Eating raw can be a really time consuming endeavor when you're just getting started -- what with all the new sprouting, fermenting, dehydrating, and spiralizing involved. But there is an easy option for raw foodies on the go: The Box by raw food company Rawvolution.
Best known in the Los Angeles area for its raw restaurant Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, this company also offers a weekly box filled with ready-to-eat organic raw food for both pickup and nationwide delivery. I'd been curious about The Box for a long time, so when the raw week of my Fresh Start Cleanse came up last month, I decided to take the plunge and shell out the $120 for the box. After all, the box promised 12 unique dishes including soups, salads, entrees, and desserts -- all made raw from fresh, organic, local ingredients and superfoods.
So I picked up my box excitedly one Monday from Euphoria Loves Rawvolution -- and tore into it just five minutes later. Sure enough, the reusable box was filled with all sorts of goodies -- like raw pizza, pasta, and cookies!
Of course, the box also came with a little pamphlet advising me to make sure to my greens too -- because simple green salads aren't included in the box. Salad greens are easy to add on at home -- so Rawvolution just focuses on unique, more substantial dishes that busy foodies may not have the time or energy to prep after a long work day.
Well, I took that tip to eat my greens very seriously -- a decision that made The Box last me pretty much all week -- an effect that had both positive and negative results (read on). I made my own green smoothies for breakfast, ate fruit from my organic produce delivery for snacks, and added my own greens -- but other than that, was able to avoid all food prep for the week by relying on The Box. Basically, I turned every dish into a salad. And if the dish was already a salad, I made it an even bigger salad. How? Take the Mock Tuna Salad, for example -- which filled a sizeable sandwich container to the brim with a heavy nutty faux-tuna nut mix. Like real tuna salad, this would've been far too heavy just to eat on its own. So I chopped romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions -- then threw about half the container on there for a filling, raw meal. Does raw mock tuna taste like real tuna salad? No -- though you can detect a slightly fishy taste in the concoction, which has a nice nutty flavor that's lovable for itself.
So I got two meals out of that one package, as I did for the Veggie Cakes & Dill Sauce. The Veggie Cakes were savory, nutty and oniony -- but also extremely dry and a bit too intense (dehydrated onions can pack a powerful punch!) to eat on their own. So I broke these into croutons and threw them on a green salad. Topped with the dreamy, creamy dill dressing, the salad was perfect -- sort of like a Ceasar salad with less cheese and more intense croutons. I turned the pasta dish -- the Indonesian Noodle Affair (top photo) -- into a pasta salad too. This was probably my favorite dish. The spicy and creamy sauce on the kelp noodles made the raw dish a decadent affair.
I got so into this "throw it on greens" habit that I even added greens to the Seaweed Salad and Bok Choy Salad, which were already made with greens! Both those salads were made with a generous amount of delicious marinades -- which doubled nicely as dressing for the extra greens. No, I did not put the two soups on greens. Those I enjoyed as cool midafternoon snacks! The French Onion soup was just so so, but I loved the kick in the Spicy Sesame Cream Soup -- a nuttalicious, thick broth with cilantro, onions, and red cabbage.
I kept my salad on the side when I ate the Greek Pizza. The pizza actually needed assembly, with the tangy topping of sundried tomatoes and olives placed on what I think was a collard leaf so the whole thing could simply be set on top of the dehydrated crust, which was packed separately. The concentrated flavors in the dehydrated crust -- combined with the concentrated flavors of the sundried tomatoes and olives -- was a bit intense for me, though I realize some raw-gans love dehydrated raw food specifically for that concentration of flavors.
By the time I got to the Vegetable Lasagna though, I'd had the box for about five days -- and the remaining items were looking a little -- wilted. The dish tasted creamy -- but had gotten mushy and slightly discolored with a sort of marinated look by the time I got to it. The only dish I actually disliked was the Mashed "Potatoes" -- made of pureed cauliflower, I think. It tasted strangely sour and acidic -- though I wonder if that effect was due to the fact I ate this dish last and the dish had gone bad (though I didn't get sick).
The dishes I ate first? Those would be the desserts. The Tropical Fruit Parfait was like a creamy, pineapple-flavored tapioca, with coconut on top and a yummy nut crumble at the bottom. The three Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls were a sweet, rich mix of maca, coconut oil, and carob chips -- which I really should have cut into halves to enjoy a half piece a day instead of eating them all on the first day!
If I go on a raw kick again, I may try the box again -- but will make sure I have a person to split it with, as super fresh raw dishes really are just not made to last all week. The green downside to this organic, vegan raw service: Though the recycled cardboard boxes themselves can be taken back to Rawvolution for reuse, the individual containers can't. And the biodegradable containers are not accepted in most cities' recycling programs -- including in West Hollywood, where I live.
Want to try The Box yourself? Check out next week's menu and order it for $120 at Rawvolution's website. You can pick up your order if you're in New York or Los Angeles; otherwise, FedEx delivery will cost you extra.