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Eating seasonally is very important, and there are still plenty of delicious herbs and vegetables coming in fresh at this time of year. Take advantage of the deliciousness before “thyme” runs out, and the selection of herbs and vegetables diminish in winter.
A pungent herb, thyme is beneficial to pacify overabundant vata (space & air) and kapha (water & earth) qualities that can result in intestinal distress symptoms such as gas, bloating, or nausea. Thyme can increase pitta (fire) qualities due to its heating nature. So, if it is very warm where you live or you are experiencing a pitta imbalance, use it more sparingly or substitute fresh cilantro for it. Thyme is wonderfully aromatic and infuses this dish with a flavor that pays compliments to its culinary counterparts.
The shallot belongs to the allium family. It imparts a more refined, yet onion like flavor. Shallots are grounding, so they balance out the stimulating effect of thyme. Cooking shallots diffuses their heating nature and increases their sweetness.
You may know fennel as the vegetable with a mild licorice flavor. Sautéing or braising fennel softens the licorice flavor and brings out its sweetness. Fennel acts an amazing agni (digestive fire) enhancer without increasing heat in the body. It is diaphoretic and diuretic, so it can flush excess heat and fluid from the body. This comes in handy post-summer. Fennel is also known to help increase mental and visual clarity.
We tend to lump quinoa in with grains, but it is actually a seed. There are many varieties of quinoa, with the white, red, and black varieties being the most popular. You can often find all three mixed together, which reminds me of the three constitutional types of Ayurveda (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). Quinoa offers a protein punch and is tri-doshic (beneficial for Vata, Pitta, Kapha). If you tend to lean toward vata imbalances, be more generous with the amount of ghee you use in this recipe.
Shallot, fennel, thyme, & quinoa bowl
1 cup quinoa, soaked in water overnight and rinsed
3 large shallots, chopped
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (reverse the wisp-like dark green fronds for garnish!)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 carrot, grated
Ghee for sautéing
Pink Himalayan salt & white pepper to taste
Generous handful of freshly-chopped cilantro leaves
1. In a medium-sized pot, sauté the shallots in ghee for a few minutes, until clear or slightly browned.
2. Add the fennel and sauté until soft.
3. Add the carrot, quinoa, salt, pepper, and about 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cover.
4. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.
5. Remove from heat, transfer to serving dish, and garnish with cilantro and fennel fronds.
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