Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

Full disclosure. This cookie recipe was born out of my own laziness. While living in San Francisco, I was lounging on my couch one foggy afternoon, dreaming of fresh baked cookies. The only problem was that I was feeling too cheap and lackadaisical to go to any great lengths to procure baked goods that required much thought or effort. Any recipe that needed more than one step and a few simple ingredients was out of the question. I also wanted something relatively wholesome—no yuck ingredients, such as white sugar or bleached flour for my cookies!

Like all good San Franciscans, I turned to my smartphone for an answer. I don’t remember exactly what I typed into my keyword search, but it was something to the effect of “really easy cookie recipe” or “cookies for really lazy people.”

The recipe that caught my eye was a three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe. This three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe eventually morphed into a slightly more wholesome sunbutter cookies recipe, replacing peanut butter with sunflower seed butter and cane sugar with coconut sugar. I have made variations of this cookie recipe at least a dozen times, and no matter how I seem to tweak and refine, the results are always stunningly delicious and satisfying, yet not overly sweet.

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

These sunbutter cookies are best described as delicious little seed butter patties. They have a distinctive nuttiness and are just sweet enough. Though I don’t advise eating cookies for breakfast every day, a couple of these cookies and a spicy cup of chai tea can make a great breakfast on occasion. Sunbutter cookies are also a real crowd pleaser—they are a favorite at potlucks and holiday cookie parties. They are also flourless, which goes over well with the gluten-free crowd. Above all, they are not only tasty, but incredibly easy to make.

Here I will share both my classic recipe, as well as a couple of riffs that I have found to be as delightful as the original. It is also important to note that peanut butter or sunflower seed butter can be used for all of these recipes. Since I am an Ayurvedic practitioner, I generally choose sunbutter over peanut butter because peanuts are considered to be disruptive to all three doshas (constitutional types), and sunflower butter is less hot, dry, and heavy as compared to peanut butter. However, I have used peanut butter on occasion, and I must say that either choice yields delicious results.

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Winter Treat

Greta's Sunbutter Cookie Classic

[recipe_ingredients]

16 ounces sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
a dash of each: dried ginger, cinnamon, cardamom
2 tablespoons molasses (optional)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. Grease a cookie sheet (I like to use ghee or coconut oil for this). Bake for 7-8 minutes. Do not over bake!
  • Let cool and then enjoy! The cooling off period is crucial. The cookies obtain a more creamy, satisfyingly dense consistency after sitting for several hours. This also means that they keep well for a day or two!  
  • More words born out of experience: while seven to eight minutes in the oven doesn’t seem like much, the short bake time is vital to the recipe. If you let the cookies bake just until they are slightly golden on the edges and then let them cool, the result is a fabulous nutty, creamy texture.

[/recipe_directions]

I can attest to the above recipe being tried and true. However, I have also experimented with a few variations on this theme that I have found to be equally delicious. Here are those variations:

Give it an Herbal Boost!

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

Give these sunbutter cookies an herbal edge! Try adding herbal adaptogens such as powdered ashwagandha, shatavari, or kapikacchu to the mix. I got this idea after attending a holiday herb talk in Asheville, North Carolina given by Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries. She shared her adaptogenic cookie recipe (as well as some samples) with the attendees. I was so inspired by the concept of adding stress-busting herbs to holiday cookies, I figured I would try this trick with my own recipe.

I have experimented with adding a few different adaptogens and find that I don’t notice a significant change in flavor, but I take comfort in knowing that I am getting a little extra fortification. I recommend adding no more than a two tablespoons total of powdered herbs, and any combination of adaptogenic, tonifying herbs will do. (This category of herbs is referred to as rasayanas in Ayurveda). Nothing else in the recipe needs to change. Follow all other directions as given above. Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), ashwaganda (Withania somnifera), shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), and eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) are nice for their innocuous flavor. Ginseng powder adds a little more of a bite.

Everything’s Better with Chocolate Chips!

In this variation, I add chocolate chips because, well, everything’s better with chocolate! Since the chocolate chips add a little more sweetness, I subtract a half cup of sugar from this recipe. Chocolate chips provide a bit more flavor accent and texture, and satisfy anyone’s chocolate craving.

Greta's Sunbutter Cookie with Chocolate Chips

[recipe_ingredients]

16 ounces sunflower butter (unsweetened)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
a dash of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. Grease a cookie sheet (I like to use ghee or coconut oil for this). Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350. Do not over bake!
  • Let cool and enjoy! The cooling off period is crucial. The cookies obtain a more creamy, satisfyingly dense consistency after sitting for several hours. This also means that they keep well for a day or two!  
  • More words born out of experience: while seven to eight minutes in the oven doesn’t seem like much, the short bake time is vital to the recipe. If you let the cookies bake just until they are slightly golden on the edges, and then let them cool, the result is a fabulous nutty, creamy texture.  

[/recipe_directions]

Add Oats!

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

True, this recipe is a bit aberrant from my classic Sunbutter Cookies recipe. Here I add oats and a little coconut oil to counteract the dryness of the raw oats. The oats add texture and a bit of that oatmeal cookie comfort, but you get the same nutty satisfaction from the peanut butter. I have only made this recipe with peanut butter to date, but I imagine sunflower butter would do just as well.

Greta's Sunbutter Cookie with Oats

[recipe_ingredients]

16 ounces organic crunchy peanut butter (unsweetened)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup raw rolled oats
2 tablespoons coconut oil

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. Grease a cookie sheet (I like to use ghee or coconut oil for this). Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees F. Do not over bake!
  • Let cool and enjoy! The cooling off period is crucial. The cookies obtain a more creamy, satisfyingly dense consistency after sitting for several hours. This also means that they keep well for a day or two!  
  • More words born out of experience: while seven to eight minutes in the oven doesn’t seem like much, the short bake time is vital to the recipe. If you let the cookies bake just until they are slightly golden on the edges, and then let them cool, the result is a fabulous nutty, creamy texture. Follow the exact same baking instructions as the original recipe.  

[/recipe_directions]

Whether it’s the classic recipe or a variation thereof, I find that these cookies really hit the spot when I am craving a little hassle-free holiday cookie baking. They also make a lovely homemade gift or contribution to a holiday spread. Or, follow my example and enjoy these wholesome treats for breakfast any time of year! No recipe could be easier. Bon appetit!

Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Treat | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for a simple and healthy winter treat? We have just the recipe for you! Try these tasty Sunbutter Cookies today!

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we’re all planning our big meals. If I asked you to name a few herbs or spices you might be using in your Thanksgiving recipes, sage and cinnamon would undoubtedly be at the top of the list. But there are many other herbs that can be used in creative ways to spice up your Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

Below I’ll share 17 common herbs that are often found in Thanksgiving dishes and a variety of delicious Thanksgiving food recipes that incorporate them!

17 Herbs Commonly Found In Thanksgiving Dishes

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

Herbs and spices are an integral part of the recipes we commonly associate with this time of year. The reasons for their use go beyond flavor to their other beneficial effects on the body, especially at Thanksgiving when overeating is easy.

The following is a list of 17 herbs that are commonly found in Thanksgiving dishes, and a brief note on their beneficial properties. Many of these herbs stimulate circulation in the digestive tract to build digestive warmth and stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and bile, increasing absorption of the nutrients. Due to their aromatic oil content, they act as carminatives to ease spasm and gas and soothe digestive discomforts. The bitter component contained in some of these herbs also promotes digestion and nutrient absorption.

1. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is an aromatic, bitter herb which stimulates digestion. It is used to soothe indigestion and gas and temper bad breath (Mars, 2007).

2. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley has been long known as an aid for bad breath, but it also is a nervine and good for digestion (Mars, 2007).

3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary for remembrance” is a common saying and the herb can be helpful for memory problems. It also improves circulation and digestion, and is tonic for the nervous system (Mars, 2007).

4. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is a useful herb to add to the Thanksgiving meal. Not only is it antispasmodic, and therefore, helps with digestion, but it’s also antibacterial and antiseptic. It also relaxes the respiratory tract, which can help with coughs (Castleman, 2003).

5. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum or C. zeylanicum)

It’s thought that cinnamon has been used since 2700 B.C. (Castleman, 2003). Cinnamon is warming, stimulates digestion, and is thought to be active against both staph and botulism bacteria (Mars, 2007).

6. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

The light taste of licorice-flavored tarragon is used as an appetite stimulant and aids digestion (Castleman, 2003), as it stimulates production of digestive juices.

7. Juniper Berries (Juniperus communis)

The bitter taste of juniper berries stimulates the release of digestive juices, aiding the digestive process (Kress, 2005).

8. Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Known as a mild oregano, marjoram can assist with digestion, toothaches, and inflammation (Kowalchik, Hylton, & Carr, 1998).

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

9. Savory (Satureja spp.)

Mostly used as a culinary herb today, savory has been used for minor stomach upsets in the past (Kowalchik, Hylton, & Carr, 1998).

10. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

A warming spice, clove stimulates both circulation and digestion. It has been used with diarrhea and may be effective against Enterococcus coli (Mars, 2007).

11. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger has long been known as the “go to” spice for nausea and motion sickness. Its warming, stimulating nature is also good for digestion and bloating. The dried plant is hotter than the fresh (Mars, 2007).

12. Allspice (Pimenta dioica)

Another warming spice, allspice has been used for poor appetite, indigestion, and gas (Mars, 2007).

13. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

A warming carminative, cardamom has been known for reducing stomach acidity, gas, and indigestion (Mars, 2007).

14. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Coriander stimulates digestion and helps with bloating, poor digestion and appetite loss (Mars, 2007); while many of the herbs and spices listed here are warming carminatives, coriander is an example of a cooling carminative.

15. Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg seems to stimulate brain activity and circulation but has also been used for indigestion, insomnia, and muscle pain (Mars, 2007). Its warming, carminative actions and slight bitter taste aid digestion.

16. Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis)

Bay leaf tonifies the digestive system, thereby aiding digestion and helping ease gas. It has been known to aid those with arthritis and may be of benefit when added to a bath for sore muscles (Mars, 2007).

17. Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Pepper is warming and stimulating and is known to improve circulation. It has also been used for arthritis, nausea, vertigo, and indigestion (Mars, 2007).

Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes To Try

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

Thanksgiving dinner is often made up of traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, but if you’re looking to try something new or incorporate herbs into more of your meals, the following recipes can help you do just that. Here you’ll find several herbal Thanksgiving recipes that feature some of the herbs mentioned above.

Stuffing

Stuffing is a traditional savory side dish at most Thanksgiving dinners, whether you are using it to stuff a turkey or baking it separately. This recipe allows you to add more herbs if you would like to bump up the savory herbal flavor. We like the sage, thyme, and pepper combination, but feel free to use any extras from the list above.

Basic Bread Stuffing

[recipe_ingredients]

¾ cup minced onion
1 ½  cups chopped celery
1 cup butter
9 cups soft bread pieces ripped up into small pieces (about an inch square)
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoon crushed sage leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon pepper

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. In a large skillet, cook onion and celery in butter until they are tender. Stir in one third of the bread. Place this mixture into a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Toss well. Stuff turkey just prior to baking. Alternatively, place stuffing in a glass casserole dish and heat for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until heated through and a little crispy on top.

[/recipe_directions]

Brines

Brining turkeys has become popular around Wisconsin. Brining is done by adding your choice of herbs to salt and water. You place the whole bird in a large vessel (it must be completely covered) and add your herbs. The brine is like a marinade, and the turkey must sit in the water mixture for 24 hours before removing, rinsing (if you choose), and baking. Brining locks in the moisture of the bird and makes it juicy and more flavorful. I have found stabbing the meat of the bird a few times with a fork before putting it in the brine allows the flavor of the brine to better penetrate the meat.

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

Basic Turkey Brine (Garfunkel Four)

[recipe_ingredients]

Vegetable broth to cover the turkey
1 cup sea salt (any salt will do)
2 tablespoons dried parsley (I use Italian flat leaf parsley since I feel it is more flavorful)
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoon dried thyme

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients and place the turkey in the liquid, ensuring it is completely covered. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. After brining, remove the turkey and rinse (if you choose – or not) and then bake as you normally would.

[/recipe_directions]

Juniper Berry Brine

[recipe_ingredients]

1 gallon water (or enough to cover the turkey)
7 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons dried juniper berries
1 ½ cups coarse salt
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 bottle of the white wine of your choice (example: White Zinfandel Riesling)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Place the turkey in the water with all the other ingredients, ensuring it is covered. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. After brining, remove the turkey and rinse (if you choose) and then bake as you normally would.

