Sacred and Delicious


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Archive for the ‘Ayurvedic Recipes’ Category

Cauliflower Steaks Three Ways

These cauliflower steaks with herb rub are delicious on their own, or you can add a flavorful red pepper cashew sauce.

I tasted this scrumptious cauliflower dish at The Well Fed Community Garden in Raleigh in late May when Arthur Gordon, of Irregardless Cafe fame, created the dish on the spot! He gathered up whatever looked fresh and interesting at the farmer’s market along with herbs growing in the community garden and—voila!—came up with this amazing dish! I’ve adapted it only slightly to serve eight instead of eighteen and made it a tad milder so it doesn’t bring on more heat in this sweltering summer.

The complete dish is a cauliflower “steak” that is rubbed down with a mixture of fresh herbs, roasted or sautéed, and topped with a red pepper cashew sauce. The first time I made this myself, I ran out of time and served only the first part of the dish, pictured here— Read More

Best-Tasting Gluten-Free Pastas

20160722_213639(2)I’m delighted to say that the gluten-free industry is creating some better-tasting, better-for-you pastas nowadays, and this summer pasta recipe features organic chickpea spaghetti.

Both the chickpea pasta and red lentil spaghetti made by Explore Cuisine™ hold up well, without turning to mush. As important, a two-ounce serving of either product has 11 grams of protein, a plus for gluten-free vegetarians. If you’re like me and you feel better with more protein and fewer carbs, you can add some grilled tofu to the recipe. As for the vegetables, you can substitute the listed ingredients with whatever Read More

Seven-Minute Sides: Mild Curry Leaf Chutney

currytreeThis curry leaf and cilantro chutney recipe comes from Vaidya Smita Naram.  She whipped up this lovely sauce in our Vitamix in about 5 minutes while recently staying in our home.  My husband, Tom, and I happily poured it over mung bean “burgers” I had made for dinner.  A few days later I prepared another cup of the chutney, which we used to top off savory chickpea pancakes that Dr. Smita showed me how to make a half-hour before we drove her to the airport for her flight home to Mumbai, India.

Chutneys are relishes or sauces that are staples in Indian cuisine. They are also used in Ayurvedic cooking when freshly made. There are innumerable kinds of chutneys — some chunky, others that are more like a paste, and liquid sauces.  Chutneys have a reputation for being amazingly hot to the tongue because most Indian cooks spike their chutneys with chilies. Not so with this recipe!  Authentic Ayurvedic cuisine avoids the use of chilies except for people who are predominantly kapha types. Nonetheless, this chutney is guaranteed to add a bolt of flavor to any dish along with potent healing power. Read More

Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Curry Leaf Chutney

20160327_130416When my husband and I recently hosted Vaidya Smita Naram in our home, she taught me to make a classic yet simple and intensely delicious Ayurvedic dish: chickpea pancakes with curry leaf chutney.

Dr. Naram is a world-renowned pulse master and Ayurvedic physician, a pharmaceutical herbalist and nutritionist — and she also happens to be a marvelous cook. She has a successful restaurant in her panchakarma clinic in Malad, India (outside Mumbai), so I couldn’t have been more excited about spending some time in the kitchen with her. And we did have fun! Not a meal went by that one or the other of us wasn’t saying “wow!” I was thrilled that she loved my American approach to Ayurvedic cooking, and I loved learning to make this traditional dish that I’m sharing with you today. Read More

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Here’s an easy-to-make, completely satisfying vegan Black-Eyed Pea Salad. Quick, delicious and healthy to boot.

Black-eyed peas are especially appreciated by BlackEyedPeasSmvegan and vegetarian cooks because the peas will be tender after boiling in about 30 minutes, unlike harder beans such as black beans and chick peas that take an hour or more to cook in a regular pot. With black-eyed peas you’ll have a protein-rich main dish that you can build a summer meal around with very little labor—a gift to the cook on a hot summer night.

