Root Veggie "Ojas" Soup


A winter hero to warm up, root down, and replenish reserves

about 6 servings

This soup was inspired by a cooking class during my training at Kripalu. I added touches of Italian, French, and Spanish influences to show that Ayurvedic cooking can apply to any region of the world, as long as you look for qualities that balance the climate and/or your constitution.

3 tbsp olive oil

4 stalks celery

1 sweet onion or shallot (omit or decrease for pitta imbalance)

2 garlic cloves, smashed with back of knife to remove skins (omit or decrease for pitta imbalance)

1-2 “fingers” fresh turmeric**, peeled (or sub 1 tbsp ground turmeric)

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled

1 large tomato (I used Vermont hydroponic, could also sub small can of tomatoes)

Black pepper

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 bay leaves

½ package of fresh thyme, about 2 bundles

3.5 lbs root veggies (carrots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac aka celery root, parsnips, and butternut squash)

8 cups water

½ pound pasta (I used Tru Roots ancient grains elbows)

  1. Make sofrito, a slow and low flavor technique I learned from making Spanish paella: in a food processor, pulse celery, onion, garlic, fresh turmeric, and fresh ginger b/c ain’t nobody got time to chop all that.

  2. Slice tomato in half and grate using a box grater, saving the pulp.  Discard or compost the tomato skin (Ayurveda says that part of the tomato is inflammatory).

  3. Heat med/large dutch oven to medium heat, add olive oil, food processor veggies, tomato pulp, spices, and salt, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn heat down to low and cook as long as you can to develop a rich flavor base, until the mixture is a golden/amber hue but not burnt.  For a special event I cooked this for 90 minutes. The paella recipe I learned this from recommends 30-45 minutes. Think of this process as creating the ojas, the healing nectar of the soup.

  4. Add bay leaves, thyme, root veggies, and water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer until veggies are tender, about 25-30 minutes.

  5. While soup is cooking, make the pasta and the pesto (recipe below).  Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt generously (salty like the ocean!).  Cook pasta until tender and drain.

  6. Scoop about ½ cup pasta into bottom of a bowl.  Ladle about 1 ½ cups soup, then top with pesto and perhaps more olive oil. Serve with sourdough for a hearty meal.  

Quick and Dirty Instant Pot method:

  • Place all ingredients in steps 1-3 into instant pot and press “sauté”. Stir until veggies soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes, be careful not to burn (my IP gets so hot I must move quickly!).

  • Turn off sauté, add ingredients in step 4, seal lid and vent, and set Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 20 minutes.

  • Allow for natural pressure release (which could take 20-30 minutes), or at least 10 minutes. During this down time, make the pesto topper (recipe below) and pasta.

**Turmeric stains everything including countertops and nails, so wear gloves when prepping fresh turmeric and don’t chop on white surfaces :)


Basil Pepita Pesto

½ cup Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds, excellent for pitta!)

3 T Nutritional yeast

¼ cup olive oil

2 cups packed fresh basil

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Juice of ½ lemon plus some lemon zest

  • Optional step: roast pepita seeds at 300 degrees for 5 minutes and allow to cool before using.

  • In a food processor, pulse pepitas to a coarse dust.  Add nutritional yeast, salt, and basil and blend. With processor running, add lemon juice and olive oil until the mixture is smooth and bright green.  Top with some grated lemon zest for added vibrancy.

Pepita seeds are a good source of plant protein, and nutritional yeast is fortified with B12, so this is a great vegan condiment to have on hand.  This makes just about everything taste better!