When it comes to levels of vegetarianism, some can be more extreme. I mean, you have those who still eat dairy and eggs, then you have the vegans, who eat only plant-based ingredients. For many people, veganism seems extreme in and of itself. But there’s another level, and that is raw vegan.
Raw vegans don’t eat any animal-based products (obviously), but they also don’t eat any food that has been cooked to a temperature that is more than 118 degrees F. That means they end up mostly consuming raw fruits and vegetables. However, it’s not as crazy as it sounds, as many foods that you might think would be inedible without cooking them (like beans or grains) actually become consumable by soaking and sprouting them. Additionally, raw vegans use dehydrators to “cook” some ingredients.
Why raw vegan? Well, when you heat food to above 118 degrees, it destroys some of the active enzymes in the food, so it’s thought to be an incredibly healthy, “living” diet that can clear up a host of health problems.
Vancouver doesn’t have a ton of raw vegan places to eat. Gorilla Foods was probably the most popular, but it’s now gone. I recently made the happy discovery of Tao Organics in North Vancouver. It’s an adorable spot in Lower Lonsdale, run by a lovely Quebecois lady, Agathe, and her daughter. Nearly everything there is raw vegan (with the exception of a soup), and delicious. And the choices? A huge variety–it’s actually very impressive, and not very restrictive at all.
I was there recently judging a plant based bowl challenge for Vancouver Foodster, and we had some delicious, hearty food, as well as some yummy desserts.
One dessert Agathe is serving is a raw, vegan crepe, and that got my interest. So, I came home and started googling.
Turns out raw, vegan, gluten-free crepes are pretty easy to make if you have a dehydrator. There are literally two ingredients, and they just need a little time.
The texture surprised me, to be honest. I’m a huge fan of crepes, and I make them in many different varieties. I’ve done them sweet, vegan, gluten-free, savoury, Brazilian… you name it. But these raw, vegan, gluten free crepes mimic the texture of a regular crepe quite perfectly.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can try doing this in your oven. I have a round, donut-shaped dehydrator, and while it worked perfectly to “cook” the crepes, it made them into a weird shape. I had to cut them with a pizza cutter after the fact to make them into little squares. A large, square dehydrator (more commercially available) would be a better choice, but they are much less common.
Just a note here about coagulants. You could technically use chia or flax for this recipe if you don’t have any psyllium. But I found while writing my cookbook that recipes that needed a finer texture (like the delicate crepe) benefitted from the fineness of psyllium. Having said that, if you don’t have any, feel free to sub in either chia or flax, they should work fine.
Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free Crepes
- 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas
- 1 tsp psyllium husk
- Place the psyllium husk in a small bowl, and top it with 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the bananas, chunk them up and place them in the bowl of your blender.
- Scrape the psyllium/water mixture into the blender as well and then blitz it good for about 30 seconds to a minute. You want it to be nice and smooth.
- Place the fruit tray/screen on top of your dehydrator tray, and pour (if it’s liqidy enough) or scoop the banana mixture onto it. You want to smooth it out with a spatula until it forms a thin, even layer, about 1/4″ thick. You may need to repeat with additional trays (when I made this recipe it filled two trays). Just note, you cannot pour this directly onto your dehydrator tray, the holes are too big. I have a fruit roll up insert and a herb insert, and I found the herb one worked the best, though the fruit roll up one was pretty successful. I have the Salton DH1454 Collapsible Dehydrator.
- Set temperature to 115 degrees, and dehydrate for about 3 hours.
- Remove from the trays, cut into smaller pieces if needed, and fill with your favourite fillings: fresh fruit, coconut cream, maple syrup, nuts or granola.