New Year Recipes: The Quest for Healthy, Quick & Easy

Ayurveda Wellness hosted an open house today where we served a different type of lunch. Instead of the basic sandwiches, chips, cookies and other carbohydrate and sugar loaded food, we offered a selection of items centered around vegetables. The menu included a lentil minestrone, a cilantro dip with fresh vegetables, and for dessert whole wheat pumpkin-cranberry muffins and spices apples and pears.

Good food doesn't have to taste bad! And it doesn't have to be time consuming to make, either.

One of my intentions for 2012 is to have my lunch be my main meal and have it focused on vegetarian, whole foods cuisines. I'm going to be trying out lots of bean and lentil dishes, one-pot bonanzas, and who knows what else in my quest for healthy, quick and easy.

I've already tried two new lentil dishes (recipes will be shared later this week) and have a vegetarian mole enchilada recipe awaiting its turn.

In the meantime, sample a few of the recipes from the open house menu and enjoy!

Lentil Minestrone

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 c. leeks or onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • ¼ c. parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 c. celery, diced
  • 1 c. green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Optional additional herbs: marjoram, dill, thyme
  • 9 c. water or stock
  • Bragg’s Aminos to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 c. small pasta, cooked separately
  • 1 bunch greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, etc)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional

Heat oil in a wide soup pot with the leeks. Sauté over high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, parsley, garlic, vegetables and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook 3 minutes then add the lentils and herbs, water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

While the soup is cooking, cook the pasta and boil the greens in salted water until they are tender and bright green then chop coarsely. Just before serving, add the greens and the pasta and heat through. Serve with extra-virgin olive oil drizzled into each bowl, a generous grind of pepper and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Cilantro Chutney

  • 8 oz chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp soma or sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 oz raisins
  • 1 tsp garam masala (found at Indian groceries)

Blend ingredients together. Optional: add a small handful of cashews before blending. Serve with fresh, lightly steamed vegetables, whole grain crackers or as an accompaniment to lentils.

Spiced Apples & Pears (for a single serving)

Peel and slice 1 apples and 1 pear. In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each of cardamom, dry ginger and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1/4 cup of water or apple cider. Cover and saute until the fruit is tender but not mushy. Enjoy sprinkled with toasted pecans, as a topping to your favorite pancakes or hot cereal, or mashed into a sauce.

©2012, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Pewaukee, WI