Farm to table: The grass could be greener on the vegan side

Confused about what it means to eat green and how to make that shift? Vegan chef and yoga instructor Raveena Taurani, makes a strong case for converting to a yoga-inspired lifestyle. Plus, our product list on how you can get a dining room setting that speaks to the greener you

The concept of “eating closer to nature”, as chef Raveena Taurani puts it, first made sense to her in 2015 when she signed up for a seven-week yoga retreat in Goa. While there, she observed that consuming a regular plant-based diet resulted in significant, positive changes. She says, “I had never felt so energetic in my life. I slept better and saw improvements in my vision, hair and digestive system. I knew there was no going back.” This prompted Taurani to pursue various vegan and plant-based food certifications in Bali, California and England over the coming years and today being vegan is more than a trending lifestyle choice to her. Between pursuing each of these courses, she began to experiment with recipes as well as ideas towards establishing her own space to practice and educate.

Last year, she launched Yogisattva in Mumbai, a whole foods plant-based culinary academy, combined with a yoga studio and retail store. Yogisattva also hosts farm-to-table Sunday brunches with gourmet food made from natural and chemical-free ingredients. “The goal is to empower people with the knowledge of how to eat clean yet flavourful, nutrient-dense, unprocessed food,” she says. We asked her for simple ways to make the transition:

How does going green in our diet help?
“[It helps us] to be healthy, to feel good about ourselves and to function at our maximum potential. People need to change their mindset about eating packaged foods with processed ingredients. Instead of questioning why healthy food is so expensive, ask why fast food is so cheap.”

What other small things can we do to have an eco-conscious lifestyle?
“Be more mindful and responsible towards the environment. For starters, carry your own bags for grocery shopping, carry a drinking water bottle instead of buying packaged water. Reducing wastage and recycling helps achieve a more conscious lifestyle. When it comes to food, buying produce directly from farmers or even growing your own is one step towards that journey. Reduce the number of times you eat out and instead, carry home-cooked meals. Planning and prepping for meals goes a long way; you are less likely to be tempted to cheat that way.”

You can sign up for Yogisattva cooking classes in Mumbai here. To start off though, try these recipes at home:

Method
1.    Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and transfer to a pan. Add water
       until quinoa is covered. Bring to a boil and allow it to simmer

2.    In a large bowl, add cooked chickpeas, kale, carrots, spring
       onions, parsley and sundried tomatoes

3.    Combine quinoa with the other ingredients

4.    In a smaller bowl, mix together all the ingredients required for
       the dressing. Adjust for seasoning

5.    When serving, mix the dressing with the salad.

1. Vegan Protein Power Salad

Ingredients

For the salad:
-    1 cup cooked quinoa
-    1¼ cup cooked chickpeas
-    1½ cup finely chopped kale
-    3 medium carrots, julienned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
-    2 pieces finely chopped spring onions
-    1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
-    1 tbsp sundried tomatoes, rinsed from oil and finely chopped
      after soaking in hot water

For the dressing:
-    60 ml red wine vinegar
-    2 tsp Dijon mustard
-    1 large clove garlic, minced
-    60 ml extra virgin olive oil
-    ¼ tsp sea salt
-    Freshly ground black pepper
-    1 tsp coconut sugar
-    Zest of 1 lemon

For the garnish:
   Fresh micro herbs or toasted pumpkin seeds

Method
1.    Preheat the oven to 180oC. Roast 2 cups of chopped pumpkin
       cubes in olive oil, salt, chilli flakes and cumin powder for 30
       minutes, or until cooked but crispy

2.    Blend the ingredients for the ‘no-cheese’ sauce and adjust
       seasoning as needed

3.    Heat a saucepan, add the cooked brown rice and mix well with
       the sauce

4.    Take off the heat, place in a serving bowl and mix in the
       roasted pumpkin cubes. Garnish with sage or thyme. Serve hot

2. No-Cheese Pumpkin Risotto

Ingredients

For the ‘no cheese’ sauce:
-    2 cups chopped pumpkin (in cubes)
-    2 cups pumpkin puree (made fresh from pressure cooking
      pumpkin and then blending until soft)
-    1 tbsp coconut oil
-    2 cloves garlic
-    2 tbsp cassava flour
-    1¼ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
-    ½ tsp sea salt
-    2-3 tbsp chopped sage or thyme (if using dry herbs, take half
      the quantity)
-    4-5 tbsp nutritional yeast
-    ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
-    ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
-    1 cup cooked brown rice

3. Vegan Nutella

Ingredients
-    1 cup hazelnuts, soaked for 6-8 hours
-    ½ cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
-    ¾ cup coconut sugar
-    1/3 cup coconut oil
-    3 tbsp cacao powder
-    ½ tsp vanilla powder
-    2-3 tbsp tepid water
-    ¼ tsp Himalayan salt

Method
1.    Drain and rinse the soaked nuts under cold running water.
       Drain again, then place in a food processor and blend on high
       for 7-8 minutes

2.    Add all other ingredients and keep processing, scraping down
       the sides occasionally. The mixture will stay coarse and grainy
       for some time, and may take 15-20 minutes, depending on the
       strength of the machine

3.    Finish the spread in a blender for a smooth texture

4.    Keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to five days

Delicious, nutritious, beautiful produce needs to have an equally inspired setting. Try using the fresh fruits and veggies as an interesting centerpiece instead of the usual flowers. Add some small natural touches to your place setting, using a jute string instead of a napkin ring on your folded napkin, and add a sprig of rosemary to keep the theme going. Mint green along with pops of red will add freshness to the room.

Our curated list of products should shed some light on where you can go get the look: 

Written By: Anamika Butalia

Contributing Writer

Styled/Produced By: Nidhi Tiwari

Stylist

Photography By: Prachi Damle

Photographer

Food Stylist: Harshita Kalra

BH Shop
4 July 2019

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