If you’re too hungry to wait for the black-eyed peas to cool, no problem! This quintessential Southern food is equally appealing when eaten warm after it’s just been cooked. Once the salad is chilled, it’s an ideal dish to serve at your 4th of July picnic. Read More

Seven-Minute Sides*: Sautéed Asparagus

Need a quick side dish to finish off a meal with perfection? Enter sautéed asparagus in saute panSm
asparagus, my favorite side to accompany almost any menu. It comes in especially handy when you’re making a complex main dish that is time-consuming and you need an easy recipe to complete the meal.

With organic asparagus still in abundance around much of the country, I’m offering this recipe as a follow-up to last month’s asparagus soup. Asparagus complement many menu centerpieces, from legumes, vegetable entrées and casseroles to more omnivorous fare. You can add asparagus to a salad for panache. Surprise your beloved with asparagus in a goat-cheese or all-veggie sandwich.

I call this recipe a seven-minute side, but if you buy pencil-thin asparagus they will cook in three minutes! If you buy the extra-thick stalks, the dish could take as long as 10 minutes, but that’s prep to plate. Read More

Welcome Spring with Asparagus Soup

Asaparagus Soup 2015Magnificent spring! O, how we welcome your abundant blessings! For my toast to spring I offer you, dear readers, this easy asparagus soup recipe, a sneak-peek from Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook.  It’s still cool enough during these early spring nights to enjoy the warmth of  a delicate vegetable soup, though this is one of the few vegetable soups that I also enjoy at room temperature on a warm day.

When I initially crafted this recipe, my intention was to make a creamy soup, but the asparagus smelled so good before I added milk that I served it dairy-free and have ever since.  If you love dairy and are able to digest it, you can certainly add some real cream, say 1/4 to 1/2 a cup. Or add a swirl of whole coconut milk for a sensual flourish when you serve the dish to your grateful guests. Read More

Slow Cooker Mung Soup with Vegetables

Mung soup with veggies

Even though it was 84 degrees in parts of North Carolina this week, the word is out that the North winds are headed our way.  By the weekend much of the country will be under the spell of an autumn chill. What better time to pull out the slow cooker and start a lovely pot of soup? (In case you’re not familiar with the term “slow cooker,” you may know of it by the original manufacturer’s name: Crockpot®.)

A slow cooker can be invaluable for vegetarians and omnivores alike, but it helps to know a few tricks that make a  Crockpot® meal worth savoring.

Instead of loading all of the ingredients into the cooker before bedtime (or in the morning before leaving for work), save the real flavor-makers for when you get home:

1. Sauté dried spices such as cumin, coriander and turmeric in ghee or oil on your stove-top before adding these ingredients to the slow cooker. If you leave spices in the cooker for 6 to 8 hours, they can actually burn … says the voice of experience.

2. If you cook soups and stews with onions, slowly brown the onions in ghee or oil until they caramelize (20 to 30 minutes). This additional step will infuse your final dish with a layer of flavor that you just won’t get by cooking onions in water or stock all day.

3. Add fresh herbs the last 15 minutes before serving so that they don’t over-cook.

4. To keep vegetables flavorful, steam them 10 to 15 minutes before finishing the soup with salt, ginger and garlic, if you eat garlic.

So, you may ask,  what DO you leave in a slow cooker all night or day?  Legumes! (And, if you’re eating animal protein, then meats will safely cook all day in the Crockpot®.)

You can apply these tips when you cook this hearty mung soup recipe, a gussied up version of the classic Ayurvedic dish. I make this hearty dish once a week on an ongoing basis because it helps to keep the digestive system clear.  When mung soup is served during panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification) programs, it’s very simple: cooked mung beans, salt, bay leaf and a few spices.  That describes the base of my soup recipe, one I modeled after a recipe I learned from Dr. Smita Naram, a renowned Ayurvedic pulse master, a pharmacologist and… an excellent cook! She created many delicious recipes  for a successful restaurant in the panchakarma clinic she founded with her husband, Pankaj Naram, near Mumbai, India.

