Heirloom Tomato, Kale and Basil Pumpkin Seed Napoleon

heirloom tomato cashew cheese raw napoleon

Hello from the Big Easy!

What started as a really disappointing week (cancelling my trip to Portland) has ended with feeling better and making it (thankfully) to Chloe’s place in NOLA. I recently told a friend in DC that being around Chloe is always like a homecoming for me. Around Chloe, I feel safe, relaxed, and totally myself. It has always been that way, and I know it always will. That’s the power of childhood friendship!

I’ve been celebrating my return to vegetable gluttony since I got here, with tons of fresh salad and delicious raw food. As I’ve noted recently, raw recipes tend to be how I celebrate the beauty of food—more so than with any other kind of cuisine—so it’s only appropriate that I have both salad porn and a lovely raw entrée for you tonight.

When I got here, I immediately had a chance to see Chloe and Knud’s lovely new home (and its lovely, spacious, and light soaked kitchen). Since then, it has been relaxed, quiet hours of books, horror movies quality films, walks, some yoga (more on that soon) and possibly a beach jaunt this weekend. But most importantly, there has been fresh, colorful food:


That is a gorgeous salad of sweet potato, corn, fresh candy beets, avocado, and baby kale. And last night, I decided to whip up one of my favorite raw recipes: tomato napoleons.

I’ve always said that raw foodism is much more about “templates” than it is about recipes. Zucchini pasta. Raw veggie rice. Salads. Soups. Stacks (napoleons). Memorize these techniques, and you have endless ways to prepare raw food (dehydrator free and simply, I might add). I adore making tomato napoleons in the summer, preferably with fresh basil: nothing could be more vibrant, flavorful, and elegant. This recipe, which took advantage of a beautiful local heirloom tomato and basil from Chloe’s own garden plant, was no exception. Try it, and be amazed at how something so simple can taste so good!


Heirloom Tomato, Kale and Basil Pumpkin Seed Napoleons (vegan, high raw, gluten free with GF mustard, soy free)

Serves 4

2 large heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch of curly kale
1 1/2 tbsp avocado, olive, flax, hemp, or sacha inchi oil
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 + 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tbsp + 1 tsp dijon mustard, divided
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked four hours or more, rinsed, and drained
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh basil, tightly packed

1. Place seeds, 2 tbsp lemon, ACV, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper garlic, and 1 tbsp mustard in a food processor. Process on high, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. When the texture is getting more even, add a thin stream of water (3-4 tbsp) until the mixture is taking on a totally smooth, spreadable texture.

2. When the texture is right, pulse in the basil till it’s well combined. Set pumpkinseed spread aside.

3. Wash, de-stem, and chop the kale into small pieces. Whisk together the oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard, agave, and 1/4 tsp salt together. Pour over the kale, and massage well, until the kale is wilted and well dressed.

4. To assemble napoleons, slice the tomato into 1/2 inch slices. Layer one slice on a plate, top with a tablespoon or so of the pumpkinseed spread, cover with a layer of kale, and repeat. End with a single layer of tomato on top, and stack until it’s too high to stay upright if you stack any more!


What a beautiful entrée!

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I served this dish with kale salad garnish and a fresh salad of leftover sweet potato, corn, and avocado. It was wonderful.

If vegetable and nut “pate” stacks haven’t occurred to you before, this is the time to try them. It’s an easy and visually beautiful way to get dinner on the table. Give it a shot this weekend, and let me know what you think. I’ll be back soon with more NOLA dining, cooking, and walking adventures!


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Categories: Snacks
Ingredients: Kale, Tomatoes
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan

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  1. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that.
    And he just bought me lunch because I found it
    for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  2. All I have to say is that recipe is BEAUTIFUL 🙂 I’ve seen stuff in restaurants that *tries* to be that awesome.

  3. This napoleon looks like an amazing way to put fresh summer tomato at the center of a meal! I love the idea of pumpkinseed pesto, too–I don’t think I’ve ever eaten pumpkinseeds any way but roasted and salted. Definitely a great variation!

  4. So Gena, would you say that this post has,*ahem* raw porn? Bahaha!

    On a less sophomoric note, I like what you said about templates as well, and add this thought: most raw (or non-raw, for that matter) cookbooks do not divulge their templates. Though some can be figured out, it’s not always the case. Yes, recipes will have alternatives for different ingredients, but I’ve rarely seen s recipe say “typically, you need x amount of a binding ingredients, x amount of dry ingredients,” etc. By luck I’ve managed to “wing it” and have success, such as with a raw bread, but I’ve found general templates difficult to track down.

  5. I love your description about raw foodism being more about “templates” than recipes. I find that to be so true too! And, that distinction really captures why preparing raw food can be such an inherently creative and impromptu adventure!
    It’s perfect for those of us who don’t like to follow the rules. 🙂

      • And, a perfect reflection showing how physical reactions are so much easier to master than chemical ones! (Sorry to activate any chem flashbacks during your time away from school!)

  6. This looks amazing! My area has been experiencing an heirloom tomato surge lately- my neighbor even put out a tray of them by her mailbox with a ‘free’ sign! This is a great way to use them 🙂 I can’t wait to try it!

  7. Were you coming to Portland for the bloggers conference?

    The napoleon looks perfect. The heirloom tomatoes here are so great right now.

    Enjoy your girlfriend time 🙂

      • Yes, I will be there too and can hardly wait 🙂

        The International Food Bloggers Conference is here this weekend, so I thought maybe that’s what you were talking about.

  8. Aren’t heirloom tomatoes the best? I love how much sweeter and of course flavorful they can be – and the colors! I share your love of basil, and these stacks look right up my street! Looking forward to seeing more food and – salad – porn! 😉