Kitchari: A Healthy “Hug” in a Bowl

by Meghan Yost

Kitchari is one of my favorite go-to recipes when the temps have plummeted and there is snow on the ground. The dish is typically used as a cleanse in Ayurveda, or traditional Hindu medicine, but I just LOVE eating it because of the way it makes me feel — satisfied and healthy.

My dear friend — and lifestyle and yoga expert — Haley Sharack likes to call Kitchari a “healthy hug in a bowl,” and boy is that the perfect description (I’m getting cheesy here, I know!)

Kitchari is full of rice, lentils, Indian spices and tons of veggies … The perfect combination for a hearty meal on a cold winter’s day.

The recipe below comes from Haley with a few adjustments from myself … I make it about every other week in the cold months and my husband is a huge fan. We top it with Haley’s pumpkin seed-cilantro pesto, sliced avocado, fresh lime juice and cilantro (ideally fresh, but if it’s not available, I use the lightly dried version by Gourmet Garden).

Our favorite vegetables to use are carrots, zucchini, broccoli and kale. The more veggies, the better!

Check out my flipagram from my most recent adventure in the kitchen preparing Kitchari, and for the recipe, scroll down.



When you are able to, choose organic, pesticide-free ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice or quinoa
  • 1 cup of mung dal, A.K.A. yellow split mung beans
  • 2 cups or so chopped vegetables of choice
  • Optional ½ cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 2 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil


Roughly 3 tsp of pre-made Kitchari spice mix or 1 tsp each (Whatever you can get a hold of, but don’t worry if you don’t have it all):

  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric
  • Whole cumin seeds, ground cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek
  • Dried turmeric, black/brown mustard seeds, asafoetida
  • Mineral salt to taste

NOTE: In the flipagram above, I used a combination of lentils and green split peas in place of yellow mung beans. I also didn’t have all of the spices listed above and made due with what I had.


Fresh cilantro, herbs, lime, drizzle of coconut oil/organic ghee (clarified butter)/sesame oil. Optional: pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut shreds, homemade pumpkin seed herb pesto, avocado, lightly steamed or roasted veggies


To aid in digestion (aka, help prevent gas, etc.) wash rice/quinoa of choice and mung dal and let them soak in water overnight.


In a medium sized sauce pan, warm the coconut oil. Add the spice mixture and saute for one to two minutes.

Add the rice and mung beans and continue to saute for another 2 minutes. Then add 6-8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add coconut if using. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium/low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes.

While beans and rice are cooking, chop your veggies. Add harder vegetables (like carrots, etc.) about 20 minutes in and continue cooking. Add softer or leafy veggies a few minutes before the dish is done. Add more water if needed. Consistency should be like stew, not like soup.

Prepare your garnishes while the Kitchari finishes cooking.



NOTE: Amounts are a rough estimate because I didn’t measure out how much of each ingredient I used as I was making it … Oops! Adjust to your taste. 😉

  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Handful of fresh cilantro (or lightly dried cilantro from Gourmet Garden)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • A couple dashes of almond milk
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients above in a Vitamix or high-speed blender and hit the power button!

Serve Kitchari in a bowl and top with garnishes of your choice.

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If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And don’t forget to check out Haley’s website and give her a big “hello” and “thanks” for the recipe!


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