Vegan Comfort Food: 3 Ayurvedic Recipes

Who said vegans don't care about flavor? Everyone needs to know how to make a few go-to comfort food dishes. If you're following a vegan diet, get your fill of nutritious, delicious comfort food that’s both vegan and gluten-free with these three recipes. Pittas will jump for the parsnip and leek patties, while the Cornish pasties will benefit all three doshas. 

Vegan Cornish Pasty With Cilantro Cucumber Sauce

Pasties from Cornwall are a traditional snack or main meal that are healthy and satisfying. These vegan versions, baked in the oven, have tasty, colorful fillings sealed in with crisp gluten-free pastry. They are great for a snack or a main meal.

Beets are high in bioflavonoids and therefore have an anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effect. Beneficial for the liver, blood, and skin they have been used as an aphrodisiac by the Greeks and Romans. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, benefit digestion and elimination, are a prolonged source of energy, and have been shown to balance blood sugar levels. Green peas are easy to digest and are good protein for vegetarians. Leeks are a source of iron and vitamin B folate and very valuable for the cardiovascular system. They are also known to strengthen the throat and voice.

This recipe is great for all doshas.

Ingredients for the pastry:

Use all organic ingredients when available

  • 2 cups Chef Johnny’s organic wheat-free flour (see below) or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour
  • 3/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cold coconut butter and/or coconut oil (cool until hard in a freezer) or organic butter (non vegan version)
  • 1 cup of cold filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Ingredients for Chef Johnny’s organic wheat-free flour:

  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Directions for the pastry:

Sift all the flour into a large bowl. Add the sesame seeds, herbs, cumin seeds, paprika, and salt.

Grate in the coconut butter and oil and stir briefly with a fork.

Add the water, stirring gently with a fork to form a soft ball of dough. Do not knead at all.

Place in a freezer for 20 minutes to harden.

Makes 6 pastries

Pastry Filling 1: Sweet Potato and Green Pea

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato (orange color), baked until soft, about 35 minutes at 350 degrees F
  • 1 small purple sweet potato, baked
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped leek
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cups green peas
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sunflower or coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Chef Johnny’s pitta seasoning (Eat. Taste. Heal. p.228)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons organic ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons almond cream cheese sauce. Make this by blending 5 tablespoons Kite Hill almond cream cheese, 1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and black pepper, and some fresh chives or dill.

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons sunflower oil in a stainless steel saucepan and add the leek and ginger; stir for 2 minutes and add the peas and pitta seasoning.

Next peel and chop the sweet potatoes and add to the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool.

Now remove the pastry from the freezer and break off chunks about half a cup in size and roll out on a floured surface into a circular shape about 5-6 inches wide and a 1/4-inch thick.

Place a spoonful of the filling on one side of the circle. Then spoon over 1 to 2 tablespoons of the almond cheese sauce. Moisten one edge of the pastry with water and fold over to close the pasty making a semi-circular shape and crimp the edge tight using a small knife.

Bake in a heated oven on a lightly oiled baking tray at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with cilantro sauce.

Filling 2: Black Lentil and Roasted Beet

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked black lentils or Puy lentils
  • 2 small red beets, baked whole and then chopped in chunks
  • 4 strips of tempeh “Fakin’ Bacon” chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped leek
  • 1 cup blended tomatoes or organic Italian tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup yellow cauliflower florets, small
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1  tablespoon dried marjoram or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a saucepan heat some sunflower oil; add the leek and cook on medium; stir and add the cauliflower. Gently sauté.

After 2 minutes add the tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients, cook for about 3 to 4 minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Follow the instructions for filling the pasties and baking from above.

Cilantro and Cucumber Sauce

This sauce is balancing for Pittas and Vatas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2-inch length of cucumber, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a Magic Bullet or blender.

Serve with the pasties in a small bowl or just pour over the top.

Parsnip and Leek Patties

 

 

These light and flavorsome patties are quick to make and great with a salad, a simple salsa, like tomato or mango, or ginger and raisin chutney (recipe below). In winter, try serving them with a vegan white béchamel sauce with parsley or chives (recipe on www.vedicchef.com).

This recipe is gluten-free and especially great for Pittas.

Ingredients:

  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 grated apple
  • 3 tablespoons chopped and fried almonds
  • 1/2 cup leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder or mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Chef Johnny’s pitta seasoning (Eat. Taste. Heal. p. 228)
  • 2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Partially ground fennel seeds for coating

Directions:

First place the parsnips and carrots in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water. Place the lid on the pan. Cook until tender and then mash well. 

Gently sauté the leeks in 1 tablespoon of oil and add the pitta seasoning, mustard, and thyme; stir and add the grated apple and lime juice. Stir in the mashed parsnip and carrot, almonds, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Take the pan off the heat and let it cool for a while.

Sprinkle some ground fennel seeds on a board. Using a metal spatula, shape the mixture into individual patties covering both sides with fennel; make them quite small and not too thick, about 2 inches by a 1/2-inch.

Heat some oil or ghee in a frying pan and slide in the patties. Turn them so that they become golden brown on both sides. Serve hot. Alternatively place in a broiler in a flat metal pan or straight on a grill and sprinkle both sides with oil and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with tomato/mango salsa, ginger raisin chutney or vegan béchamel sauce.

Makes 6 patties

Chef Johnny's Raisin and Ginger Chutney

Raisins soaked in hot water or in juice are wonderful for balancing Vata and for general digestion. Orange juice is very Sattvic (pure), providing vitamin C and a sweet taste, balancing Vata and Pitta.

This recipe is gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raisins, soaked in juice from 1-2 sweet oranges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint or cilantro

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend briefly. The texture should be like a juicy jam, not too smooth.

Purple Sweet Potato and Green Bean Soup

 

A very simple cream soup that’s easy to prepare. Purple sweet potatoes have become more readily available now and are dramatically different to the white or orange ones. Green beans will balance all three body types, one of very few beans that wont upset Vata, as they are sweet and nourishing.

 

Sweet potatoes are also tri-doshic, giving long-term satisfaction to appetite, therefore a great food to eat before a long hike. They also have a lightening effect for kapha dosha. Sweet potatoes lower blood sugar levels, are rich in beta carotene and vitamin A, and are definitely great comfort food in many different preparation styles.

This recipe is gluten-free and balancing for Vatas and Pittas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium purple sweet potato, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 10 to 12 green beans, top and tailed or 1 small zucchini, sliced thick
  • 2 tablespoons chopped leek
  • 1 cup fresh vegetable stock or filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons Chef Johnny’s pitta seasoning (Eat. Taste. Heal. p.228)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cashew milk or 1-2 tablespoons fresh almond cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Fresh dill, chopped fine for garnish

Directions:

Place the potato in a steamer over boiling water or in a pan with simmering water in.

After 15 minutes add the green beans or zucchini. Keep steaming.

Add the leek after 6 minutes and steam for 4 more minutes.

Check the sweet potato to make sure its tender.

Place all the steamed vegetables in a blender or Magic Bullet with the rest of the ingredients (except the fresh herbs), plus 2 cups of the steaming water; blend well.

Pour the soup into the empty saucepan. Stir in the parsley and serve decorated with a sprinkle of paprika, lightly fried slivered almonds, and fine chopped parsley or dill grass.

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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