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Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Pea Soup!

Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious?

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Root Vegetables, Deliciously!

If you can’t get enough soup during the winter months, I have a delicious new recipe for you—Root Vegetable Soup, made two ways.

Readers following my blog for a long time know that sweet potatoes are my favorite root. Being somewhat of a habitual eater, I never tire of them. But even I need a change of pace from time to time, which is what inspired this recipe focused on parsnips and carrots.

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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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All Things Pumpkin… Continued!

Have I told you that I love fresh pumpkin  (see Spiced Pumpkin Pound Cake)? As the holiday season moves toward its peak, what can be better than a fresh Puréed Pumpkin Soup. The markets are still filled with sugar pumpkins, the sweet edible pumpkins used for pumpkin pies and all things pumpkin.

Pumpkin, like squash, is one of the favored foods of Ayurveda because it is so easy to digest. It’s ideal for vata and pitta. For watery kapha, it’s still fine if balanced with warming spices. I’ve chosen cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and fresh ginger—

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Introducing Kokum with a Vegan White Bean Soup

It’s bitter cold in North Carolina and across much of the country as I write this blog—a perfect time for a wintry Vegan White Bean Soup. I’ve seasoned it with kokum as a way to introduce this fruit that is unfamiliar to most Americans, although it has been used in Ayurvedic cooking for millennia.

Dried kokum (also known as whole garcinia fruit or mangostein) is used in Indian cooking because of its sour taste. What makes kokum unusual is that, unlike other sour foods—lemon, lime, vinegar, tomato—kokum does not increase pitta’s fiery nature. If you have pitta problems and eat too much of these other sour foods, you can set yourself up for a lot of pitta maladies. These include acid indigestion and acid reflux as well as skin problems, headaches, and

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Seven Ways to Stay Cool this Summer!

With temperatures already in the upper 90s and above across the southern half of the country, we can expect a long, hot summer. Fortunately, Ayurveda has some excellent tips to help keep your body, mind, and emotions in balance—even in scorching heat!

According to Ayurveda, pitta—the dynamic principle of heat—is necessary to maintain life, but during the summer when our bodies can easily become overheated, pitta gets out of balance. Too much heat can trigger a host of physical problems, including acne, headaches, and hyperacidity. If you wake up at three or four in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep for an hour or longer, Ayurveda says it’s a sign of excess heat in the body.

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Start a Fresh New Year with Delicious Vegan Food—Even if You’re an Omnivore!

Have you been eating a lot of heavy foods throughout the holidays? It’s no surprise if you’ve been cooking traditional roasted meats, cheesy comfort foods, and artisanal breads for your family. Oh, and we haven’t even gotten to all those sugary cookies you ate while making batches of baked goods for colleagues, teachers, and friends! Even vegans and vegetarians may suffer after a long season of overeating favorite comfort foods.

If you’re feeling lethargic or bloated after New Year’s Eve, it’s no wonder! Your body is likely signaling it’s ready for a break. May I suggest that you make a fresh start on New Year’s Day with a lighter, yet totally satisfying, dish for your family—Hearty Lentil Stew.

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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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Easy Summer Sides: Yellow Crookneck Squash

Long before the June solstice, summer is heralded by Memorial Day, picnics, backyard barbecues, and abundant yellow crookneck squash. This colorful squash dish with red bell pepper and fresh basil or dill (suit yourself) is great for summer entertaining, and it travels well to a potluck. I tasted something like this dish once at a potluck supper way back, and of course, since I live in the South, it would have been smothered with cheese. I think this dish proves the winning possibility of creating a casserole without cheese that everyone will still love —

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