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I well remember my first Thanksgiving, crowded into a London bedsit. I was a medical student in London and supplementing my student grant as an usherette at the National Theatre. One of the usherettes was American, and organized a diverse group of National Theatre employees and international students to create a Thanksgiving feast! Here is a vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, Ayurvedic  Thanksgiving menu. You could create a vegetarian Thanksgiving or use these recipes to add variety to the traditional turkey dinner.

·       Baked Delicata Squash with Red Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing

·       Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with pecans

·          Puree de batata (Moroccan mashed potatoes)

·        'Yam'/Sweet Potato Halva

·           Cranberry chutney


Baked Delicata Squash with Red Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing

English: A picture of delicata squash taken by...

English: A picture of delicata squash taken by me in my kitchen. Jordan Archer makes this image available to anyone or company for any use. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Berley author of  The Flexitarian Table


2 cups quinoa
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
sea salt or Kosher salt
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dried red cranberries
1/4 cup dried currants
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

1. Adjust a rack to the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

2. Simmer the quinoa in 4 cups of water until fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. While the quinoa cooks, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the carrots, celery, ginger, and sage and 1/2 tsp salt.

4. Cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes (add a tablespoon of water, if necessary, to prevent scorching.)

5. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa and vegetables. Stir in the dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper.

6. Brush the skin of the squash lightly with oil. Place the squash, cut side down, in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a snug single layer.

7. Pour ½-inch of boiling water into the pan and bake for 20 minutes (you want the squash to have softened slightly, but not completely). Transfer the squash to a plate and let rest until cool enough to handle.

8. Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa mixture, return them, stuffing-up, to the pan, and bake until the flesh can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 20 to 30 minutes.

Garden Beets 1.jpg

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • 3 large golden beets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz baby arugula leaves, washed (about 2 large handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz goat feta or soy cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash the beets and coat with 1 tbsp of the oil. Wrap in several layers of foil and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool to room temp or refrigerate. This may be done in advance.

With a knife, scrap off the beet skin, and cut in 1-inch cubes. Add to a mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients, except the goat cheese. Toss well to combine, and divide on to 4 plates. Crumble over the cheese, and serve.

Pure de batata (Moroccan mashed potatoes)


Serves 16 as a side dish


 5 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
 1 tbsp Olive Oil (or as needed)
 1.5 tsp Turmeric powder (or as needed to create a primrose colour)
 1.5 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cumin


Boil the potatoes over medium-high heat and cook for about 20 minutes, till they can be easily pierced with a fork. When the potatoes are done, drain them and mash well. Add turmeric, salt, black pepper and cumin.

Add the remaining olive oil. Mix well to make the potatoes creamy.


'Yam'/Sweet Potato Halva

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato, commonly referred to as a yam in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Serves 6-8


4 medium 'yams' i.e. orange/golden sweet potatoes

4  tbsp. ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp. green cardamom powder

¼ cup chopped almonds



Boil yams in their skin. When cool, peel and mash. Add and mix cardamom powder

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.

Fry mashed yams, stirring frequently, until ghee begins to separate. The halva tastes better when fried well.

Cook, stirring all the time, for a further 2-3 minutes.

Turn off heat and add 2/3rd of the nuts. Mix.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining nuts. Serve hot.


Cranberry apple Chutney

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2 punnets organic cranberries ( 4 cups)
4 cups chopped apples
1 orange
1/4 tsp raisins
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
6 cloves, ground
1 star anise, ground (optional but good)
2 pinches mace
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Water as needed

Put washed cranberries and washed chopped apples in heavy bottomed pan. Grate 1tsp of the orange peel and add. Now squeeze the orange and add the juice. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and adding water as needed. Once it is simmering, add sugar and raisins.

In a small frying pan, melt the ghee ,add cumin seeds and chilies and fry until they darken a shade. Now chopped ginger and cinnamon and fry until the ginger is browned.

Add the fried spices to the chutney, then the spice powders (clove, star anise, mace, cardamom.)

When the chutney is almost cooked, add the chopped nuts

Cranberry 4.jpg



Ingredients to serve 6:

1 ¼ cup chana dal or yellow split peas

Vegetable broth as needed.

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tb olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh (preferably) or ground ginger

¼ tsp saffron

4lb butternut squash or  kabocha squash

3 Tbs finely chopped flat leaf parsley



·      Cook the chana dal or split peas in a pressure cooker for one hour with water.

·      Add vegetable broth as needed, salt and pepper to taste, the oil, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, and put in the squash.

·      Simmer until the squash falls apart.

·      Sprinkle with flatleaf parsley and offer khefir or yogurt at the table for people to add as desired.


Source: Adapted from: andThe Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), page 319.


