Category Archives: Side Dishes

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Veggies in a Sweet and Savory Sauce

If you’ve ever enjoyed the subtly sweet and oh-so-mildly spiced Indian dish known as Malai Kofta, your tastebuds will experience a similar ecstasy when they meet this dish that I offer you today—Methi Malai. This sumptuous side dish, which is perfect for spring, can be served alone or over some basmati rice.

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Holiday Dish for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Omnivores Too!

If you want to make a dish that will win enthusiastic applause from your family and guests during these holidays, look no further than this colorful plate of Roasted Butternut Squash with Greens. Foodies of every persuasion—regardless of food preferences and sensitivities—will ooh and aah when they taste this exquisite special-occasion dish (even if I do say so myself! After all, it was a gift to me from Annapurna, the goddess of food.)

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Cooling Salads for Hot Days

Warm greetings to my gentle readers who have patiently awaited a new recipe while I took some time off this summer. I’d like to reward you with a quick and easy dish to cool you off during these hot summer days—a satisfying and totally yummy Tofu Salad that even omnivores will enjoy (much to their surprise)!

You can serve this as a side dish to a summer soup, on a bed of salad greens, or as the added protein on a colorful vegetable plate. Hmmm…I’m envisioning sweet potato fries, quick asparagus or green beans, and corn on the cob with a half-cup of tofu salad in the center. If you love a sandwich for lunch, pile some tofu salad on your favorite bread. (The salad’s moisture will be a good balance to bread that has become dry, making it easier to digest.)

Summer guidance from Ayurveda

When the “dog days” of summer arrive in August (or, sadly, much earlier across the globe this year) it is important to eat cooling foods that help your metabolism avoid overheating. You’ll also feel cooler on hot days if you choose cooling foods over those that are naturally heating.

Did you know that symptoms such as irritability, headaches, itchiness and sleeplessness (if you wake 2 to 4 a.m. and have difficulty going back to sleep) are often linked with too much heat in the body? This is the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, which may also be your intuitive understanding. Fortunately, food is our friend when we pay attention to a food’s qualities and the ways these impact our bodies, minds, and emotions.

What are cooling foods?

As you may know, Ayurveda classifies foods in several ways, including whether a food is inherently heating or cooling.

You shouldn’t be surprised to see Ayuveda’s list of cooling foods because we turn to them instinctively when the weather turns hot. Some of the most cooling foods include these:

  • Lettuce, cucumbers, celery, fennel
  • Summer squash, zucchini, asparagus, kale, and spinach
  • Coconut, apples, red and black grapes, and all melons
  • Mint, cilantro, coriander, cumin, and rosewater.
  • Tofu

Balanced cooking

Yes, on its own, tofu is naturally cooling. Combine it with other cooling foods such as fennel or celery, cilantro, and mint and you’ll create a perfect summer dish loaded with protein. However, this combination of foods is so cooling that I added some garlic to the recipe, not only for flavor but for a little balancing heat to aid digestion.

Other foods like dates, figs, cruciferous vegetables, and avocado may not seem to be obviously cooling. This is especially true of avocado because many people make guacamole by adding intensely heating ingredients such as raw onions and jalapenos to avocado—making most guacamole something to avoid during the summer! Certain legumes are also cooling, but they are more easily digested when they’re cooked with generous amounts of warming herbs and spices such as fresh garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, and other Indian spices including fenugreek and black mustard seeds.

Just as warming spices can balance overly cooling foods such as legumes, you can enlist the help of cooling herbs and spices any time you cook foods that are inherently heating. For instance, Ayurveda classifies carrots as heating, so I serve carrots with lots of cilantro, mint, and a drizzle of coconut milk to make a perfect summer soup.

Enjoy this cooling Tofu Salad throughout the summer, and always feel satisfied at the end of your vegan meal.

PS Looking for more summer dishes? Try these summer soups: Summer Sweet Potato Soup, Corn and Avocado Soup, Broccoli Carrot Soup over basmati rice, PeanutButter Cucumber Soup, Beet and Fennel Soup, Creamy Zucchini Soup in 20 minutes or less.

 

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Easy Spring Salads that Transition to Summer

Honoring the abundance of asparagus with a new recipe each spring is a Sacred & Delicious blog tradition—and today I offer you a flavorful and colorful White Bean and Asparagus Salad. As with many of my recent recipes, this recipe is open to variation. (See my postscript below if you’re looking for more asparagus recipes.)

Here are some easy variations you can make to this recipe:

  • For readers who shy away from beans, you can switch out the beans with quinoa or rice and still have a tempting dish.
  • Serve it as a side dish with a bowl of soup for a complete meal, or just eat lots of bean salad! I suggest either my recent recipe for Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup or my favorite summer Carrot Soup, which you can find in Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook.
  • If you don’t like cilantro, the salad will be equally delicious with fresh basil or dill.
  • Adding mint made the dish sing for me but the recipe still works well without it.
  • If you avoid garlic, substitute fresh ginger.
  • Serve it warm or cooled, whatever suits your taste—though I think it’s best when just a little warm or room temperature.
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Healthy Comfort Food: Creamy Vegan Casseroles

Today’s multi-use recipe for a Broccoli, Carrot, and Fennel Casserole got oohs and aahs at our table recently, so I promise you won’t want to miss this one! If casseroles aren’t your thing, you can serve it as a veggie side dish or make it a one-dish meal and serve the vegetables with rice or quinoa.

Loyal readers, have you noticed that I enjoy creating dishes that lend themselves to slightly different approaches? You could even turn this into a soup by adding some delicious homemade stock. All these options give you greater flexibility if you’re comfortable enough in cooking to adapt the directions ever-so-slightly to suit your preferences.

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Delicious Vegan Casseroles for the Holidays

I rarely make a casserole for the two of us, but when it comes to convenience, there’s nothing quite so simple as this Easy Vegan Squash Casserole. It’s the kind of dish that you can make the day before and pop into the oven while you’re cooking other parts of your holiday menu. It’s a perfect addition to any potluck and a delicious way to balance all the season’s sugary meals!

Of course, every recipe on my blog is always gluten-free. (This Reimagined Green Bean Casserole is also awesome and worthy of your Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s table.)

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Tofu for Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner

Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a flexitarian who wants to eat less meat to do your part for the environment, tofu can be surprisingly delicious—as you will learn when you make this recipe for Savory Scrambled Tofu. It’s a perfect dish for any late-morning brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Because tofu is especially easy to work with, I will often add it as the protein alongside a simple vegetable soup, such as my now-famous Asparagus Soup or Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk (Sacred & Delicious page 99). But’s this scrambled tofu is also a lovely brunch centerpiece with a little avocado toast on the side.

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