A Simple Cookbook for Aspiring Vegans

In "Raw. Vegan. Not Gross," chef Laura Miller introduces a new audience to easy-to-make snacks and dinners

By Sarah Robertson

July 26, 2016

Raw Vegan Not Gross

Laura Miller's new cookbook | Photograph courtesy of Laura Miller

Chef, entrepreneur, and stylista Laura Miller just checked one more item off her lengthy list of odd jobs: author. On May 17, the California native released her new cookbook, Raw. Vegan. Not Gross: All Vegan and Mostly Raw Recipes for People Who Love to Eat (Flatiron Books), as a spin-off from her successful YouTube series by the same name. “I wanted to create a book that people could really sink their teeth into,” Miller says. “Bright, fun recipes, beautiful photos, and lots of helpful little tips and funny stories about how and why I got into all of this.”

The endearingly awkward celebrity chef has been making recipes for YouTube’s Tastemade channel since 2013. Her videos give viewers an easy introduction to raw food without the intimidation of some vegan recipes. Teaching as she goes, Miller doesn’t assume viewers have any knowledge of the exotic spices or offbeat veggies she uses. In her videos, she makes a case for chard, calling it the “often overlooked younger brother of kale.” She knows the difference between coconut nectar and coconut oil, but if you don’t, that’s OK. “Most of my audience is not actually vegan, which is really exciting to me,” she says. “I love showing people how accessible and delicious vegan and plant-based food can be.”

Raw. Vegan. Not Gross includes recipes from Miller’s YouTube channel as well as personal reflections on the journey that led her to raw food. Before she started working for Tastemade, Miller opened a vegan dessert business in San Francisco called Sidesaddle Kitchen. While her desserts were a hit, the business failed when San Francisco’s Underground Market, an incubator for food start-ups, was shut down in 2012. Fortunately, Miller kept cooking, and in 2013 Tastemade approached her about starting the web series.

By sharing her own experience with raw and vegan food, Miller hopes she can inspire more people to make the change. “I went vegan overnight after my older sister gave me a book explaining the health, environmental, and animal rights issues that supported veganism. I wasn't necessarily doing a good job at it though—I was eating a lot of processed junk just because it was labeled vegan. When I found raw food, I immediately connected with it because while I knew I would probably never be completely raw forever, it inspired me to look at produce in completely new ways.”

Miller’s online tutorials give viewers a glimpse of the bright, creative mind that wrote Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. “Texture is everything,” Miller says as she cranks a zucchini through a spiralizer in her Rainbow Noodle Salad tutorial. Thick green noodles spill onto the table. She heaps the noodles into a bowl, followed by slices of red bell peppers, purple cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts, topping the salad with sesame seeds and gluten-free dressing. When working with primarily raw food, Miller says it is important that the texture of each dish be something the taste buds don’t expect. She uses a food processor to pulverize ingredients as a substitute for a recipe’s processed counterpart. Cauliflower florets become a quick and easy alternative to rice. Raspberries, dates, and psyllium husk make a sweet vegan Pop-Tart filling. She folds the pastry filling between small sheets of vegan dough, sealing the edges with a fork. Instead of baking the imitation Pop-Tarts, which contain no eggs, nuts, grains, or gluten, Miller uses a dehydrator.

“I do have a list of suggested equipment in the book, but I really think you can get away with just sharp knives and one food processor or blender,” Miller says. "Baking raw food does technically require a dehydrator, but most people don't have one of those so I give options to make all recipes in a regular oven as well.”

She scorns the “cultlike” lifestyle that tends to form within vegan culture. Instead, she wants to encourage readers to try her recipes at their own pace. “I'm very frustrated by vegans who have this ‘us versus them’ mentality,” she says. “Trying to shame people into veganism is ineffective and shortsighted.”




A perfect dish to try on nonvegans, and one of Sierra’s favorites, is the sweet potato enchiladas. Sweet Potato Enchiladas


This is a good one for your friends who still can’t get down with the vegan thing, thinking it’s too wimpy or not filling enough or just plain boring. The tortillas become soft and chewy and soak up all that amazing enchilada sauce in the oven, making a perfectly comforting and hearty dinner for even the most aggressive naysayer. I like to bake the enchiladas on a bed of the extra sweet potato mixture that I sauté in step 2.


Active time: 30 minutes

Inactive time: 30 minutes

For the filling:

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 to 4 sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

3 to 4 medium tomatoes

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons gluten-free flour or cornstarch

For assembly and serving:

10 to 12 corn tortillas

Coconut oil

Cooking spray

1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast

Avocado crema


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. In a saucepan, sauté the onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes over medium heat until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. In a second saucepan, combine the coconut oil, garlic, and onion. Stir for a few minutes over medium-high heat, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, adding 3⁄4 cup water.

4. Warm the tortillas in a pan over medium heat for a few seconds to make them more pliable, then fill each tortilla with the sweet potato mixture and roll up like a taquito.

5. Place the little taquitos in a baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.

6. Spread the sauce over the filled tortillas.

7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until piping hot, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Serve with avocado crema.



Raw • 5 or 6 servings

You could serve this chunky, as more of a guacamole, or thin it out to make it a creamy sauce topping. You could also add diced tomatoes, red onions, or hot peppers once it’s been blended.

Active time: 5 minutes

1 large avocado, pitted and peeled

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1⁄4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste


1. Combine all the ingredients and about 1⁄4 cup of water in a food processor and process until completely smooth (add more water for a creamier consistency, less for chunkier).

2. Season with additional salt, if needed.