Before there were kale smoothies, yoga escapes and grain bowls, there was the The Ashram, L.A.'s famed wellness retreat and the source of most of the health trends you see today. Now, the retreat's cofounder, Catharina Hedberg, and chef, Suzie Bohannon, are bringing that California experience (and its vegetarian recipes) straight to you via The Ashram Cookbook: The Way We Eat, published by Assouline.
When the retreat opened in 1974, Hedberg had to explain to her first group of clients the concept of vegetables being more than just a forgotten side dish. "It was an interesting scenario," she laughs about the state of health and wellness at the time. "When we started, we were happy if guests could walk up our steep driveway, for people were generally in rather poor shape."
Despite the odds, Hedberg persisted, introducing guests to the practice of farm-to-table cooking long before the phrase was even coined and having them try foreign (at the time) greens like arugula or Swiss chard, which she serves as a side for these savory, curried oats with a ginger flax dressing. Forty-four years later, The Ashram continues its work of serving as a place for people to find "health, peace, and balance in body, mind and soul."
"Our vegetarian food works the same way, nurturing all aspects of ourselves," Hedberg concludes. "The food brings joy to the soul as much as it nourishes the body."
Curried Mountain Oats with Ginger Flax Dressing
Recipe adapted from 'The Ashram Cookbook: The Way We Eat,' by Catharina Hedberg, Suzie Spring Bohannon © 2018. Reprinted in arrangement with Assouline.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Ginger Flax Dressing:
6 tablespoons flaxseed oil
5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos*
1½ tablespoons coconut nectar
2 teaspoons hot sesame oil
1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
For the Curried Oats:
2½ cups water
1 cup rolled oats
4 teaspoons coconut oil
3 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 pinches ground chipotle
2 pinches ground sweet paprika
1 cup nut milk
2 radishes, sliced
½ green apple, sliced
8-inch celery stalk, diced
½ cup Swiss chard, minced
2 tablespoons green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 to 2 tablespoons ginger flax dressing
*Liquid aminos are a non-fermented, gluten-free seasoning that can be used as a low-sodium alternative for tamari or soy sauce.
1. Make the ginger flax dressing: Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, seal, and shake to mix. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
2. Make the curried oats: In a pot over medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the oats, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is gone. Remove from heat.
3. To the oats, add the coconut oil, Bragg Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast, curry powder, sesame oil, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, chipotle powder, and paprika and stir until well blended.
4. Using a ½-cup or 1-cup measure, depending on the number of servings, mold the spiced oats into rounded shapes and place in serving bowls.
5. Pour equal portions of the nut milk into each bowl; scatter each serving with radishes, apple, celery, Swiss chard, green onion, parsley and sesame seeds; and drizzle with ginger flax dressing.