Ayurveda is Sanskrit for knowledge of life. It’s a collection of ancient principles that emphasize total wellness and balance. And we all could use more of that in our lives, right?
People who practice Ayurveda believe that each person is unique and that finding their personal harmony is key to being healthy. A big focus of Ayurveda is treating the body by cleansing it of undigested food. This process is called panchakarma, and its purpose is to reduce negative symptoms and restore balance in the body.
Much of Ayurveda focuses on the food you eat and how your body processes it. To give you a healthy summer jump start on your Ayurveda approach, we’ve pulled together our four favorite recipes that boost health and balance. They’re also super-delicious and take advantage of the fresh foods of the season.
If you have a garden, these recipes are a must!
This recipe is designed to give you a complete meal, but feel free to bring it as a side dish if you’re invited to a picnic. The fresh ingredients celebrate this season’s harvest perfectly.
10-12 fingerling potatoes
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon rock salt
4 medium Persian cucumbers
2 handfuls of fresh green beans, ends removed
1 handful of arugula
1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch of spring onions
1 cup red quinoa, cooked
1 bunch of dill
1 handful of cilantro
4-5 basil leaves
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a large pot, combine the salt, water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are just fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and let them rest in the refrigerator. Chop the cucumbers, green beans, romaine lettuce, and onions into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl and add the quinoa and arugula. When the potatoes have cooled, quarter them and add to the salad. Squeeze lime juice over the mix, and add the apple cider vinegar. Add the herbs and lightly toss. Drizzle salad with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
If you headed to the fields to take your annual sunflower pictures last month, you could head back out there now to harvest the sunflower seeds. This cooked salad features kale, but you can substitute collard greens for kale. Or you can use a combination of the two greens because let’s face it, kale can taste pretty bitter.
2 bunches of kale
1/4 cup sesame oil
2/3 cup sunflower seeds, roasted
3 tablespoons tamari
Roast the sunflower seeds ahead of time or purchase them roasted. If you’re roasting them yourself, you can lightly salt them. If you’re purchasing them roasted, opt for the unsalted variety because the salted ones can overpower this recipe. Remove kale stems, wash and chop the leaves. Warm the oil in a saucepan, add the kale and saute until coated in oil and “softened.” Add sunflower seeds and tamari and stir to mix. Serve warm. It’s that quick and easy!
Whether you’ve got a garden full of summer squash or you’re a farmer’s market maven, this recipe gives you a fresh and comforting way to make the most of squash.
2 large summer squashes or 3 medium ones
1 small sweet onion (tip: the flatter they are, the sweeter they are)
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon pitta churna
1 organic bouillon cube
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain greek yogurt (unsweetened of course)
fresh mint and basil, to taste
Wash and chop the squash and onions into medium-sized cubes. Peel the garlic and halve each clove. In a pot or pressure cooker, add all vegetables and bouillon cube, sesame seeds, spice blend, and water. Cook covered until squash is tender, but not overcooked. Transfer ingredients to a blender and add the sour cream and herbs. Blend until smooth. Enjoy this soup warm, room temperature, or cold. For a little more excitement, add a dollop of cream to the bowl with a sprig of mint before serving. This gives it that “professional” finishing touch.
The recipe calls for spring greens, we are okay with “fall” greens, too. You’ve already embraced cauliflower as a pizza crust, but have you tried it as a steak yet? Alright, we’ll admit, it’s not the same as a “real” steak, but it is delicious, and it’s an interesting way to get the health benefits of cauliflower in a new way.
1 head cauliflower
1 garlic clove
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
1 bunch of watercress (or your favorite greens)
Slice the cauliflower head straight through to create 1/4” to 1/2” “steaks.” Brush with olive oil and season with salt. Grill your cauliflower steaks or cook in a cast-iron skillet. Blend tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Place steaks on a bed of watercress, or other greens of your choosing, and pour tahini sauce over.
The goal of Ayurvedic medicine is not to fight disease, but to promote health and the balance of your mind, body, and spirit. It’s very different from the medicine most people in the western world are used to because it focuses on health, not sickness. And it’s not actually medicine at all; it’s a healthy approach to living.
Whether you’re an avid Ayurveda practitioner or you’re just looking for new and healthy recipes, these go-to meals give you a fresh option that’s pretty easy to make and fills you with healthy ingredients that will make you feel good about your meal choices. With a focus on healing foods and fresh late summer harvest, you simply can’t go wrong.
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