Black Lentil Hummus

Hummus is a great way to get satisfying protein that can be enjoyed with bread,  spread on roasted zuchini or on sticks of carrots and cucumber, as a spread for a sandwich, or licked off of a spoon.  Most hummus recipes are simple and easy, and this one uses black beluga lentils, which are much easier to digest (and faster to cook) than chickpeas.  I created this recipe being 2 months post-partum , when large beans (like chickpeas) can still be difficult to digest for mama and baby (taking in breastmilk).  Variations of hummus were great during pregnancy as well, when I needed to increase my protein intake to reduce morning sickness and increase nutrition. Lentils, being small legumes are much easier to digest than larger beans such as chickpeas and kidney beans.  This recipe uses black beluga lentils, but really any cooked bean can be used to create a hummus spread.  You can vary it (see below) easily.

Black Beluga Lentils
Black Beluga Lentils


  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 Cup roasted tahini
  • 1 Cup cooked black beluga lentils (see note below)
  • Salt to taste

Note – to cook the lentils, rinse about 1/2 cup until water runs clear.  Cover in a pot with water, bring to a boil and then cook on simmer until lentils are cooked through (about 30-45 minutes) with a bay leaf and a dash of salt.  Check periodically to see if you need to add water.  If you can’t find black beluga lentils, try french lentils or brown lentils.


  1. In a food processor or blender, blend the olive oil, lemon juice and tahini together until creamy.
  2. Add the lentils and salt to taste and blend until creamy.


  • You can replace the lentils with chickpeas or any bean you like.
  • Remove the beans  and add water for a tahini dressing.
  • Remove the tahini and add herbs such as rosemary, dill, tarragon or thyme for a  bean dip.

I served this hummus with a  quinoa tabouli (recipe to come) – husband enjoyed it with chips and a side of heirloom tomatos.

Hummus served with quinoa tabouli
Hummus served with quinoa tabouli

Healing Recipes


For general healing, postpartum, postsurgery, pre and post cleansing, weak digestion or high vata.

In general, food should be

  • Warm
  • Freshly prepared (no leftovers)
  • Organic when possible
  • Seasonal when possible
  • Well oiled (with ghee, coconut or olive)
  • Gently spiced

Make soups, stews, rice puddings and pilafs using these ingredients.


  • OATS


  • DILL
  • FENUGREEK – seeds or leaves (found in Indian market)
  • SALT




  • SUGARS such as rapadura, date and succanat, maple syrup
  • YAMS


  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Cheese (especially hard, aged cheeses – some fresh such as paneer and ricotta may be alright)
  • Meat, chicken, egg
  • Leftovers
  • Green bell pepper


Here are links to recipes on this blog that are especially healing

Roasted Squash

Creamy Dal

Thumprint Cookies

Winter Soup

Sesame Carrots

Ginger Sweet Potatoes

Macadamia Pink Salt Cookies


Macadamia Pink Salt Cookies

These cookies are buttery, but vegan 🙂

A simple recipe, that can use any kind of nut you like, these cookies can also work as a chocolate chip cookie.  I adapted this recipe from the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

All sweets in Ayurveda should be had in moderation, and when your agni (digestive fire) is balanced and you are healthy.  The sweet taste balances vata (dry, light type) and pitta (hot type), but can increase kapha (cold, damp, heavy type).  The nuts in these add a crunch that pitta-type constitutions love, and a bit of protein.  You can make these cookies gluten-free by replacing the flour with gluten-free all purpose flour (note that some of these tell you to use a less amount of flour than if you were using regular flour, so the recipe is not dry).


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (heaping) cane sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 Cup almond milk, coconut creamer, milk or cream
  • 1 TB tapioca flour or organic corn starch
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp himalyan pink salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped macadamia, hazelnut, or almond (or 3/4 cup chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine sugars, oil, milk and tapioca flour or corn starch in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a fork for 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the vanilla
  4. Add 1 Cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt and mix to combine
  5. Add the rest of the flour and combine.
  6. Fold in the nuts or chocolate chips.  The dough is a little tough and dry, so you can use your hands to mix if you want.
  7. Roll the dough into walnut or pingpong size balls and place on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  8. Flatten the cookies with your fingers or the bottom of a mason jar (kids can do this)
  9. Bake for 8-9 minutes (until just starting to turn golden)
  10. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then move to a plate or wire rack.
  11. Store in a glass or stainless steel container.

