Updated: Feb 17
What I love most about this hearty Vegan Ayurvedic dish is how its main ingredient, pumpkin, is called KUSHMANDA in Sanskrit. KUSHMANDA is also the name of the goddess of love, joy and laughter. She is believed in the ancient Vedic spiritual tradition to live in your heart chakra.
Kushmanda is known as the cosmic egg of creation. She brought the world into being through the power of her JOY and LAUGHTER.
This beautiful dish, with all its mental clarity evoking ingredients, helps you connect with ANANDA, another beautiful Sanskrit word that signifies Joy, which has no cause or origin.
Happiness is the true nature of each being. When you eat foods that bring about SATTVA (the quality of peace, calm and clarity), you have the opportunity to peel away layers of your mind, to reveal the joy that dwells deep inside you.
This Sattva promoting pumpkin dish helps you do just this, especially when you eat it with this awareness.
And when you think of the creamy, sticky, comforting satisfaction you get from foods like mac and cheese, it's really hard to imagine that you can derive all that pleasure from something that's actually GOOD FOR you.
This dish takes the comfort of mac and cheese and actually makes it comfortable for you in a REAL sense, with ingredients that benefit and nourish your body and support your mind and spirit.
In Ayurveda, pumpkin is the perfect food for the fall and early winter seasons. Its heavy and nourishing qualities help it feed and strengthen your body for the entire year ahead. Its cooling potency helps alleviate any heat-related imbalances connected with pitta dosha (the Ayurvedic bioforce made of fire, responsible for transformation and metabolism in your body).
It is the perfect dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal this week, if you celebrate it!
1 small sugar pumpkin
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in overnight or for at least 1 hour in boiling water
1/2 cup (40g) spelt flour
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon hing
1/2 teaspoon kalonji seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 ½ pink rock salt + more to taste
Cooling pungent masala to taste
1 tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup (240mL) fresh organic coconut milk
10 ounces (280g) of Cavatappi pasta, medium-sized macaroni shells, or any other pasta you like
cilantro or parsley leaves to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
ROAST PUMPKIN: cut the pumpkin in half with a big cooking knife. Scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves of the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until you can pierce the pumpkin with a knife in several places, and the flesh pulls away from the skin.
MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE: scoop out the fleshy parts of the roasted pumpkin and add to your blender with at least 1/4 cup of coconut milk or water (you can add more if you like for a creamier texture - the milk will make it richer).
COOK PASTA: boil water in a large pot. Add Cavatappi noodles (or whichever noodle you like). Cook for the time specified on the box.
BLEND SAUCE: add the 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree with the soaked and drained cashews, spelt flour, hing, kalonji seeds, nutmeg, ghee or coconut oil Himalayan rock salt and cooling pungent masala to taste, tapioca flour or cornstarch, lemon juice and coconut milk. Blend until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy. It will take between 1-2 minutes, or you can use the "Puree" setting on the Instant Pot Ace blender. Adjust the ingredients as needed.
Add the blended cheese sauce to the cooked pasta noodles. Heat over medium heat until the sauce is well mixed in with the pasta noodles, and feels warm throughout.
Garnish with parsley and love!
Take a moment to acknowledge the presence of a beautiful, smiling goddess in your heart before you dive into this deliciously joyful meal! The more joy you can experience before eating, the better you will be able to digest what you eat, and the more your food can then, in turn, abundantly bless your being. Gratitude brings about joy in an instant. So make every meal Thanksgiving by giving thanks to the divine provider of abundance and love, as expressed in the bounty of your food.
To learn how to make more delicious recipes like this, and to learn how to design your own Ayurveda lifestyle, in harmony with the rhythms of nature, join The Ancient Way's Wellness Ambassador Program starting March 26th, 2022, to spread the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in your community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANANTA RIPA AJMERA is founder and CEO of The Ancient Way and Advisor of Ayurveda at THE WELL, a modern wellness club that brings together world-class doctors and master healers for a more balanced you. She is author of The Ayurveda Way, a compilation of 108 simple, doable practices for better sleep, less stress, optimal digestion and more.