In Ayurveda, fall and early winter are governed by Vata dosha, formed by the elements of air and ether, bringing with it the qualities of dryness, movement, lightness, and coolness. As we are intrinsically linked to our environment and its ever shifting states, you may have noticed these same qualities also being aroused within your body and mind, such as : increased anxiety, scattered thoughts, mild or worsening of digestive symptoms as well as dry skin. Autumn can fill us with quite the erratic energy, although on a more positive note, with it also comes the opportunity to consciously welcome more stillness and simplicity in our lives.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, if we are currently making lifestyle and nutritional choices that mirror Vata qualities, we are potentially creating a state of imbalance that will inevitably manifest in symptoms and conditions related to this dosha. The aim is then to pacify or bring back to a state of balance the aggravated dosha by bringing in opposite qualities such as earthiness, warmth, moisture and a general ‘’slowing down’’ of our usual pace. Makes perfect sense right? Keep in mind however that although you may not perceive any Vata aggravation at the present moment, we are all affected at some level by the seasons everyone embodies the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in different and constantly shifting proportions, depending on inner and outer stressors and changes as well as other factors determined at birth. Mindfulness of seasons also translate as being in tune with nature with can only bring countless benefits.
In light of these seasonal needs, I will share with you my soup recipe that can support your Vata during this transition as this meal is highly grounding, nourishing and both mildly sweet and salty. I personally used the squash and apples I picked over the weekend in celebration of our local harvest and the bounty of prana (vital life force) that comes with freshly picked foods. I encourage you to plan some picking of your own over the next weeks while there is still time to closely connect with the earth, reenergize and enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors.
BUTTERNUT-APPLE SOUP WITH SPICED HAZELNUT TOPPING RECIPE
Yields: 5-6 portions
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 1 Tbsp ghee (coconut oil if vegan)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
- 3 red apples, cored, descended and chopped + 1 apple thinly sliced (topping)
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 tsp ground Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water (or enough to cover)
Spiced Hazelnut Topping
- 1/3 cup of raw whole hazelnuts
- 1 tsp ghee (olive oil if vegan)
- 1/2 tsp mild paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
- Generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- Add ghee or coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cubed butternut squash and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Stir in chopped apples, spices, salt & pepper and add water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until very tender, for about 25-30 minutes.
- While vegetables are cooking, prepare the topping by placing hazelnuts in a small food processor until coarsely chopped. Heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat and add chopped hazelnuts, spices and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the soup is cooked, puree with a hand blender until you obtain a very smooth consistency. You can also transfer into blender, in batches.
- Transfer soup to bowl and top with apple slices and spiced hazelnuts.
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