Fig & Olive Tapenade





Little is better than good bread schmeared with a delicious spread.  A few days ago I made a simple lentil soup and then prepared several spreads to go with a good flat bread as a middle eastern mezze platter.  This fig and olive tapenade is based on something we purchased years ago at a health food co-op.  It is very simple to make, and because it is not cooked, is a rare food that you can keep in the fridge for 2 days.  

This tapenade is rich, with a great black color.  It is great on bread or breadsticks, and is tridoshic – good for vata, pitta and kapha and in any season. 

“The fig is the most useful of all the fruits which grow on tress” – Athenaeus. 


Figs blossom on the ficus tree in warm climates, like California and the Mediterranean. They are particularly balancing to vata and pitta, and therefor ideal in dry and / or warm climates. When fresh, the skin is thin and soft and either green or black, and the inside is like a pinkish jelly filling.  Dried figs become quite firm and leathery, and have been used since ancient times as a sweetener. One of the first edible plants to be cultivated by humans, figs play a key role in many ancient stories, religions and philosophies.  


  • Adam and Eve were said to have clad themselves in fig leaves
  • The Buddha discovered enlightenment under the bodhi tree (tree of knowledge), which is large sacred fig tree (ficus religiosa)
  • The Ancient Greeks were said to have received from India, a request for dried figs, along with grape syrup and a philosopher. 
  •  Mohammad, in the Qu’ran, says that the fig is a fruit of paradise because it contains no pit

Figs are sweet, rich in calcium and fiber and can be used to gently treat constipation. They cleanse the mouth and rebuild vitality and sexual energy. Thus, they may be symbolic of abundance. 


“Thy children, like the olive branches, around thy table” – The Bible



Like figs, olives appear in both black and green varieties and grow on trees in warm and dry climates. They are harvested in the fall, and are now used throughout the world. 


  • The olive branch is extended as an act of peace.
  • Olive oil was used by Israelites for both cooking and sacred lighting
  • In Ancient Greece, the olive was sacred to Athena, olive branches were made as crowns to symbolize victory in both games and war and olive oil was used in ancient greece to anoint Kings
  • The olive is mentioned many times in the bible and the quran. 
  • In the middle east, olives and olive oil are used abundantly, including using the oil for massage

Once prepared for eating, they are salty, astringent, and oily, making them particularly balancing for vata and kapha. They are both rich, and light. 




You can vary the ingredients to taste. 

  • 1 and 1/2 C. dried black mission figs, rinsed in warm water, and hard stems removed. 
  • 1 C. kalmata olives (without brine)
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 1/4 C. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 C. pine nuts (walnuts work as well)
  • 1 heaping TB capers (optional)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 packed TB fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon (or 2 TB fresh parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper corns (or 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)


  1. Soak the figs in hot water for 10 minutes, to soften them
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender (such as a vitamix) or food processor (beware, with a food processor, the liquid may press out of the sides, so cover it with a towel).  And pulse repeatedly to begin combining.  Eventually you can blend until smoothe.  You may need to add more olive oil, lemon juice, or a little water to get it to blend, or turn off the blender to mash around the tapenade. 

Serve with bread or breadsticks along with other spreads or as a side with a soup, salad or pilaf. 


Asian Slaw & Ginger-Sesame Dressing

A hot summer mid-day is the perfect time to indulge in some cold crunch!

This alkalizing salad includes cooling raw fennel & cucumber… along with radish (great for the liver)… the cooling nature of the raw veggies is balanced with a warming sesame-ginger dressing.  Ayurveda says that raw veggies are best consumed during the mid-day, when the sun is high in the sky… and during the warm season – spring / summer.

Veggies (approximate amounts – do to taste)

  • 1-2 Fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of Radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Ginger-Sesame Dressing – use amounts to taste

  • 1/2 Cup Black sesame seeds (or white if you can’t find), toasted on the stovetop in a pan
  • 1/2 Cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup of toasted sesame oil
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 1/3 Cup Rice vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Shoyu or Tamari
  • dash of Organic agave or maple syrup (unless your rice vinegar is sweetened)
  • 1-2 TB shredded ginger
  • 1/2 Cup Black sesame seeds (or white if you can’t find), toasted on the stovetop in a pan

Toss ingredients together!