When I’m cooking for our regular diet at home,  I like to add onions for extra flavor and vegetables for a more substantial dish. It’s a thick soup so it may suffice for your meal, or you can serve it over quinoa or rice.

With Halloween approaching this evening, it’s a great idea to make a batch of mung soup this weekend — particularly if you or your kids eat too much Halloween candy!

Happy eating!

Lisa J. Mitchell



Preparation time: About 45 minutes active. Start to finish 5 to 8 hours.
Serves 6 to 8 depending on serving size

I prefer this soup cooked all day in a slow cooker, but you can certainly cook the beans in a pressure cooker in about 30 minutes. If you cook the beans in a regular pot on the stove, they will cook in 60 to 90 minutes, depending on altitude and climate.

2 cups whole green mung beans
8 to 10 cups water
1 large fresh bay leaf or 3 curry leaves
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1 small onion, preferably sweet (optional)
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 pinch asafoetida powder (optional)
1 bunch chard, spinach or kale
1 small to medium sweet potato
1 large zucchini or yellow squash
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 to 2½ teaspoons Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt
1 medium garlic clove, pressed (optional)
½ cup freshly chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

Cook’s Tip: Asafetida purchased at Indian grocers is cut with wheat. However, gluten-free asafoeteda is now available online.

1. Rinse the beans, strain them and place them in a slow cooker with water and the bay leaf. Turn the cooker to the high setting. Start with 8 cups of water unless you will be away from the cooker for 6 hours or longer; in that case, start with 10 cups of water.  If you are home, you can reduce the heat to low once you see the beans start to split, which will take 4 to 5 hours on high. If you are going to be away from the cooker for 6 hours or longer, start the soup on high for as  long as possible — at least an hour, two hours even better —  before turning it to low. When cooked on high, the soup can be ready in 4 to 6 hours (depending on altitude and climate). When cooked on low, it will take 8 hours or longer.

2. About 45 minutes before serving the soup, prepare the onion.  (If you are omitting the onion, skip to #3 and 4). Chop the onion. In a medium sauté pan, heat oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover until the seeds pop like popcorn. Reduce heat to low or remove the pot from the heat source. Add asafetida (if using) and onions. Once they turn uniformly golden (about 10 minutes), reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking another 20 minutes or so. When they onions are brown and caramelized (but not burned), add the ground spices to the onion mixture and stir for a few seconds. Then pour the mixture into the pot of beans. Ideally, let the spices flavor the soup for at least 5 minutes before serving.

3.  Chop some of your favorite greens, a sweet potato and a zucchini.  Steam them in batches, one batch for each vegetable, and then add that batch to the pot. Steam the potatoes for 10 minutes. Steam the greens for 6 to 8 minutes until tender (longer for kale) and zucchini for 6 to 8 minutes.

4. If you are not using an onion, heat the ghee or oil in a small spouted pot, if possible. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover until the seeds pop like popcorn. Reduce heat to low or remove the pot from the heat source. Add asafoetida and the ground spices to the ghee, and stir for a few seconds. Then pour the mixture into the pot of beans. Ideally, let the spices flavor the soup for at least 5 minutes before serving.

5. Finish the soup by adding ginger, garlic and salt to taste. Stir well.  Serve each bowl with a small handful of cilantro and a splash of lime.





Preparation time: 10 minutes active. Start to finish: 40 minutes to 1 hour
Enough stock for two soup recipes

EditedSoupStockPotThis easy vegetable stock has a gentle flavor but it adds depth to any recipe—including summer soups! Please note that I specify Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt, which is a large, unrefined granule. Read More


Preparation time:  15 minutes start to finish
Serves 4

It’s summer. It’s hot. We all need a way to cool off! Riding the ocean waves, jumping in a lake, the pool or under the garden hose helps on the outside. Eating cooling foods helps on the inside.   Read More