Smart Pesto Recipe with Brahmi/Gotu Kola
Doesn’t clarity feel so good? When you know what you want and you are moving towards it in a surefooted way? Isn’t it wonderful to feel calm and resourceful? And what is more satisfying than the illumination that arises in a moment of inspiration? This is what it feels like to have a balanced and healthy mind. And the way your mind functions is directly related to what you eat.
The practice of Ayurveda demonstrates this old adage so clearly. When you start to pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel, you begin to realize what works—and what doesn’t.
The Power of Sattvic Foods
Having primarily sattvic food is what I recommend to my clients who are seeking more balance in their minds and bodies.
Sattvic food is naturally balanced and will support the mind to function optimally—think whole grains, legumes, and fresh, organic, local vegetables. Sattvic food is mild, easy to digest, and balancing, and when moderately spiced, it helps to support healthy agni (the digestive fire).
Sattvic food works especially well to balance the mind when paired with sattvic herbs. One of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs for a clear mind is brahmi/gotu kola. Sattvic, cooling, and relaxing, it calms both vata and pitta, and it supports improved memory and brain function.
At Hale Pule Ayurveda & Yoga on Kauai, Hawaii, we had an abundance of gotu kola growing on the property. When we first took over the land, there wasn’t much of anything growing because it had been neglected for so long. But as soon as we started to water some avocado and mango trees, these little green brain shaped leaves showed up under some of the trees, and we realized it was gotu kola. What a wonderful surprise!
Other farmers in the area said they had tried for years to get this herb to grow with no success. We learned that it grows only where it decides to grow. Perhaps it sensed that, as Ayurvedic practitioners, we would sincerely appreciate its presence! It soon spread all over the property and we used it for cooking and making teas.
Here is a simple, sattvic recipe that uses gotu kola’s powers for a clear and relaxed mind. If you don’t have access to fresh gotu kola, you can add Banyan Botanicals’ Brahmi/Gotu Kola powder instead.
Smart Pesto with Brahmi/Gotu Kola
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon mineral salt
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¼ teaspoon fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ cup chopped fresh tulsi basil
- 3 cups chopped curly kale
- ½ cup chopped fresh gotu kola or ¼ cup gotu kola powder
- 1 small mashed avocado
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Warm one half of the olive oil and add the fresh ginger, black pepper, salt, and pecans. Simmer until the aroma is present, then add the fennel and coriander powders and tulsi. Simmer one minute, then stir in the kale and gotu kola. Add a splash of water, cover, and simmer until the kale is soft.
Remove from heat and let cool. Blend with the remaining olive oil, avocado and lime juice to a smooth consistency.
Serve on pearl barley, rice, or your favorite homemade fresh pasta and vegetables. Enjoy both the taste and the mental clarity it brings!