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Ayurvedic Kitchari: A Delicious, Healthy, One-Pot Meal!

KITCHARI: a dish traditionally made from yellow mung dal and basmati rice, along with digestive spices and ghee, which is used as a cleansing and detoxifying food in Ayurveda (a system of medicine with historical roots on the Indian sub-continent).

While we're no Ayurveda experts here at Drishti, we are occasionally lucky to absorb some of the wisdom from Ayurveda by hanging around in the Santa Barbara yoga community. We do know one thing for sure: this kitchari is super nourishing and delicious! Like healthy comfort food.

This vegan version of kitchari is the perfect one-pot meal for when you want something fresh and healthy, but haven't got the time to fuss around with something too fancy. It's also easy to adapt and modify according to what you've got in the spice cabinet / fridge / pantry!


Our recipe is a variation on the kitchari recipe from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, here. It's totally not Ayurveda approved, but we still love it, and we hope you do, too!

Vegan Kitchari


  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup white basmati rice (uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin powder and fennel seeds
  • Dash of cinammon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tb fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2–3 cups of chopped seasonal veggies: we used a mixture of onions, carrots, collards, and kale (thank you Santa Barbara Farmer's Market!)
  • Cilantro or chive garnish


Heat the oil in a large pot. Add all the seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the bay leaves and powdered spices, and mix well (about 30 seconds). Stir in the rice and beans. Add 5 cups of water, bay leaves, and chopped veggies. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least one hour, until the lentils and rice are soft and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency. Serve warm with cilantro or chive garnish, if desired.

Personally, we also like sauerkraut or plain yogurt as a garnish for the extra probiotics and flavor!

xoxo, Drishti

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