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The Sacred & Delicious Food List is an addendum to the cookbook, Sacred & Delicious. Author Lisa Mitchell decided to distribute this comprehensive list of the foods through her website so that she would be able to update it more easily. These are foods found in most modern kitchens. The list organizes the foods into categories to reflect how they fit in your diet from an Ayurvedic perspective.

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Warm Up with Winter Soups and Diverse Spices

Baby, it’s cold outside for Southerners — and it’s the perfect time for cooking something hot and hearty like a flavorful Italian bean soup with greens and sun-dried tomatoes. Twenty-eight degrees and freezing rain pelted the Raleigh/Durham area and much of the East Coast Friday, and it’s snowing again today as I write. No complaints here, though. Grateful for our good fortune to still have power, I have taken pleasure in creating an updated version of a familiar bean soup. (Yes, we have an electric stove, which can be a handicap during winter ice storms, so switching to gas is definitely in the plans for our kitchen update.)

Once it became time to add seasoning, I started with common Indian spices for extra flavor since I didn’t have any fresh vegetable stock. Cumin, coriander and turmeric give added depth to vegetarian dishes that might otherwise taste ordinary, with the added benefit of proven healing qualities. But I didn’t intend to serve an Indian-style meal, so I added a second layer of flavor at the end of the recipe with fresh basil and oregano. I know this combination is not common practice in most kitchens, but it is in mine… and it’s culinary magic!

Use any kind of dried legumes that you have on hand. I made this pot with 1 cup of dried black beans, 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1/2 cup navy beans, and 1/2 cup of black-eyed peas. You can easily make this soup in an hour, especially if you soak the beans overnight. But I hadn’t thought ahead so I simmered the beans in a pot for about two hours since I had the time. Cooking legumes until they are quite tender is one key to making them easier to digest. A second strategy for digesting legumes is to cook with plenty of fresh ginger, a pinch or two of asafoetida and/or fresh garlic.

This recipe is also ideal for a slow cooker: just let the beans cook all day with some extra water. If you do use a slow cooker, I recommend saving the onion to sauté in a pan with spices, which will give the soup (or stew) a richer flavor. Whenever I make any dish that calls for an onion, I start the recipe by dicing the onion and sautéing it in a separate pan in ghee or oil. Start the pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onions turn golden. Then reduce the heat to medium-low for 20 minutes or longer while working on the rest of the recipe, so that the onions can slowly caramelize and become sweet. Add ground spices with a little water to the onions once they are browned; then pour the whole mixture back into the soup before serving. This one simple technique can make almost any recipe particularly delectable.

If you prefer a stew, start with two cups less water, and if you wish, thicken the gravy with a tablespoon of arrowroot or corn starch at the end. (Spoon the thickening agent into a small bowl. Pour some hot liquid over the thickener, and whisk until smooth; then add the thickener back to the pot.)

You can serve this over any type of rice, though I prefer basmati, brown or white. Or just serve it straight up.

Stay warm, my friends, with a hot bowl of Italian bean soup with greens and sun-dried tomatoes!

 

 

ITALIAN BEAN SOUP WITH GREENS AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

 

Preparation Time: 1 hour or more, depending on the pot
Serves 4 to 6

 

2½ cups mixed dried beans (e.g., black, white, kidney, black-eyed peas, mung)
10 to 12 cups water (4 cups fresh vegetable stock plus 6 to 8 cups water)
3 teaspoons Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt
5 medium curry leaves or 1 large fresh bay leaf
1 large sweet onion
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots
1 roasted red pepper (optional)
1 handful of sun-dried tomatoes
6 to 8 large chard leaves
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 or 2 pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice (optional)

1. If possible, soak the beans 6 to 8 hours in advance, or cook the beans in a slow cooker. If cooking in a regular pot or pressure cooker, strain the soaking water, rinse the beans a couple of times, and reload the beans in a pot with 10 cups of water for stew or 12 for cups for soup. (Cooking in a slow cooker, start with 12 cups of water and add more if needed.) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, add salt and curry leaves or bay leaf, and continue to cook until the beans are completely tender.

2. While the beans are cooking, dice the onion and sauté it in olive oil until the onion caramelizes, about 30 minutes. (See blog above for more complete directions.)

3. Slice the carrots, red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Soak the chard leaves with their stems. Slice 3 or 4 of the chard stems like celery, and chop the leaves. Add all veggies to the pot along with ginger and garlic (if using garlic).

4.  When the onions are caramelized, add about 1/4 cup of water to the onions along with cumin, coriander and turmeric, and stir. Set aside until the beans are tender.

5.  Once the beans and vegetables are tender, finish the soup with basil, oregano, red pepper flakes (optional) and olives. Pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot and stir. Add more water if you want a more liquid soup. Add Bragg’s and more salt to taste. Serve over basmati rice, if you wish.

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