[/recipe_directions]

Allium Brine

[recipe_ingredients]

1 gallon water (or enough to cover the turkey)
1 ½ cups sea salt (any salt will do)
3 medium onions (any color you prefer)
10 garlic cloves (more if you like garlic, less if you don’t)
1 or 2 bunches (as your taste buds dictate) of one of the following: fresh thyme, parsley, rosemary, savory, or sage

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Place the turkey in the water with all the other ingredients, ensuring it is covered. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. After brining, remove the turkey and rinse (if you choose) and then bake as you normally would.

[/recipe_directions]

Rubs

Another popular alternative to the traditional baking is to use a savory herbal rub for the turkey. Rubs should be applied on and under the skin to make the turkey absorb them easier. If you make the rub a day in advance (stored in the refrigerator until ready to use), it allows the flavors to mix.Rubs can also double as a baste. After you have mixed the rub blend, divide it in two parts—one for the rub and one for the baste (this way during basting you won’t use the rub that has come into contact with raw poultry).

Dried Herb Rub

[recipe_ingredients]

¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon. dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon. ground black pepper
1 teaspoon. dried tarragon
1 medium onion and 1 quartered lemon (optional—for inside of bird’s cavities)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. When thoroughly mixed, rub into turkey skin, under skin, and into cavities.
  2. Bake as normal or per instructions that came with turkey.

[/recipe_directions]

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

Fresh Herb Rub

[recipe_ingredients]

1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
3 teaspoons salt (your choice)
⅓  cup olive oil
1 tablespoon any white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients well. Wash the turkey and pat dry. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, including under the skin if possible.
  2. Bake as normal or per instructions that came with turkey.

[/recipe_directions]

Poultry Seasoning

If you would like to make your own poultry seasoning, here are a couple recipes to try. When using dried herbs, these recipes double and triple, if you would like to make a larger quantity to have on hand or give as gifts.. All rubs made with dried herbs can be stored in labeled, airtight containers.

Poultry Seasoning #1

[recipe_ingredients]

2 ½ teaspoons dried sage
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon dried nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried pepper

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Thoroughly season by shaking this mixture evenly over the chicken and bake as directed.

[/recipe_directions]

Basic Poultry Seasoning #2

[recipe_ingredients]

1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon dried pepper
Dash of clove (optional)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Thoroughly season by shaking this mixture evenly over the chicken and bake as directed.

[/recipe_directions]

Desserts

So far, we have primarily used herbs for the savory part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Now onto the desserts and sides which are usually heavily flavored with warming, toasty spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Pumpkin Bread

While some of the beloved recipes in our family traditions were rather enthusiastic in their use of sugar and fat, enjoying them as a special treat for holidays is just fine. If you are looking to minimize sugar and oil, you may want to try this pumpkin bread recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

[recipe_ingredients]

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs (2 at a time)
2 cups pumpkin
3 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Note: Sugar can be reduced to 2 cups, but this will slightly alter the texture of the bread.

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Combine wet ingredients in one bowl and mix well. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Slowly blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients, adding an additional 2/3 cup water, and blend well.
  3. Bake in loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

[/recipe_directions]

A traditional Thanksgiving dessert is apple pie or pumpkin pie, and you can easily make your own spice combinations to use in holiday dessert recipes. All recipes can be adapted to your personal tastes and multiplied for bigger batches. You can make these in bulk and put them in cute jars to give as Christmas presents.

DIY Apple Pie Seasoning

[recipe_ingredients]

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Makes about a quarter cup. Keep the extra in an airtight container to use again.

[/recipe_directions]

DIY Pumpkin Pie Seasoning #1

[recipe_ingredients]

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Makes about a quarter cup. Keep the extra in an airtight container to use again.

[/recipe_directions]

DIY Pumpkin Pie Seasoning #2

[recipe_ingredients]

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Makes about a quarter cup. Keep the extra in an airtight container to use again.

[/recipe_directions]

These ideas and recipes are just a place for you to begin experimenting with herbs and spices around the holidays. Feel free to make additions, deletions, or substitutions in any of these recipes to tweak them to your own preferences. Enjoy cooking with herbs and spices and getting the benefits they offer for our wellness, digestive and otherwise!

12 Herbal Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes For This Year’s Celebrations | Herbal Academy | Are you looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year? We have 12 Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that incorporate 17 different herbs!

REFERENCES

Castleman, M. (2003). The new healing herbs: The classic guide to nature’s best medicines featuring the top 100 time-tested herbs. Dingley, VIC: Hinkler Books.

Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: The ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Columbus, OH: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Kowalchik, C., Hylton, W., & Carr, A. (1998). Rodales illustrated encyclopedia of herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.

Kress, H. (2005). Using juniper berries. Retrieved from https://www.henriettes-herb.com/blog/using-juniper-berries.html

How To Stock A Vegan Pantry

How To Stock a Vegan Pantry | Herbal Academy | Are you just beginning a plant-based journey towards a vegan diet? Here's a basic list of foods to help you stock a vegan pantry!

Just over a year ago, after watching a few documentaries, my partner approached me and suggested we embrace a plant-based lifestyle. The more we weighed the health benefits, ethical implications, and environmental impacts of choosing to eat only plants, the more we were convinced that a vegan diet was a sustainable option for us.

The first step in our transition towards eating plant-based foods was to fully stock a vegan pantry as we knew that we could not rely only on pastas, breads, and cereals to gain a full nutrient-rich diet—a mistake many new vegans make.

Plant-Based Home Cooking

Cooking with only plant-based foods is not as difficult as it seems—it simply takes some time to learn new techniques and embrace a new world full of flavors. However, in order to explore new eating habits, it is essential to have ingredients on hand in order to avoid those desperate “there is nothing to eat!” moments. While adjusting takes some time and learning, a plant-based diet becomes more than just a change in what’s on your plate—it becomes a lifestyle.

If you are interested in exploring the vegan life, there are some essentials you will require for your vegan pantry. Once you have these basics, a quick run to the local produce mart will have you ready to cook up a storm. Eating a plant-based diet can be quite cost-effective, especially if you buy in bulk and cook at home. So stock up on those cans of chickpeas and bulk spices!  

