Back when I was on a raw foods diet, I loved making strawberry pie. (If you want to know more about why I was on this diet and how it helped me with Celiac Disease, read this post.) It’s sort of a strawberry crumble and is quick to make and satisfying to eat. It was an easy gateway into the raw foods diet;
I would make this for parties, and it would be the first thing that a group would finish off. Yep, people would gravitate to this instead of traditional cakes, brownies, and pastries. It’s that good.
What’s also great is that while this is a dessert, it’s sweetened with dates. (And maybe a bit of honey, if you’d like.) Dates are a good source of minerals (iron, potassium, calcium, copper, and more), fiber, vitamins (B complex, K, A), antioxidants (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), and tannins (which are anti-infective and anti-inflammatory). Pair that with the anti-oxidant rich strawberries and high in protein nuts and you’ve got yourself a healthy breakfast.
I had a lot of fun making this pie, especially after realizing that now that I live in California I can make it entirely out of ingredients from local farms. Here’s where my ingredients came from:
Strawberries are already at the market this year. Yes, in March. I got mine from Swanton Berry Farm, a CCOF Certified Organic farm based out of Santa Cruz. Swanton is unique in that founder Jim Cochran was the first organic farmer and first strawberry farmer in the country to develop a union contract with his farm workers.
Almost all strawberry workers in this country are paid using regressive methods, such as by amount picked, while Cochran’s employees are paid an hourly wage in addition to health insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and a pension. The farm even started an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, making it second to none in farmworker labor rights. Oh, and did I mention that their strawberries are delicious? Read about their cultivation methods here.
Then there are the California dates. Yes, you can buy Medjool dates at any grocery store now, but buying straight from Flying Disc Ranch gives you so many other options: Derrie, Deglet Noor, and Barhi are all in season right now. The Barhi are especially soft and sweet, and after buying a pound I couldn’t stop eating them straight from the bag. Flying Disc is also a great example of a non-certified farm that is doing so much more than Organic certification requires in terms of ecological sustainability. The farm practices permaculture and eco-dynamic methods, and actually pulled their Organic certification because they didn’t feel it was stringent enough. The ranch has a high insect count, makes their own compost, and provides excellent wildlife habitat. You can read more about the ranch’s practices here. They have an open door policy, and feel that their methods produce sweeter and more nutrient-dense dates.
Then there are the nuts. I generally use almonds for this crust, but any nut will work. My almonds were from Capay Canyon Ranch, a certified Farm Verified Organic (FVO) Farm that sells almonds, grapes and dried fruit. I was able to buy unpasteurized almonds from them, which is a product that you can’t find many places anymore. Yes, truly raw almonds are a rarity.
I also used some honey from Snyders Honey and extra virgin olive oil from Bariani in this recipe. These are optional, but great additions.
Raw Strawberry Pie
- Two baskets of strawberries (mine were from Swanton Berry Farm)
- A pound of dates (Medjool works well, but I used a mixture of Barhi and Derrie from Flying Disc Ranch)
- Two cups of nuts (I usually choose almonds and walnuts. My almonds were from Massa Organics)
- Optional: Honey (mine was from Snyders Honey)
- Optional: Olive Oil (mine was from Bariani Olive Oil)
For The Crust
If you think ahead, you can soak the nuts overnight. This will help release enzyme inhibitors that are in place to make sure the nuts to sprout on their own. These inhibitors make nuts hard to digest. Soaking also starts the germination process of the nut, which releases essential nutrients.
- Combine the nuts, 2/3 of the dates, and a spoonful of honey in a food processor (you can also add some olive oil to loosen up the mixture).
- Process for 30 seconds or until the nuts are cut up into small pieces.
- Turn off.
- Test the mixture by pressing it against the side of the food processor. If the mixture sticks together well, you’re finished. If it’s still a bit crumbly, add more honey, dates, or olive oil.
- The mixture should now look like this:
6. Press the mixture into a pie pan or bowl, lining the bottom and sides. It should look like this:
For The Filling
- Cut off the strawberry tops. You can actually leave the green tips on, as they are edible, but it might change the color of the mixture.
- Place strawberries in a blender. You can set some aside to slice and place on the top of the finished product, but this step isn’t necessary.
- Add the remaining 1/3 of the dates. You can always add more dates to make the mixture thicker, if you’d like.
- Blend until smooth. Mixture should be thick like a smoothie and taste great.
- Pour into pie crust.
- If you’d like, line the top layer of the pie with sliced strawberries.