Kitchen Sadhana: Nourishing Your Soul Through Food Preparation

One of my favorite ways to ground and nourish myself is by spending time in my kitchen preparing food for my family. My first Ayurvedic teach Kimberly Loeb introduced me to the concept of Kitchen Sadhana, or conscious food preparation, as a genuine path of practice, and since then my time in the kitchen has become even more purposeful. At the moment I am in the midst of teaching Yoga Teacher Training, as well as my full schedule of studio classes which means I am talking alot which can really aggravate the Vata (Ayurvedic dosha of Air/Ether) in my constitution. I find that getting some quiet time in my kitchen to slowly and thoughtfully prepare food is one of the best ways for me to steady my nerves and rediscover the appreciation for simplicity that can easily be lost amidst a busy schedule. Here are a few recipes I’ve been making recently. Try them out when you have some time to spend in your kitchen. Put on some nice music, prepare your cooking space, make yourself a cup of your favorite tea and enjoy!

Kale Chips

2 heads of curly kale
1 cup of cashews
juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsps turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 1/2 tsps salt
1/4-1/2 cup of water
1. Cut the kale into bite size pieces, removing the thick stems. Wash the kale and dry in a salad spinner. Put aside.
2. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender, (pre-soak the cashews for 20 minutes prior to if you don’t have a high powered blender). Add as much water as needed to create a thick creamy sauce with the cashew mix.
3. Toss the cashew cream over the kale in a large mixing bowl and massage the cream in by hand, coating the kale evenly. (this part is fun!)
4. Spread on your dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 10-12 hours to make chips that will store well. Truthfully I usually take them out after 4 hours, or as soon as they are crispy, and eat them all up right away. If you don’t have a dehydrator use you oven at it’s lowest heat setting- but keep an eye on them that they don’t burn.

Morrocan Vegetable Stew

1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes, or 2 large yams
6-8 shallots
2 medium carrots cut into cubes
1 can of chickpeas or about 1 cup
3/4 cup of pitted, chopped prunes
2-3 cups of chopped greens such as collards or kale ( I like to add broccoli sometimes too)
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh turmeric grated (or 1Tbs dried)
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs dark raw honey (agave or maple syrup if you don’t use honey)
1 Tbs harrisa paste (if unavailable substitute 1 tsp cayenne or your favorite warming spice)
2-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1. Peel the shallots, chop fine, and heat in 2 Tbs of olive oil or ghee along with grated ginger, turmeric, harissa paste, cinnamon sticks, and cumin seeds. Stir and cook until shallots are softened.
2. Add the squash and carrots, saute for about a minute or two and then add the prunes and honey.
3. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
4. Turn it down to low and stir in the cooked chickpeas and the chopped greens. Simmer on low and cook gently for 25 minutes on the stove top or a few hours in a crock pot (my firs choice). Adding additional stock as needed to create a thick stew.
5. Serve topped with fresh cilantro chopped roughly and over a bed of fresh cous-cous or quinoa
Hope you enjoy these recipes. If you’d like more I’ll be teaching a Seasonal Wisdom Workshop this coming Sunday March 25th that will include Ayurvedic tips and recipes for supporting health and wellness during the spring season.