Whether you are new to a full-on plant-based lifestyle or you want to slowly integrate more vegan whole foods into your diet, these are the pantry necessities which will go a long way in sustaining your new habit. The following is a list of some of the necessities we always have stocked in our cupboards and while it is not exhaustive, I find these are the items we use most frequently.

Vegan Pantry Basics: From Cans and Dried Goods to Vinegars and Wines

There are few things that beat the feeling of creating a delicious meal from what you have on hand at home. Whether your pantry is fully stocked and you choose to draw on a recipe for inspiration, or you have little available and you concoct something from nothing—the act of creativity involved in cooking is a special process all its own.

When it comes to stocking your pantry, there are many options, however, here we will begin with a list of the canned and other dried goods that we keep on hand in our cupboards.

How To Stock a Vegan Pantry | Herbal Academy | Are you just beginning a plant-based journey towards a vegan diet? Here's a basic list of foods to help you stock a vegan pantry!

Grains

One of the things I have learned as a veggie eater is that to truly create a delicious dish, it is important to construct layered meals. For example, you might choose to create a Buddha bowl with massaged kale and rice as the base followed by some roasted sweet potato and chickpeas topped with hummus! Rice and other grains, such as quinoa, are perfect for these types of meals, which become as commonplace as sandwiches when you’re vegan.

Canned Goods

Since the beginning of our vegan adventure, I do not think a week has gone by where we haven’t had some kind of bean or legume in our pantry or in our bellies. Beans and legumes are the foundation of many a great vegan meal and an essential in any plant-based pantry. Curries, salads, roasted vegetable combinations, hummus and other bean dips, burritos, and falafel all begin with a base of beans of some kind, not to mention that they are an excellent source of protein. Be certain to keep at least a few cans of chickpeas, black beans, cannellini, and kidney beans on hand in your vegan pantry. I have recently been experimenting with canned lentils, which can also be a great addition to the top of a salad. (Note that while we prefer to purchase canned goods for the sheer convenience, you can also buy dried bulk goods such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, and split peas to cook in big batches and freeze for use when needed, saving money in the process!)

Canned tomatoes are another go-to ingredient in our house. They form the basis of an amazing spaghetti sauce with added chickpeas and veggies, or they can be added to a curry to bulk it up and provide some flavor. We tend to keep a variety of diced, pureed, and chopped tomatoes in our vegan pantry. Regardless of what you choose to use them for I would recommend stocking up at the grocery store when they are on sale!

Coconut milk is integral to a plant-based diet, and is a staple in the vegan pantry. When we began our journey, we heavily relied on curries because you can basically put any kind of veggie into the dish with some spices and coconut milk, and you have yourself a well-rounded meal. Now that we are beginning to explore a little more, we have since used coconut milk as an alternative to whipped cream, and I continue to perfect a homemade vegan coconut yogurt. The possibilities are literally endless with this ingredient, and it provides high-fat content for those who are trying to maintain or put on weight. Vegetable broth is also a necessity in the vegan pantry. You may choose to make your own using leftover veggie discards, or purchase it at the supermarket.

Nuts & Seeds

In addition to grains, you’ll want to gather some nuts and seeds to keep in your vegan pantry. I tend to keep sesame, sunflower, flax, and chia seeds available in addition to hemp hearts, while my partner prefers nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts for snacking. Seeds are particularly yummy on salads while nuts are good on top of vegan yogurt or simply on their own. Flax seed mixed with water can also act as a binding agent, taking the place of eggs in baked goods. Nuts can also be used to make nut milks such as almond and cashew milk.

How To Stock a Vegan Pantry | Herbal Academy | Are you just beginning a plant-based journey towards a vegan diet? Here's a basic list of foods to help you stock a vegan pantry!

Oils, Vinegars, And Wines

Up next in the vegan pantry is a variety of oils. Oils form the foundation of many plant-based meals; however, there are those who choose to not use any oil at all. We have not ventured to that point yet so we always have a selection of canola oil (which we don’t use regularly because it is often genetically modified), organic coconut oil, and organic olive oil. We sometimes have sesame oil in the pantry as well when we want that savory nutty flavor to incorporate into a stir-fry. In addition to oils, vinegars are important as they can be used for salad dressings, gravies, and other types of sauces which will amp up the flavor profile of your dishes. You can even make your own herbal vinegars to incorporate not only a splash of zesty vinegar but also the vibrant flavor and benefits of herbs! We tend to carry balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar on a regular basis. We do not use vinegar as frequently as the other ingredients mentioned, but they are staples nonetheless. It is also helpful to have a good white or red cooking wine in the refrigerator for sauces as well.

(Shout out to Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s, Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook—the cookbook we used to guide the initial process of stocking our vegan pantry and compiling this list!)

Vegan Pantry Basics: The Spice Drawer

I have a whole section in my kitchen dedicated to herbs and spices. Going to the bulk store, purchasing colorful and flavorful herbs and spices, and putting them in mason jars for storage has become a ritual in our household. Because the key to sustaining an interesting vegan diet is to be creative about the food you prepare, it is important to embrace the spice! Having an arsenal of herbs and spices at the ready will be the difference between cooking interesting meals at home or relying on pre-made meat alternatives, carbohydrates, or ordering take out.

I love to keep fresh herbs in my kitchen garden; however, sometimes recipes call for dried herbs, and as much as I love plants, the dried options tend to be more accessible and long-lasting. Classic herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme are definite must-haves in the pantry. I have come to appreciate the heady, licorice flavor of tarragon as it lends a density to stews and soups. Mint and dill lighten a dish by providing a fresh, summery flavor.

Additionally, now that I have to fine tune my curry making abilities, we always have the ingredients available to concoct a quick spice blend. Cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper form the basis of many a curry. There is something so satisfying about witnessing the colorful powders blend together in a pinch pot. You might want to get started with these 5 herbal spice blends to make and use!

Last, but certainly not least, nutritional yeast (or nooch as we vegans call it) is a mainstay in our spice drawer. A variety of yeast unlike brewer’s yeast, nooch, replicates the ‘umami’ flavor of cheeses and mushrooms. If you think you’re missing that creamy, rich flavor of cheese, nutritional yeast can help with that. There are all kinds of recipes for cheese sauces and seasonings made with nooch. Sometimes I simply sprinkle some on top of my soup or chili for an added cheesy flavor. The savory taste of nooch is hard to describe, but once you try it, I guarantee you won’t go back.

