Here is a list of recipes for some of the most useful, healing dishes we have in macrobiotics. I have included twelve basic recipes with links to some variations as well. I hope this is helpful. I wanted to give you something you can bookmark and use as a reference. If there is a recipe that you think should be included here, please leave your suggestion in the comments below and I will consider adding it.
Blanched Vegetable Salad
Very lightly blanched vegetables are a daily recommendation for almost everyone. They lighten our energy, help with sweet cravings and help balance blood sugar. Make sure you use a variety of vegetables, especially highlighting ones that are in season in your climate. Here is a step by step guide and recipe.
Pressure Cooked Rice
One reason boiled rice is being recommended more often than pressure cooked recently is because it has a more relaxing energetic quality. However, I still pressure cook my brown rice on occasion, especially when I am feeling like I need something a bit more warming, grounding and nourishing. You can cook it with another grain, such as hato mugi, to add a Iighter quality and add variety. I especially love to pressure cook my rice with a small amount of beans or lentils, like in this Chickpea Rice or Rice with Aduki Beans. Pressure cooked short or medium grain brown rice also sticks together and works really well in nori rolls or grain patties.
Arame with Carrot and Onion
Here is a recipe for Arame with Daikon, Carrot and Onion, but I would leave the daikon out. I tend to like my arame dishes a bit sweet, and the daikon detracts from that. This same dish can be made with fresh or frozen corn instead of carrot. If you are cooking for someone a little skeptical of sea vegetables, add a splash of apple juice. Yum!
Sweet Creamy Pureed Soup
Learning how to make a simple creamy pureed soup, being introduced to sea vegetables, and learning about daikon radish was worth the whole price of admission to my macrobiotic cooking school. Use this creamy Carrot Soup as a template, but feel free to use a variety of vegetables in place of the carrot. Creamy Cauliflower Soup is a personal favorite. Other delicious variations include kabocha squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and parsnip. I recommend purchasing an immersion blender entirely for the ease of making this soup.
One of my first posts for sweetveg was this simple Miso Soup. I have become a South River Miso convert since then. They make great miso and it is much easier to obtain than the miso from Japan that I had been buying. South River chickpea miso is a favorite. Here is a recent post about adding richness to miso soup. Another lovely addition is tofu cubes and/or udon noodles.
Millet with Sweet Vegetable
Going back to my very first post, one of my favorite recipes is Millet with Sweet Vegetable. This recipe is made with carrots, but favorite variations are medium dice sweet potato, kabocha squash or corn. Try it with any of these. While still hot and pourable, scoop the leftovers into a dish to firm up like polenta. Slice and pan fry the next day. Millet with Sweet Vegetable Soup has similar qualities. Make it with either leftover millet or fresh. Either way is delicious.
Many macrobiotic dishes are really a cooking style versus an actual specific recipe. It’s one of the things I loved about attending a macrobiotic cooking school. I felt like I learned a style of cooking that is very flexible depending on my health, the time of year and what’s available. Vegetables can be cut in larger chunks and cooked for longer for nishime more suited to cooler months, and vegetables can be cut smaller and cooked for a shorter time to help balance warmer months. This Nishime recipe is more geared for colder months. A summer nishime could include summer squash, pan-fried tofu, greens, green beans and a variety of the quick cooking vegetables available in the warmer months. Use the type of vegetables to guide how long to cook it for. Another thing to keep in mind with nishime is that the amount of water you decide to put in the bottom at start of cooking is directly related to the amount in the vegetables themselves. So, vegetables that contain more water need less added to the pot. Ideally, at the end of cooking time, there should be very little to no liquid left in the bottom. That’s why nishime is often termed waterless cooking.
Kinpira is basically a cooking technique that starts out as a brisk saute and ends with steaming the vegetables. Vegetables are always cut in matchstick, but the thickness varies depending on the season and weather. A slightly thicker matchstick and longer cooking time for cooler months and a more strengthening dish. Thin matchstick and shorter cooking time for warmer months and an energetically lighter dish. The type of root vegetables chosen will also make the dish more strengthening (burdock) or lighter/relaxing (onion, carrot and turnip). Here is a recipe for Carrot, Daikon and Burdock Kinpira.
The same technique used in this Sauteed Broccoli recipe can be used for a variety of cruciferous vegetables. Adding some fat while cooking helps increase bio-availability of the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. A similar effect can be achieved by adding a nut, seed or avocado based dressing at the table.
Roots and Tops
One of my all-time favorite dishes is Turnip Roots and Tops. This is another dish that can me made with a wide variety of roots and tops, including carrots and finely cut carrot tops or daikon radish roots and greens. Just make sure you add the greens near the very end so they stay tender and fresh.
Pressed salad is another recipe that is being recommended less often. However, I think it is fabulous! Make sure you aren’t adding too much sea salt when making it and if you add a little vinegar when serving, use brown rice or apple cider vinegar, or a little lemon juice. No one should be using umeboshi vinegar on anything at the table. It adds way more salt than most of us need. It’s not a true vinegar, it’s actually a salt brine and to be used with caution. Here is a Pressed Salad recipe, including instructions. It’s super yummy with served with a bit of Tofu Ricotta on top.
I admit that I was not a fan of kanten when I first learned how to make it. However, it has grown on me. Especially this Strawberry and Tangerine Kanten. Another version is to make the kanten, and then puree it into a pudding. Super yum. Try this Strawberry Mousse recipe by Warren Kramer.
If you are new to a macrobiotic approach, please know that my view of macrobiotics focuses on the interplay between the energetic properties of food, our own personal physical constitution/condition, and our interaction with the natural world. Even though I have put together a list of recipes, there are no specifically macrobiotic foods or ingredients. The focus is more about how we use the ingredients, not the actual dishes or foods themselves. Macrobiotics looks at how we use our food, our activity and our environment to foster balance and fuel the life we want. The dietary component of macrobiotics tends to be plant-based because plants are easier to create balance with, both internally and in the way plant consumption affects our external environment.
If you have comments or questions about this, please contact me below or personally through my contact information.
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Thanks so for sharing your love for balancing and healing with whole foods.
You’re welcome, Ing! I love the intersection of delicious food and health. I realized right after I published this post that I forgot to include the aduki squash kombu dish. One of my favorites! I will be adding it in the next few days.