The Vedic Chef: Ayurvedic Late Summer Soups and Salads

Enjoy these fresh tasting, subtle yet satisfying soups and salads that help balance and cleanse your system. They're ideal for a late summer evening.

Carrot Juice and Coconut Milk Soup With Cardamom and Fresh Mint

Pitta, Vata

Carrot Soup

With accents of cardamom and mint, this soup is refreshing. The potassium in carrot juice can help reduce cholesterol and the manganese and magnesium help stabilize blood sugar levels, thus reducing risk of diabetes. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting and is essential for protein building and the healing of broken bones. Carotenoids in carrot juice act as an anti-cancer agent, and have been shown to reduce cancer in the bladder, pancreas, colon, and breast. Also the juice cleanses the liver, helping to remove harmful bile and toxins from the blood. Of course, carrots are well known for improving eyesight too.

Ceylon Medical Journal notes that coconut milk is rich in antioxidants, which prevents free radical damage. Free radicals are associated with the development of many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and age-related dementia. Antioxidants can help reverse previous damage and delay the aging process.

Coconut milk is rich in lauric acid—fatty acid that is abundant in mother’s milk—making it effective at fighting bacteria, viruses, and countless illnesses in the body. It may also help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowering heart disease, and stroke risks. There are only a few foods that are rich in lauric acid, so drink coconut milk regularly to benefit from this nutrient.

Cardamom, a spice rich in vitamins A, B, and C, contains numerous minerals, and is well known in ancient ayurvedic health care for its beneficial effects on lungs, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal health, sexual function and as an anti-depressant. Unlike modern antibiotics, cardamom does not inhibit friendly probiotic bacteria while it is busy cleaning up infectious microbes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh carrot juice
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped leek
  • 2 teaspoons coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chef Johnny’s Pitta seasoning
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel seed, lightly toasted under a broiler
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh fennel fronds or finely chopped cilantro
  • Pinch salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and gradually warm on a low heat.

Serve in bowls with toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped mint to decorate.

Serves 4

Green Pea and Fresh Mint Soup With Roasted Fennel Seed

Vata, Pitta, Kapha

Pea soupThis soup is a true classic, which I have adapted to align with Ayurvedic principles.

Peas feed your muscles and brain, and are full of protein and fiber. One cup of peas has more than twice the protein of 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. They also provide lutein—which is beneficial for the eyes—vitamins C and K, and folic acid, as well as other B vitamins, copper, zinc, calcium, iron, and manganese. Once mixed with fennel seed, peas help balance all three Doshas.

Mint is cooling, one of the best herbs for Pitta types and conditions. Mint contains menthe, an aromatic oil that refreshes, inspires, uplifts, and arouses, thus helping with all kinds of stagnation. Mint is also renowned for aiding indigestion, relaxing muscle spasms, releasing gas, and reducing fever.

This recipe is gluten-free, and vegan if using sunflower oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves (for Vata balancing, substitute mint with basil leaves if eating this soup regularly)
  • 1 tablespoon ground roasted fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek, ground finely
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground sesame seeds or ground blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Ghee or sunflower oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond or cashew cream
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • Salt

Directions:

Melt the ghee or oil in a pan and sauté the spices until they brown. Add the sesame seed.

Add the turmeric and the zucchini, stir for 2 minutes and add the peas.

Stir and add the liquids.

Simmer and add the coconut milk, cardamom, and pepper and salt.

Add lime juice.

Cook for 20 minutes and take off the heat. Add more water/stock if needed; this is quite a thin soup.

Blend with the almond cream and the fresh mint leaves.

Serve garnished with a mint leaf or some toasted almonds.

Serves 4

Sesame French Toast With Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula Salad

Pitta

Sesame toastThis is one of those to-die-for starters. It has everything: It’s crisp, crunchy, juicy, and sumptuous. You may know arugula as that tasty, nutty flavored salad leaf which is now quite popular. It is bitter and pungent, making it excellent for Kapha and digestion in general.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 4 slices of fresh gluten-free bread
  • 1 cup walnut milk
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • Sesame oil for frying
  • A few leaves of frizzy lettuce, torn
  • A bunch of arugula
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Slices of thin cucumber
  • Shavings of fennel bulb

Ingredients for French Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup cashew cream
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mustard
  • 1/3 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • Herb salt

Directions:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Dip each slice of bread in the walnut milk and sesame seeds with a pinch of salt and leave for 5 minutes.

Heat the sesame oil in the frying pan and fry the bread on both sides until golden brown.

Serve the French toast with the salad leaves, cucumber, fennel, and tomatoes tossed in the French dressing.

You can also add black olives, watercress, and feta cheese for variety.

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About the Author
Chef Johnny Brannigan
Chef Johnny Brannigan is an international Ayurvedic vegetarian and vegan chef with a deep knowledge base in Vedic wisdom and holistic medicine, and a lifelong love of food and cooking. Trained in Ayurveda and as a teacher of meditation by the Maharishi in Switzerland and Thailand, he has cooked and taught in over 33 countries, writing new recipes along the way. He co-founded The Organic Snack Company in 1998 in the U.K. and then travelled to the United States, where he cooked at The Raj, the top Ayurvedic spa in the country, and wrote The Global Vegetarian , his first cookbook. He’s also the chef/co-author of the seven-award-winning cookbook,...Read more