After doing the work of regaining balance, the next step is managing your constitution.  And here it is good to remember that, although your predominant dosha is the one most likely to go out of balance, the other doshas can also be thrown off as well. To avoid disturbing the other doshas, stay away from extremes such as severe heat or cold, foods that are very salty, oily, pungent, or sour, consumption of large amounts of sweets or drinking too much alcohol.

If your constitution is vata, your best tastes are sweet, sour and salty. But this doesn't mean that you can eat a lot of sugar. Grains and many vegetables fall under the sweet taste, and are much more balanced than cookies and candies. Try to avoid excess travelling and high impact exercise. Yoga, swimming, strolling and low impact forms of dance are ideal for you. Since vata is dry, remember to do self massage with sesame oil or ashwagandhadi tailam.

Next, let's turn to pitta. You need to avoid hot, sharp, salty and oily foods, drinks and situations. Sweet, bitter and astringent tastes are best for you and summer season is your most challenging time. Eat plenty of bitter greens seasoned with turmeric, coriander and cumin and keep hydrated with cumin-coriander-fennel tea or hibiscus tea. Cool your head with coconut brahmi oil.   Choose early mornings or evenings for exercise and walk in the moonlight whenever you can.

As for kapha, everything that is good for vata is bad for you! Your best tastes are bitter, pungent and astringent. Barley is your best grain if you tolerate gluten, while buckwheat or quinoa are alternatives. Start your day with a cup of spice tea including ginger, cardamom and cinnamon and take some brisk exercise before you start work. A sedentary lifestyle is your greatest enemy and simple things like using the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference to your wellbeing.

Considering the tastes and lifestyle factors needed for your constitution can make a difference in how you feel on a daily basis, so plan your menus and daily activities accordingly! An Ayurvedic practitioner can help you with menus, recipes and lifestyle plans to maintain optimal health.


According to Ayurveda, balance comes from applying opposite qualities to those of the imbalance. If vata is cold, light, dry, rough, mobile and clear, then a vata imbalance can be helped by the use of warmth, heavier grounding qualities, oiliness, smoothness, and stability. If you are vata imbalanced it is good to receive treatments like oil massage, herbal steam and shirodhara (oil stream to the forehead) as well as to eat warm, moist, smooth, well-cooked foods and to take vata balancing herbs like ashwagandha. Warm spices like cumin and cinnamon also help balance vata.

Pitta is hot, sharp, light, motile and sour and can best be balanced by its opposite qualities such as cool and dull. How about a cup of warm milk at bedtime, spiced with cardamom? The milk has cool, dull and heavy qualities ideal for pitta. Coconut oil or brahmi oil in a coconut base also has cool, dull and heavy qualities ideal for a head massage to calm pitta. Coriander is a wonderful spice to bring pitta back into balance. And among pitta soothing herbs, shatavari has pride of place in carrying the opposite qualities to pitta.

 Kapha is cold, heavy, oily, cloudy and sticky, so one of the best ways to calm a kapha imbalance (such as head cold) is to go off wheat and cow dairy for a time, since both these foods share similar qualities to kapha. Foods that are light, dry and spicy do well for kapha and so do ginger baths, using a mixture of dry ginger powder and baking soda. Dry ginger is also useful as a tea for kapha imbalances.

In the event that you are uncertain which dosha is imbalanced, try remedies that balance the qualities of all three doshas. You can drink cumin-coriander-fennel tea and take triphala to help balance the qualities of all three doshas. Remembering the simple principle of using one quality to bring down another, you can work towards regaining balance.


Apple is known in Sanskrit as sevam. According to the text Bhavprakash, apple is sweet in taste and post digestive effect, cold in potency, heavy in action, nourishing, reduces vata and pitta, promotes semen production. Apple's beneficial effects for vata will be increased by cooking it. Apple lowers cholesterol and so helps kapha.

In honour of this year's extraordinary apple harvest in Boulder, here are apple recipes for each constitution.


Vata breakfast--spiced stewed apples for vata

This recipe is nice and laxative for vata, with the pectin from the apples and the addition of soaked prunes and figs.



