5 Recipes for an Amazing Ayurvedic Feast
Here at Banyan, we love the holidays, gathering with loved ones around a table bursting with good food. This year, we wanted to approach this season with more joy and less indigestion, so our resident chefs set out to create an entire Ayurvedic menu that could please a crowd and surpass the expectations of the holiday table, all while upholding the Ayurvedic principles of healthy eating.
We’re excited to share these recipes with you, which have been tested right here in our Banyan kitchen. They receive our enthusiastic approval—we were hard-pressed not to lick our plates clean!
This menu offers all six tastes to help balance the doshas, thoughtfully incorporates spices to kindle agni, and uses seasonal vegetables, so you can feel good about what you pile on your plate. And it tastes great! That’s the best kind of Ayurvedic cooking—when it tastes so good that you’re simply focused on enjoying the experience, not necessarily how it’s healthy for you too.
Some other benefits of this menu? Way less prep—instead of days of chopping and prepping, these recipes can be cooked from start to finish in a matter of a couple hours, which means less time in the kitchen and more time for you to spend with your guests—and there’s no turkey to thaw out. For all of us out there who have had that memorable experience of forgetting to take the turkey out of the freezer for it to be fully cooked in time, this is a relief.
Whether you choose to cook the entire menu, or you choose one or two recipes to complement your traditional favorites, these recipes are delicious, simple, and worthy of becoming new holiday favorites for years to come. All that is missing is the pie!
May your holidays be full of joy, laughter, and good food!
Lentil Loaf Recipe
This recipe is reminiscent of meat loaf, without the meat. It is hearty enough to be a main dish and is wonderful paired with sage gravy. But careful—our test kitchen chefs had a hard time not eating the whole loaf in one go. If you’re short on time, this can be cooked the day before and reheated.
- ½ cup dry (green) lentils
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ large onion, about 1 heaping cup
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large carrot
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 egg OR 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
Soak the lentils in water for at least an hour before cooking. Bring lentils and water to a simmer, and cook for 15–20 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
Lightly toast the pecans in a pan for about 5 minutes, set aside.
Using the same pan, heat the ghee and add the spices (salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and cayenne) until the aroma lifts. Set aside.
Roughly chop the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. In a food processor, add the chopped vegetables, spiced ghee, tamari sauce, nutritional yeast, parsley, syrup, and lemon juice. Pulse a few times or until medium chopped. Add the pecans and oats and pulse. Add the cooled lentils and the egg or flaxseed. Pulse until combined and it sticks together but isn’t pulverized.
Line a bread-loaf pan with parchment paper. Shape the lentil mixture into a loaf in the pan. Brush with ghee and sprinkle with salt if desired.
Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until medium firm and lightly browned on top. Let the loaf rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Sage Gravy Recipe
It wouldn’t be a fall feast without gravy. Pour this on everything—except maybe your pie.
- 2 ½ cups vegetable or mushroom broth
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon natural mineral salt (or more to taste)
Heat ghee and spices together over medium-low heat until the aroma lifts. This can happen quickly so make sure you watch carefully. Add the rice flour, mixing well and cooking on medium-low until the combination begins to brown slightly, then remove the pan from heat.
Slowly whisk in ½ cup of vegetable broth until a thick paste forms.
Return to heat. When it begins to simmer, add remaining broth and whisk well. Add the lemon juice.
Let simmer until the gravy is smooth and thickened and coats the backside of a spoon.
Don’t fret if the gravy doesn’t thicken! You can mix equal parts flour to cool water and then add that slurry to the gravy, adding a little at a time until you get the desired consistency.
This recipe allows the natural sweetness of this root vegetable to shine. These sweet potatoes also offer up a tasty blend of spices and a healthy (and yummy) addition of greens. This is easy enough to incorporate into a weekday dinner but delicious enough to earn its place at the holiday table.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, chopped to 2 inch cubes
- 2 heaping handfuls chopped kale or hearty greens (lacinto/dino, or red russian, collard greens)
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (reserve a couple slices of the lemon)
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, toss the kale/greens with lemon juice and nutritional yeast, and mix until well coated.
In a medium pot, add water and a couple of slices of lemon and heat. Scrub the sweet potatoes and chop (leave on the skins). Once the water is boiling, add the sweet potato. Reduce heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the sweet potato begins to soften slightly but isn’t falling apart. Remove from heat. Reserve 1 cup of this starchy water, drain the rest.
Heat the ghee in a pan, and add the spices. Cook until the aroma lifts, then remove from heat.
In a large 9x12 glass dish, add the sweet potato and kale. Add the starchy water until the sweet potatoes and kale are half-way covered in water (this may be less than the full cup). Drizzle the spiced ghee over the entire dish.
Bake for 15 minutes. Take out, mix, and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the sweet potato is fully soft.
Green Beans with Shallots and Rosemary Recipe
These green beans are so good! Drizzling the beans with the seasoned ghee makes them feel especially indulgent yet wonderfully guilt-free. This recipe doesn’t have to be restricted to the holiday table—it is an easy and delicious way to enjoy green beans any day of the week.
- 1 pound green beans
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced, or a pinch of dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon mineral salt
Prepare the green beans by cutting off the ends. In a large pot, add enough water to generously cover the green beans (but don’t add them yet). Bring the water to a boil. Carefully add the beans, blanching for 3–4 minutes or till the color shifts to a vibrant green. Remove from heat, drain the water, and cover.
In a sauce pan, melt the gee over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté. When the shallots are translucent, add the rosemary and salt, cooking gently until the flavors meld and the shallots start to turn golden. Remove from heat.
Place the beans in a serving dish, drizzle with the seasoned ghee and shallots, gently toss, and serve.
Cranberries in Orange Sauce Recipe
Our take on classic cranberry sauce, this tangy and sweet dish complements all other dishes in this menu. The addition of ginger aids digestion. This can be prepared up to a couple days in advance, if needed.
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-12 oz. bag cranberries
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger OR ¼ teaspoon dried
In a medium pot, mix together water, sugar, orange zest, ginger and salt, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Add cranberries and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens (about 20 minutes) and 2/3 of the cranberries have popped open. Remove from heat and add the orange juice.
Let cool to room temperature before serving.
Holiday Drink Recipes
There are many options for good holiday drinks. Here are three of our favorites!
Spiced Holiday Nog—One of our most popular holiday blog posts, this recipe blends some of the favorite flavors of the season, like cinnamon and cloves, in a beverage that is rich enough to be a dessert.
Mulled Cider—A lighter beverage with all of the traditional holiday spices.
CCF Tea—This digestive tea is a friend on any day of the year, but most especially when we ask our digestive system to eat heavy, rich foods, sometimes in large quantities. Sip throughout the day and after meals to boost agni and help digestion.