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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Noteworthy Nosh: Coconut Kale Enchiladas @ Be Raw Food and Juice

This week’s noteworthy nosh comes from Dallas. I don’t get the chance to make it over to The Big D all that often, and I am totally fine with that. But this meal was definitely worth the trip.

If you find yourself in the University Park area and are an adventurous soul, you must try Dallas’ only raw vegan eatery. The menu is extensive, with several juice and smoothie options, but also soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, noodle bowls, pizzas, and desserts. The entrée selections include a raw lasagna, “bliss burger” and even a raw take on spaghetti and “meatballs.”

A friend and I stopped in recently for a leisurely lunch. The atmosphere was relaxed and not overly crowded (though parking is interesting), the waitstaff is friendly and eager to answer questions about the menu, and Chef Cesar Vallejo was more than happy to talk about customer’s favorite dishes and how they are made. I am not vegan, so I had plenty of questions.

In addition to trying a fresh juice blend and cup of pineapple cucumber gazpacho, I tried one of Be Raw’s most popular dishes, the coconut kale enchiladas. The tortillas are made from coconut, red bell peppers, dates and agave that are dehydrated into rollable shells. They are stuffed with marinated kale, and topped with pico, "nacho cheese" and a cashew “sour cream,” then served with red and green salsas on the side.

I was pleasantly surprised first by the cheesy flavor of the enchiladas. The shells had a slightly sweet flavor that was unexpected but not unpleasant. At first, the texture of the shells vaguely reminded of fruit rollups I ate as a child, but the spicy heat of the dish kept the sweetness from being at all cloying. Perhaps most impressive was the marinated kale filling, which was delicate but flavorful, and it didn’t have that stereotypically unpleasant texture that sometimes makes raw kale difficult to eat.

Although the difference between traditional enchiladas and raw enchiladas is vast, I think taken on its own merits, the dish is successful—offering traditionally Hispanic flavors of chilies and cheese, light but filling and a uniquely fun variation on the norm.


Be Raw Food and Juice (berawfoodandjuice.com), 6005 Berkshire Lane in Preston Center, M-Sat 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sun 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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