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.
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.
In a food processor or blender, blend the olive oil, lemon juice and tahini together until creamy.
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.
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)
Preheat oven to 350degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Combine sugars, oil, milk and tapioca flour or corn starch in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a fork for 2 minutes.
Mix in the vanilla
Add 1 Cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt and mix to combine
Add the rest of the flour and combine.
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.
Roll the dough into walnut or pingpong size balls and place on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Flatten the cookies with your fingers or the bottom of a mason jar (kids can do this)
Bake for 8-9 minutes (until just starting to turn golden)
Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then move to a plate or wire rack.
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
1/2 tsp black pepper corns (or 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)
Soak the figs in hot water for 10 minutes, to soften them
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.
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.
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.
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.
“I nourish you gods, who are everywhere present, with yogurt, with butter, and with milk” – Rig Veda
I grew up with ghee… my mother and her mother made it for baking traditional middle eastern sweets… and I re-discovered my love for ghee when I found Ayurveda. Ghee is considered a primary “rasayana” in Ayurveda – that means it is rejuvenating and promotes longevity as well as virility. Ghee is used in vedic rituals and has many kitchen-based medicinal and nourishing qualities and is wonderful for cooking, spreading, baking, and even as a vehicle for taking herbs. 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 your attention 🙂
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, Unsalted Butter (1 lb or more) – 1 lb of butter will take about 15-20 minutes… as you increase the amount of butter, the clarification 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.
Melt the butter at medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
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.
Keep the ghee at this low temperature, stirring occasionally.
Check it frequently at the 12 minute mark (for 1 lb) as it starts to become more and more golden-translucent, so as not to burn it. Remove it from the heat if it starts to darken. You can use the spoon to pull away the foam at the top to see the color and quality beneath.
It is done when it is a golden-clear color… you can also tell if it’s really clarified by turning up the heat, 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 – there are still solids being clarified… if the only noise is the noise of the liquid itself bubbling, then the ghee is done!
Remove from heat.
Transfer the ghee to your clean and dry glass jar while it’s still hot.
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.
(Bel0w) Me, holding a ghee lamp used during my wedding ceremony… my grandmother made the ghee that morning.