Concern for what and how we should eat is at an all-time high, and this is fueling interest in all kinds of nutritional philosophies. Ayurveda—the time-honored medical science from India—has used food as a medicine for thousands of years and so many are curious about its unique understanding of food as an integral part of health.
Ayurvedic nutrition is based on a profound understanding of the effects, or karmas, that foods exert in the body. Each type of food, known in India, has been studied and its qualities and effects observed and described.
Some qualities act in concert with one another and cause effects that are not desirable. Two of these effects are called abhishandi and vidahi.
Abhishandi foods are those that increase sticky secretions and moisture in the body. These foods combine the heavy, sour and oily qualities which then increase sticky secretions and moisture in the body. An example of this is molasses. Yogurt is said to be abhishandi. Tomatoes and white potatoes are quite possibly abhishandi.
Vidahi foods combine the sour, pungent, heavy and oily qualities which then cause burning—coffee and tomato sauce are examples of vidahi foods. These foods are easier to identify because they are often triggers for burning in the chest, or sour, burning liquid that comes up into the esophagus or throat—commonly known as heartburn or acid reflux.
It is recommended that foods that are either abhishandi or vidahi be consumed only occasionally and if there is a disease or imbalanced condition in which they are directly implicated, not at all.
Unfortunately, tomatoes are in both categories.
Wow, what do we do with pasta then? No more spaghetti sauce, are you kidding? No problem, you can actually make a tasty “red” sauce (using butternut squash and beet) and avoid tomatoes! Here’s how.
Tomato-less Red Pasta Sauce
- 1 Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 Roasted Beet, peeled and cut in to small chunks
- 1 medium onion or 1 leek, diced
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons of mild-tasting oil—olive, grapeseed, etc.
- 1 vegetarian bouillon cube and 2 cups of water or 2 cups of vegetarian broth
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed dried basil, as per taste, or 2 to 3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
- Other spices you like to put in tomato sauce
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, depending on taste
- Scrape the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and reserve.
- Put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to a low-moderate level. When the oil shimmers, add the diced onion or leek and sauté until the onion starts to brown.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for a few moments
- Add the basil and stir it into the onion-garlic mix
- Add the butternut squash flesh and stir it to mix all the ingredients well. Sauté 5 to 10 minutes, stirring enough so that nothing sticks to the bottom
- Add the bouillon cube and water or the broth. Stir to mix the ingredients and then simmer for around 20 minutes—until the mixture has cooked down to a thicker consistency. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the pot from the heat and place on a pot holder on your counter:
If you have an immersion blender, let the mix sit for about 10 minutes and then use the immersion blender to blend it to a smooth, thick consistency
If you have a regular blender, then remove the pot from the heat and place on a pot holder on your counter. Let the mix sit for 20 to 30 minutes to cool down. Then blend the mixture in batches, blending each batch to a smooth, thick consistency.
After your sauce is blended into a nice consistency. Add one chunk of beet to the mix and blend. If the color of the sauce turns to the reddish, tomato-sauce like color you like, then return the pot to the stove and heat to cook down the sauce a bit more. If you would like a redder color, then add another chunk of beet and blend, assessing the color. Stop adding beet chunks when you attain the color you like.
Note: I’ve found that adding 1 quarter of a beet gives a nice orangey-red color, but you may want your color darker. Adding the whole beet makes it beet-colored, which is fine, but this may not work for people, like kids, who like things to look like what they expect.
- Now, just heat your sauce on low and bring to a simmer. Obtain the juice from ½ of your lemon, and add a teaspoon of it to your sauce. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and stir well. Simmer another couple moments and then taste for tartness and saltiness. Adjust the amount of lemon juice and salt to your taste.
- Serve over pasta, vegetables or other grain.