For my friends who are from the golden state (or perhaps the west coast in general) you know it has been an uncharacteristically rainy and cold winter season for us and I have definitely noticed some changes physically and otherwise! The cold weather, especially when it can be so dry, tends to aggravate the Vata dosha according to Ayurveda and lucky me I have quite an abundance of vata in me as is! So when I arrived back in Southern California after 6 months in the beautiful warmth and humidity of Asia (yes, I have come to appreciate even those highly sweaty days!) my skin reacted adversely almost immediately- not uncommon for vata dominant folk like myself. I knew what was happening as it was happening; skin is drier, hair is not as shiny, changes in energy/mood, etc. I had gotten used to having cold smoothies in the morning for breakfast and quite enjoy that with a strong cup of coffee so naturally I took my time in being honest with myself that I would have to make some dietary and lifestyle modifications to help reduce some of that vata abundance.
In Ayurveda, the idea is to remedy the imbalance by using the dominate doshas opposite qualities. Naturally, the opposite of cold, energetic foods that are lighter would be warmer, more grounding foods. Our digestive system in the Ayurvedic system runs on Agni, or digestive fire and when we put something cold into our systems when we are already experiencing cold conditions it extinguishes the digestive fire. All of this to say, I knew I needed to stick with those more comforting, warmer foods and as a result- up my soup game! Soups are just one of those comfort foods that can also be incredibly healing and full of good things all in one bowl. I personally love creamy, blended soups and find that you can use many different vegetables in the same application and come up with something stellar- I haven’t gone wrong with this idea yet! Roasted carrot soup is one of my favorite of these types of soups that I use a similar technique for. Speaking to the energetics of this dish and why I love it to soothe and calm vata- when the carrots are roasted it adds to the cooking time/method and therefore adds to its energetic qualities and adds a nice depth of flavor vs simply boiling all the ingredients together. If you were to just eat raw carrots- totally different result energetically and not necessarily good or bad, it all depends on the result you are looking for at the time. The slower the cooking method, the more grounding the energy and in this particular case that is what we want to harness to create balance; carrots being a root vegetable also add to the grounding nature of the dish. Roasted carrot bisque is very simple to make, its something that I can through together after a long day and feel pretty good about spending a bit of time but not a lot of effort to create. This is another one of my recipes where I like to change up the flavor profile by swapping out different herb/spice groups- in this one you could easy swap the thyme and sage for a more eastern/Indian take with ginger, cumin and coriander. All in all, this soup is a keeper for any time I need to reduce that excess vata, warm up or simply ground myself and even better that it is simple as hell!
1 small white or yellow onion, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
1 lb. carrots, Halved length-wise and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp ground sage
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Toasted pine nuts for topping
Vegan sour cream
Herbs (i.e. chives, dill)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, coat the chopped carrot pieces in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 min or until golden, I like to turn them on the pan about half way through. While the carrots are in the oven boil, the onion, garlic and cashews in the veggie broth. This should also take about 20 min, until the cashews soften completely. Add in herbs, then salt and pepper to taste. In a high speed blender blend the roasted carrots, onion-broth mixture until the soup is very smooth. You can also do this in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings, add your favorite toppings and enjoy:)