6 simple Ayurvedic recipes that are perfect for cold winter days

An Ayurvedic diet traditionally combines warmth and balance with ingredients that are easy to digest, making it the perfect bowl food for frosty mornings and winter evenings on the sofa. 

If you’re anything like me, a delicious, warming and nutritious meal can be the highlight of your day – especially if I can eat it snuggled up on my sofa. The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda lends itself perfectly to winter bowl food, embodying the comforting elements of Ayurveda such as good digestion and balance.

With this in mind, we’ve put together our favourite Ayurvedic winter recipes to warm your cockles. 

Warm date and almond smoothie

“This powerhouse of a smoothie contains many ingredients that are ‘Sattvic’,” explains Ayurveda coach Claire Paphitis. “This Sanskrit word roughly translates as that which is harmonious, good, light and highly nutritious for the tissues of the body and mind. Goji berries support the liver and kidneys. Dates provide fibre and boost iron while being cooling and soothing in nature, according to Ayurveda. Almonds are sweet and nourishing, while spices bring warmth and aid digestion.”

Serves 1


6 almonds (ideally soaked overnight for easier digestion)

2 dates

1 tbsp goji berries

1 cup of warm almond milk

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 dessert spoon high-quality collagen powder (optional, but can help make the gut lining more robust)


Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy and drink warm.

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Coconut rice porridge

“The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity,” enthuses Paphitis. “Traditional porridge made with oats can be tricky for many as it has dry, heating qualities which can upset Vata and Pitta doshas [two of the three energies believed to circulate within the body], which are often out of balance among those living a busy or stressful lifestyle. Switching to white basmati rice or rice flakes creates a more soothing and gentle way to start the day while nourishing the tissues of the body and being light to digest.”

Serves 1


½ cup well-rinsed white basmati rice 

150ml water

80ml milk/plant milk

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cardamom or 2-3 pods

2 tbsp coconut cream

¼ tsp ground or grated nutmeg


Place the rice, water, milk, cinnamon and cardamom into a saucepan and simmer for around 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir through the coconut cream and sprinkle over the nutmeg. Serve warm, adding chopped dates or flaked almonds if you wish.

Delicious and nutritious Ayurvedic breakfast recipes

Spinach, red lentil and turmeric soup

“This nutritious, light yet filling soup is always a winner on my virtual retreats,” says Paphitis. “It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and the ginger provides a lovely warmth in the winter months. According to Ayurveda, our digestion is thought to be a little more sluggish during the winter, so light but warm and nourishing foods are perfect.

“Turmeric is often hailed as being an Ayurvedic wonder spice, but it needs to be eaten correctly to gain the benefits. According to Ayurveda, turmeric should be combined with something unctuous (here we have ghee or coconut milk) and a pinch of black pepper to reap all its wonderful benefits.”

Serves 2-4


2 tbsp coconut oil or organic, grass-fed ghee

1 thumb-size piece of grated root ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 garlic clove, sliced

150g red lentils (rinsed twice)

400ml can coconut milk

800ml hot veg stock

2 large handfuls fresh spinach

2 leeks finely sliced

Juice of 1-2 limes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat the coconut oil or ghee in a large pan over a medium heat.

Lightly sauté the ginger, turmeric and garlic for 30 seconds.

Add the lentils and sauté for 1 minute, taking care not to let the mixture stick. This helps to pop the air from the lentils and reduce any bloating.

Add the coconut milk and hot stock and simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft.

Add the spinach and sliced leeks. Cook with the lid off for a further 10 minutes.

Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste (add juice of 1 lime first then check to see if it needs a little more acidity).

No chilli sweet potato and spinach curry

“This is a light and fragrant curry with warming spices (but no chilli) which incorporates all six tastes to balance doshas and gently kindle your digestive fire,” explains Paphitis.

“Curries often call for a tin of tomatoes or fiery chillies, which are both at the root of many conditions people come to see me for, as they create an excess of heat in the body. Delicious curries are still possible without the need for these ingredients,” she says.

Serves 4


1-2 tsp ghee or coconut oil melted

2 sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into cubes)

1 x 400g tin chickpeas

2 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp black mustard seeds

½ red onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2cm root ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp garam masala

120g spinach

400ml tin of coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh coriander

Ayurvedic sweet potato curry has no chilli but plenty of flavour


Preheat oven to 180°C fan/200°c.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Melt the ghee or coconut oil in a large heavy saucepan.

Put the sweet potato cubes and chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle over a little of the melted oil or ghee. Sprinkle over the cumin seeds and mix well.

Transfer onto your prepared baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the black mustard seeds to the hot oil until they start to pop (about 30 seconds) then gently sauté the onions for five minutes until soft, keep to a medium heat so they don’t catch.

Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the garam masala and stir everything well. Add a good splash of water from the kettle and allow the mixture to simmer very gently with the lid on for 5-10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and stir well, keeping the heat very gentle. When the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are ready, add them to the saucepan with the spinach and lime juice.

Cook for 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle over a little chopped fresh coriander and serve with fluffy white basmati rice.

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Breakfast apple compote

“Stewed apples are well known for being rich in soluble fibre,” says Ayurveda coach and founder of Being Human Well, Katie George. “This fibre acts as a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in our guts. This compote is a great immunity boost, and the addition of cinnamon lends flavour, heaps of antioxidants and a warm winter feeling.”

Serves 2


2 apples, cored, peeled and cut in 1-2cm pieces

1 cup of water

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

5 cloves


Pop all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve warm as it is or spoon onto a warm bowl of rolled oats.

Turmeric and honey tea

“This tea is so easy and soothing to drink,” assures George. “Turmeric is a magical anti-inflammatory spice helping to ease muscle pain and soothe colds, as well as boosting your immune system. I keep a jar of ready mixed turmeric and honey to make it even easier to whip up a warming wonder.”


1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp honey

1 cup water

Generous dash of black pepper


Mix the turmeric and honey into a paste in a cup and pour over warm water (not boiling water as this will burn out the healing properties of raw honey).

Sprinkle with black pepper and enjoy. 

Images: Getty

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