Ayurvedic Thanksgiving: Tips and Recipes

by Monica Gisella
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Soon, we’ll be celebrating the blessings of the year with friends and family.

And chances are also with a large meal that most likely will provoke the annual post-feast bloat, fatigue, and bellyache.

By the way, leftovers might continue the symptoms for the rest of the week.

Luckily, there is another way.

One in which you can cultivate feelings of gratitude, give thanks for all you have, and elevate your vibration … without feeling any signs of indigestion.

These are the Ayurvedic principles — and recipes — to achieve that!

Ayurvedic Thanksgiving
Roasted Butternut Squash

The Six Tastes and The Doshas

Without a doubt, the choices we make regarding food impact our body.

Especially, because each food has a taste that has a specific effect on the different body types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Planning a holiday dinner that is balancing for everyone, therefore, requires an understanding of the six tastes and how they influence each dosha.

The table below shows the six tastes found in nature (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent), the combination of elements that make up the taste, the effect on the three doshas, and the type of energy they hold.

The doshas are represented by their initials. Vata (V), Pitta (P), and Kapha (K).

The sign indicates the taste has a calming, reducing impact on the constitution.

The sign + shows that the dosha will get aggravated with the consumption of this taste.

TasteElementsDoshasEnergy
SweetEarth & WaterPV – K +Cold
SaltyWater & FireV – PK +Hot
SourEarth & FireV – PK +Hot
PungentAir & FireK – VP +Hot
BitterAir & EtherPK – V+Cold
AstringentAir & EarthPK – V +Cold
The Six Tastes in Ayurveda

Ideally, all tastes are used when cooking and in moderate amounts. For example, try not to add too much salt as it can provoke all doshas, even Vata if it’s excessive. Also, make sure that the less common tastes, such as bitter and astringent, are present at the table. Greens and spices like turmeric are bitter and should be added to a few dishes. A small glass of red wine can be the astringent element.

Food Combining

Food combination can drastically enhance your digestion. Sadly, not many people know about this very important Ayurvedic principle and eat foods together that cause fermentation, gas, and bloating. When this happens, the body produces AMA or toxins.

Initially, wrong combinations only affect the digestion, but overtime they can result in serious diseases.

There are several rules for proper food combining. But, it’s best to take it slowly and practice the ones that are easier for you to adopt, and then, gradually, incorporate the rest into your life.

You will notice, for instance, that none of the following Ayurvedic Thanksgiving recipes includes raw fruit, as it causes fermentation and that can be disruptive to the system.

The Dos and Don’ts

If cooking Thanksgiving dinner is not in your plans, and instead you will be attending a meal hosted by a family member or a friend, things might seem out of your control.

But, they are really not.

First, know your dosha with this quick quiz.

Learning about your body type can be enlightening and help you make better food choices, particularly if combined with the principles of the six tastes and food combinations we just reviewed.

But, remember. It is not doable to be and act perfectly Ayurvedic 100% of the time. More so during the holidays. Striving for perfection can intensify the Pitta characteristics that makes us feel overly rigid and critical.

That’s never a good idea.

So just do your best, relax, and appreciate your family tradition.

However, if you’ve been practicing Ayurveda for some time, and they notice you look great, tell them what you are doing. Sharing is caring, and that can motivate them to set some healthy goals for the new year.

Also,

  • Suggest moving thanksgiving to lunchtime, when digestion is the strongest.
  • Have a good and filling breakfast that day (like sweet potato halwa OR tofu and mushroom eggs with some sautéd asparagus) and bring some fruit or veggie appetizers, so you are not starving while the meal is ready.
  • Skip the cranberry sauce, if possible.
  • Add some freshly squeezed lemon to your water to enhance digestion.
  • Favor warm beverages. A chai latte would be great!
  • Slow down and chew every bite.
  • Eat to only 2/3 capacity of your stomach. Feeling light the next day is worth this step.
  • Invite everyone for a walk after eating.

On Black Friday, go back to your Ayurvedic routine and wholesome diet to balance and cleanse your body. Maybe start a Kitchari detox …?!

Thanksgiving Menu

Are you the one cooking the Ayurvedic Thanksgiving meal this year?

Let me suggest then a few delicious dishes, prepared using Ayurvedic principles, with which you’ll be sharing the gifts of health and wellness with your family.

Your loved ones not only will thank you for hosting a wonderful dinner, but the next day, they’ll be thinking of you too when they wake up without the usual bloating and fatigue.

This is the delicious, grounding, and healing menu.

