Nourishing Food

Lentil Loaf with
Gravy and Pickled Onion Garnish

This loaf includes veggies, is flavorful, satiating, and nourishing without feeling heavy. It’s versatile, easy to make, and can be paired with sautéed leafy greens, rice, or crumbled like ground beef and used in tortillas.

The red pepper flakes or cayenne and pickled onions stimulate digestion for kapha constitution. Best to remove those spices for pitta constitution. The gravy is particularly suitable for vata constitution.

Lentil Loaf
serves 6


  • 1/2 cup dry green lentils, soaked in water for an hour before cooking. 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 large onion, about 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, or walnuts)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 egg OR 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon maple or rice syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • After soaking the lentils, bring lentils and water to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
  • Lightly toast the nuts in a pan for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Using the same pan, heat the ghee and add the spices  (salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and cayenne, if using) until the aroma lifts. Set aside.
  • Roughly chop the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. In a food processor, add the chopped vegetables, spiced ghee, tamari sauce, nutritional yeast, parsley, syrup, and lemon juice or vinegar. Pulse a few times or until medium chopped. 
  • Add the nuts, oats, and pulse. Add the cooled lentils and the egg or flaxseed. Pulse until combined and sticks together but isn’t pulverized.
  • Line a bread-loaf pan with parchment paper. Shape the lentil mixture into a loaf in the pan. Brush with ghee. (The loaf can be made ahead of time and baked later.)
  • Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until medium firm and lightly browned on top.
  • Let the loaf rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Sage Gravy Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage.

Heat broth and ghee to a boil. Add flour and sage, whisking until the gravy is thickened and smooth. 

Pickled Onion Recipe 

Pickling breaks down food as a process to preserve and makes ‘raw’ food more easily digestible.

Prep Time: 10 mintutes


  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or additional white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


  • Pack the onions into a 1-pint mason jar or similar heat-safe vessel. Place the jar in the sink, to catch any splashes of hot vinegar later.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the water, both vinegars, maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then carefully pour the mixture into the jar over the onions.
  • Use a butter knife or spoon to press the onions down into the vinegar and pop any air bubbles in the jar. Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes). They should be sufficiently pickled for serving or kept for later..
  • Cover and refrigerate for later. Pickled onions will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Pickled Onion Recipe from Cookie and Kate ~

Nourishing Food

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are one of my favorite autumn meal choices. They serve as a good transition from raw summer salads that aggravate vata dominant constitution during autumn, a vata dominant season. (Vata dosha is cold, dry, and light.) Warm temperature, hydrating oil, and the sweet taste of these vegetables, provide opposite qualities to that of Vata dosa. These warm, sweet, earthy qualities ease digestion for good nutrition, and provide stability and soothing qualities during the autumn season.

Roasted vegetables are varied and versatile! In addition to beets, and carrots, add winter squash and sweet potatoes too. They can be served over rice, grains such as millet or quinoa, and used in wraps with tahini, hummus, nut, goat/sheep, or dairy cheeses such as feta, or in a sandwich with sourdough bread. 

Roasted Vegetables
serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups beets (assorted colors), peeled and cut in 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups delicata squash*, skin on, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion peeled and cut into 1/2″ wedges (substitute shallots, leeks, garlic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* For kapha dominant constitution use regular potatoes and summer squash.


Beets take longer to roast and will bleed. Make sure they are cut in smaller pieces and roast on a separate sheet pan, if bleeding is bothersome.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Place the veggies in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (see herb qualities below).
  • Place the veggies on a parchment lined sheet pan(s). Bake 30 minutes or until tender and caramelized.
Nourishing Food

Lemon or Lime Infused Water


  • Filtered water for single or multiple servings
  • Lemon or lime*


  • Wash and slice lemon or lime into rounds.*
  • Place in individual glasses or a pitcher with filtered water.
  • Let sit for a few hours or overnight in a cool place or refrigerator.
  • Serve cold NOT iced, as extreme cold can inhibit digestion.

Taste and Nutrition in Ayurveda

*An important aspect of nutrition in Ayurveda are the elemental qualities of taste. Taste is energetic and different from flavor. And taste takes into consideration the action (virya)  and post-digestive effect (vipaka ) in the body. In Ayurveda wisdom we learn to use taste to nourish rather than aggravate the qualities or attributes of our particular constitution; the unique blueprint or combination of vata, pitta, kapha doshas. 

Sweet = Earth + Water 
Sour = Earth + Fire 
Salty = Water + Fire
Pungent = Air + Fire
Bitter = Air + Space
Astringent = Air + Earth


Vata dominateconstitution tends toward dry and cold qualities and is balanced by sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
Pitta dominateconstitution tends toward oily and hot qualities and is pacified by sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. 
Kapha dominate constitution tends toward cold and sticky qualities and is pacified by pungent, bitter, and astringent.