Though I’m not a fan of excess amounts of soy, on occasion, it’s just fine. This salad would go great with a bowl of steamed edamame, or a marinated & baked or stirfried tofu or tempeh.

Tender Roasted Squash

This could NOT be easier! And it is so super delicious… and is fantastic kid eat it with your fingers food.  It cooled down here this week, and I was SO attracted to the “winter” squash that is available year-round.  Pictured below – kabocha squash.

Squash are sweet, earthy, and vitamin-rich… they are satisfying and just plain delicious with just salt, pepper and oil.  You really don’t need to get fancy with it! Baking or roasting veggies is considered great for kapha-types & kapha season (damp, heavy, spring, slow)… because you can get away with using less oil than cooking on stovetop, and because of the dry-heat effect of the baking process.  Plus, roasting caramelizes and intensifies flavors and emphasizes the natural sweet taste in veggies.  AND it is not labor intensive other than the slicing and the occasional checking the oven and turning the veggies so they don’t brown.


  • Any winter / fall squash, seeded & sliced thin (you can keep the skins on)
  • Olive Oil, melted ghee, or sunflower oil – a few tablespoons
  • A couple tablespoons of water
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • OPTIONS: dried crushed herbs (eg. thyme, basil, oregano, dill, marjoram), Cumin Sprinkle, Citrus Juice or Zest –
  • OPTION: Kids will LOVE it sprinkled with cinnamon and ghee (and maybe some nutmeg and allspice for the adult palettes).


  • Preheat oven to around 400 degrees
  • Use a baking sheet (I use a cookie sheet)… oil the sheet by thickly drizzling oil over it… I line my baking sheet with Parchment Paper, and oil the paper.
  • Pile the thinly sliced squash somewhat evenly over on the sheet… a higher pile will just mean you need to get in there and turn them after awhile, so the top pieces don’t over-brown and the bottom pieces don’t over-mush.
  • Drizzle more oil or melted ghee on top.  You can also sprinkle a little water with your fingers over the pile of squash so they don’t scorch.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven
  • Bake for around a total of 20-40 minutes (depending on how thinly sliced the squash is)… check every 10 min or so and turn them so the bottom ones get a little browned and the top ones don’t over brown.  You can add a litte more oil or sprinkle a little more water.  *Don’t be shy about pulling the WHOLE SHEET out of the oven, and turning the veggies before putting it back in the oven – better than bending over for a long period with your arm, or worse, your head, in the oven.  I learned the hard way, by scorching my wrist when my bangle overheated!
  • Toward the end of the cooking or at the very end, you can sprinkle with salt, black pepper and anything else you want (eg. herbs, citrus, etc.)
  • Poke through to make sure the pieces are cooked through… don’t worry about the pieces not all being the same, it’s nice to have some more firm and other pieces more soft.
  • Enjoy!
  • PS – you can eat the skin 🙂

Pairing Suggestions

Dressing Suggestions

  • A yogurt & tahini dressing – plain organic whole milk yogurt, honey, tahini, salt, pepper (maybe a little water to thin)
  • A ginger-sesame dressing.
  • An balsamic & olive oil dressing with fresh herbs – like parsley or dill
  • A citrus dressing – lemon juice, orange zest, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and tamari or shoyu
  • If you’re cooking for kids, these are dip-able in their favorite sauce, and make a great finger food… let them go for it – Ayurveda says, digestion begins with the finger tips, when you touch food, your body begins releasing enzymes! And if there’s a baby in the house, just blend up the squash in your food processor.

Here’s the squash with the Summer Pilaf


I grew up with clarified butter and ghee… my mother and grandmother and great grandmothers made it for middle eastern baking… and I re-discovered my love for ghee when I found Ayurveda.  Ghee is considered a primary “rasayana” {rejuvenating} food in Ayurveda, promoting deep tissue nourishment, longevity and virility.  Ghee is used in vedic rituals as an offering of wealth and abundance and has many kitchen-based medicinal and nourishing qualities and is wonderful for cooking, spreading, baking, and even as a vehicle for taking herbs.