While I was somewhat daunted by a vegan pantry list like this when we first began our journey, it became an enjoyable adventure which I learned to embrace. We took things one at a time and eventually got into the groove of cooking regularly at home and building our pantry with each shopping trip.

Some Vegan Recipe Ideas

How To Stock a Vegan Pantry | Herbal Academy | Are you just beginning a plant-based journey towards a vegan diet? Here's a basic list of foods to help you stock a vegan pantry!

Once your pantry is stocked, you’ll want some ideas and inspiration to get you started! Here are some of favorite vegan recipes from the Herbal Academy:

Soups

Hearty Lentil and Quinoa Stew

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew

Farmstand Minestrone and Pesto Crostini

Salads

Arugula, Peach, Radish, and Corn Salad

Bean Salad with Herbs

Strawberry, Avocado, and Hemp Seed Kale Salad

Entrees

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and Cashew Queso

Sweet Potato Kale Saute

Greens and Roots on a bed of warm Quinoa

If you are just beginning a plant-based journey, I would highly recommend investing in a few vegan cookbooks such as the aforementioned Veganomicon or Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Everyday for easy and accessible recipes and a more thorough breakdown of what to stock in your pantry. Once you are equipped with the correct tools, cooking can be a gratifying creative process which breathes new life into food. Enjoy the process!

And a Cookbook!

As luck would have it, a vegan cookbook landed in the Herbal Academy mailbox just before this blog post went live. We love the cookbooks mentioned above and yet always appreciate new inspiration to re-energize our enthusiasm for meal planning, cooking, and eating! Spork-Fed by sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg is a fun little vegan cookbook with recipes ranging from the staples (make your own tofu and seitan!) to delicious entrees (butternut squash and sage lasagna) to sweet endings (chocolate mint truffles and green tea cookies), and does include some interesting tidbits on how various herbs and other ingredients are beneficial for wellness.

How do you incorporate plants into your diet? Fill us in on your vegan pantry staple items by sharing with us on our social media pages.

How To Stock a Vegan Pantry | Herbal Academy | Are you just beginning a plant-based journey towards a vegan diet? Here's a basic list of foods to help you stock a vegan pantry!

REFERENCES

Moskowitz, I. C., & Romero, T. H. (2007). Veganomicon: The ultimate vegan cookbook – 10th Anniversary Edition. New York, NY: Marlow & Company.

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer | Herbal Academy | Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? Find relief with these 3 cooling herbal teas for summer that your family and friends will love!

The long, lazy days of summer can be an idyllic respite from the hustle and bustle and routine of the rest of the year—in some ways summer just feels easier. Schedules relax a bit and many of us make more time for play and relaxation. The long hours of daylight invite earlier mornings or late nights, depending on which side of the time zone you are on. And with the plants in their season of growth and fruiting, we sync with the cycle of the year and enjoy fresh, seasonal foods that only last a short time. The essence of summer is equal parts leisurely and fleeting, and the tension between the two makes for a special season.  

However, for those of us who thrive in cooler temperatures, summer presents its challenges. Hot, humid weather can exacerbate those of us with a fiery nature and hot constitution. It can make us crabby, whiny, or just plain uncomfortable! And regardless of constitution, when the thermometer hits the high end and humidity hangs in the air, we all seek a little relief. Cooling herbal teas are a great summer ally to help us roll with the heat.

How Herbs Cool

Herbs and foods can be cooling to our bodies for multiple reasons. 

  • Herbs like cayenne, yarrow, and elderflower are diaphoretics that stimulate sweating, which helps release heat from the body. Think of the spicy foods consumed in warm-weather countries near the equator—that’s no accident!
  • Sour herbs and foods such as lemon balm, rose hips, hibiscus, and sour fruits (lemon, lime, blueberry, etc.) have a cooling effect on the body. It’s interesting that different systems of healing view the sour taste differently—in Greek medicine sour is considered cooling, while in Ayurveda it is considered warming; but in normal food quantities, sour can be considered cooling (Wood et al., 2015).  
  • Astringent herbs like rose petals, raspberry leaf, and black tea are cooling and drying to the body, helping to offset heat and humidity.
  • Herbs and foods like watermelon, cucumber, and salads are cooler than the temperature of the body due to their high water content, so in a relative sense they are cooling.

Degrees of Herbal Cooling

Ancient Greek medicine describes the four qualities (heat, cold, dry, damp) in terms of degrees—as in how heating or how cooling a plant or food is, particularly relative to how heat or cold are manifesting in the body.

Cold has four actions: refreshing, cooling, thickening, and anodyne (Wood, 2008). A cooling herb or food in the first degree (lettuce, cucumber, rose hips and petals, lemon, lime) is considered “refreshing” and is ideal for heat that has not settled in the body (Rose, 2012; Wood, 2008)—that is, a heat that is in the environment and is being experienced by the body, like a hot day. A cooling herb or food in the second degree (elderflower, lemon balm, rose hips and petals, yarrow) is called a refrigerant or cooling and is ideal for heat manifesting as inflammation or internal heat (Rose, 2012; Wood, 2008). Third and 4th degree herbs are for more severe manifestations of heat and are considered thickening (e.g., to sweat and diarrhea) and anodyne, respectively (Rose, 2012; Wood, 2008).  

Armed with this knowledge, it’s fun to experiment with various cooling herbal drinks that refresh and cool! Below are 3 cooling tea recipes to get you started.

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a perennial shrub in subtropical regions with large yellow flowers and dark red sepals that comprise the calyx, which is the outermost whorl of the flower. These luscious, fleshy red sepals are harvested and used fresh or dried. Hibiscus tea is a popular drink in many cultures, often prepared sweetened with cinnamon or other spices. It is called sorrel in the Caribbean, agua de Jamaica in Latin America, karkade in north Africa, Italy, and Russia, and orhul in India (Wikipedia, 2017a; Wikipedia, 2017b). Hibiscus has a sour, slightly astringent taste and is considered cooling.

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer | Herbal Academy | Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? Find relief with these 3 cooling herbal teas for summer that your family and friends will love!

1. Hibiscus Herbal Cooler

Hibiscus tea is delicious on its own, but I like to add chamomile and cinnamon to sweeten it up a bit and rosehips for more sour cooling.