Lemons are sour and heating and have a sour vipaka (post-digestive effect). They are sharp and stimulate salivation and digestive juices in the stomach. They calm vata dosha, detoxify pitta dosha but may aggravate pitta and kapha dosha. 

Limes are sour, slightly bitter and cooling but their vipaka (post-digestive effect) is sweet. Lime calms vata dosha, is fine for pitta dosha in moderation, and stimulates kapha dosha. Lime is useful with hot, spicy food to cool down its pitta provoking nature. Lime stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and is useful for indigestion. Lime should not be used when one has a cold, congestion and/or a cough. 

* Resource – Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad
Nourishing Food

Parsley Pesto 

In April I began planting a pollinator garden on the roof of our townhome in Seattle. It includes culinary and medicinal herbs, flowers, and native plants and trees to attract Insects, caterpillars, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other birds. I have an abundance of parsley!

photo and recipe adapted from Elise Bauer,

Prep Time 15 minutes, Servings: 5, Yield: 1 1/4 cups


  • 1 cup shelled raw walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces 
  • 2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese – for lactose intolerance or vegan use yellow nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Roast the walnuts in an iron skillet until lightly browned. This adds flavor and aids digestion.
  • Pulse ingredients in food processor for a few seconds to combine.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil: While the food processor is running, drizzle in the oil enough to incorporate it and form a paste. 
  • Use the pesto immediately as a dip for veggies (snap peas are in season); as a spread for all types of wraps – wheat, spelt, almond; or on pasta – wheat, rice, veggie, chickpea.
  • Stays fresh chilled, for several days.

An excellent resource on pollinator gardens is Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy:

Nourishing Food

Edible Flowers

Edible Flower

Culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years in many indigenous cultures. Edible flowers are a simple way to add color, taste, and essence to a salad. According to Ayurveda, herbs and flowers not only adorn a salad but add nourishment. Through their particular ‘taste’ or energetic qualities, they have the capacity to uplift mood, soothe the nerves, enhance sleep, reduce inflammation, and balance the doshas. 

Have fun growing them in your garden! Choose high quality or organic if possible. If you are collecting from another source make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. When picking, have respect and gratitude for the plant. Always leave some in place for the insects, birds, and animals, and for nature to regenerate. 


  • Borage is a cooling and cleansing herb, soothing the throat, chest, skin, and eyes. It enhances resilience, gives renewed buoyancy in adversity, and is useful when feeling low after illness.
  • Calendula reduces inflammation, soothes the skin, eyes, and promotes tissue repair.
  • Chamomile is a wonderful relaxant for the nervous and digestive systems. It also relaxes the smooth muscles throughout the body. As a remedy of the sun, chamomile soothes anger and tension.
  • Lavender has a mildly pungent taste and slightly cooling influence. It is soothing and can calm an agitated mind without creating undue dullness. Lavender can balance the emotions, relieve anxiety and depression, and reduce stress.
  • Nasturtium is pungent taste and aids digestion. It has high vitamin C content and is a powerful anti-microbial. 
  • Roses have an uplifting and restoring effect on the nervous system and for the heart.They relieve insomnia, lift depression and anxiety. The petals have a cooling effect and bring down excess heat in the body. Petals or hips strengthen the lungs and re-establish the healthy bacterial population of the intestine. 


McIntyre, Anne. Flower Remedies for Healing.
Hoffmann, David. The New Holistic Herbal.
Ladd, Vasant & Frawley, David. The Yoga of Herbs.
Simon, David & Chopra, Deepak. The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook.

Nourishing Food


Kitchari is a seasoned mixture of rice and mung dal that gives strength and vitality. It’s particularly helpful at the junctures of seasons when digestion can be slow or there is increased gas or inflammation. In Ayurveda it is used as a mono-diet, generally preferred over fasting. It is an excellent protein combination, is easy to digest, and is nourishing for all the tissues of the body. This recipe is suitable for all constitutions but is especially good for vata dominant constitution.

Kitchari Recipe
Serves 4.

-1 cup basmati rice*
-1/2 cup yellow split mung dal
-3 tablespoons ghee
-1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
-1 teaspoon cumin seeds
-2 pinches hing
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 cups water 


Wash the mung dal and rice well. Let the mung dal soak between 30 minutes – 2 hours. It helps with digestibility.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and hing. Stir a moment until the seeds pop. 

Add the rice, mung dal, turmeric and salt and stir until well blended with the spices. 

Add the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Turn down the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. 

*Basmati Rice translates as the ‘queen of fragrance’. It is easy to digest and regarded in Ayurveda as a cleansing and healing food for all body types.

is a digestive, pungent with bitter taste. It aids absorption and eliminates gas. 

Ghee stimulates digestive juices yet is cooling. Though made from butter, it does not increase cholesterol. It helps to improve assimilation, memory, and lubricates the connective tissue. It remains stable under high temperatures.

