With the heat of summer in near full swing, I'm not typically in the mood for a heavy duty meal.. or really much of anything other than lazing about while reading or Netflix and rosé. I'll admit that I'm not much of a summer person. There's something about the combo of endless sun, heat and an over abundance of fun that really overwhelms me. Reading back on previous posts, it may seem like I host a discomfort for every season but this is not true; I love spring, autumn and cool, foggy days. Basically, I can't handle extremes but I have an appreciation for each season regardless of what I say. (I'm from New England. If we can't complain about the weather, what's the point?) Changing up my meal routines with the seasons is a great way for me to remain present with the land and in my own body. Plus, summer is prefect for finding fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables to add to every meal.
Most of the herbs used in this recipe are gut healthy and perfect for summer sluggishness. The dressing was inspired by a traditional tzatziki sauce with a few herbal updates. You can always sub the shatavari with another powdered adaptogenic herb (ashwaganda, maca etc) or add mint if you don't have fresh lemon balm on hand. Most farmers markets carry edible flowers these days, so keep an eye out next time you're out and about.
You can read more about gut healthy herbs in my newest zine, Trust Your Gut. Get a copy here.
Soothing to the digestive tract, mint is considered to be a carminative which is an herb that promotes digestion and eases flatulence. Stimulates the mind and cools the body.
Ginger (zingiber officinale)
Warming and stimulating to the digestive system, ginger is an extremely versatile herb medicinally and in the kitchen. Ginger is also helpful for easing nausea and morning sickness.
Lemon Balm (melissa officinalis)
A calming and soul soothing nervine*, lemon balm is excellent for easing emotional stress and physical exhaust due to nervousness. The aromatic properties of lemon balm can stimulate the mind while soothing anxiety.
Shatavari (asparagus racemosus)
Sometimes called the "queen of herbs" in Ayruvedic medicine, shatavari is a valuable adaptogenic herb for balancing hormones while increasing strength. Also, beneficial for soothing the digestive tract and cooling excess pitta (fire).
P.S. Trying to find a sauce that the Great Kosmic Kitchen hasn't made was really difficult. Turns out we think alike, so I will also encourage you to try their Adaptogenic Miso Dressing and their Lemon Balm, Lavender & Mint Sauce
1 cup white or brown rice
2 tbs grated ginger
2 cups water
Edible flowers (nasturtium, violets, etc.)
Flax or sesame seeds
Optional: Shrimp, chicken, pea shoots, lettuce
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
1 small cucumber
1/2 cup fresh lemonbalm
1/4 tbs shatavari powder
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse the rice and place in pot or rice cooker. Add ginger and cook rice as you normally would then let cool. I like to toss the grated carrots with a tablespoon of apple cider or rice vinegar and some flax seeds, but this is optional. Peel and slice zucchini into thin strips and do the same with the avocado - it helps to scoop out the avocado slices with a spoon. Once your veggies and rice are prepared, submerge your rice paper, one sheet at a time, into warm water and lay out on a clean surface. Start the layering process with your flowers and mint leaves. Next add carrots zucchini and avocado, then 2-3 tablespoons of rice. This video is rather helpful for rolling techniques, and it's easier than it looks! Roll tightly and seal edges with a little bit of water if the paper isn't sticking.
Peel and cut cucumbers into small cubes. Layer lemon balm leaves, roll them up and cut into thin strips until you have about half a cup worth. In a small mixing bowl combine cucumbers, yogurt, lemon balm, honey, vinegar and shatavari powder and mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. (Go easy on the salt. You'll only need a pinch or so for this sauce.) Mix in a food processor if you want a smoother version of this sauce. Cover and let sit in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Will keep in fridge for 3-4 days.