Flavor Balancing in Raw Cuisine

Learning to balance flavors is what will free you to create your own masterpieces, rather than being dependent upon the recipes of others.

The elements of flavor balancing are the same elements that go into balancing flavors in all ethnic traditions, because the flavor profiles that work to bring balance to soups, sauces, and salad dressings are the same universally. These flavors are Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, and Bitter. Each of the flavors is influenced by the other and all are supported by the patriarch of the family: fats.


Above: {Raw, Vegan} Eggless Quiche w/ Marinated Mushrooms

6 Flavors of Food:

Sweet: Brings balance to all other flavors and increases our pleasure quotient.

Examples: Dates, dried and fresh fruits, coconut nectar, maple syrup, Stevia, sun-dried tomatoes

Salty: Universal flavor enhancer and adds depth to the dish.

Examples: Solar-dried sea salt, tamari, miso, sea vegetables, celery.

Sour / Acidic: Enhances the other flavors in small amounts, adds intensity, reduces the amount of salt required, adds liveliness to the flavors, and keeps greens from oxidizing.

Examples: Lemon, lime, tamarind, grapefruit, orange, berries.

Pungent / Spicy: Adds intensity to the flavor.

Examples: Ginger, garlic, onion, hot chili peppers mustard.

Bitter: Highly alkaline.

Examples: Romaine lettuce, kale, arugula, dandelion, beet greens, chard parsley, basil, nutmeg, cumin, aromatic herbs.

Fats: Carries and emulsifies the other flavors, bringing them together; calms al flavors.

Example: Cold-pressed oils, avocado, coconut milk / cream, nuts, nut oils.


Above: {Raw, Vegan} Coconut Curry Soup

If the flavor is too… Balance it with…

Tart          –>       Sweet, salty, fatty, and bitter

Salty        –>        Sweet, fatty, tart

Pungent  –>        Spicy Sweet fatty

Sweet      –>        Tart, fatty, salty

Bitter        –>        Sweet, salty, tart

Fatty         –>        Tart, increase liquid / fat-free bulk

Bland       –>       Aromatic herbs, sweet, salty, tart, pungent



Classic Ethnic Flavors

To create a dish using classic ethnic flavors, start with one or two focal ingredients.

Begin adding other complementary flavors, considering flavor, food combining, texture / mouth feel, and theme. Below are foods and flavors typically associated with a particular ethnic cuisine:

Latin American:

Chiles, corn, cumin, cilantro, garlic, lime pineapple, onion, tomato, coconut, avocado, bell pepper, cabbage, cinnamon, and chocolate.


Basil, chilies, cilantro, coconut, cumin, curry, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime, mint, peanut, sweeteners, tamarind, and turmeric.

Eastern European:

Beets, cabbage, caraway seeds, dill, mushrooms, parsley, and cream.

Middle Eastern:

Anise, cilantro, chilies, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, eggplant, garlic, lemon, honey, mint, olive oil, oregano, parsley, pine nuts, pomegranates, poppy seeds, saffron, sesame, tahini, tomato, almonds, and olives.


Garlic, ginger, scallions, shitake mushrooms, Nama Shoyu, miso, sesame seeds, sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, nori rice, various seaweeds, umeboshi, sweeteners, and wasabi.


Garlic, olive oil, ricotta, spinach, tomato, parsley, basil, oregano, and rosemary.


Basil, chilies, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, cumin, curry, garlic, ginger, lime, mint, and Nama Shoyu.


Anise, cardamom, chilies, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, lemon, mint, mustard, peas, saffron, spinach, tamarind, and turmeric.


Apples, cheese, chives, cream, garlic, herbs, olive oil, parsley, and tarragon.


Basil, bean sprouts, bok choy, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, scallions, sesame, snow peas, Nama Shoyu.


Allspice, avocado, banana, chilies, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, curry, garlic, ginger, limes, jerk mango, mint, okra, papaya, pineapple, plantain, sweet potato, tomato, and vanilla.


Above: {Raw, Vegan} Caesar Salad Dressing

Dressings, Sauces, and Marinade Basics

There is no limit to the variety of delicious dressings, sauces, and marinades you can make once you understand the basic components that make up this specific category of recipes.

The difference between dressings, sauces, and marinades is the strength of the seasonings.

Marinades: These are typically the strongest of the group, since the marinade has to impart its flavor on to the ingredients being marinated and then be poured off before serving.

Dressings: Usually slighter milder in the level of intensity but still full of flavor, because they are spread over a large quantity of unflavored ingredients.

Sauces: These are the least intensive in flavor. They enhance the already flavored ingredients of a dish.



Above: {Raw, Vegan} ‘Mock’ Chicken Nuggets

Flavor Elements

To prepare a flavorful dressing, marinade or sauce, keep in mind the six flavor elements:

Pungent / Spicy: Producing a sharp sensation of taste and smell.

Sweet: Pleasant to the palate and mind, gratifying, sugar-like overtones.

Fatty  / Creamy: Smooth, rich, oily, lush, satiating, velvety.

Salty: Increases intensity of flavors already present; adds additional taste.

Sour / Acidic: Excites the taste and smell; adds zing, clarity, and freshness.

Bitter / Herbs & Spices: Complements and adds zest to the flavor of foods.


Above: {Raw, Vegan} Mango Pie … Recipe coming soon!

Many of the ingredients will satisfy two or more of the six elements, so it is possible to create a simple and delicious dressing or sauce using only three ingredients. For example, oranges, pineapple, and tamarind contain a natural balance of two base flavors sweet and tart. * A good guideline to follow is a ratio of 1 part acid to 3 parts fat.

Step 1: Choose one or two citrus or acid fruits: Strawberry, raspberry, kiwi, mango, fresh tomatoes, soaked sun-dried tomatoes, juice of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.

Step 2: Whole-food fats to choose from: Avocadoes, olive oil, EA oil, flax oil, fresh young coconut, tahini, almond butter, soaked or blanched almonds, pecans or walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, hemp seeds, soaked sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds.

Step 3: Choose one or two vegetables: Zucchini, summer squash, red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, cucumbers…

Step 4: Choose fresh herbs and/or seasonings: Herbs – Dill, basil, mint, oregano, thyme, cilantro, etc…

Seasonings: curry powder, mustard powder, sun-dried tomato powder, etc…

Optional seasonings to choose from: Nama Shoyu, miso, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard, minced onion or garlic, fresh ginger, agave nectar.


Above: {Raw, Vegan} Tomato & Parsley Quiche w/ Brazil-Nut Parmesan

… Recipe coming soon!

Have fun creating! xoxo

Bloom for Life, you deserve nothing less.