Updated: Feb 17

This dish is a beautiful feast for your eyes as well as your taste buds! It is bursting with flavor and joie de vivre to see and to taste. It's amazing how something that does not involve garlic or ginger can taste so good, but it truly does, and it belongs to the Ayurvedic classification of foods that are considered balancing and calming for your mind, as well as easy on your digestion.

You may be surprised to see tomatoes included in an Ayurvedic recipe for fall. I have found that using heirloom tomatoes, which are sweet in flavor, do not aggravate those who suffer from acidity or other heat-related issues. It's excess sour taste that causes acidity, so in my experience the sweet tomatoes are quite safe and balancing to your body.

This recipe also uses a bit of jaggery as a sugar substitute. Jaggery is more beneficial for you than regular refined sugar as it has more nutrients due to its molasses content. Because of how it is processed (differently than sugar), jaggery also maintains traces of iron, fiber and different mineral salts. If you are trying to lose weight, then you may wish to omit this ingredient (and use less quantity of ghee).

While it may seem like there are lots of spices going into this recipe (and it's true that there are), they are easy and simple to combine together in fun varieties that offer you a wonderful new mind calming experience of amazing flavors.

So, relax and enjoy the process of making this joyful sunny creation to help brighten up any dreary day!

Serves 4.



  • 1 golden sunshine sauce

  • 1 tsp ghee

  • 1/2 tsp kalonji seeds

  • 1/4 tsp garam masala

  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower, carrot and zucchini (or any other seasonal veggies you like)

  • 1/2 tsp pink rock salt

  • 1 cup red lentils, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup quinoa (I actually use a "Golden Blend" mix of red quinoa, Israeli couscous, assorted orzo and split baby garbanzo from Trader Joe's), well rinsed

  • 1/2 cup water, if needed

  • fresh lemon juice to taste to garnish (optional)

*Garam masala is a richly flavorful spice blend you can make to get the satisfaction of traditional garam masala without the acidity and other heat related issues (like shingles, acne, rashes, etc.) associated with very pungent, hot spices.

Blend together:

**Cooling pungent masala is an amazing recipe from Divya Alter in her wonderful book "What To Eat for How You Feel." It's a way to have black pepper without getting heated by it - it's very effective (have personally verified it).

Blend together:

  • 4 tsp fennel seeds

  • 4 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp Sucanat, organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, or your favorite sugar substitute


  1. Heat ghee in large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and coriander seeds and bay leaf. Add hing, kalonji seeds, turmeric, and garam masala.

  2. Add tomatoes, tofu, salt and 1/4 cup of the almond or coconut milk. Cook until tomatoes are saucy, a couple of minutes. Discard bay leaf and transfer sauce to a blender.

  3. Blend sauce with the rest of the 1/4 cup of almond or coconut milk until it's a nice smooth consistency. Transfer sauce to the skillet. Add fenugreek leaves and jaggery. Stir.

  4. Pour sauce into a large measuring cup. Add enough water to make 3 cups total of the beautiful golden sunshine sauce.

  5. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add kalonji seeds, garam masala, followed by veggies and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine and then cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add red lentils and cook for 1 minute.

  6. Add quinoa (or "Golden Blend", remaining 1/4 tsp salt and golden sunshine sauce. Stir to combine and then partially cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low. If you like having a more soup-like consistency, add the water. Cover and cook until the quinoa or Golden Blend is well done.

  7. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with love.

As you sit to eat, make sure to take a moment to close your eyes. Bring to your mind a vision of the rising sun. Allow it to move down from the top of your head, into your heart and throughout your body. It is the Sun's blessings and presence in our lives that allows us to receive, digest and benefit from food. As we give thanks to the cause of all light, we can be blessed with even more light from the golden sunshine sauce of this divine Ayurvedic dish.

To be an ambassador of this light, do also consider joining The Ancient Way's Wellness Ambassador Program starting March 26th, 2022, to spread the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in your community.



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.



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