Category Archives: Ayurvedic Recipes

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Some Much-Needed Luck for 2021

Today I offer you a different twist on a must-have traditional dish for January 1: Curried Black-Eyed Peas. In the Southern United States, to eat black-eyed peas with greens on New Year’s Day is considered a culinary talisman to bring good luck and good fortune in the coming year. Sadly, the dish is thought to have been brought to the US from West Africa through the slave trade, but it survives today as a symbol of hoped-for fortune and abundance to come—and because it’s delicious.

Although my previous black-eyed pea recipes reflect Southern cooking, I decided to add a new twist to this celebratory dish and offer you a version that reflects traditional Ayurvedic cooking through a mélange of spices. You can decide whether the dish packs a hot punch or is simply flavorful with the artful use of spices.

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Cauliflower Steaks Three Ways

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—cauliflower with herb rub. That alone was delicious! So, if you want a simpler dish to make for a July 4th bash, you won’t be disappointed.

A third option, also simplified from the original, is to skip the marinade. You chop the florets, grill them (or sauté them in a little salted oil), and top them with the cashew sauce.

If you want to go the extra mile to impress your guests, I recommend making the full dish: rubbed cauliflower steaks with red pepper cashew sauce. The sauce is simple, and you can use it over any of your favorite vegetables. I’ve found it wonderful over grilled summer squash, plantains, and sweet potatoes—foods I like to see on a summer menu!

Finally, if you want to replicate Arthur’s dish more precisely, you can add some hot sauce to the red pepper/cashew mixture. It’s a flavor I always avoid, but I know many people love it!

Wishing you all the freedoms hoped for when our forefathers proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776!

Lisa with Arthur Gordon, founder of the Well-Fed Community Garden and Irregardless Cafe.

 

 

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Best-Tasting Gluten-Free Pastas

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

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Seven-Minute Sides: Mild Curry Leaf Chutney

Photo by Roger Winstead

 

This 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.

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Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Curry Leaf Chutney

Photo by Roger Winstead

When 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.

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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 vegan 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.

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Seven-Minute Sides: Sautéed Asparagus

Need a quick side dish to finish off a meal with perfection? Enter sautéed 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.

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Make Your Own Stock, Please, for Exponentially More Delicious Soups!

Photo by Candice Stark

Nothing compares to the taste or healing power of a fresh soup stock created from pristine vegetables teeming with nutrients. If you thrill to the taste of fine food, then the boxed or canned stuff doesn’t quite cut it! I cannot tell you how many friends who have dined with us report that their rendition of my latest soup recipe didn’t measure up to what they tasted at our table. I always follow such a comment with the question, “did you make the soup stock or use a box?” Inevitably, to a person, they had skipped this vital step. This is my most unscientific research to emphasize that making fresh stock is always worth planning ahead and investing a few more minutes of your time!

This easy vegetable stock has a gentle flavor but it adds depth to any recipe. Please note that I specify Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt,

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