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    The Ultimate Guide To Ayurvedic Cooking

    Embark on a flavourful journey with our comprehensive guide to Ayurvedic cooking. Delve into the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and discover the art of balancing mind, body, and spirit through nourishing meals. Explore essential principles, spices, and cooking techniques that align with Ayurvedic principles.

    By Liv Surtees / Jan 21 2023

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    Love spending time cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Want to learn about how you can heal yourself through food? Keen to learn some new health-boosting recipes? Eager to explore the world of Ayurvedic food? 


    This is the place to be!


    Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest, holistic forms of medicine, is packed with informative, relevant, and deeply life-changing practices, beliefs, and advice. 


    Originating over 5,000 years ago in India, the main belief of Ayurveda is that every aspect of health is connected and to be in a good state of health, a state of balance must be achieved. 


    Food is a form of medicine in Ayurveda, with the belief that if you’re fueling yourself correctly, you can achieve a state of balance that is in alignment and supports your dosha (your body type) and reach a higher level of health, happiness, and wellbeing.

    the philosophy of ayurvedic cooking

    If you’re reading this article thinking, “what is ayurvedic cooking and what is the main belief behind it?”, don’t panic - we’re about to sum it up in just a few sentences! 


    Ayurvedic cooking is all about preparing foods that support your dosha to support the wellbeing of the body, mind, and spirit. 


    Unlike popular Western diets that have more recently come out to play, such as keto and Atkins, Ayurveda doesn’t categorise foods as bad or good, but rather looks at their freshness, seasonality, origins, and of course, whether or not they will provide you with the benefits you need, depending on your dosha.


    For many, the concept of cooking in an Ayurvedic way can be overwhelming but you don’t need to worry - there aren’t strict rules to follow and you’re not going to be preparing something that’s not going to sit right with you. 


    No, Ayurvedic cooking is all about looking at your own mind, body, and spirit, analysing what you need from your diet in reference to your unique findings, and then preparing the most impactful foods for you, in the most beneficial way.

    the principles of ayurvedic cooking

    Whilst there aren’t stringent sets of rules, there are some principles of Ayurvedic cooking that can help you get started on your Ayurveda journey.


    So, before we even dive into how you can cook for your dosha or give you any recipes, let’s take a look at some of them.


    use seasonal local produce

    One of the most important principles of Ayurveda is about living in a state of harmony, both within yourself and with the outside world. 


    By eating seasonal and local produce (wherever possible), you will not only be consuming the nutrients you’re supposed to as the seasons change, but you’re more likely to feel like you’re living in harmony with your surroundings.


    So, shop locally and use seasonal produce whenever you can. 

    avoid processed + frozen foods

    Prana is life-force energy and in Ayurvedic cooking, it’s important to preserve prana whenever and wherever possible. Therefore, you should be eating fresh (whole) food that you have just prepared, rather than processed food or frozen food. Processed or frozen foods haven’t preserved prana, since the food has been altered or micronutrients have depleted over time. 


    Therefore, whenever you can (obviously it’s understandable that sometimes you can’t), prepare your food with fresh ingredients and eat it as soon as it’s ready.

    cook + eat consciously

    As well as preparing certain types of foods depending on your dosha and what you need to promote balance, an important principle of Ayurvedic cooking is mindfulness. If you cook and eat with conscious thought, your food will be overflowing with love and prana. 

    Cooking and eating mindfully doesn’t just help you to make sure you’re creating a meal with the right ingredients, but it also helps you to slow down, relax, and attain a level of deeper conscious thought.

    tips for ayurvedic cooking: preparation

    How you prepare your food is incredibly important in Ayurvedic cooking. 


    Firstly, you want to make sure that the meal you are creating has all of the six tastes recommended in Ayurveda cooking to create a balanced meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent (obviously, depending on your dosha and your imbalances you may want to focus on adding more of a specific taste to a meal). 

    Secondly, depending on your dosha you will need to focus on how you cook your food. For example, if you are feeling very fiery at the moment (your pitta is high), you are going to want to stay away from fried or hot foods and may instead opt for a moisture-heat way of cooking such as steaming.


    Thirdly, utilising specific spices (again depending on your dosha) is a big part of Ayurvedic cooking and therefore you’re going to want to take note of how you’re feeling and where your imbalances lie before you add any spices to the food you’ve cooked. 


