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Grain free Ayurvedic Kitchari

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Total time: 45 mins Serves: 6

I was first introduced to the ancient Indian mind-body health system of Ayurveda during my IIN health coaching certification. I was intrigued by this belief system and wanted to learn more so I read a book called Ayurveda Beginner's Guide: Essential Ayurvedic Principles and Practices to Balance and Heal Naturally, which I highly recommend. In a nut shell, Ayurveda is a body of wisdom compiled by ancient Indian sages, which believes that the mind and body are inextricably connected and when they are in balance, the mind actually has the power to heal and transform the body. Thus, the aim of an Ayurvedic practice is to bring balance to the mind, body and environment through the balancing of one's doshas.

A dosha is an individual's mind-body type, derived from the earth's five elements: fire, earth, water, air and ether. There are three doshas, or mind-body types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, each representing a mix of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics within a specific individual. Ayurveda believes that if you know your dosha, you can create a lifestyle designed to compliment it, that will encourage balance in your mind, body, and environment. This of course leads to a more joyful and vibrant state of being for the individual. If you're interested in discovering which dosha you are, there's a quiz you can take to determine it here. Bonus points to those who can guess my dosha after having learned a bit about each! ;)

OK so let's get to the recipe! Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish made from mung beans, Basmati rice, seasonal vegetables, ghee and a blend of warming spices. Appreciated for its detoxifying capabilities and its ability to balance all three doshas, its nutrient dense and easy to digest, with soothing and calming characteristics. Honestly, I just love this meal! Eating it feels like a big, warm, cleansing hug - particularly in these chillier months. My version of the recipe is a not 100% traditional, since I make it without rice or ghee, and I add a little heat to mine because I like it spicy! In this particularly delicious batch, I used minced broccoli, chopped red onion, zucchini, sweet potato and carrots as my seasonal vegetables.

Here's what you need to make this dish:
  • 1/2 cup of dry green mung beans, soaked overnight

  • 1/2 cup of dry moong dal (yellow lentils), well rinsed

  • 5 cups water (I like mine a stew consistency. Add more if you want it soupier)

  • 7 cups assorted vegetables (I included: 1 sweet potato, 3 carrots, 1 zucchini, 1 small red onion, and 1/2 grated broccoli crown)

  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil

  • 1.5-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 tbsp. turmeric

  • 1.5 tbsp. cumin

  • 1 tbsp. black mustard seeds

  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds

  • 1 tbsp. mustard seeds

  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

  • 1 stick of Kombu (A seaweed rich in amino acids, aids in digestion of beans and reduces gas and bloating. Look for it at a health food store)

  • 1/2-1 tbsp. sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional: if you like it spicy like me)

  • As much spinach or arugula as desired (optional: my bed of rice replacement)

Here's what you need to do to make this dish:
  1. Soak your dry green mung beans overnight. When ready to use, rinse thoroughly. Rinse your yellow lentils thoroughly and set aside.

  2. Chop your seasonal vegetables and grate your chunk of fresh ginger. Get your spices out where they are easy access.

  3. Heat a large skillet to medium hear. Melt your coconut oil in skillet and add onions to sauté until translucent.

  4. After a few minutes, add your mustard and fennel seeds to skillet and cook until they begin to pop and crackle.

  5. Once your seeds are popping, add the spices (except salt), ginger, (Basmati rice if using) and mung beans and lentils to the mix. Quickly coat everything with the spices and seeds so you don’t burn the spices.

  6. Slowly add your water to skillet along with all of your vegetables and stir.

  7. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes.

  8. Add salt and Cayenne pepper at the end of cooking. Serve on your bed of lettuce (or rice), garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please take a photo and tag @yourbestlifewithlisa

- Lisa xx

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