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Love Your Greens—As Sides or Entrées

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that kale and other greens are among Mother Earth’s superfoods—and today’s recipe for Kale and Beets with Spiced Pecans will help you take advantage of your favorite greens deliciously!

Did you know that there are at least 10 different types of kale? And many of them are available in stores such as Whole Foods, as well as in farmers markets and your abundant gardens. I used lacinato kale for my test recipe, but you can also substitute any kind of kale—or, for that matter, any other sort of greens—when you make this dish. Just know that each has its own cooking time and that these vary. From an Ayurvedic perspective, you will want to cook them until they are tender enough for easy digestion.

And if you think you don’t like kale or other greens, I will suggest that you might not have tasted a version with enough spice to entice your palate. In this recipe. I use spices well known to Ayurvedic cooks: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, a pinch of cloves, garam masala, and fresh ginger. If you want to simplify, you could replace the first four spices called for in the greens and use 1 to 2 teaspoons of garam masala, which likely has all of these spices and more. Garam masala is a generic name for a combination of warming spices bottled and sold in markets and spice shops. If you grew up in an Indian family, your mother may have passed along the family’s secret recipe! If kale’s bitterness leaves you cold, you can add a little coconut sugar or maple syrup to balance kale’s flavor more to your liking.

For those of you just learning to use an Instant Pot, I recommend using it to steam beets as an easy and efficient exercise. I purchased a set of steaming baskets for just that purpose. I suppose I could have completed the dish in the Instant Pot, but I used the time while the beets were steaming to cook the kale on the stovetop.

Today’s recipe mimics some of the cuisine I’ve seen served in our favorite upscale restaurant, whose menu always features one vegan or vegetarian dish. Whatever braised vegetables they cook that evening are always served in a large soup bowl with a light broth. When this is served over quinoa or millet, what was a lovely side dish becomes an elegant entrée.

Enjoy this delicious Kale and Beets with Spiced Pecans this summer or all year round!









Preparation time: About 45 minutes
Serves 4

This dish will work with any type of kale that you prefer. I made this the first time with lacinato kale. If you use a different variety of kale with a larger leaf, you will need fewer leaves. I also used the few beet greens attached to the beets, which you may want to do if you’re harvesting them from your garden or find them whole at your market.

For the Greens & Beets
2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small beets,
red or golden, if possible with stems and greens
3 to 4 cups Easy Vegetable Soup Stock, divided
2 dozen medium to large lacinato kale leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 or 2 pinches ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste

For the Pecans
2 teaspoons oil
½ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
½ cup chopped pecans

Cook’s Tip: To chop the kale, roll as many leaves together lengthwise as you can, and then, with a large, sharp knife, cut the kale into strips. Then stack the strips and cut them into 3 or 4 smaller pieces so they are bite-sized.

1. Prepare the beets: Steam beets either in an Instant Pot or with a steam basket in a regular pot. If you have the whole beet with greens, first cut off the stems. Pull off the leaves, rinse them in water, and set aside. Scrub the beet bulb. Cut off the small tail and the rough part of the bulb that was attached to the stems. If large, cut the bulbs into quarters. Steam for 10 minutes on low pressure in the Instant Pot, and allow the steam to release naturally. If you steam them on the stovetop, it will take about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could roast the beets (depending on the size, up to 1 hour or more in a 400˚F oven). Once the beets are tender, let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rub the skins off before adding them to the kale.

2. Prepare the kale: If the stock is refrigerated, warm 3 cups of it in a saucepan over a medium heat until it’s simmering. If you have beet greens, chop them also. You can make this dish in a large, covered frying pan or soup pot. Put the pan (or pot) on medium heat, and once the pan is hot, add the oil and stir in the ground spices. Add the chopped kale and the 3 cups of warm stock. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the leaves are tender. Stir in the grated ginger and add salt to taste.

3. Prepare the pecans: While the kale and beets are cooking, prepare the pecans in a small sauté pan. Warm the pan on medium-low heat. Add oil, spices, and sugar and stir. Add the pecans and coat with the spice mixture. Note: The range for garam masala is to accommodate your tolerance and enjoyment of spicy cayenne.

4. Combine the elements: Add the beets to the cooked kale and top with the spiced pecans. If you wish to make this an entrée with more protein, serve the kale dish over cooked quinoa or millet in a soup dish. In that case, warm the additional cup of stock and spoon a bit over each bowl before serving.


Go easy on the garam masala, as cayenne is drying, which increases vata.

Omit heating garam masala or limit to ¼ teaspoon or a couple pinches.

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