Nataša Rajčević: Use the summer to learn about plant-based nutrition

Nataša Rajčević: Iskoristi ljeto za upoznavanje s biljnom prehranom
You describe yourself as a lover of food and cooking, especially colorful, colorful and vegan dishes. You are the author of the inspiring Instagram profile burbon_i_borovnice and a food stylist. But of course, that is only one part of your personality and your everyday life. Who is Nataša? :)

I always have an existential crisis when I have to answer this question (laughs). I don't know what to say except for what you mentioned in the introduction, I think that's what people know me for the most. I started by accident, posting photos of my meals on Instagram and little by little, by some crazy luck, it turned into a career that I live by today and thanks to which I met some of my best friends.

On my profile, I don't like to give only strict recipes that should be followed blindly in order to get a good dish, but I encourage people to completely change my recipe and use it only as a base for their own combinations. As I love food very much, of course I also love to talk about it, so you can often find various recommendations for certain foods, shops, restaurants...

In addition, I also lead culinary workshops, which I really enjoy. I think it might be my favorite part of the job. Also, with my friend and colleague Marie Wasler, I started the 21-day reset, an online program that lasts 21 days and includes online cooking workshops, live yoga classes, live breathing therapy classes and daily recipes and conversations. We are both very proud of that program, which brought together a wonderful group of people, but unfortunately, it was on hiatus this year because both Marie and I had too many commitments to devote to it. But I hope they can start planning a new appointment soon. :)

For years, through your wonderful recipes, you have been promoting the importance of using seasonal, fresh ingredients. It's summer right now - what's on your menu these days and what foods do you suggest to our readers?

    In summer, we really have the largest selection of food. We are in a period when we prefer lighter food and shorter thermal processing. Not because we need a "detox" before appearing on the beach, but because that's how nature works. And we as a part of it. In winter, warm, long-simmered and filling dishes suit us, in summer our body enjoys cold salads and foods that will make us energetic and full of energy. Most of the summer I'm on various salads (called Buddha Bowls) consisting of vegetables, healthy fats, legumes, grains and tofu. The combination is really many and it never happens that I repeat the same one twice. Now is the ideal time for us to enjoy ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, apricots, watermelon ...I could go on like this until tomorrow (laughs).

    A diet based on plant-based foods seems strange, foreign and complicated to many, but the reality is really different. What advice would you give to people who want to make a change but don't know where to start?

      Step by step. Most people will find it extremely difficult to say "okay, I'm vegan from tomorrow" and suddenly cut out all animal products. Especially if you used to consume them often. You won't know where to start and you will complicate your life because now you suddenly have a mountain of new foods that you don't know what to do with. Gradual transition is easier and more sustainable. Make one meal a day completely plant-based . Then do it with two meals. So choose 2 days a week in which you will eat only plant-based foods. When you have a base and already know a few recipes, it will be much easier for you. Find a few people on Instagram whose recipes fit your cooking style, contact them if you have any questions. You don't have to use cashews and seaweed, start with familiar foods such as lentils, chickpeas, rice, local vegetables... Veganize a classic dish that you are familiar with, for example, make Bolognese from lentils. And of course, be gentle with yourself. And if it happens that you "made a mistake" one day, don't think that everything is over. Just keep going.

      We believe that cooking still relaxes you somehow :); but you certainly practice other methods of relaxation and calming your thoughts. What are your favorite self-care rituals?

      Yes, cooking really relaxes me. Especially when I cook something that I have no intention of publishing or taking photos of. That's when I'm really without any pressure and that's when I actually make the best dishes. And my favorite self-care rituals depend a lot on the period of my life. Right now it's the sea. Just being in the sea. Especially in the morning when the beaches are empty. I think there is no problem that the sea cannot solve. Maybe you can notice how I'm counting the days until I go to Zadar on vacation (laughs).

      Finally, a small challenge - a short & sweet recipe inspired by your favorite Olival product or collection! Can you? :)

        I love this question so much! :) My favorite Olival product would be the SPF fluid for the face , the only one that suits me after many years of searching. I love it, especially in combination with C+ vitamin serum . Well, in that name, a light summer cream made of millet with coconut.



        For the cream :

        100 g of millet

        150 ml of water

        200 ml of canned coconut milk

        2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup (or more to taste)

        20 g of cocoa butter

        3 tablespoons of white almond paste

        To serve:

        2 tablespoons of expanded millet

        1 tablespoon of coconut chips

        1 tablespoon of blanched almonds


        Wash 100 g of millet and boil it in 150 ml of water and 200 ml of coconut milk. Feel free to cook it only in water or only in milk, but the combination turned out to be the best for me. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes, add cocoa butter and maple syrup and mix well. Remove from heat and leave covered for another 10 minutes, until the cocoa butter has completely melted. If during cooking it seems that you lack a little liquid, feel free to add a little water or milk.

        By now, the millet should have absorbed most of the liquid in which it was cooked, so there is no need to strain it, simply transfer everything to a blender and add 3 tablespoons of almond paste. Blend for a minute or two, until you get a completely smooth mixture. If you find it hard to blend, add a tablespoon or two of coconut milk. Try it and sweeten it if you like.

        Transfer the cream into small serving bowls. The cream will compress further as it cools. Cool for a few hours in the refrigerator, then serve with some coconut chips, blanched almonds and expanded millet. If you prefer it, this cream is phenomenal and warm. Enjoy!

        Photos provided by: Nataša Rajčević 

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