Hing (Asafoetida)  promotes digestion and circulation. It’s smelly, of the earth, and in turn enhances stamina. It promotes deeper assimilation of nutrients in the small intestine. It is a good substitute for garlic and onions.

Mustard Seed is heating and penetrating. It is a good digestive and helpful for the lungs.

Turmeric is a blood cleanser. It encourages intestinal flora, reduces inflammation, stiffness, and nourishes the joints..

Recipe from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad
Nourishing Food, Uncategorized

Nettle Recipes ~ Pesto, Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles & Nettle Tea

It’s easy to switch out spinach or basil for stinging nettles. Early spring is the best time to pick and use nettles. They are intended to be used this time of year only. Any new substance should be introduced gradually to your body. Those new to nettles should start with small amounts. 

Stinging Nettles are a powerful source of protein, magnesium, potassium and iron, helpful for anemia and skin conditions, beneficial for the kidneys, and as a general blood tonic.

Nettles are easy to identify. The dark green leaves are rough with coarse teeth. The leaf tip is pointed and its base is heart-shaped. 

Find a secluded source as free of toxins as possible. Wear long sleeves and gloves for protection. Tender leaves are best. Use leaves up to 3″ wide.

‘Stinging’ nettles are given this name for good reason. If you touch any part of the plant, you will be stung. The sting is mildly painful and can last for hours. Use a scissors or garden clippers to cut the top two bracts of leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to regenerate. Set a pot or bag alongside the plant and clip directly into the container. Once they are cooked or brewed in a tea, they lose their sting. 

Nettle Pesto


  • 3 cups nettle leaves 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese or yellow yeast  flakes if vegan


  1. Put a pot of water on. When it’s boiling, dump the fresh nettles in for just one minute.
  2. Strain well and get as much water out as possible. Add nettles to a blender or food processor.
  3. Add garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and cheese or yellow yeast flakes.
  4. Pulse until smooth and creamy and salt/pepper to taste. Serve on whole grain or GF pasta, soft tortillas, over rice or as a dip for roasted veggies.

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles
Serves 2


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2″ fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 whole lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 lb. stinging nettles (blanched for 3 minutes, drained, patted dry, and chopped finely)
  • 2 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth


  1. Express lime juice into a medium sauce pot.
  2. Grate ginger with a cheese grater.
  3. Add all ingredients except nettles to the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender.
  5. Puree with a hand blender.
  6. Add nettles and parboil for 3 minutes. 
  7. Serve.

Nettle Tea


  • 1 cup fresh stinging nettle leaves
  • 2 cups water


Place nettle leaves in a small sauce pan.  Add water to your nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. 1-2 cups/day is sufficient.

Nourishing Food

Sautéed Baby Greens with
Ginger & Garlic-

This recipe is ideal for Spring and is quick, easy, and nourishing for all constitutions.

Green leafy vegetables, legumes, and herbs such as ginger, cumin, fennel, and coriander, offer bitter, pungent and astringent tastes that aide in digestion. To offer heat and power to your digestive fire, favor warm drinks and warm, dry, light, stimulating foods in small proportions.  

Sautéed Baby Greens with Ginger & Garlic Recipe
Serves 4.

-2 teaspoons olive or sesame oil
-1 lb. mixed baby greens (young tender leaves of spinach, radicchio, curly endive, Swiss chard, kale)
-2 teaspoons grated ginger root* (peel if not organic)
-1 teaspoon minced garlic
-pinch of salt and black pepper
-a squeeze of lemon or lime juice 
-1-2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds  


Use a medium sautée pan on medium heat. Add the oil, ginger and garlic and sautée for a few minutes, just to bring out the flavor. Add greens all at once. Toss the greens with the seasonings with tongs or two wooden spoons until tender, 2-3 minutes, not raw but not overcooked.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds. 
 *Ginger is an overall body tonic, energizing and sattvic, unlike chilis. It increases circulation, stimulates digestive fire (Agni), and is an anti-inflammatory.  
Nourishing Food

Poached Pears –
Simple, Nourishing, Satiating

Nourishment can be a factor in shifting the body to a relaxed state. Choosing warm rather than cold fruit can enhance digestion, feelings of satiation and contentment and contribute to restoring a stable internal environment for optimal functioning.  

Poached Pears Recipe
(We served this regularly for breakfast at The Yoga Lodge.)
Serves 4.


  • 4 firm, ripe pears
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • ghee


Peel and halve pears. Core and place the pears cut-side-up in a shallow baking dish. I like to use one that has a glass cover, but that’s not essential. 

Mix together maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon rind, water, cinnamon, cardamom, and pour over the pears, adding more liquid if necessary. 

Place a dollop of ghee in the hollow of each pear and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and cardamom. Cover (with glass or foil) and bake in a 325 degrees oven for about 1 hour or until soft.