Fall is a great time to get back to our roots…our ginger roots that is! Actually, the edible part of ginger is the ginger rhizome, but the rhizomes do have roots, so we can stick with that moniker.
Ginger, the stage name for Zingiber officinale, is such a big star in the nutrition world thanks to its many health benefits.
Ginger is great for easing nausea and stomach upset and is also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and helps cure sore throats, colds, headaches and even diabetes and cancer. Ginger is a warming spice that adds heat and excellent flavor to so many dishes and drinks, especially this time of year.
Here are a few of my ginger-infused favorites. I usually prefer fresh ginger, but ginger powder is also fabulous – in fact, the powder form boasts even more antioxidants than the fresh variety. The flavor and texture differ, so add whichever you like.
I find that fresh ginger is best for infusions or cooking, but the powder works best for baking, packs a spicier punch and also has a longer shelf life. Just a little bit goes a long way, so add as much as your taste buds desire. I am a gingeraholic, so I like to add quite a bit, but please adjust according to personal preference.
1. Ginger (no more) Ail tonic
Sip your ails away with this tonic filled with detoxifying lemon and healing spices. This anti-inflammatory drink is the perfect detox wake-up beverage on an empty stomach that will wake up your liver – and you – for a health-filled day.
Add the juice of one lemon, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of ginger powder or slices of fresh ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper and let infuse.
2. Ginger almond pâté
This versatile pâté makes a great meal addition or snack. Spread onto rice cakes, stuff into nori or lick, er, eat out of a bowl.
Mix two tablespoons of almond butter (or one tablespoon of almond butter and one tablespoon of sunflower seed butter: I recommend Dastony’s version of both) with a couple of chopped carrots, one teaspoon of miso paste, one Medjool date, one teaspoon (or to taste) of fresh ginger and the juice of ½ small lemon together in a food processor until a pâté-like consistency is formed.
3. Ginger pumpkin purée
This is my favorite cold weather dinner that tastes decadent, but is filled with healthy carbohydrates, protein and beta-carotene. Serve with quinoa and wild rice and your favorite seasonal vegetables or a side salad. Or, you can always add more liquid and turn into a soup! This is great topped with (soaked) walnuts and/or roasted broccoli.
Sautée one tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pot. Add chopped onions, garlic and leeks and sautée for a minute or so, then add grated fresh ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and a pinch of salt, then add chopped pumpkin (or any orange winter squash will do), sweet potato and carrots. Turn heat to low and simmer until the veggies are soft, then add to a Vita-mix and blend until smooth. Add the cooking liquid gradually until it becomes a thick purée.
4. Ginger chia pudding
This hydrating breakfast, dessert or snack is filled with Omega-3s and protein and is a fabulous digestive aid thanks to the chia seeds and ginger.
Blend ¼ cup of almonds with 1 cup of coconut water, one medjool date, 1 teaspoon of mesquite powder, cinnamon and ginger powder (to taste). For a thinner “milk,” blend then drain through a nut milk bag, or, for a thicker “milk,” just blend. Pour over 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, stir, then let the seeds absorb the liquid for at least 15 minutes, but preferably a few hours or overnight.
5. Ginger chai
This is a delicious drink filled with warming spices, perfect for an Ayurveda-friendly wintertime treat.
Blend ¼ cup of almonds with 1 cup of coconut water, one medjool date, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and ginger powder (to taste). Warm by simmering under a low fire in a pot on the stove until hot, but not boiling.
6. Ginger applesauce
As they say, “an applesauce a day…” (And by “they,” I, of course, mean… me!) This applesauce is packed with pectin and satisfies any sweet tooth. It is wonderful served hot by itself or over a bowl of coconut almond yogurt or oats.
Sautée chopped apples with fresh grated ginger and some lemon juice in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, enough water to coat the apples, then simmer under a low fire, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft. You can mash with a fork and eat this chunky, or blend for a smoother texture. I recommend chunky, with some raisins stirred in just before eating until plump and juicy. Top with chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans.
7. Ginger miso tahini sauce
This sauce is delicious served over a bowl of rice or quinoa or steamed veggies or even as a thick salad dressing. It is creamy and rich without being heavy and packs some probiotic power to boot!
It couldn’t be more simple – just mix ¼ cup of tahini (again, I recommend Dastony’s version, I’ve never had a tahini so perfectly creamy!) with 1 teaspoon of miso paste (I like South River chickpea miso), grated ginger (to taste), 1 Medjool date and the juice of one lemon. You can mix by hand or put in a blender.