Warming Ayurvedic Salad & BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Spiced, Roasted Sweet Potato with a Vegan Black Pepper “Yoghurt” Dressing with Roasted Almonds, Pomegranate & a Quick-Pickle on a bed of Fresh Rocket
HELLO BEAUTIFUL HUMANS!
So, it’s been a very long, hot second since I last posted a good ol’ savory dish on the blog. I am super excited to share this one with you today.
Today’s recipe is a goodie. I mean, you can’t ever really go wrong with sweet potato in my books. BUT, if you are one of those folks that don’t like sweet potato, you can substitute roasted white potato (but it won’t be the same!) or better yet, roasted butternut. It can be a lovely Summer side dish as it is fresh and vibrant but it can also be the perfect warming Winter Salad option for when those chills begin to roll in but you’d like something that is both fresh and deeply warming/nourishing. Eating seasonally doesn’t mean dropping all of the things that we eat and associate with Summer like Salads or fresh fruit bowls for breakfast; it simply means adjusting them so that they are more supportive of the seasonal changes. What’s an example of this?
A real-life example of this would be to eat fresh fruit salad in Summer and then in the Autumn/Winter months start to eat slow-cooked cinnamon apples with caramelized banana and toasted seeds (just like that, or over a delicious bowl of oatmeal or another kind of grain). OR, instead of eating a raw pear for a snack, eat a Spiced Poached pear that you’d prepared the night before. Or, if you are going to eat raw fruit, at least make it seasonal (i.e. avoid eating Watermelon in Winter, rather opt for a Winter fruit like pear, orange, grapefruit or dates).
A savory example would be to make a delicious roasted veggie salad bulked up and made more grounding & nourishing with the addition of a grain of some kind. Roasting the veg makes the energy of the veg more concentrated & warming. While it is important to look and understand the energetic qualities that different cooking methods impart onto the food we eat (more on this in a post to come!), it is equally as important to look at what kind/type of veg to eat – root vegetables and heartier ones are better for colder months. Things like beetroot, carrot, squash & brussel sprouts. Whereas in warmer, Summer months eating lighter ones like green beans, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and summer squash are more energetically supportive. However, this is not to say you should never eat green beans in Winter, not by a long shot. Any veg is better than no veg! BUT, it’s just about slowly becoming more and more cognizant of these subtle, but potent energetic qualities of the food we eat and recognizing that they actually have a much more profound effect on the physical and energy body than we often realize.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that in order to create energetic balance we need to oppose energies. So, an example of this is that when it is hot outside we need to create an internally “cool” environment, so we instinctively reach for Watermelon or iced water as we have an innate tendency towards balance. Equally, in Winter, it is cold outside and so naturally you are more drawn towards warming things like Chai Lattes and soups. As such, the spices I have used in the creation of this dish are all warming spices, according to Ayurvedic principles. Not only does this help in supporting us when the external environment/season is cold by creating an internally warming effect, but these spices also helps to stimulate AGNI, or the digestive fire. The black pepper, ginger and cinnamon in particular are all very warming which means they help to balance Vata Dosha especially – which is important in colder months as Vata doshas are already predisposed to being cold and are extra sensitive during colder months. The use of olive oil instead of coconut oil also has a warming effect as coconut oil is more cooling to the body-mind, while olive oil is warming & soothing. My favorite brand of Olive Oil is Willow Creek Olive Oil, and they very generously sent me some of their products to use in the creation of this recipe! My favorite Olive Oils of theirs are: The Director’s Reserve Intense and the Fruity & Flavorful. I also love their Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and their Balsamic Reduction which I use later on in this recipe. I must say, their balsamic reduction somehow sneakily makes it onto just about every salad and roast veggie tray that is created in this kitchen! Anyway, I digress, back to the energetic qualities of the other components; the fresh rocket and pomegranate helps to balance Pitta and Kapha doshas and are uplifting, energizing and cleansing (especially the dark leafy greens).
