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Thanksgiving Sides Your Guests Will Never Forget!

For vegetarians and vegans, Thanksgiving is all about the traditional mouth-watering side dishes, and of course, I’m all about making them as healthy as they are delicious!

 

Today I’ll point to all of my favorite holiday sides and introduce you to a new recipe: Reimagined Green Bean Casserole.

 

When I was young, in the ’50s and ’60s, cooking for convenience was all the rage, and there was no cornucopia of fresh vegetables readily available in grocery stores. I can’t fault my mother for her frozen spinach with canned mushroom soup—though just the thought of it now makes me cringe! Even then, I had no taste for such food. I learned to love vegetables only when I began cooking with my college roommate, Ellen Brock, who grew up picking fresh veggies out of her mother’s garden.

 

But there was nothing wrong with the idea behind my in-laws’ green bean casserole with canned mushroom soup and canned onion rings. The potential is there for a great dish. I invite you to expand your culinary imagination with this recipe.

 

This Reimagined Green Bean Casserole is a vegan and gluten-free dish made with fresh ingredients: green beans, caramelized onions, fresh almond milk (if available), fresh ginger, and shiitake mushrooms

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All Things Pumpkin 2019

This October Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe reflects my most recent experimentation with gluten-free baking. I’m happy to say the experiment turned out well—though I regret it was in response to my newest food sensitivity!

 

Sadly, I seem to have developed an intolerance to nuts, including almond flour. Eating nuts or baked goods with almond flour make me itch. From an Ayurvedic perspective, it makes sense: nuts increase pitta, and high pitta can cause itching. Since nuts are also a common allergen and cause of food intolerance, I decided to explore baking with another high-protein flour for my growing readership.

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Blending Cultures for the Jewish New Year!

Today I offer you a must-try recipe for Sweet Mung Pancakes with Stewed Apples. This dish blends ideas from the two cultures I know best: Eastern European Jewish traditions and the Vedic culture of India. How I came to embrace Vedic culture as a Jewish girl from the American south may well be the topic of a book one day, but for now, let’s focus on making something both delicious and healthy for the Jewish New Year!

As Jewish people throughout the world began celebrating Rosh Hashanah and the year 5780 at sundown on September 29th, we invoked the blessing of sweetness for the coming year by eating slices of raw apple dipped in honey. Many families will continue serving apples throughout this holy season, which culminates ten days later on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  In India—and wherever people with Indian roots have formed communities—the mung bean is recognized as one of the most important foods to grace their tables.

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The Last of the Summer Corn

If you enjoy sweet corn, I promise you’re going to love this new recipe for Vegan (or Vegetarian) Corn Chowder! Yes, I’m not quite done with corn yet, since local markets here in the Carolinas, and many parts of the country, are still featuring organic sweet corn on the cob.

 

This chowder is a perfect dish for these last hot days of summer because, like many summer soups, it’s lovely when served at room temperature, slightly chilled, or, if this is your preference, warmed just enough to take the chill off. However it’s served, this soup starts by being cooked, which honors the Ayurvedic preference of cooked foods over raw.

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Ahh…Sweet Corn!

“As American as apple pie” is the turn of phrase for most anything associated with U.S. culture, but really—if you’re counting by the pound—corn is king! For that reason, and because it’s summer when sweet corn is fresh in local farmers’ markets or ready to pick in your garden, I will offer an easy and delicious vegan corn dish.

 

I’m not talking about just any corn. I’m talking about sweet corn, the delicious corn you can eat on the cob and that, when it’s just been picked or is still reasonably fresh, almost melts in your mouth with natural sweetness.

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Quick Vegan Meals

Now that it’s officially summer, I’ve created a new trio of recipes for you, dear readers: each one easy to make and cooling—or at least balanced—from an Ayurvedic perspective. Because one thing’s for sure: summer invites us all (even working people) to have a little extra time to relax so we can enjoy the balmy breezes or stay cool despite 90-plus degrees as the sun goes down!

 

Vegan Cilantro Coconut Sauce: For starters, let’s begin with cilantro because it is the most cooling of the fresh herbs and serves as an excellent tonic for summer when blended into a sauce. I’ve combined it with coconut cream (or coconut milk, whatever you have available), which is equally cooling and perfect for hot weather.

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Stay Cool as a Cucumber!

With the summer solstice around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan for how to stay hydrated and cooled down during the hot months ahead. An easy way to start is with cooling Cucumber Water.

 

According to Ayurveda, cucumbers are one of the most cooling foods. Of course, you might be one of the many people (especially those with vata problems) who have difficulty digesting cucumbers. In that case, the best approach is to sip cucumber water rather than eat the full vegetable—a way to get cucumber’s benefits without the burps! You may want to scrape out the seeds, which some say is the problem. You might also peel the cucumber—sometimes grocers wax their skins, which makes them even harder to digest.

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Best Veggie Burgers!

If you like a good veggie burger, I’m betting you’ll love this fresh Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Patties recipe for Memorial Day festivities! It’s easy, it’s delicious (of course!) and it’s perfect for casual entertaining during these summer months.

I haven’t had a real hamburger in about thirty years, and I’ve never truly missed them. However, I do occasionally crave that classic American experience of biting into a bun with a mound of protein, mustard and ketchup! A freshly made veggie burger will more than suffice.

Today’s recipe was inspired by delicious burgers Tom and I ate at The Present Moment Café in St. Augustine, Florida during an anniversary weekend. The chef may not be familiar with Ayurvedic cuisine, but it was nonetheless brilliant to pair hard-to-digest black beans with soft and grounding sweet potatoes. I’ve added garlic powder, gluten-free asafetida, and cumin to aid digestion.

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Spring Side Dishes

As fresh organic asparagus come streaming into our Carolina markets during March and April, they often awaken my creativity, sparking a quest to develop a new recipe for these divine green spears. Today, let me introduce Asparagus with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms.

This is a simple dish of steamed asparagus with sautéed leeks and shiitakes. I added the shiitakes because they’re delicious—and also because they’re known to improve immunity.This year our pollen levels have hit record levels, and many people have succumbed to head colds because their immune systems were weakened by allergy season. So, in years to come, I’ll remind readers to pull out this recipe at the beginning of spring!

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Spring Cleaning with Vegan Collards

When spring marches in, we naturally want to throw open the windows of our home and clean out all the dust and cobwebs. In the same way, Ayurveda recommends that we give our bodies an annual spring cleaning! Once the autumn chill descends, and all the way through the cold winter, we tend to eat heavier foods. This way we can put on a little fat to stay warm. Spring invites us to help the body transition to the new season by eating lighter foods.

I always recommend a mung soup fast along with light vegetables for a few days or a week at the beginning of spring. This helps to detoxify the colon, liver, kidneys. Cooked greens of any kind are a great side dish to support a spring detox, and today I’d like to generate some enthusiasm for collard greens. Collards belong to the dignified family of Southern “soul food,” brought to

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