Japa K. Khalsa
Spring cooking is the best time to awaken a more subtle palate, one that allows for lots of rich and vibrant vegetables bursting with healing agents. Perhaps you want to shed a few pounds or feel lighter and ready to exercise in the beautiful weather. Here are a few recipes to awaken the spirit of spring inside your body. Combine different flavors and textures of vegetables to make unique dishes.
Scrumptious Vegan Veggie Pie
This is a veggie casserole that has several layers. Feel free to experiment and make up your own. Roasted red bell peppers make a simple bottom layer with sautéed greens or mushrooms in between. The top and most important layer is baked and whipped squash or sweet potatoes with a little nutritional yeast and Dijon mustard to bring out the savory flavors of the pie. You can broil this for a few minutes to make it crispy or add cheese if vegan isn’t your thing. A few tablespoons of Hatch green chile spices this up and adds the benefit of our cherished New Mexican crop. Chile can counteract depression, support digestion and prevent fatigue.
5 sweet potatoes
2 red bell peppers
1 bunch of greens
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons Hatch green chile
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
Step One: Bake or cook the sweet potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Scoop them out of the skin and mix in 3 tablespoons of Hatch green chile, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast and 1 tablespoon butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Step Two: Roast the bell peppers. Cut off the stems, rinse the seeds and cut in half. Place skin side up on a cookie sheet and broil until skin is blackened and crispy all over. Immediately place all the peppers into a brown paper bag for about five minutes. The heat and steam will separate the blackened skin from the pepper. Peel off the skin, trying not to eat the delicious roasted pepper as you go. Chop into small bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Step Three: Sauté chopped-up mushrooms in olive oil with one crushed clove of garlic or garlic salt for flavor. Salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for about five minutes until partially cooked.
Step Four: Thinly slice one bunch of greens of your choice: Kale or chard. Sauté with a splash of water and olive oil for five minutes until moist and slightly shrunken down.
Step Five (optional): Thinly slice an onion, caramelize and set aside.
Layers: Arrange the roasted peppers in a single layer on the bottom of a pie pan. Put the greens on top and cover with the mushrooms. Spread the sweet potatoes on top and smooth out over the pie. Now add the last layer of the caramelized onions.
Bake the pie uncovered for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Enjoy all the vegetables, the blend of flavor, texture and color!
A Fresh Morning Routine
Juicing: We all love it but don’t always have time to do it. Revitalize this spring with a commitment to a juicing regimen that will hydrate you and fill you with vitamins, minerals and plant goodness for your day. As the weather warms we can add in the crisp, delicious raw veggie goodness of juice and count on more energy, less fatigue and better digestion as a result. A personal favorite is a slightly sour, slightly sweet blend of celery, cucumber, lime and green apple. This is an all green blast of health that cools and calms the nerves and reduces systemic inflammation.
6 stalks of celery,
half of a lime
one-to-two green apples to taste.
Juice all ingredients with the juicer of your choice; drink on an empty stomach, or save and have as a pick-me-up to penetrate afternoon fatigue.
For the Kiddos:
Green Mac and Cheese
Try folding in extra veggies to an age-old childhood favorite. It’s easy to do and can make it so easy to have your child eat vegetables, sometimes without their even knowing it. The flavor of zucchini can easily be disguised in packaged cheese sauce, and when blended it makes a smooth creamy sauce that will have all ages salivating.
Prepare Mac N Cheese of your choice as directed, but add one coarsely chopped zucchini into the boiling pasta. After draining the pasta and zucchini, pull out the veggie and blend it well with the required amount of milk. It will turn a zesty green color. Fold this into the cheese and butter with the pasta. It tastes even creamier, and the cheese sauce hides the vegetable flavor completely for picky eaters.
Japa K. Khalsa, DOM, co-author of Enlightened Bodies: Exploring Physical and Subtle Human Anatomy (enlightenedbodies.com), teaches a weekly yoga class for people with chronic pain at Sacred Kundalini in Santa Fe. She combines traditional acupuncture with herbal and nutritional medicine, injection therapy and energy healing. Her work emphasizes optimal health and personal transformation through self-care and awareness of the interconnectedness of all life. www.drjapa.com