Ghee has a special quality relative to butter. Both are nourishing and tissue building, however, butter is cooling and can dampen your digestive fire, while ghee actually can ignite your digestive fire {agni}. Furthermore, butter will burn when cooking, while ghee can be heated without burning.

Below is a simple ghee recipe, followed by a short article about ghee. It is very simple to make, and mainly requires organic butter plus the attention of your senses.

Like I said, I learned ghee making from my mom… and she still uses it too.  Here’s her photo response to my telling her I had just made ghee…

Ingredients & Tools

  • Organic, Grass Fed Unsalted Butter (1 lb or more) – 1 lb of butter will take about 20 minutes… as you increase the amount of butter, the time can increase.
  • A clean, dry, glass jar, like a mason jar.
  • A stainless steel or silver spoon.
  • A heavy / thick-bottomed stainless steel pot – large enough that there will be room at the top.
  • A fine stainless steel strainer – I use this one from Far Leaves Tea in Berkeley – or several layers of fine cotton cheese cloth to strain the ghee.


  1. Place the butter in the pot. 
  2. Melt the butter at medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Once the butter is liquified, turn the heat down to a low setting – just high enough that there is some gentle, slow, quiet bubbling… not so low that it is still & silent and not so high that it is sputtering or boiling. 
  4. Keep the ghee at this low temperature, stirring occasionally. It is okay to stir up the solids. 
  5. Pay attention! Use your sense of sound and smell and sight. Sound – there will be a specific sound of the milk solids transforming {a sound that is different from the actual overall bubbling of the butter}. As that transformational sound quietens down, the ghee is done. You can check by turning up the heat slightly, and putting your ear over the pot – if you can hear a scouring sound – like the sound of that sucking thing that vacuums your saliva at the dentist. If the only noise is the noise of the liquid itself bubbling, then the ghee is done! *These all make the difference between clarified butter and ghee. The process is the same, but clarified butter is done before all of these signs. 
  6. Smell – when the butter just barely begins to smell carmelized or different than how it smelled at the beginning, it is done. Sight – as it becomes ghee, it will become more and more golden-translucent. It is done when it is a golden-clear color The milk solids settling at the bottom will be browned and carmelized on the bottom of the pot.You can use the spoon to pull away the foam at the top to see the color and quality beneath. It’s done. The timing of this can vary – depending on the nature of the butter and on the quantity that you are making. So you really must be present with your ghee.
  7. As you see one or more of the signs described above, remove it from the heat. Let it cool a bit.  
  8. Transfer the ghee to your clean and dry glass jar while it’s still warm / hot by pouring it slowly through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. 
  9. Cover the jar
  10. Store at room temperature.
This is the strainer I use – from

Here is some information about Ghee from my friends at Ancient Organics:

In India, ghee has always been a sacred and celebrated symbol of auspiciousness, nourishment and healing; especially in the daily rituals of cooking and worship.

Ghee is a premium cooking oil celebrated for its taste, nutritional benefits, and medicinal qualities. Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India, recognizes ghee as an essential part of a balanced diet, and considers it to be the best fat one can eat. Ghee is the very essence of butter; the end result of a long, slow, careful clarification process that removes all the moisture, milk solids and impurities. The absence of milk solids and water in ghee make it completely shelf stable. Ghee has one of the highest flash points (485ºF) which make this oil the best choice for high temperature cooking.

Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with vitamins A, D, E and K. Ghee made from organic butter of pastured cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). 9 phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals are present in ghee.

Ghee is known as a substance that gives longevity, its elemental qualities balance the aging characteristics by enriching the living body.

Ghee has been used for centuries as a digestive and elimination aid, for energy, sexual vitality, skin and eye health, as a lubricant for the joints and for alkalizing the blood.

The purity of ghee allows it to be deep penetrating and nourishing as it passes it passes through the lipid membranes of cells. For this reason, the vitamins and minerals from food cooked in ghee will be drawn deep into the body where they impart the most benefit. The assimilation of the nutrients increases when suspended in a ghee matrix. When you add spices to ghee to cook with the flavor is carried deep into the food. Many herbal preparations use ghee as the carrier oil because of these characteristics.

(Below) Me, holding a ghee lamp used during my wedding ceremony… my grandmother made the ghee that morning.