Soak the prunes and figs overnight


  • 2 sweet apples
  • 4 prunes, soaked overnight
  • 2 black mission figs, soaked overnight
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamom pods, split.
  • If it's a cold day, add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger


  1. Core the apples and chop into 1" pieces (do not peel unless your digestion is extremely delicate)
  2. Add to a pot skin side down, with spices and soaked dried fruit
  3. Add the soak water from the prunes and figs
  4. If need be add more water, to cover the fruit
  5.  Bring to a boil, cover
  6. Cook on low for 15 - 20 minutes or until apples are tender
  7. Eat warm
  8. You may accompany with yoghurt, cream, coconut butter or coconut custard 

Recipe adapted from


Pitta Breakfast: Spiced stewed apples for pitta


  • 2 sweet apples
  • 1 Tbsp raisins or chopped dates
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamom pods, split.
  • If it's a cold day, add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger



  1. Core the apples and chop into 1" pieces Add to a pot skin side down, with spices, raisins or dates and most of the toasted nuts
  2. Add 1 cup water or enough to cover
  3. Bring to a boil, cover
  4. Cook on low for 15 - 20 minutes or until apples are tender
  5. Garnish with the rest of the almonds ad coconut
  6. Eat warm
  7. You may accompany with yoghurt, cream, coconut butter or coconut custard


Kapha's Treat: Baked Apple

  • 4 large good baking apples, such as Braeburn, Granny Smith or Jonagold
  • 1/4 cup crushed jaggery or date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 cloves
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup boiling water or ginger tea.

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corer, but if not, you can use a paring knife to cut out first the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to an inch wide.

3. In a small bowl, combine the sweetener, cinnamon and currants. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture.  Press 3 cloves into each one. Top with blob of ghee or coconut oil.

4. Add boiling water or ginger tea to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.
Adapted from


Alandi's Rosehip Cordial

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This week Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula students made rosehip cordial. We accomplished a number of educational objectives in this experiment, including foraging and gathering, what is a cordial and how is it made, what are the medicinal properties of rosehips and where can clip top bottles be purchased. The answer to the last question turned out to be McGuckin's Hardware!

You can find our recipe at the bottom.

On Day 1 we gathered rosehips:


 We made a water extract and strained it overnight. (We use Ma's old sari cloth for straining).


The rosehip matter was composted.


We measured the extract...


then half the amount of local aged honey...



combined the two...


added brandy and bottled. But we have to wait at least two months to see how it turns out!


Rosehip Cordial Recipe

Day 1


Gather rose hips and wash thoroughly.


Add whole rose hips to a large sauce pan.  There is no need to top and tail the rose hips as all of the plant matter will be strained later on. Cover with 1-2 inches water.


Add desired spices (whole cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick, grated fresh ginger, cloves etc.)


Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.


Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours.


Strain through a large sieve and muslin/cheese cloth.  Squeezing at this point will impart herb matter that can begin to ferment later in the process, therefore it is better to leave overnight to drip out the remaining decoction.


Day 2


Measure out the decoction.


Heat decoction on the stove to boiling point, then let it cool a little so as not to heat the honey too much.


Measure out ½ the amount of local honey by volume and add to the warm cordial.


Add brandy, in an equal volume to the volume of the concoction.


Stir honey, brandy, concoction mixture together.


Bottle in glass bottle with a lid that seals, making sure to leave room in the top to prevent the bottle from exploding.


Place in a root cellar or dark cabinet for two months to one year.




Halloween Apple Chutney

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When I was a child in Britain, many of our Halloween customs were associated with the apple harvest. All of us had wonderful heirloom varieties of apples in our gardens, both eating apples and large green cooking apples.  We played bob apple, snap apple and 'pass the apple' and made toffee apples as a special treat. Meanwhile, my mother and I made huge quantities of apple chutney.  This year, after the Flood and so much rain all season, Boulder has an unprecedented apple harvest. Here's an example of a typical Alandi apple chutney recipe.

Alakananda's Famous Apple Chutney


3 pounds apples

Juice of one orange

1 tbsp orange zest

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp chopped green chilies

1 pinch mace

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 pinch nutmeg

½ cup or more of muscovado sugar

½ cup raisins or  currants

1 pinch salt



Wash and chop apples, discardiong any blemished parts. Add orange juice, orange zest, and enough water to cover the apples.  Boil slowly in thick-bottomed pan. When the apples are soft, add the sugar raisins and cook to desired consistency (chunkier or more jam-like as you wish). Fry spice seeds, ginger and chilies in small amount of ghee and add to the mixture. Taste to adjust seasonings and sweetener. If it's not spicy enough for your taste, you can add cayenne pepper. 

Menu suggestion: serve with Tridoshic yam kitcheri .

Apple chutney.jpg


When you're lying awake
With a dismal headache,
And repose is taboo'd by anxiety...
And you're hot, and you're cross,
And you tumble and toss...
Well, you get some repose
In the form of a doze,
With hot eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems
With such horrible dreams
That you'd very much better be waking...


These words from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta provide a vivid description of what it can feel like to be out of balance. Anxiety, nightmares, headache, irritation, sounds as if pitta is out of balance along with some vata.  The kapha version might go more like

When you're sluggish and dull

 And you slumber and snore

And you're heavy and slow and lethargic...


