Imagine eating decadent cobbler, spicy tacos, and lusciously fresh tomato marinara … and losing weight in the bargain. Learn to prepare raw foods and this indulgent health will become reality.

What is raw food? Simply put, it means meals made with fresh, whole, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that have not been heated above 104 degrees. Raw foods are rich in water, which keeps your skin hydrated and more youthful looking, as well as fiber, which works like a broom to cleanse digestion and sweep out toxins. Plus, water and fiber fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied longer, so you'll eat less. (Cooking food softens fiber and decreases water content.)

These recipes take mere minutes to make and use only whole ingredients that are packed with natural, vibrant nutrients. Void of cholesterol and empty-calorie fillers like refined sugar and flour, these foods will nourish and delight you with incredible taste.

Fresh Taco Wraps

Makes 8 / These tacos are filled with a delicious, rich “cheeze” made of cashews and cilantro, and topped with a crumbled nut “meat” of heart-healthy walnuts and spices. The cheeze keeps for three or four days in the fridge and the meat for up to a week. Ingredient tip: I use cashews from Navitas Naturals, which I think are the biggest and freshest truly raw cashews available. Serving tips: You can also scoop the cashew mixture on top of a salad, or serve as a dip with sliced carrots and cucumbers. The walnut mixture is great sprinkled over a salad or on soup. View the Fresh Taco Wraps recipe

Cherry Tomato Marinara with Zucchini Noodles

Serves 6 / This delicious, easy marinara sauce takes less than a minute to make; use it as you would any marinara. Prep tip: If possible, use a spiral slicer to make your own zucchini pasta. View the Cherry Tomato Marinara with Zucchini Noodles recipe

Raw Lasagna

Serves 6 / With all these fresh, colorful ingredients, this rawsagna; looks as beautiful as it tastes. View the Raw Lasagna recipe

Cashew-Cilantro Cheeze

Use in the taco wraps and lasagna recipes. View recipe

Walnut Brownie Energy Bites

Makes 12 / Made with good-fat almonds, antioxidant-laden cacao, and fiber-rich Medjool dates, these provide whole-food nutrition. Enjoy as a snack or treat. They can be kept at room temp for a couple of days or at least a week refrigerated. Ingredient tip: Bob's Red Mill makes almond meal (flour), but if you can't find it, just use whole raw almonds and process them into a powder using your food processor. Prep tip: Keep batter from sticking to your hands by lightly coating them with coconut oil, olive oil, or even water. View the Walnut Brownie Energy Bites recipe

Cobbler Crumble Topping

Serves 6 / A rich, buttery crumble that's naturally sweetened with dates and full of healthy omega fatty acids from pecans. You won't believe this guiltless crumble hasn't been baked! It will keep for at least a week in the fridge. Serving tips: Use this to top your favorite sliced fruit, like peaches, mangoes, nectarines, persimmons, or apples; or sprinkle over your favorite vegan ice cream. It's even delicious all by itself. View the Cobbler Crumble Topping recipe

Tropical Fruit Parfait

Serves 4 / A dairy-free white cashew cream is topped with a tropical fruit sauce made by blending your favorite fruit; I like pineapple, mango, and kiwi. Prep tips: Fresh is always best, but if using frozen fruit, defrost first. Liquefy solid coconut oil by heating gently until clear and smooth. If you like, top parfaits with nuts, goji berries, or cacao nibs. View the Tropical Fruit Parfait recipe

Handy tools for a raw-food kitchen

Spiral slicer

Your kids will love using this to make long, thin angel-hair pasta; I like the Joyce Chen Saladacco Spiral Slicer (available at aniphyo.com/store). It easily turns almost any firm vegetable or fruit into spaghetti-like strands or other shapes. To make zucchini noodles, slice whole zucchini crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Place inside spiralizer, seated on the cut edge. Close tool and press down firmly on handle while rotating.

Bowl scraper

This simple tool looks like a big, wide spatula without a handle and makes it easy to mix batter and to scrape mixing bowls clean. Use it to mix the Walnut Brownie Energy Bites batter by chopping the ingredients into small pieces using the thin edge, then mixing well.

Ani Phyo is the author of Ani's Raw Food Desserts (Da Capo, 2009) and is the host of Ani's Raw Food Kitchen Show. For videos and free recipes, visit her at aniphyo.com.