Hibiscus Herbal Cooler

[recipe_ingredients]

¼ cup dried hibiscus
¼ cup dried chamomile
2 tablespoons dried rosehips
1 tablespoon dried cinnamon chips

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Blend herbs together in a ½ gallon jar.
  • Pour boiling water over herbs to fill jar and let steep for 30 minutes. Alternately, just add drinking water, cap, and place in the sun for several hours.
  • Add honey to sweeten, if desired, shake well, and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy by the refreshing glass!

[/recipe_directions]

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) helps to cool the body by moving the blood (and thus heat) to the surface of the body where it is released through pores; it is also a diuretic that encourages elimination of excess heat through the kidneys (McIntyre, 2000).

One way to enjoy the cooling effect of elderflower is in a sweetened cordial, which is especially light and refreshing when added to chilled fizzy water. There are as many elderflower cordial recipes in herbal books and online herbal and culinary blogs as the day is long, as it is a very popular recipe in Europe. I particularly like elderflower cordial recipes that contain lemons or limes and citric acid for a nice sour finish.

If you’re looking to whip up something even simpler, here’s a tasty and quick elderflower “ade”.

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer | Herbal Academy | Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? Find relief with these 3 cooling herbal teas for summer that your family and friends will love!

2. Elderflower Lemon Balm ‘Ade’

Elderflower makes a refreshing, slightly sweet floral tea, and is especially tasty combined with citrus flavors such as lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and a little honey. Lemon or lime slices are a lovely addition, too.

Elderflower Lemon Balm 'Ade'

[recipe_ingredients]

2 teaspoons dried elderflowers (or 4-5 fresh umbels)
1 teaspoon dried lemon balm (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1 cup water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Pour boiling water over herbs in a heat proof container or mug.
  • Let steep for 10-15 minutes.
  • Sweeten to taste with honey.
  • Strain and enjoy as a chilled tea.

[/recipe_directions]

Both raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) and rose petals (Rosa spp.) are astringent (due to their tannin content), drying, and cooling, and they can be especially helpful for humid conditions. Raspberry leaf is a nutritive herb high in minerals while rose is calming to hot emotional states!

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer | Herbal Academy | Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? Find relief with these 3 cooling herbal teas for summer that your family and friends will love!

3. Raspberry Rose ‘Iced Tea’

This blend makes a great iced tea substitute, as raspberry leaf tea tastes similar to black tea, while rose adds a nice floral touch.

Raspberry Rose 'Iced Tea'

[recipe_ingredients]

1-2 teaspoons dried red raspberry leaf
½ – 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
1 cup boiling water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Pour boiling water over herbs in a heat-proof container or mug.
  • Let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Sweeten to taste with honey.
  • Strain and enjoy as a chilled tea.

[/recipe_directions]

Interested in more ways to beat the heat? Check out How to Stay Cool Using Herbs and Cooling Cucumber-Mint Limeade for Hot Summer Days!

3 Cooling Herbal Teas For Summer | Herbal Academy | Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? Find relief with these 3 cooling herbal teas for summer that your family and friends will love!

REFERENCES

McIntyre, A. (2000). Drink to your health. New York, New York: Fireside.

Rose, K. (2012). Greek herbal medicine: The four qualities and the four degrees by Matthew Wood. Retrieved from http://bearmedicineherbals.com/greek-herbal-medicine-the-four-qualities-and-the-four-degrees-by-matthew-wood.html

Wikipedia. (2017a). Hibiscus tea. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_tea.

Wikipedia. (2017b). Hibiscus. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus

Wood, M. (2008). The earthwise herbal: a complete guide to old world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Wood, M., Bonaldo, F., Light, P.D. (2015). Traditional western herbalism and pulse evaluation: a conversation. Lulu Publishing Services.

9 Edible Flowers And How To Use Them

9 Edible Flowers and How To Use Them | Herbal Academy | Discover how to use edible flowers and take a closer look at nine of our favorites!

The use of edible flowers in cooking is an act of pure earthly delight! Fragrance and sheer beauty combine to create a truly sensually scrumptious experience right on your plate. You may be surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of flowers to enjoy. Discover how to enjoy using edible flowers and take a closer look at nine special blooms below—get ready for your dishes to become works of art with some help from Mother Nature!
Continue reading “9 Edible Flowers And How To Use Them”

Cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade For Hot Summer Days

Cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade For Hot Summer Days | Herbal Academy |Stay hydrated this summer with this cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade! Using just three ingredients, this is a summer recipe that your family will love!

I have to be honest—when I first stumbled upon cucumber mint limeade, I was hesitant but intrigued. I like cucumbers, but have never had a cucumber drink, at least not outside of juicing.

I did some research and found that many people really enjoy this drink. In fact, it is a popular agua fresca served in Mexico. It’s sweet and cooling, and the mint adds a surprising tang at the end of each sip. This drink did not disappoint.

Limeade with cucumber and mint is also a great addition to our summer diet. Summer is the time of yang energy, but this energy can easily become excessive, especially in the heat of summer. A good way to balance this fire energy is to stay hydrated and eat light, cooling food. Not only are cucumbers are one of the most cooling foods, but they’re moistening and hydrating as well. And, the mint and limes add to the cooling properties.

I can see why it is served in Mexico; picture hot, steamy days and delicious spicy food. It is so simple to make, and while you can find many recipes, you don’t really need one.

Cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade For Hot Summer Days | Herbal Academy |Stay hydrated this summer with this cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade! Using just three ingredients, this is a summer recipe that your family will love!

Cucumber Mint Limeade

Adapted from Simply Recipes Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca by Elise Bauer

Just three ingredients are needed to make this delicious cucumber mint limeade besides the sweetener. This can be adjusted to your taste—an extra cucumber, a little less sweetener or a bunch of mint, whatever you like. If you can handle the tartness, you can also make this sugar-free.

Cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade For Hot Summer Days | Herbal Academy |Stay hydrated this summer with this cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade! Using just three ingredients, this is a summer recipe that your family will love!