    For example, if you are kapha dosha, you will likely want to add an extra element of spice and bitterness to your meals by using spices such as ginger. 


    Generally, when it comes to preparing food to follow Ayurvedic principles you should avoid completely raw foods since this makes digestion more difficult, or burning food, since this reduces prana and can be carcinogenic.

    cooking for your dosha

    Your dosha will depend on what you’re putting in your shopping cart, so before you go any further, you need to understand what the three different doshas (kapha, pitta, and vata) are so you can not only identify your dominant dosha(s), but understand when you’re out of balance. 


    Luckily, we’re already one step ahead and have created an article to not only help you identify and understand doshas, but how you can live a lifestyle in alignment with your dominant dosha(s) too!  

    vata dosha food list

    Vata doshas should prioritize warm foods such as soup, cooked vegetables, purees, and drinks such as hot milk. They should avoid cold, raw, and dry foods.


    A list of things you might want to add to your shopping list:

    • Butter
    • Yoghurt
    • Cheese
    • Beetroots
    • Onions
    • Lentils
    • Mung beans
    • Lightly cooked green vegetables
    • Rice
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Coconut.

    kapha dosha food list

    Kapha doshas should prioritise fresh, light foods and avoid heavy foods such as bread, cheeses, and fried food.


    A list of things you might want to add to your shopping list:

    • Skimmed milk
    • Goats milk
    • Leafy greens
    • Crackers
    • Corn
    • Lentils
    • Tofu
    • Salad
    • Apples
    • Pears
    • Pomegranates
    • Cranberries
    • Turmeric
    • Ginger

    pitta dosha food list

    Pitta doshas should prioritise cooling foods and avoid overly powerful, sour, hot foods, and spicy foods.


    A list of things you might want to add to your shopping list:

    • Milk
    • Ghee
    • Squashes
    • Potatoes
    • Peas
    • Mung beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils (especially black lentils)
    • Oats
    • Cooked grains
    • Curcumin
    • Sweet fruits such as bananas, pears, plums, figs, pomegranates, cherries, mangos
    • Dried fruits

    our favourite ayurvedic recipes

    Although the food you make will depend on your dosha (as you’ve probably guessed by this point), here are a couple of our favourite Ayurvedic recipes.


    Lentil Dhal - Since lentils are on all of the shopping lists for each dosha (with black lentils being preferred for pitta dosha), this is a great Ayurvedic recipe to try.


    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 sweet onion diced
    • 5 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 sweet potato diced very small
    • 1 bell pepper any colour, diced
    • 1.5 cups red lentils
    • 4 cups water
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 2 teaspoons coriander
    • 2 teaspoons turmeric
    • 2 teaspoons curry powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
    • 1 14 oz No-Salt-Added Diced Tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce/coconut aminos
    • 1/8 cup cilantro chopped



    In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic for 3 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes, bell pepper (or vegetables of your choice) and sauté for 5 more minutes.


    Add lentils, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, tomatoes, soy sauce, coconut milk, and water to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils and sweet potatoes become soft.


    When the dahl begins to thicken, take a whisk and break down the sweet potato to combine with the lentils. Serve over rice and top with fresh herbs and red pepper flakes, if using.




    Ayurvedic Buddha Bowl 

    Quick, easy, nourishing, and also containing lentils, this Ayurvedic Buddha Bowl is an absolute treat.



    • 3 cups cooked brown rice
    • 1 cup lentils
    • 2 cups vegetable stock
    • ½ teaspoon ginger
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
    • ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper + more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 small head collard greens, cut into ribbons
    • 1 ½ cup shredded carrots
    • 1 cup red cabbage, sliced thinly
    • 1-3 teaspoons minced garlic
    • Coconut oil for cooking
    • Optional: lime wedges, gluten free tamari



    1. Combine lentils, vegetable stock, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and turmeric in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Add additional stock if needed to cook until tender.
    2. Add coconut oil to the saute pan and add collard greens, shredded carrots and red cabbage and garlic. Season with sea salt and pepper to your taste. Cook over medium heat until cooked through.
    3. Serve bowl with rice, lentils and veggies. Top with lime juice or gluten-free tamari if desired.



    enjoy exploring ayurveda!

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