Appetizer

They will have two options for the entrée: Asparagus OR squash soup.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk
  • 1 inch Fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  • Put the asparagus in a blender with the 2 cups of milk and blend until creamy. Set aside.
  • Put the ginger, cilantro, and 1/4 cup of water in the blender until smooth.
  • Heat a soup pot on medium heat and add the ghee and cumin seeds. When aromatic, add the ginger and cilantro combination, the blended asparagus with milk, the black pepper and salt.
  • Mix well and cook for about 12-15 minutes.
  • Top with cilantro leaves or a couple of cooked asparagus.
  • Enjoy warm.
Ayurvedic Thanksgiving
So good and filling!

Squash Soup

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Butternut squash (in cubes)
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Grated ginger
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast

Spices

  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, dry ginger, turmeric, white pepper, black pepper, Himalayan salt

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the squash cubes onto a half sheet pan, brush the flesh of the squash with a little ghee and season with the salt and the white pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender.
  • In a pan, add the rest of the ghee, garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds. Roast them for 2 minutes.
  • Add the water, squash, and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Purée the mixture until smooth. Stir in the almond milk and nutritional yeast and return to a low simmer. Season with the remaining spices and salt.
  • Serve and decorate with almond yogurt, pumpkin seeds, or kale chips.

Main Course

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Whole butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Wash squash under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Dry with a clean lint-free towel.
  • Pierce it delicately with a knife to allow any steam to escape. Pierce it about 6 times.
  • Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour. You want it to be still firm, to stuff it.
  • Cool for about ten minutes, then peel off the skin.
  • Cut in half and scoop out carefully the seeds and the strings.
  • Now, it's ready to fill with the stuffing!
  • You can top with roasted pumpkin seeds.
Ayurvedic Thanksgiving
An alternative to the hard-to-digest regular stuffing

Ayurvedic Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggplants, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 5 sticks Celery
  • 1 Red onion, chopped
  • 1 Red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Wild rice
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • Fresh sage
  • 1/4 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the wild rice as per package instructions. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper, and celery.
  • When the onion is translucent, add the eggplant and the rest of the spices.
  • Mix well and cook until the eggplant is soft.
  • Add the cooked wild rice, cilantro, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Stir well.
  • Cook for an extra 10 minutes to blend all flavors.
  • Now you are ready to stuff anything with it!

Lentil & mushroom meatloaf

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Green lentils (raw)
  • 1/4 cup Quinoa (raw)
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 5 Garlic cloves
  • 6 oz Cremini mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 1/2 cup Old-fashioned oats
  • 3 tbsp Flax seeds (ground)
  • 6 tbsp Water
  • 1/3 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 Tomato (grated)

Spices

  • Basil, dry garlic, paprika, ground cumin, ground fenugreek, turmeric, black pepper, salt.

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, boil 3 cups of water. Add the lentils and boil on high heat for 4 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup of quinoa to the pot and give it a stir. Cook for 15 more minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes. Drain it and add it to a food processor.
  • While the lentils and quinoa are cooking, chop the garlic and mushrooms, grate the ginger, and make the flax egg. Make the flax egg by stirring together the ground flaxseed and 6 tbsp of water in a small bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pour the cooked lentils and quinoa into a food processor. Add the diced onion, diced mushrooms, minced garlic, oats, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, grated tomato, flax egg, and spices.
  • Blend until all the ingredients have broken down and everything is combined. The mixture should be a little chunky. Be careful not to over blend it.
  • Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf-shaped pan with a piece of parchment paper. Let the edges stick out of the pan, so you have handles to pull the loaf out of the pan. Scoop the lentil filling into the pan and use a spoon to smooth it out evenly all the way to the edges.
  • Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it into 1-inch wedges.

Dessert

The perfect ending for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast

Ayurvedic Vegan Lassi Recipe

Servings 2
Chef Monica Gisella

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup Organic coconut yogurt
  • Cardamom to taste
  • 1 tbsp Rose water

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes.
  • Serve on a tall glass and decorate with edible flowers.
  • Be present and drink mindfully.
Ayurvedic Thanksgiving
Homemade pumpkin desert

Pumpkin Dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • 1 tbsp Plant-based milk
  • 4 tbsp Ghee
  • 2 cups Pumpkin, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/4 cup Sucanat
  • 2 tbsp Walnuts

Instructions

  • Soak the saffron in 1 tbsp of milk
  • Simultaneously, heat a pot on low heat and add the ghee
  • Stir in the pumpkin. Add the water, cardamom, soaked saffron, and sugar. Mix well.
  • Bring to a boil and let it cook until pumpkin is completely soft, and all water has evaporated.
  • Serve warm with the walnuts on top.

Let me know if you have any questions!

And don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly letter to receive my detox plan that you can start right after Thanksgiving.

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