Every week, I’ll post a recipe that will help heal and balance a particular chakra. This week, it’s the Root Chakra, which sits at the base of the spine, approximately at the pubic bone. The Root Chakra controls our feelings of safety, security, and groundedness in the world. Safety can be physical safety, emotional safety, environmental safety, etc. Security can be physical, financial, intellectual, emotional… These terms are broadly defined and all encompassing. Do you feel safe in the world? Is the current political climate making you feel uneasy? Are you worried about violence? Do you have enough money to pay your bills? All these questions can affect whether or not we feel safe, secure, and grounded.
There are many ways to heal and balance the chakras, but one very straightforward way is to be mindful about the food we put into our bodies. Given the pandemic and the financial strain so many of us are experiencing, it is even more important that we eat healthy, whole, clean foods. I have previously written a cookbook (unpublished… haven’t found a publisher yet) that focuses on monthly menu-planning and healthy eating free from pre-packaged foods laden with preservatives that will allow a family of four to eat well even if it only receives SNAP benefits for a single person (which was previously $194/month but was raised to $208/month in October 2020). That’s right! A month’s worth of menus and recipes and grocery lists that can be accomplished for $194. I previously lived in New York City and I currently live in one of the more expensive counties in Southern California. In both locations, my menus and recipes and grocery lists are doable with only $194/month. Now, a family of four receives more than that, but I wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to eat VERY well on minimal funds. All it takes is a bit of know-how, planning, and open-mindedness.
With that being said, the following recipe will cost anywhere between $20-$25 if you’re starting from scratch and have to purchase all the ingredients. Most of us already have certain things on hand, like Italian herbs and canned tomatoes. I always have a bottle of Hearty Burgundy and a bottle of Chablis under my kitchen sink to use for various recipes. It’s possible to purchase single mini-bottles of Burgundy if you don’t have any on hand and/or don’t want to store alcohol in your home. If this were part of a week’s menus, various ingredients (the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic) would be used throughout the week so the cost per recipe would be significantly reduced.
Why am I mentioning all this? Because financial and food insecurity is something many of us are experiencing right now, which throws the Root Chakra out of balance. This wonderful, comfort food recipe will help bring the Root Chakra back into balance and will, at the same time, soothe the soul. Because yum!
1lb protein (ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, tofu crumbles, pea crumbles, lentils–brown or red)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery and leaves, thinly sliced
10 small or 7 medium crimini mushrooms, diced
8oz can (or 1/2 15oz can) black olives, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced (or 3tbsp minced garlic from jar)
15oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed (regular crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce are acceptable, too)
1 cup Hearty Burgundy (or other deep red wine, such as pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon)
1-2 cups (or fill the 15oz tomato can) beef stock
Italian herb seasoning, divided (I usually use 2 palms full of seasoning, which is about 1/8-1/4cup total)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a heavy pot such as a dutch oven (or a stock pot, but be careful of the bottom scorching) over medium-high heat.
2. When the pot is hot, drizzle some olive oil (about 2tbsp). It should be shimmering.
3. Add the onions and garlic. sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and cook just until they are beginning to caramelize.
4. Add the green peppers and celery, along with a bit more salt and pepper, and cook until just beginning to soften.
5. Add the ground protein (unless you’re using lentils; they should be boiled separately until al dente, drained, and set aside), season with salt and pepper, add 1 palm full (about 2tbsp) Italian herb seasoning, and cook until well-browned.
6. It’s okay if things are sticking to the bottom of the pot. This is called “fond” and is where all the flavor comes from (as long as it isn’t scorching in a stock pot). Add another tablespoon of olive oil as needed.
7. Add the olives and the mushrooms and stir well. Let cook for approximately two minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
8. Slowly deglaze the pot with the Hearty Burgundy, stirring constantly and scraping up all the bits off the bottom of the pot. Allow the Burgundy to cook down until it is almost gone.
9. Add the crushed tomatoes and the beef beef stock.
10. Add the remaining Italian herb seasoning. Stir well. Bring to a boil.
11. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you are using lentils, add the lentils to the pot during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serve over whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, zoodles (or other spiralized vegetable noodles), or eat as is. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired. Dunk bread into it if you want.
This is a pretty sizable batch. It will easily feed four people and there will likely be leftovers. If you’re single, you can freeze batches of this to eat later, when your Root Chakra needs to be re-balanced.
As you can see, this recipe is adaptable for different dietary needs.
Note that the main ingredients that help to balance the Root Chakra are the ground beef (or lentils), olives, crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, and Hearty Burgundy/Red Wine. But the inclusion of the onion, green pepper, celery, and herbs also helps boost the Solar Plexus and Heart Chakras. If you also want to boost the Sacral Chakra, add some shredded carrots or use spiralized sweet potato noodles instead of regular pasta.