Nobody enjoys being out of balance, yet the truth is, we all believe we enjoy doing the things that can cause us to be 'lying awake with a dismal headache'. All the things we think we like doing but which are actually harmful for our wellbeing fall into the category of 'crimes against wisdom', known in Sanskrit as prajnaparadh. Maybe your body type is vata and you can't understand how you ended up so anxious and nervous, with constipation and aches and pains.  Chances are, you've been eating a lot of salads, drinking coffee, snacking irregularly on energy bars and chips and getting to bed late. The dry, cold and irregular qualities of your lifestyle are disturbing to your vata. If you're pitta and feeling as hot and bothered as the poem describes, look at the salt, chilies, fried foods and citrus fruits in your diet. Salty, oily, pungent and sour tastes are very disturbing to pitta, as are alcohol and marijuana. And if you're kapha and feeling sluggish and dull, think about your after dinner ice cream, sugary and starchy foods and heavy meals in the evening. Sweet, cold and heavy foods are very disturbing to kapha. They may seem comforting at the time, but they are not really worth the sluggishness that follows.


 Understanding that our own choices have led us to be out of balance helps us appreciate that we have the power to make a positive change. An Ayurvedic practitioner can assist you in appreciating and reversing the causes of imbalance, so you not only regain your well-being, but also maintain it!


English: Dhanvantari (धन्वंतरी), known as an a...

Where am I right now? In balance or off balance?  Here is a simple way to keep in touch with your current Ayurvedic condition.

  • Observe your stools
  • Observe your tongue
  • Observe your energy level
  • Observe your mood
  • Run through your body for pain or tenderness
  • Observe your appetite
  • Observe the taste in your mouth


Your stools should be light tan colour, about the consistency of a ripe banana and should float. Hard, dry or dark stools show that your vata is off, while loose stools indicate a pitta imbalance. Oily stools could be a kapha problem.

Your tongue should be clean and pink after you use your tongue scraper. If it is coated, you have toxins in your system.


Moving on to more subtle observations; notice whether your energy level is consistent. If you feel unusually wired or have uneven energy, your vata may be disturbed. If your energy feels intense, perhaps you are pitta imbalanced. If you feel heavy and sluggish, this could be a manifestation of kapha or of toxins.


 Now, notice your mood.  Anxious, nervous or spaced out? It sounds as if you have a vata imbalance. Irritable or frustrated? Pitta may be too high. Feeling like sitting around watching TV and snacking? You could have a kapha imbalance.


Next, checking through your body for pain or tenderness, you might notice low back pain or achey joints, a signal that vata is imbalanced. If you feel tenderness in your upper abdomen or are experiencing heartburn, it's time to think about pitta. Tight chest or sinus pain? Maybe kapha is disturbed. 


Considering appetite next, if you find you are skipping meals or forgetting to eat, this is another vata indication. On the other hand, if you are hungry all the time and craving sweets and starches, pitta is playing up. And if you have a low appetite, feel a bit nauseated, don't want breakfast and get sleepy after lunch, this is a good indication of a kapha imbalance.  


Take a moment to notice the taste in your mouth. Bitter could be vata, sour taste could be pitta and sweet or salty taste in the mouth could signal kapha issues.


With this self-check under your belt, you're well on the way to taking charge of your daily wellbeing. Work with your Ayurvedic practitioner to develop self-care strategies to use amid the daily fluctuations of vikriti, your current imbalance.


Turnip Sabji (Curried Turnips)

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Swami's huge turnips.

This week Swami Paramananda visited Alandi Ashram from his mountain hermitage, bringing huge turnips, which he cultivated at 10,500 feet.  Here is the recipe we created!


Serves 12 as a side dish



3 lb turnip

2 lb red potatoes

The greens from the turnip (or 1 bunch kale)

3 roma tomatoes

2" fresh ginger

1 hot green chilli

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 pinch hing (asafoetida)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp amchur or mango powder (optional)

1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Handful cilantro, chopped




·      Cut potatoes and turnip into half-inch cubes. Chop greens. Finely chop ginger and chillies.

·      Heat oil in cast iron wok on medium high and drop in mustard seeds. When seeds turn grey and pop, immediately turn down heat, add cumin seeds and then hing and salt.

·      Now add the ginger and chillies, and fry until they brown. 

·      Add the ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and amchur. 

·      Turn heat up, add the tomatoes and cook until they soften.

·      Add turnip and potatoes and stir until they are thoroughly coated with the spices.

·      Now add the greens and half a cup of water, put on lid and allow to sauté. Stir from time to time, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. This sabji should be moist but not watery, so only add enough water to allow it to sauté but not enough to create a watery sauce as this is a dry sabji. 

·      Keep cooking until potatoes and turnip are tender. Add the cilantro and serve.

Menu Suggestion: Serve with Cleansing Kitcheri and Plum Chutney




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