Cucumber Mint Limeade

[recipe_ingredients]

1 cucumber
3 limes
1 or 2 sprigs of mint
Simple syrup or other sweetener, to taste

[/recipe_ingredients]

[recipe_directions]

  • Begin by making a simple syrup for the sweetener. Honey or agave are other options. The ratio for simple syrups is equal parts of water and sugar. Simmer the sugar/water mixture on the stove until the sugar is dissolved. I used ½ cup of organic cane sugar and ½ cup of filtered water.
  • After the sugar dissolves, set it aside to cool. You can also put it in the refrigerator or freezer to cool faster, but do not let it freeze.
  • Peel and cube the cucumbers, removing some of the seeds. If you can get the cucumbers from a farmers market or garden, I would leave the peel on. It will make for a bolder green color. Supermarket cucumbers are waxed heavily, and the wax is hard to remove so I chose not to use the peels.
  • Put the cucumbers, juice of 3 limes, mint, simple syrup, and 4 cups of water into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled.

[/recipe_directions]

You will be pleasantly surprised with the taste of this delicious cucumber mint limeade. It is delightfully light, and if served shortly after blending, there will be a nice froth on top.

Cucumber mint limeade is a great summer drink and can also be served at parties and barbecues all summer long. Enjoy!

Cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade For Hot Summer Days | Herbal Academy |Stay hydrated this summer with this cooling Cucumber Mint Limeade! Using just three ingredients, this is a summer recipe that your family will love!

How To Make Herbal Kombucha Champagne

How To Make Herbal Kombucha Champagne | Herbal Academy | Learn how to make an herbal infused kombucha champagne in today's post.

Our new Short Course—The Craft of Herbal Fermentation, is live and we’re thrilled to be welcoming students into the world of herbal fermentation. In fact, we’re getting so much great feedback about this course (including a lot of interest in the Kombucha Unit from class) that we are excited to share another recipe with you. If you’re still on the fence about this course or wondering what exactly you’ll be learning to make, today’s post and recipe preview will help answer your questions!

Today, we’re sharing one of our recipes for kombucha—Herbal Kombucha Champagne. This recipe is easy to make and will leave your kombucha with a light, lemon flavor that you’ll love!

A Little About Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink that is thought to have originated in China. It is made using a kombucha mother, also called a SCOBY, as it is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY feeds on black tea and sugar to produce organic acids and carbon dioxide as well as another SCOBY “baby”. The result is a somewhat sour and vinegary-like fizzy liquid that kombucha proponents believe is great for your entire digestive system (Katz, 2003).

How To Make Herbal Kombucha Champagne | Herbal Academy | Learn how to make an herbal infused kombucha champagne in today's post.

About Flavoring Your Kombucha With Herbs

Now, before we get to the Herbal Kombucha Champagne recipe, let’s talk briefly about brewing kombucha and the creative (and tasty!) process of using herbs to flavor it.

Kombucha brewing can be a one-step or two-step process, but most people prefer to follow the two-step fermentation process. It’s during the second fermentation that you add in your flavorings… like delicious blends of wellness-promoting herbs!!

Herbs are full of phytochemicals that are soluble in kombucha tea during the second fermentation process. This infuses not only their flavor to your kombucha, but their health benefits as well.

In our Short Course—The Craft of Herbal Fermentation, we walk you through both the primary and secondary fermentation processes for brewing kombucha in a step-by-step manner so you will learn how to confidently brew your own herbal kombucha from start to finish.

Now, for our kombucha recipe preview!

How To Make Herbal Kombucha Champagne | Herbal Academy | Learn how to make an herbal infused kombucha champagne in today's post.

Herbal Kombucha Champagne

Herbal Kombucha Champagne

[recipe_ingredients]

2 parts elderflowers (Sambucus nigra)
2 parts lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) leaf
1 part linden (Tilia spp.) flowers
Small handful of raisins or several large pieces of crystallized ginger

[/recipe_ingredients]

[recipe_directions]

  • Blend herbs together, planning for approximately 1 ounce of herbal blend per 1 gallon batch of kombucha.
  • Follow the basic kombucha 2-step fermentation process you typically use, adding the herbal blend to the secondary fermentation.
  • When fermentation is complete, strain, bottle, and enjoy!

[/recipe_directions]

If you are already familiar with making your own herbal kombucha at home, feel free to use this recipe! Please do let us know what you think of it by sharing your photos and thoughts with us on social media using hashtag #myherbalstudies.

However, if you’ve never made kombucha before or you’re a complete beginner to the second fermentation process and using herbs for flavoring, then we encourage you to join us inside of our newest Short Course—The Craft of Herbal Fermentation.

Not only will you learn how to make kombucha from start to finish, but we’ll answer questions such as:

  • What are water kefir and kombucha, anyway?
  • What are some of the perceived benefits and cautions to consuming it?
  • What is a SCOBY?
  • What is the difference between using fresh versus dehydrated cultures?
  • What type of sugar can I use, or can I use honey?
  • At what stage of the fermentation processes am I meant to incorporate herbs?
  • What types of beneficial probiotic microorganisms are present?
  • How do I care for these cultures to ensure they stay healthy and vital?
  • How much sugar, alcohol, and caffeine is present in my kombucha?

Learn About Kombucha, Water Kefir, And More!

Inside The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course, you will learn about each type of herbal fermentation process via step-by-step directions, and you’ll receive access to downloadable written tutorials and resource and supply lists to equip you with all of the tools that you may need for various herbal fermentation experimentations. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive recipes and inspiring fermentation stories to support and enliven you along the way.

Registration is currently open, and we’d love for you to join us inside this new course. Get ready to learn all about herbal fermentations and have fun in the process!

Here’s the link again in case you missed it!

REFERENCES:

Katz, Sandor Ellix. (2003). Wild fermentation: the flavor, nutrition, and craft of live-culture foods. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.

Vegan Herb And Veggie Stew

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew | Herbal Academy | Nothing says warming and comforting like a big bowl of stew! Your family will love this hearty and nutritious Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew!

Because nothing says warming and comforting winter foods quite like a big, hearty bowl of stew. Yes, even vegan herb and veggie stew!

This plant-based soup is nutrient dense and loaded with beans, kale, herbs, and other seasonal winter veggies that will make any belly happy—especially after a long day of trekking around in the snow!

Not only is it delicious, but it provides nourishment in multiple forms. The beans provide a large dose of vegan protein, while the potatoes contain high amounts of potassium and fiber. Fresh parsley is known to have health-supporting and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being high in iron. And of course, the kale is a nutritional powerhouse, loading the stew with vitamins A, C and K, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

However, the star ingredient of this recipe might be the lesser known nutritional yeast. It’s an extremely important staple for vegans and vegetarians to incorporate into their diet as it’s difficult to find other plant-based sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is crucial for optimal brain, bone, and nerve health. Nutritional yeast provides your daily required amount of B12 is just one tablespoon along with trace amounts of protein, zinc, and folate. It gives dishes a nutty, “cheesy” flavor and is a great addition to soups, sauces, pasta dishes, casseroles, or lasagnas as a Parmesan replacement. It gives this particular stew a cheesy, creamy consistency that really amps up the flavor factor.

