Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Winter Soups - The Art Of Ayurvedic Soups
MAPI Staff Writers

Nothing warms and nourishes quite like a hot bowl of delicious soup on a cold fall day. Ayurveda loves soups. They are easy to make, they are nutritious and easy to digest, and they are perfect for the light evening meal recommended by Ayurvedic experts (vaidyas). Because they are so easy to digest, soups are ideal for children. Made with fresh organic fall vegetables, grains, pasta, beans, dhals, herbs and traditional Ayurvedic spices, soups make great Ayurvedic dietary anchors. Enjoy your soup with freshly-made chapatis (flat breads) on the side, and it will be a meal you’ll want to return to.

Soups are also fast. You can have a finished soup ready to serve in 30 minutes. Here are a couple of easy Ayurvedic soup recipes. Remember, whenever possible, favor fresh, organic and non-GMO foods.

A Note about Digestion –

In Ayurveda, it isn’t just what you eat, but also how you digest your food.

Maharishi Ayurveda recognizes the central role digestion plays in your overall health. Ayurveda uses a number of approaches to keep digestion strong and balanced. One of the easiest is use of the supplemental herbal called Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus). This is a long-revered formulation of herbs that keeps the Ayurvedic “digestive fire” balanced. Why is this important? Because when balanced, this digestive fire plays a significant role in removing toxins and creating ojas. Ojas is the Ayurvedic master biochemical that creates bliss and supports connectivity, or the experience of higher states of consciousness, along with stable emotions and immunity. This is the one Ayurvedic herbal that supports the assimilation of all others.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Noodle Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or organic ghee
  • 1 chopped medium onion (optional)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato, diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, diced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 sprig parsley, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Cooked organic noodles of your choice, to taste
  • Vegetable broth, 4-6 cups
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the ghee or oil in a large soup pot. Sauté onions, ginger, and celery on low-medium heat until the onions are transparent. Add vegetable broth, parsnips, carrot, sweet potatoes, bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Bring to boil and then lower to medium. Cook for about one hour. Add salt and pepper. To serve, put one heaping spoon of noodles in a bowl and pour soup over the noodles. Serve hot.

Vegetable Barley Soup

  • 1/3 cup organic whole barley or pearl barley
  • 1 quart unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 pound tofu, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Freshly-ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Place the barley and the vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. While the barley is cooking, heat the ghee in a skillet and add the onion, celery, carrot, and green beans. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the vegetables and lemon juice to the barley and stock, and cook for another 20 minutes. Add the tofu and parsley and cook further for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Beet Soup

  • 2 cups finely-sliced fresh organic beets cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon organic ghee
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup potato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon organic raw sugar
  • 5 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Fresh yogurt for garnish  

Sauté the onion in ghee for 5 minutes. Add water, beets, potato, carrot, and celery. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and bring heat to a medium low. Allow this to cook for 45 minutes or until beets are tender but not overcooked. Add lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top.

Cream of Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • One dash of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut or 1 1/2 cups soy or rice milk
  • 3 cups of water or 2 cups water if using soy or rice milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the ghee in a soup pot. Sauté the cumin seeds on medium-to-low heat until lightly browned. Add spinach and water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Add cream of coconut or the rice or soy milk and nutmeg. Cook another 3 minutes. Place soup in a blender or food processor. Blend for about 5 seconds, just enough to purée it gently. Season to taste and serve hot.

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