All of these things helps to paint a bigger contextual picture on the energetic properties of food and how they affect our bodies, minds, digestion and our moods.
The components of this dish are simple, but when eaten together they create magic! In Ayurveda, it is believed that in order to make each meal as balancing and supportive of our health as possible it is important to have all six tastes present: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent. And in Macrobiotics, it is believed that along with all of the taste profiles being included, there should also be a mixture and balance of things like warm things, cooling things, textural components etc. So, in this recipe we have soft and warming (the roasted sweet potato), creamy and tangy (the “yogurt” dressing), crunchy and nutty (the roasted almonds), sweet & tart (the fresh pomegranate) and astringent and spicy (the fresh rocket), not to mention pungent from the quick-pickle!
AND, finally for …
ANNOUNCEMENT TIME (!!!):
I am finally ready to announce - now that I have finally committed 100% - that I am busy writing a BOOK. It’s a book on the energy of food. Information that heaps of you have mentioned you are very interested in learning more about and information I am just itching to share with you. I have taking this long to come to this commitment because I have been mulling over the best way to bring it forward – blog, video series, books, E-books etc.
So, if you are hankering to know more about this information – just know that it is coming to you! I will, as I have above, keep talking about it and introducing it to a certain degree on the blog but the big project/ways of accessing the fullness of the information will be in the formats below:
- I am hosting some workshops locally and abroad about The Energy of Food for Healing
- The Book which I am hoping will be available by next year
- And POSSIBLY some videos à this one I am still contemplating!
So, keep connected/updated through The Healing Root’s Instagram, blog and email list for upcoming events and information if you are interested in learning more J
Anyway, enough on that! Now, for the delicious recipe …
Ingredients for the Sweet Potato:
· 500g sweet potato or orange “yams” (this was the equivalent to one large)
· 1 tablespoon Willow Creek Olive Oil
· 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
· 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin
· 2 teaspoons of sweet molasses
Ingredients for the Tangy “Yoghurt” Sauce:
· 250g block of silken tofu
· 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (depending on how tangy you like it)
· 1 teaspoon of honey (or maple syrup)
· 1 teaspoon of miso paste
· ½ teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
· Big pinch of salt
Ingredients for the Salad:
· 80g fresh rocket
· ¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped
· ¼ cup pomegranate kernels (about ¼ of a fresh pomegranate)
· 4 spring onions
· ½ white onion
· ¼ cup of Willow Creek Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash and chop you sweet potatoes into sizeable chunks (mine were about 3 cm in both length & diameter). Place into a baking tray with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you can use less or more depending on your desire/need). Add in the ground spices, salt and the freshly grated ginger. Toss until everything is coated evenly and then pop into the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take the sweet potatoes out and coat with 2 teaspoons of sweet molasses (make sure it’s the sweet kind otherwise it will make them bitter! If you can’t find sweet molasses, use maple/honey instead). Toss to coat the sweet potatoes and then place back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown & delicious.
3. In the meantime, make your quick-pickle so that it can rest while you continue with the rest of the recipe. Slice half of a yellow onion very finely and place in a shallow bowl with ¼ cup of the Willow Creek Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar. Make sure most of the onion is submerged or at least touching the vinegar. Let it sit.
4. Now to make the sauce. Simply place all of the sauce ingredients into the blender (I used a Nutri-bullet) and blend on high until everything is incorporated evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning to your own palette if need be. Set aside in the fridge for now.
5. Get the rest of your ingredients ready: if your almonds are raw then roast them in a small baking dish alongside the sweet potatoes for 12 minutes. Then chop them up and set them aside, along with the pomegranate, rocket and spring onion (chopped on a diagonal for textural difference & aesthetic).
6. To assemble, place a small bunch of rocket on each plate (or do the same on a bigger scale by placing it all on one big dish if you aren’t serving individual bowls) and place the sweet potato in and around it. Next, top with your “yoghurt” sauce and then the remaining toppings: roasted almonds, pomegranate, spring onion and top it all off with your quick-pickled onion.