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew | Herbal Academy | Nothing says warming and comforting like a big bowl of stew! Your family will love this hearty and nutritious Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew!

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew

This stew comes together effortlessly, even on a busy weeknight, and is easily substituted with other veggies like zucchini, spinach, peas, or green beans. It freezes well and is fairly budget-friendly, making it a great choice for busy families who have a lot of mouths to feed.

Cozy up with this stew all winter long and enjoy all the delicious health benefits it has to offer!

Vegan Herb And Veggie Stew

[recipe_ingredients]

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups cubed red potatoes
3 cups chopped curly kale
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups organic cannellini beans
6 cups organic vegetable broth
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup cooked brown rice pasta (optional)

[/recipe_ingredients]

[recipe_directions]

  • Saute onions in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes
  • Add carrots and celery and cook for five more minutes
  • Add potatoes, kale, nutritional yeast, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and all-purpose seasoning and stir well to combine for a few additional minutes
  • Add parsley, beans, broth, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil
  • Once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add pasta once cooked, if using

[/recipe_directions]

You can find more healthy recipes on the Herbal Academy blog in our “Eat Well” category. Check them out today!

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew | Herbal Academy | Nothing says warming and comforting like a big bowl of stew! Your family will love this hearty and nutritious Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew!

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love | Herbal Academy | Busy families need quick healthy snacks! Try these herbal popcorn seasoning blends that the whole family will love!

Busy families need healthy snacks and all the better if they offer an easy way to incorporate herbs into your daily diet. Popcorn is low in calories, high in fiber, and with a little healthy oil and seasoning, it’s delicious! It appeals to kids and adults alike, is easy to make, and is much more affordable than packaged snacks from the crunchy-salty snack aisle at the grocery store. It can become a bit same old-same old on its own, but with the three herbal popcorn seasoning blend recipes below, you’ll be able to amp up the flavor and appeal to make great herbal popcorn!

In our house, popcorn is the king of snacks and one of the first foods the kids learned to make. We buy high quality, organic popcorn in bulk and store it in a large glass jar right next to the air popcorn popper, which gets a daily workout. We use melted coconut oil or olive oil (in a handy sprayer) to give it a toothsome flavor and also act as the sticking agent for a high quality sea salt and the herbal popcorn seasoning blend of choice.

For years, we had a cupboard full of the ingredients to make the Magic Herb Popcorn Seasoning and just added a dash of each ingredient to taste for each batch of popcorn. That can begin to feel like a chore, so we made up several herb blends to have on hand when the need for a crunchy, salty snack arises. The three herb blends below draw inspiration from some of our favorite savory (and sour) condimentsnutritional yeast, ranch dressing, and dill picklesand after much trial and error, we’ve settled on the recipes that appeal to our taste buds.

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love | Herbal Academy | Busy families need quick healthy snacks! Try these herbal popcorn seasoning blends that the whole family will love!

Each of the recipes below makes enough for 1-2 batches of popcorn (½ cup of unpopped popcorn with salt and oil to taste), depending on your taste preference. You can also double, quadruple, octuple (you get the idea!) these herbal popcorn seasoning recipes to make larger batches of seasonings to have on hand so that making a bowl of herbal popcorn is quick.

For maximum flavor, use high quality dried herbs at the peak of freshness, as evidenced by vibrant colors and rich aromatic scents. While you can source these herbs from the grocery store, buying them in bulk is more cost-effective. The bulk food aisle at your local food co-op or natural food store will likely carry bulk herbs. Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store are both good online sources for high quality bulk herbs.

Like all herbs, you will want to store the herbal blends in a well sealed container in a cool, dark place to maintain maximum freshness. A shaker top bottle is a nice option for easy dispensing (we just re-purpose the shaker top jar the nutritional yeast comes in).

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love | Herbal Academy | Busy families need quick healthy snacks! Try these herbal popcorn seasoning blends that the whole family will love!

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends

1. Magic Herb Popcorn Seasoning

This blend combines nutritional yeast for an addictive umami flavor brightened up and balanced with herbs and onion powder.

Magic Herb Popcorn Seasoning

[recipe_ingredients]

1 tablespoon dill
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup nutritional yeast

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Combine herbs in a bowl or jar and mix thoroughly.
  • Season popcorn with oil and salt.
  • Add seasoning blend to taste.

[/recipe_directions]

2. Sour Pickle Popcorn Seasoning

The herbs and spices in this blend recall the taste of dill pickle spice, while the citric acid treats your tongue to a sour finish.

Sour Pickle Popcorn Seasoning

[recipe_ingredients]

2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground celery seed
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground yellow mustard
¼ teaspoon citric acid

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Combine herbs in a bowl or jar and mix thoroughly.
  • Season popcorn with oil and salt.
  • Add herbal popcorn seasoning blend to taste.

[/recipe_directions]

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love | Herbal Academy | Busy families need quick healthy snacks! Try these herbal popcorn seasoning blends that the whole family will love!

3. Rowdy Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

Each of the herbs in this blend is essential to creating the ranch dressing taste, and result in a savory and delightful ranch flavor. Extra bonusit’s non-dairy!

Rowdy Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

[recipe_ingredients]

2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons parsley
1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Combine herbs in a bowl or jar and mix thoroughly.
  • Season popcorn with oil and salt.
  • Add seasoning blend to taste.

[/recipe_directions]

Once you’ve tried these blends, feel free to take artistic license with them and tweak them to suit your own taste. And by all means, do share with friends and family! These herbal popcorn blends make great gifts on their own or packaged up with some organic or heirloom varieties of popcorn. Next time you need a snack to share at a party or gathering, pop up a big batch of herbal popcorn!

Do you have your own favorite herbal popcorn recipe? Share it with us on Instagram with the tag #myherbalstudies!

3 Herbal Popcorn Seasoning Blends That Friends and Family Will Love | Herbal Academy | Busy families need quick healthy snacks! Try these herbal popcorn seasoning blends that the whole family will love!