wear my #froobs shirt with pride and I’ll still follow Laura on Instagram and YouTube because this experience wasn’t the cookbook’s fault. It was my fault by adding too much grapefruit and too much dill.
I really hope that this review doesn’t turn you off of testing out “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” for yourself. It was a lot of fun to explore raw vegan food and I encourage you to try and find a copy and get creative in the kitchen and cook with Laura Miller for yourself. Hell, I’ll probably test out that banana cream pie recipe before I return my copy to the library. And of course, I’ll still support Laura Miller because her YouTube and Instagram makes me happy.
This post was not sponsored in anyway. All opinions are my own.