This holiday season, we may find ourselves torn between eating nutritious foods and sharing in holiday treats. Ayurveda can help us do both at once, while including one of Ayurveda’s Four Aims of Life: enjoyment. These are some simple variations on holiday recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth and appetite, as well as your agni.
By swapping out common ingredients for more sattvic and nutritious ones, along with adding in digestive herbs and spices, we can create sustenance that will nourish all seven of our tissues, along with our seasonal joy.
Chickpea Amaranth Spice Cookies
This recipe is gluten-free, protein and fiber rich, and vegan-friendly. Amaranth is an anti-inflammatory seed that will help these cookies become digestible, even for dry Vatas who generally avoid beans. The spices will stimulate our circulation, so that our hearts and hands will all remain warm during the cold season.
- 1/4 cup dry amaranth (whole)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup ghee*, melted
- 1/3 cup cane (turbinado) sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups chickpea flour
*For vegan cookies, use coconut oil.
1. Cook the amaranth in water by bringing to a boil then simmering while covered for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. In a bowl, mix the ghee, sugar, salt, and spices.
4. Add ½ cup of the cooked amaranth (you may have some cooked amaranth leftover). Mix well (the texture is sticky).
5. Add the chickpea flour, mix well. If the dough is dry, slowly add up to 1/2 cup of water until the dough is stirable, but thick and sticky in texture.
6. With a metal spoon, dollop 1.5 tbsp blobs of the batter onto a cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 20 mins or until golden.
8. Let cool on cookie rack.
9. Taste a few before setting them out for Santa.
These chocolates are simple, fun, and creative to do solo or as a family activity. You can mix and match ingredients for your dosha and add spices which are not listed here. Don’t have chocolate molds? Try making Ayur-Chocolate bars by using a cookie cutter as a mold by placing it over wax paper on a plate, pouring in the chocolate, decorating the top, then freezing until set.
- 1 large bar of your favorite organic dark chocolate
- 2 sheets of heart-shaped silicone molds
- Up to 1 tbsp of your favorite Ayurvedic herbs and spices per 1 cup of melted chocolate (listed below)
Suitable sweet & pungent herbs:
- Lavender flowers
- Dried rose petals
- Dehydrated raspberries
- Peppermint essential oil
1. Chop the chocolate into ¼ inch pieces for faster melting, then melt 2 cups of chopped chocolate on stove using a double boiler.
2. Once the chocolate is melted, add in a customized combination of your favorite Ayurvedic sweet & pungent herbs, spices, flowers, and/or nuts. Mix well.
3. Using a narrow metal spoon, fill in one sheet of the heart molds with the spiced, melted chocolate. Decorate as desired.
4. Place the chocolate filled molds in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden. Once fully hardened, empty the molds onto a plate and repeat until all the melted chocolate is used.
5. Spread the holiday cheer by gifting to family, friends, and neighbors!
Coconut Cream of Squash Soup
Preparing soups in a puree is beneficial for Vata because of the liquid, warm, and soft qualities, which make it simple for Vata’s irregular digestion to handle. Pureed soups are light and easy to digest, so they can be eaten for dinner, or as a first course to your main meal at lunch time. The sweet, grounding qualities of the squash make this a wonderful seasonal recipe.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Trikatu
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Fresh parsley for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Carefully halve the squash from stem to bottom and scrape out the seeds, using a fork, into a bowl.
3. Mix the seeds with salt and sesame oil. You can also add 1/2 tsp of cooking spice, if you want seasoned seeds.
4. Carefully cut 1-inch sized checkered slits into the center of the squash.
5. Place the squash facing up on a baking tray with the seeds spread on one side of the tray. After 10 min, stir up the seeds to roast evenly; remove after 20, or when crisp.
6. Roast the squash for 40-45 minutes, until tender.
7. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool 20 minutes.
8. Scrape out the entire meat of the squash into the blender, using a fork.
9. Add the coconut milk and water into the blender and blend on smoothie setting until fully blended.
10. Transfer the puree into a medium pot and heat on medium low.
11. Add the spices and salt. Let simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes while the spices infuse. If you notice too much thickening of the soup due to evaporation, add a few tbsp of water.
12. Serve, decorate, and garnish with a swirly drip of coconut milk, roasted squash seeds, and parsley.
Be sure to elevate the vibrations of these cuisines by preparing them with love and awareness, adding your blessings, and inviting others to share in the joy of eating them with you.