During my “Winter Ayurvedic Cleanse” with VedaWise, a light vegetable soup was on the daily dinner menu. For most of the week I ate this soup, but towards the end of the week, & as our “re-integration phrase” neared, I began to crave a soup that was a bit richer in texture & taste. Inspired by what was fresh in my CSA delivery, & by the “6 Tastes of Ayurveda” this velvety, sweet, & satisfying soup emerged…
Ayurveda describes six tastes by which all foods can be generally categorized, & each taste has its own therapeutic effects & changing impacts on your body. The six tastes or “Rasas” that are distinguished in the Ayurvedic diet are: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent & Bitter. Every substance is made up of some combination of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, & ether. According to Ayurveda, a balanced meal contains all six tastes in order to completely nourish and satisfy the body. Apart from feeling satisﬁed this practice also ensures that all major food groups & nutrients are present.
The first three tastes ~ sweet, sour, & salty, increase kapha & decrease vata, while the last three tastes ~ bitter, pungent, & astringent, have the opposite effect. As we are in the winter “Vata” season, which is characterized by water & air: cold, dry, light, clear, & moving, we need find ways to stay warm, grounded, & vibrant while the element of fire is taking its long winter’s nap. No matter what your individual constitution, all body types are vulnerable to Vata imbalances during autumn & winter, but if you are primarily Vata like me, we need to be even more vigilant! Some of the ways we can stay warm & winter is to eat more of the sweet, sour, & salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, & pungent ones.
So let’s talk soup! The main “sweet” components of this soup ~ carrots, beets, sweet potatoes & ghee just so happen to be a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods as they are heavy & moist. The “sour” components, which are warming to the body, comes from a bit of citrus & apple cider vinegar in the soup, & the yogurt drizzle garnish. Another warming element, “salty” is incorporated by a healthy shake of Himalayan pink salt. Dill is also said to balance the Vata dosha, & is wonderful for digestion. The flavors of carrots & dill also marry together beautifully.
Curry powder is also an easy way to incorporate the six tastes into every meal. It is also packed with spices that fight disease & serve as antioxidants. I am a big fan of the “Madras” blend of curry powder, which contains a blend of 14 herbs & spices, including coriander & turmeric. It is spicy, piquant & peppery, & adds another warming element to this soup.
- 2 medium golden beets, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 cups carrots, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp. ghee, or coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. Madras Curry Powder
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & grated
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. orange zest
- 4 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 baked sweet potato (optional)
- Himalayan salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Add the ghee (or coconut oil) to a large pot over medium heat, melt, then add the curry spices & give it a swirl. Cook for one minute.
- Add onions & cook until soft & translucent.
- Add carrots & cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often.
- Add beets, ginger, garlic, & orange zest & stir well. Add a splash of water or apple cider vinegar to “deglaze” the pan, if necessary.
- Add vegetable broth & orange juice & stir well. Season with salt & pepper.
- Turn heat to high, & bring to a boil. Then lower heat to medium-low. Cover & let simmer for about 40 minutes. When everything is fork tender, puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Serve with yogurt drizzle.
“Yogurt Drizzle with Lemon & Dill”
- 1 cup greek style coconut yogurt
- 2 tsp. unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- Splash of lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Whisk together yogurt, coconut milk, fresh dill, lemon juice & lemon zest. Swirl a large dollop into individual servings of soup.
This is such a wonderful soup! All of the sweet & warming flavors provide comfort on a cold winter’s night. I’ve really been inspired by Ayurvedic cooking & have been having so much fun in the kitchen again. I had a dry spell for a while there! I enjoyed this soup as part of my “cleanse” but you can enjoy it anytime. I served this to my Mom along side a beautiful wintery kale salad & she was in heaven.