Recipes for Winter

Seriously Sumptuous Celery Soup

Did the celery juice wave hit your shores this winter? It seemed like every week I heard of someone new dedicating these mornings to juicing their stalks.

I always like to run popular food/diet trends through the lens of Ayurveda. So what light can Ayurvedic science shine on the celery juice wave?

Ayurveda & Celery

According to Ayurveda, celery is astringent, light, dry and rough – making it like a nano scrub brush, helping to lighten and purify the body.

Celery is also a diuretic, and a nervine. It cleanses the blood and is good for urinogenital infections. Interestingly, it is also said to help cleanse the mind and emotions while improving perception. Increasing the element of ether, it enables mental space for meditation.

Clearly celery has strong healing benefits; however we should be mindful that celery has a cooling energy. This is great for Pitta dosha, or for days of excess heat in the summer time, but raw celery is not advised for winter when it can increase Vata dosha, and all its attendant imbalances.

When & How To Maximize the Benefits of Celery?

Because spring is the season of Kapha, when the qualities of heavy, wet and smooth are dominant, Ayurveda considers spring the ideal season to purify, release and reset.

With its opposite qualities of light, dry and rough, celery is balancing to watery-earthy Kapha and therefore excellent for spring. However Kapha runs cool, so foods should be warmed up by cooking, with spices that add heat and aid digestion.

This means that to maximize balance, benefits and taste – whether it is winter, spring, or any time – turn celery juice into celery soup!

For just a little more effort you can have the healing benefits of celery in the creamiest, most delicious bowl of soup with this recipe below.

For just a little more effort than juicing, you can have the healing benefits of celery in the creamiest, most delicious bowl of soup with this recipe below.

Serves 2

Adapted from Bon Apetit, with inspiration from Chef Paul at Veda5, this soup is surprisingly creamy and elegantly delicious.

Because you are going to puree the soup before serving,  the cutting and chopping can be rough and quick – which means it about 5 minutes to prep and only about 20 minutes to cook. 

I used a broth that had tomato in it giving the soup a ruddy brownish hue. Try to use a clear broth to get a more spring-like pale yellow-green that highlights that speckled emerald of the dill.  

2 generous tablespoons of ghee
2-3 hearty shakes of cinnamon
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 head celery, stalks chopped, leaves reserved
1 small potato, roughly chopped
large pinch pink salt
3 cups low-sodium veg broth
¼ cup fresh dill
½ cup cashew cream*
Olive oil & fresh cracked black pepper, for serving

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the ghee. Stir in shallots and cinnamon and sauté 1-2 minutes.  Add celery, potato and pink salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add broth. Simmer until the potato chunks are tender, 8-10 minutes. Purée in a blender with the dill. Stir in cashew cream. Taste and adjust salt. Serve topped with celery leaves, fresh cracked pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

I topped my bowl with a homemade gomasio, which very simply is: Toasted sesame, finely chopped dulse and a pinch of pink salt. 

* To make cashew cream: Soak 1 cup cashews for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse. Put the cashews in a blender and fill to cover with pure water. Add one date, a capful of vanilla extract, and a pinch of pink salt. Liquefy and serve.

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