Why we love this recipe
Delicious, nutritious, and kid-friendly, this walnut-veggie burger is a great choice for weeknight meals and summer BBQs. The recipe comes to us courtesy of Chef Domnick Mason at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa. For more than 25 years, The Raj has been offering a full range of authentic Ayurvedic panchakarma treatments and delicious Ayurvedic cuisine.
Nuts and nutrition
The star ingredient in Chef Domnick’s popular walnut-veggie burger is the brain-nourishing, health-supporting walnut.
Nuts are an important part of the vegetarian diet, as they supply protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They also contain phytochemicals, beneficial nutrients found in plants. Many nuts—including walnuts—contain different forms of plant sterols, which are believed to help maintain already-healthy blood cholesterol levels.
Tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pecans contain no cholesterol. Most of their calories come from fat (mainly unsaturated). While fats sometimes get a bad rap, some also perform essential functions in the body. For instance, some of the volatile oils in nuts contain antioxidants that can help counter free-radical damage—a key factor in the aging process.
When it comes to antioxidants, walnuts are considered the superheroes of the nut world! Learn more about nutrition and the three Ayurvedic pillars of high-performance brainpower.
Walnuts in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, walnuts are said to have medhya (intelligence-promoting) qualities. For this reason, children are often encouraged to eat one walnut a day. Read more about Ayurvedic Herbs and Tips for Students.
Walnuts are also considered to be natural stress-busters because they nourish the brain. Learn how to Age-Proof Your Brain with Ayurveda.
Walnut and the Ayurvedic doshas
Walnuts are astringent and unctuous and therefore balancing for Vata dosha, when consumed in moderation. In fact, nuts and nut products of all kinds (i.e. nut milks, nut butters, etc.) and sunflower/pumpkin seeds are excellent for Vata dosha.
Walnuts are unctuous and warming and are therefore best eaten in moderation by Pitta types. Blanched and peeled almonds and coconuts are better for Pittas, as are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Nuts can be a little heavy to digest, which makes them increase Kapha. But walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in moderation are acceptable in a Kapha diet. Eating a handful of raisins along with the nuts aids their digestibility and is a popular Ayurvedic snack—especially for children after school (or on hiking trips and long car rides). Learn more about “intelligent foods” and brain power in Ayurveda.
Nuts— a versatile culinary treasure
Nuts have been a food staple for thousands of years in different parts of the world. They can be ground into flours, nut milks, nut butters, and pastes—such as almond paste or the popular dessert marzipan. There are a variety of ways to cook with nuts in main dishes, snacks, and desserts.
The nutritional oils from almond, cashew, and coconut also make beneficial massage oils, which your skin literally eats. The personal skin care line from Maharishi Ayurveda includes products that contain some of these precious oils as ingredients.
Chef Dominik's recipe for brainburgers
Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 cup rice
- ½ cup quinoa
- ¼ cup oats
- ½ cup organic walnuts, hand crushed into small pieces
- 1 large organic leek, chopped medium or ½ a large onion
- 2 TB ghee or grape seed oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ bunch fresh parsley
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari (organic)
- Sauté the leeks in ghee or organic oil until lightly browned. Use mild heat.
- Then stir in walnuts and spices sautéing for one minute.
- Then add the rice, quinoa, water and soy sauce.
- Simmer all of this on low heat for about 10 minutes in a covered pan. Then turn off heat and let it rest for 10 more minutes. Leave the pan covered.
- Open after 10 minutes and stir in the organic oats and the parsley.
- Then shape into burgers and bake 10-15 minutes at 375°F, if possible with convection, oven or radiant heat, at 400°F 10-15 min.
- This recipe makes 6 large burgers.
- Serve on buns with all your favorite fixings. Enjoy the creative brain spark!
Recipes © Domnick Mason 2010
For more easy ways to boost your brain-power naturally, watch The Ageless Brain Webinar with Ayurvedic expert and integrative physician Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D. You may also enjoy Brain Health For Women Over Forty Webinar.
- Make sure the nuts you buy are fresh and in season, because rancid oils from nuts can actually increase free radicals and are considered toxic in Ayurveda.
- If you are on a light diet to reduce ama (digestive toxins), it’s best to avoid nuts altogether.
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