Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Vegan cooking host Laura Miller wants you to take it slow

The social media celeb's debut cookbook "Raw. Vegan. Not Gross." comes out this week.

Social media personality Laura Miller went vegan overnight after reading a book about the practice at age 18 — but she doesn’t recommend you follow in her footsteps.

“It’s the big joke that you’re vegan for a week or a month,” she says. “It makes sense that even if you start out gung-ho, you’re eventually going to lose steam. I’m a big proponent of the slow and steady transition, adding new plant-based things along the way.”

Miller entices vegan enthusiasts, diehards and the curious with her cooking series for Tastemade, where she whips up bright, colorful produce-packed dishes with deadpan humor and simple. healthy recipes. Her first cookbook, “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” debuted this week from Flatiron and features glowing endorsements from the likes of both Jamie Oliver and Meghan Trainor. We chat with the Californian as she packages #Froobs (a fruit-as-boobsphoto schtickshe popularized on Instagram) T-shirts to benefit the Movement Foundation — a non-profit that promotes positive body image among women — and preps for her upcoming book tour.

What’s your background with cooking?
When I decided to do vegan food I figured I needed to earn my stripes so I worked as a line cook at a big restaurant. It was hilarious because I worked the grill with meat all day, six days a week, testing steaks with the finger to make sure they were the correct level of doneness. I didn’t know how to get trained in raw foods — I tried one place but it was a little too cult-like for me — so I gave up and started a tiny raw food business in San Francisco and had to teach myself.

RelatedArticles

Did you learn anything from the process?
I learned I was a bad business woman. [Laughs]I was more interested in teaching people about the food than selling it at a high enough price to make a profit. I was just so excited to talk to customers in the market that I would be like, “Oh don’t worry, I’ll send you the recipe! You don’t have to buy it!” I definitely have some regrets about not being able to pay my bills very efficiently.

Is there any one food that can turn a skeptic into a believer in vegan food? Do you have any secret weapons?
Magical raw things like avocado pudding, which a lot of people know now, but if you do it right, it just tastes like a delicious pudding,not like avocado at all. Then banana soft serve which is basically just frozen bananas. I tell people to start with these as a gateway because it’s a magical fun thing, but then you’ll also feel really great after.

What’s the difference between raw and vegan cuisines?
Vegan is nothing with animal product and raw is the next step beyond that. It’s complete vegan but nothing is cooked above 115 degrees, so people will do things like using a food dehydrator to make crackers or cookies. Also, raw stuff is usually all gluten free.

What’s the benefit of going raw?
People have very different answers, but for me, I like the limitations [of raw foods.] It forces me to focus on produce as opposed to vegan where you can be like, “Oh, Cheerio’s and soy milk, that’s vegan!” I don’t eat raw all the time by any means but it’s a good baseline for doing creative things with produce.

THIS WAS MY all-time-best-selling-people- still-ask-me-about-it item that I sold at the farmers’ market. (It probably cost me ve times what I sold it for, though. Have I mentioned that I was a terrible businesswoman?) I’ve been making it regularly ever since.

This isn’t the easiest recipe in this book. It has a lot of ingredients and quite a few steps. But it’s creamy and decadent and just so good. It’s worth it.

Active time: 2 hours
Inactive time: 4 hours or 12 hours
mostly raw • 1 cheesecake; 8 to 10 servings

For the pink layer:

2 cups fresh coconut meat

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water

1 cup agave nectar
1 ⁄ 4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 ⁄ 2 cup coconut oil

1 ⁄ 2 cup beet juice

1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons culinary lavender

1 ⁄ 4 cup nutritional yeast

For the crust:

1 cup beets, coarsely chopped

3 cups coconut flour 1 cup almond flour

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons dried lavender

1 ⁄ 3 cup maple syrup 1 ⁄ 3 cup coconut oil

For the white layer:

2 cups fresh coconut meat

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour

1 cup agave nectar
1 ⁄ 4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 ⁄ 2 cup coconut oil

Seeds of 1⁄2 vanilla bean, scraped out with a spoon

1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the beets a few times, then add the remaining crust ingredients and process again, but keep the mixture somewhat chunky.

  2. Press the crust into a 9-inch springform, making sure to reinforce the sides so they don’t break, and dehydrate overnight or bake in the oven at its lowest temperature for 2 to 3 hours, until crust is rm to touch. Let cool completely.

  3. Make the white layer: Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

  4. Once the crust has cooled, pour the white layer into it and place in the refrigerator to set up for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Make the pink layer: Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the white layer.

  6. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 30 minutes.

  7. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles