Ayurvedic Self Care for Winter

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Winter in Massachusetts by Sadananda

During winter, our strength is increased because the cold constricts our skin capillaries. The heat doesn't dissipate as it does in other seasons and agni, the digestive fire, is much stronger. If we don't take care to eat heavier foods and larger portions in winter, the increased digestive fire starts to consume our tissues. This is particularly dangerous in the case of elderly people, whose tissues can't build up as well as they used to. The vata, or bodily wind, helps agni digest the tissues. So it's important to eat warm, well cooked foods and to make use of the three tastes that calm vata--sweet, sour and salty. At Alandi Ashram, we make big jars of kimchi in winter for a sour, salty and warming condiment and eat miso soups. We bake winter squashes  and use sweet potatoes, yams and squashes in our soups and dals to bring in the sweet taste. We also enjoy warming antiviral teas like tulsi tea and ginger tea.

On  winter mornings, calm vata with an abhyanga (oil massage) using oil medicated with vata-soothing herbs such as ashwagandha and bala.  Recommended oil blends are Ashwagandhadi tailam or Ashwagandha Bala Oil.

After the long winter night, you will probably have a keen appetite for breakfast following your yoga or morning exercise.
Take a warm, nourishing breakfast such as oatmeal with toasted almonds, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Other ideas are uppama, Spicy Quinoa Breakfast Burrito, Spicy Scrambled Eggs or Kitcheri.

The ancient Ayurvedic texts recommend chicken soups or meat soups in winter, meat curries, sweet wines, cordials, urad dal, semolina dishes, milk products, and use of ghee and oils like mustard oil and sesame oil. Some readers might be surprised to see meat and liquor being recommended, although there is no doubt these are heating foods. In subsequent blogs we will explain more about how and why to use or abstain from these foods.

Avoid drafts, making sure your house is well-insulated. Wear warm boots, thick sweaters and cozy socks and use warm slippers indoors. Wool and cotton blankets are recommended. And keep warm beside the one you love. The Ayurvedic texts recommend sexual activity in winter, when our strength is increased. So cuddle up to your honey--and remember to practice safe sex!
Trident in the snow at Alandi Ashram photo by Alakananda

I wanted to share with you a glorious cooking experiment for my birthday---pumpkin and goat cheese low carb lasagna. It was a bit sloppy in consistency but was pronounced delicious and 'best lasagna ever' by the guests. A double batch of this was a time-consuming project and I spent some happy hours listening to New Dimensions Radio and cooking while snow fell outside.
This recipe is based on one in Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Pasta. I substituted zucchini strips for the pasta. Part of why it was such a project (and I have a blister to show for it) was that I cut six zucchinis into strips using my favourite peeler. I didn't have a mandoline or slicer! Compare mandolines and slicers here.


I used a mix of different varieties of pumpkin and golden squash for a delicious taste.


Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Low Carb Lasagna
Serves 6
(A double batch made enough for a 18"x 9" dish and fed 16 people, with side salads and appetizers as well.)
3 medium zucchinis (courgettes)
Salt to taste
3.5 lb pumpkin, peeled and cubed into half inch cubes
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
8 oz goat cheese log, sliced in thin rounds
1 batch vegan bechamel (see below)

Heat oven to 400' F (200'C)
Select a baking tin or glass casserole dish 8" x12" and at least 2.5" deep. Grease with olive oil or ghee.
Slice zucchinis into one eighth inch slices using mandoline, slicer etc. Place in colander and sprinkle with about half a tsp of salt.Toss to coat evenly.  Put a bowl under the colander. Water will be drawn out of the zucchini. Toss them again in about 15 minutes. Let them drain for at least an hour, more is better. Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin and the bechamel.
Heat olive oil in a large pan or wok. When it is hot but not smoking, add the garlic and pumpkin. Mix to coat with the oil and cook slowly for about 20 minutes until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Pat the zucchini strips dry with paper towel.
Now start assembling your lasagna dish! First cover the base with zucchini strips, add a third of the bechamel and  half the pumpkin. Put another layer of zucchini strips. Then put half the goat cheese, the rest of the pumpkin (remove pumpkin with slotted spoon) and some bechamel. Put the rest of the zucchini strips on top. Now layer on the rest of the goat cheese and bechamel.
Bake for at least 40 minutes.


Vegan Bechamel
2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup tapioca flour (or other flour)
1 bay leaf
A few stalks flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste

Mix the flour in a little of the almond milk.  Put the rest of the milk in a pan with the bay leaf and parsley and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling almond milk over the flour mixture, stirring well. Now tip the whole mixture back into the pan. Cook on moderate heat, stirring vigorously, until thickened. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Winter Hot Breakfast: Uppama

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Here is a delicious and nutritious winter weekend breakfast, brunch, or light supper. You can make this recipe with semolina, cream of wheat, or suji from your Indian grocery store--depending upon your shopping convenience. You can also make it with cream of rice (brown rice farina) if you want it gluten free!

Scroll down for recipe.

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Prepare the veggies (we used multicoloured small garden carrots)

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Roast the semolina


Adapted from http://www.indianfoodforever.com/indian-breakfast/upma.html


1 cup semolina

2 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil

1 inch ginger, chopped 
1-2 green chilies slit sideways (optional, depending how spicy you want it)
1 carrot, chopped

1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup organic frozen peas
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (optional, gives a good South Indian taste)
1 tsp chana dal (optional, gives a good South Indian taste)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
chili powder to taste (optional)
A few curry leaves (optional, available at Indian grocery stores)

Lemon juice to taste

¼ cup fried cashew nuts (optional)

Cilantro, finely chopped



·      Heat 1T ghee or oil and fry semolina on a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it is light brown in colour.  Set aside.

·      Now heat 2 T ghee or oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and allow them to splatter.

·      Add the dals and optional curry leaves to it and fry till they turn red. (Omit this step if you don't have these ingredients)

·      Add ginger and green chilies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

·      Add all the vegetables, turmeric, chili powder and salt to taste.

·      Now add 3 cups of water and cover the pan and allow it simmer on low heat until the vegetables are done. Add the fried semolina to it stirring constantly till it thickens.

·      Take off from the heat and add lemon juice if desired.

·      Serve hot garnished with optional cashews and coriander.

Eat on its own or serve with coconut chutney or chana dal chutney. I didn't have fresh coconut handy so I very quickly and easily made chana chutney with some dried coconut powder.

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Gujarati Tridoshic Dal

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Here is a delicious and balancing dal recipe from the traditional cuisine of Gujarat in Western India, perfect for a warm meal on a chilly day!

This recipe uses a special ingredient, a dried fruit known as Kokum, available from your local Indian grocery store or online from outlets such as Khanapakana. With the botanical name garcinia indica, this small fruit in the mangosteen family adds a touch of the sour taste and a purplish colour to the dal recipe. It is widely used in Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat and in other parts of India too, such as Assam. Despite its sour taste, this wonderful little fruit is soothing to pitta and anti-inflammatory. Studies also suggest that it may calm anxiety, adding to the good feeling this recipe creates.


Gujerati Tridoshic Dal

Modified from Bhavna's Vegetarian Kitchen

Serves: 4-5



1 cup toor dal

1 Tb ghee or sunflower oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

5 curry leaves

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 sliced green chili

1 inch long cinnamon stick

¼ cup chopped tomatoes

¼ tsp hing (asafetida) 

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chili powder

1 Tb skinned peanuts

1 Tb jaggery or raw sugar

1.5 cups water

2 kokums 

1 Tb chopped cilantro leaves

Salt to taste

 Note: Most hing contains gluten. Order gluten free hing here.

We omit the jaggery for blood sugar reasons and the taste is still great!




  • Pressure cook the toor dal with 2 cups of water and kokums, until soft.
  • Whisk the cooked dal well until well blended.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a pan; add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilli, ginger, cinnamon stick and cook until mustard seeds turn grey and sputter.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, hing & red chili powder and sauté until the tomatoes are soft and tender.
  • Now add the cooked dal, salt, jaggery, peanuts and approximately 1.5 cups of water. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes so th flavour of spices permeates the dal.
  • Turn off heat and add cilantro leaves
  •  Serve hot over rice (or mashed cauliflower)


 Note: The the dal should be of pouring consistency. Adjust the amount of water accordingly.

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 Related articles

In our last blog, we discussed ways to include all six tastes in your meal, with the addition of chutneys and pickles. Another way to enhance the beauty, taste and medicinal properties of your menu is to use garnishes. In this article we will look at some Ayurvedic garnishes, their culinary use and health benefits.

Cilantro or coriander leaf is among the most popular Ayurvedic garnishes. It has a sweet taste, reduces pitta, aids digestion and soothes mucus membranes. Cilantro is anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, alleviates arthritis and lowers blood sugar. More amazing still, it chelates heavy metals like lead and mercury, helping remove them from the body. So be sure to include plenty of cilantro in your daily diet!

As a garnish, cilantro is often paired with coconut.
Coconut is sweet and cooling, calming pitta and reducing burning sensations and pain. It is strengthening and nourishing, is high in fibre, and gives food an excellent taste.


Dhokla garnished with coconut, cilantro and mustard seeds.

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Indian spiced beet soup garnished with cilantro and coconut

Mint is another well-loved garnish found in India--where it is called pudina--and across the Middle East. As a cooling pungent, mint affords unique benefits for pitta and for use in hot weather. But it also has benefits in winter as it is diaphoretic (promotes sweating) and helps relieve colds and flu. Mint soothes the digestion, calms the nerves and helps urinary tract inflammation.

I love to pair mint with paprika for a colourful effect. Like mint, paprika is good for urinary and respiratory problems, so there is a good synergy as well as a colour contrast.


Cucumber raita garnished with mint and paprika


Baba ganoush garnished with dill, mint and paprika; humus garnished with mint, paprika and black olives. The addition of fresh turmeric to the humus gives it a lovely golden colour.

Parsley is a favourite garnish in European foods. For a Mediterranean flavour and appearance, choose flatleaf parsley, used widely in Italian and French cuisine as well as in Tunisia and Morocco, where it is called maadnous. Curly parsley is a mainstay of garnishes and sauces in Britain. The curly leaves are a very handsome garnish with a more pungent taste than flatleaf parsley.
Unlike cilantro, parsley is mildly warming with a pungent taste. Parsley is a good diuretic and emmenogogue. Beneficial for vata and kapha, it makes an excellent garnish choice in fall and winter.


Potakhe de Potiron (chana dal and butternut squash Moroccan soup) garnished with  flatleaf parsley.

Slivered almonds are a garnish useful in both sweet and savory dishes. Known in Sanskrit as vatada and in Hindi as badam, almond is heavy, oily and warming, qualities that make it perfect for vata. Yet by  its sweet taste and heavy quality it also relieves pitta. It is demulcent, aphrodisiac, enhances semen production and builds ojas, our core strength and immunity. Almonds fried in ghee add a delicious taste, aroma and crunch.


Moroccan rice pilaf garnished with slivered almonds.

Pomegranate seeds are a favoured garnish in Persian and Indian cuisine, used in soups, curries and meat dishes as well as desserts. Known in Sanskrit as dadima, pomegranate is a 'superfood', pacifying all three doshas and acting as a brain tonic, demulcent and general tonic. Pomegranate lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and  inhibits breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer,  and leukemia. It adds a burst of flavour, colour and phyto-nutrients to any dish.

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Almond and rice dessert garnished with pomegranate seeds


In just a few days (evening of December 16th), it will be time to light the menorah and celebrate Hanukkah. And latkes, patties fried in olive oil, are part of the traditional celebration. When I was a child, my mother would make the typical latkes from potato and matzoh meal, just as my grandmother (her mother-in-law) taught her. But latkes can be made from other vegetables as well.This recipe for gluten free, vegan, low carb latkes should suit most dietary needs.   Although latkes are traditional for Hanukkah, they can be eaten at any time during winter. And you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this delicious savory treat!

Hanukkah comes at the end of the traditional olive oil pressing season in the Middle East. The Ashkenazim, or Eastern European Jews, did not have access to olive oil and used to fry their latkes in animal fat. The Sephardim, living in the Middle East and West Asia, used olive oil, both a healthier choice and also more deeply connected to  the Hanukkah miracle, whereby the olive oil in the menorah burnt for eight days while new oil was pressed.

 Before beginning my latke experiments I looked at many sites. By far the most helpful was This one by Norwitz Notions. I'm grateful to the author for giving such great directions that my latkes came out perfect the first time, despite my apprehensions. Here's what she says that really helped:

Prepare the vegetables at least an hour ahead of time. Coarsely grate them in a food processor. Don't grind or slice them, they will not come out right. Put in a bowl and salt them well (don't use more salt than you would for taste anyway, but use as much as you can). Toss to get the salt on all parts and let them sit for half an hour at the very least but an hour if possible. Several hours is even better, but there's no need to go beyond that.

Letting them sit allows some of the excess liquid to settle to the bottom. The salt pulls out even more liquid. This is essential for latkes; without this step you end up with a soggy mess. Just before mixing with the other ingredients, taste the veggies and see if there is more salt than you want in the finished latkes. If so, rinse with a bit of fresh water. Take the veggies one handful at a time, squeeze really well, and put the dry veggies in a fresh bowl. Discard the liquid.

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Salted veggie mix

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Latkes ready to fry

Cabbage and Carrot Latkes
This made smallish batch of latkes, so increase for a family or a party!
Flax seed meal is a great egg replacer but be sure to use the golden meal to preserve the pretty colour of the latkes.

3 cups grated cabbage (this was about half a cabbage)
1 cup grated carrot (I used a mixture of small orange, gold and purple carrots from the garden)
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
 2 Tbsp golden flax seed meal mixed in water (or 2 eggs, if you eat eggs)
2 Tbsp tapioca flour (if you need very low carb use almond or coconut flour)
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt to  taste
Olive oil for frying

Grate the veggies and chop the cilantro an hour ahead of time.Combine them and salt to taste. After an hour, squeeze out the water from the veggies one handful at a time (this was great hand therapy!). Place the veggies in a dry bowl and mix in the other ingredients. Now shape them nicely into patties and place on some kitchen paper .I made little balls in my hand and then pressed them into firm patties. heat the olive oil in a cast iron frying pan or wok (I used my Indian tawa).  Test the oil temperature with a little of  the remnants of the veggies. If the shredded veggies sizzle when dropped in, the oil is hot enough to fry the latkes. Fry each latke gently until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towel.
Latkes are traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream (or vegan sour cream ). We aren't big fans of applesauce so we had ours with apple chutney and some yoghurt seasoned with dill. It was a delicious combination! 

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Bottle gourd is known as lauki in Hindi and alabu or tumbi in Sanskrit. It is sweet, nourishing, unctuous, good for the heart, promotes the sense of taste, enhances semen production, supports the fetus, is strengthening, nourishing and aphrodisiac. It alleviates pitta. Excess consumption of lauki can aggravate vata and hence it should be balanced with vata soothing spices such as fresh ginger. Here is a great dal recipe using bottle gourd!

Ingredients: to serve 6


·      1 cup dry chana dal

·      7 cups water

·      ½ teaspoon turmeric

·      2 teaspoons ground coriander

·      1 tablespoon scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger

·      4 tablespoons sunflower oil

·      12 pieces lauki

·      1 ½ teaspoons garam masala

·      1 ¼ teaspoons salt

·      ½ tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice

·      1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds

·      1-2 whole dried red (or fresh) chilies

·      ¼-1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

·      6-8 curry leaves, preferably fresh




* Sort, wash, and drain the chana dal. Place the chana dal in a bowl, cover with 3 cups of hot water and let soak for 5 hours. Drain.

* Place the chana dal, 7 cups of water, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and a spoonful of the oil in a heavy 3-quart nonstick saucepan over high heat. (In Colorado use a pressure cooker). Stirring frequently, bring to a full boil.

* Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil gently for 1 ½ hours. Turn off the heat, uncover and add the squash and garam masala. Stir and continue to cook gently for 30 minutes or until the dal is soft and fully cooked and the vegetables are butter-soft.

* Stir in the salt and lemon or lime juice.

* Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, add the cumin and red chilies. Fry until the cumin seeds turn brown.

* Add the asafetida powder and curry leaves, cook for just 1-2 seconds and then quickly pour the fried seasonings into the cooked dal. Cover immediately and allow the seasonings to soak into the hot dal for 1-2 minutes. Stir.


Source: Adapted from- Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987).

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 Lauki chana dal over rice 

Tumeric Pickle

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Known in Sanskrit as haridra and in Hindi as Haldi, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-allergic, anticancer, blood purifier and digestant. Gain the full benefits of turmeric by including fresh turmeric in your diet. This recipe marries the benefits of turmeric with the anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral and digestive properties of fresh ginger-- and adds additional curcumins from yellow mustard.



1 cup chopped raw turmeric
1 cup chopped ginger
1/2 cup lime juice
chopped green chilies as per the taste
salt to taste
1 tsp dried fenugreek seeds
1 tsp asafetida
1/4 cup mustard powder




  • Fry fenugreek seeds and asafetida in a little oil until golden.
  • Cool and powder.
  • Mix mustard powder, fenugreek seeds and asafetida powder well.
  • Apply the powder to turmeric and ginger.
  • Pour lime juice and salt over it.
  • Add chopped green chilies to the mixture.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil until smoking and pour over the pickle.
  • Store it in a sterilised glass jar.
  • Serve it after 8 days.



