3 Tasty Ideas for An Earlier, Lighter Dinner (Or Should I Say Supper)

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Historically, in agricultural families, it was common to have soup pot cooking all day on the wood-fired stovetop for the evening supper.

In fact, the word “supper” derives from the Old French word “souper,” which clearly refers to a supper of soup.

Supper also explicitly meant the late afternoon, or evening meal.

So, it would seem that traditionally in European and New World cultures, a light meal consisting of soup in the evening was the norm. 

Ayurveda wholeheartedly supports an earlier and lighter dinner for the following reasons:

  • Better gut health
  • Restorative sleep
  • Light and refreshed feeling in the morning
  • Efficient daily overnight detox
  • Emotional processing while you sleep

Below are three tasty ideas to help you enjoy an earlier and lighter dinner.

a woman holding a bowl of soup

1. Eat soup, any soup 

Soups are warm, soft, supportive, hydrating, and generally easy to digest. 

Use your Instant Pot to make a quick soup in the morning, or at lunchtime, and use the “Keep Warm” setting to hold it until dinner. 

Or use a crockpot to slow cook your soup while you are work, so it’s ready when you return.

Soups that aren’t as easy-to-digest are cream soups, wheat noodle soups, tomato-based soups (the quantity of tomato matters), and very spicy soups. 

SOUP RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY (from my food blog)

— Beet Soup with Greens Recipe

— Instant Pot Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk Recipe

— Cauliflower Soup with Purple Peppers and Cashew Cream Recipe

— Quinoa Soup with Spring Greens and Radish Recipe

cauliflower soup

2. Have basmati rice and vegetables, with a few spices, and a drizzle of ghee

Ayurveda considers basmati rice to be extremely easy to digest. 

You could cook up some rice in the morning or at lunchtime, and have it for lunch and dinner. 

I absolutely love cooked vegetables with a few mild spices and a drizzle of ghee, and basmati rice is the perfect vehicle for the veggies.

turmeric cauliflower


  1. Choose 1-3 options, from carrots, beets, cauliflower, turnips, greens, zucchini, parsnip, celery root, onion, and/or radish. 
  2. Choose 1-3 spices, from cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, asafetida, and cardamom.
  3. Select a skillet or saucepan with a lid. Start a dab of ghee on medium heat. Add your spices, and release their aroma by cooking them briefly in the ghee. 
  4. Add the chopped vegetables, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Add a few tablespoons of water, and place the lid on the pot. You want to cook the vegetables until soft. 
  6. Serve flavorful, cooked vegetables on top of the rice and drizzle with extra ghee, a bit of salt, and a squeeze of lime. 
  7. If you have fresh herbs, add them on top, or cook them with the vegetables. 
maple roasted beets


— Grandma’s Sweet Zucchini with Parmesan Recipe

— Indian Spiced Brussel Sprouts Recipe

— Roasted Beets with Maple Butter Recipe

— Turmeric Cauliflower Slabs Recipe

3. Dal and rice 

Like soup, a yellow dal is easy to make, and it’s a nourishing plant-based source of protein that really satisfies. 

If you don’t have dal in your household repertoire of dishes, this is your chance. 

comforting yellow dal

I have a detailed post over at my food blog Buttered Veg on how to make comforting yellow dal that’s specifically written for non-Indians to create an experience of dal in their own kitchens. 

— Comforting Yellow Dal Recipe

— Basmati Rice recipe

To learn more about the health benefits of an earlier and lighter dinner, visit “For Better Gut Health & Restorative Sleep, Eat An Early Dinner.”

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