When you start getting up at 6am to cook dinner before work as you can’t risk the electricity being off in the evenings, you know that load shedding is well and truly affecting your life. But what if you can use those Eskom lemons to make lemonade? 

Trying out raw food

We often don’t get into new routines until forced to, and living without the luxury of constant electricity can help with not only cutting down on those Netflix viewing habits, but also allow us to explore the introduction of more raw food into our diets. Initially a somewhat fringe food movement with incredibly passionate devotees, raw food is becoming increasingly mainstream. Champions of raw food point out that the cooking of vegetables can kill natural enzymes that aid in their digestion, as well as reducing vitamin content. A 2007 review published in the Journal of the Science of Food & Agriculture found that cooking vegetables can lead to a 55% loss of vitamin C, suggesting that leaving some of our veggies raw may be no bad thing. 

As well as the health benefits, raw food also cuts down on energy consumption within the home as we transition to more sustainable cooking patterns that are less reliant on electricity usage in the kitchen. And unless you have a particular penchant for steak tartare, the majority of raw food meals are completely meat free, further reducing your carbon footprint. 

Lastly, let’s not forget the fact that eating raw even once a week can be a massive time saver as you chop and pull together ingredients, no cooking time needed. To get you started, see below five quick and tasty raw food dinners to try today. 

Jamie Oliver’s Panzanella Salad

A recipe originally created by the Italians to give new life to stale bread, this salad’s environmental credentials are pretty impressive. With no home cooking required, this panzanella salad is also a perfect way to redirect old bread from the bin and onto the plate. The dry bread here performs the function of soaking up the juices from fresh tomatoes, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Just leave the anchovies out to make it completely vegetarian. So good in fact is this salad that I have been known to buy new bread and leave it out to go stale just to make this recipe, which-I know- kind of defeats the point…

The Minimalist Baker’s Rainbow Spring Rolls

So colourful with different herbs and vegetables that I’m fairly sure it could make you healthier just by looking at it (full disclosure: this is not scientifically fact checked). These spring rolls are a quick and tasty dinner option on their own, but take the extra few minutes to make the accompanying ginger peanut sauce to take it to the next level. 

Will Cook For Friends’ Zucchini Pesto Pasta

Perfect for a hot day, this refreshing recipe brings together courgetti spaghetti and a great homemade pesto. Completely vegan, you can add some cheese to the pesto if you’d like something a little creamier. And remember, you can also use a pestle and mortar for the pesto if you want to go old school and make this recipe electrical device free.

My New Roots’ Raw Tacos

These super tasty vegan tacos from Sarah Britten’s My New Roots blog are made all the more delicious with a homemade cashew ‘sour cream’. Yes, it does require a short blitz with the food processor, but this recipe was too good to leave out. Plus, if you haven’t visited Sarah Britten’s MNR blog before, check out the whole section dedicated to raw food alongside her usual meat free options.

My New Roots’ Chocolate Mousse Tarts

And because there’s always room for dessert, we’re sticking with My New Roots and trying out these chocolate mousse tarts. Combining a soft and creamy vegan chocolate and avocado mousse on a crunchy walnut and maple syrup base, there is absolutely no cooking required.

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