Eggplant Sabji.jpg

According to Ayurveda, A balanced meal should include all the six tastes--sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent.   In this blog we'll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each taste and look at how to plan a menu that includes all six tastes for optimum health and nutrition.

The sweet taste is building and nurturing and calms pitta and kapha. This does not mean you have to eat a lot of sugar. Many staples such as rice and wheat, as well as vegetables such as sweet potato, provide the sweet taste in your meal. But a hint of intense sweetness, such as a date chutney, can lift the enjoyment of the meal. The sweet taste in not beneficial to kapha, which is why we suggest that kapha individuals limit starchy and sweet foods such as rice, bread and desserts. And ancient Ayurvedic texts point out that excess of the sweet taste is associated with diabetes and obesity. Hence some of us who are blood sugar-challenged may choose to substitute mashed cauliflower for rice.
In the thali pictured above, rice and bottle gourd provide a mild sweetness and apple chutney provides a hint of intense sweetness.

The salty taste is an essential component in giving taste to food and promoting digestion. But ancient Ayurvedic texts suggest that excess salt consumption may be related to aging and cancer. Salt your dishes such as dal, kitcheri, sabji, soup, lightly--just enough to bring out the flavour. Then put a salt shaker on the table for vata. A bit of the salty taste helps vata digestion. But pitta and kapha should stay away from the salt shaker, as the salty taste is injurious for them in excess. In the thali pictured above, the dal and sabji are lightly salted.

The sour taste  improves the taste of food, helping us to feel satisfied more easily. It helps kindle the digestive fire and expel gas. When a meal lacks the sour taste, we may eat more, because our senses have not been pacified by the enjoyment of the meal. In Ayurveda we provide the sour taste by using lemon or lime as a seasoning. Tomato is also a source of the sour taste. In addition, vata can eat lime pickles, since the sour taste is good for vata. The sour taste is too hot for pitta and too moist for kapha, so pitta and kapha should not eat strong tomato sauces or a lot of citrus fruits. In the thali above, lemon has been used as a seasoning in the dal. The fruit chutney provides some sourness and so does the home made fresh turmeric pickle, which is marinaded in lime.

The bitter taste is detoxifying, antibacterial, cleansing to the liver and blood. It clears the palate, enhancing the other tastes, and improves digestion. It is the best taste for pitta and kapha.The American and British diets tend to be deficient in the bitter taste, leading us to crave coffee. The bitter taste can be provided by using fenugreek seeds as a seasoning, as well as by including bitter greens in the diet. A special vegetable, bitter melon, also known as karela or bitter gourd, provides plenty of the bitter taste in the meal. In the thali pictured above, Eggplant sabji with bitter melon provides healthy bitterness!

The astringent taste is anti-inflammatory and very good for pitta and kapha. However, it is challenging for vata, which is why astringent foods such as beans and lentils must be well-seasoned with tastes that are good for vata, such as lime, fresh ginger and jaggery (raw sugar).  In the thali above, the dal and the fresh turmeric chutney provide astringency.

The pungent taste helps kindle digestion and hence should be included in moderation in every meal, to balance the heaviness of the sweet taste. The use of fresh ginger and mustard seeds as seasonings and the addition of chutneys and pickles to the menu bring the benefit of the pungent taste. Kapha can have a larger spoonful of pungent seasonings since the pungent taste is very good for kapha. In the thali above, the chutneys provide pungency, as does the turmeric pickle, which contains fresh ginger and yellow mustard powder.

Recipes pictured on this thali: Eggplant sabji with bitter melonChana Dal Puree with Tender Bottle Gourd Cubes, Turmeric Pickle, Apple Chutney.

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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

A note: I could only source sweetened dried cranberries,  so I omitted them entirely and the recipe was still delicious!


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.

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

A note: we used garden beets, a mixture of golden and red. Mixing two colours of beets gives a nice colour contrast.


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

Cranberry 1.jpg

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

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  • Alakananda Ma: Delicious! read more
  • Alakananda Ma: Thanks for the recipe Onana and the interesting thoughts about read more
  • Alakananda Ma: Thanks for the recipe Onana and the interesting thoughts about read more
  • Alakananda Ma: Seva did a fantastic job of cooking dhoklas since he read more
  • Alakananda Ma: Great post Oana! Thanks! read more
  • Alakananda Ma: Thank you, Heather. Beautiful bog post! Great writing. read more
  • Heather: I made a variation of this simple, delicious meal for read more

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