Rice and beans, Ayurvedic style.
An easy Ayurvedic kitchari recipe (kitchidi), grounded in ancient wellness. This wholesome, one-pot dinner with chickpeas and vegetables tastes wonderfully satisfying, and loaded with nutrition.
What Is an Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe?
Meet your new favorite vegetarian dinner. This Ayurvedic kitchari recipe (sometimes spelled kitchidi or kitchadi) combines wholesome legumes (chickpeas) with vegetables, brown rice, and spices for an easy, flavorful, stewy one-pot meal. Kitchari tastes incredibly satisfying — with numerous health benefits as well.
This kitchari recipe, like all Ayurvedic food has been around for thousands of years, but has been gaining more and more traction today as an intuitive, healthful, and flavorful way of eating. Learn more below.
What Is Ayurvedic Food?
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic science of health and healing, developed in India between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago. Meaning “knowledge of life,” Ayurveda grounds its principles in the belief that health derives from a body, mind, and spirit in balance.
Ayurvedic food is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, recipes should be tailored according to your particular dosha. Vata doshas, for example, need spicy, warm food to balance their cool constitutions. Pitta doshas, however, benefit from cooling foods to counter their strong fire energy.
What Is My Ayurvedic Dosha?
Each person’s internal combination of the five natural elements — earth, water, fire, air, space — make up our dosha, or personal constitution. Each person has a dominant dosha: vata, pitta, or kapha. (What’s your dosha? You can take a quick dosha quiz here.) Your dominant dosha or doshas inform everything from your emotions to digestion.
By balancing your dosha with supporting and complementary foods, your body achieves balance and better health.
What Are the Health Benefits of Kitchari?
A kitchari cleanse has been having a small moment lately. And while I do not favor the idea of “detoxes” or food cleanses, which can often cause under-nourishment, there is much to be said about the healthy benefits of kitchari. You don’t have to be on a kitchari cleanse to enjoy eating this often and enjoying its nutritiousness.
Some health benefits of this wholesome, one-pot kitchari:
- Fiber from brown rice and chickpeas
- Lots of good vitamins and minerals from the chickpeas, lemon, and vegetables
- Anti-inflammatory and other micronutrient benefits from turmeric and other spices
Further Reading on Easy Ayurvedic Eating
Want to learn more?
- This article from Goop (yes, Goop) is fairly comprehensive and easy to read
- The Ayurvedic Institute publishes a useful list of foods to eat and avoid for your dosha
- Yoga Journal has this great intro to Ayurvedic eating for your dosha
Easy Kitchari Recipe Ayurvedic Notes
This kitchari recipe makes a simple one-pot stew that is ready start to finish in less than one hour. Traditional kitchari combines mung dal and rice. This recipe, however, substitutes chickpeas for some extra bulk and texture. (I got this chickpea inspiration from top Washington, D.C. Indian restaurant Rasika. If you’re in town, it’s worth checking out.)
You can be flexible with what vegetables you add to your Ayurvedic kitchari. Don’t have spinach? Leave it out, or throw in some kale or other greens. No carrots? Substitute with small-diced sweet potato. A handful of peas would be another good addition. Do avoid nightshades (such as bell pepper, tomato, and eggplant), however.
The final kitchari texture should be stewy and almost creamy. This recipe uses brown rice, with a 1:3 ratio of rice to water. You could use white basmati rice, but the ratio will be about 1:2.25 rice to water.
Love this healthy, easy Ayurvedic kitchari recipe? You’ll also enjoy:
Easy Ayurvedic Kitchari (Kitchidi)
- 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice
- 3 tablespoons ghee or neutral vegetable oil
- 4 ½ cups cold water
- 2 15-ounce cans unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups small-diced carrots (about 5 medium carrots)
- 1 ½ cups small-diced celery (about 5 medium stalks)
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (or 5 pods)
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons fenugreek seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 ½ to 4 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved
- 2 large handful washed baby spinach leaves (optional)
- ½ fresh lemon, juiced, to finish
- cilantro, to garnish
- In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, cumin powder, coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric. Bloom the spices in the oil for about one minute, until bubbling and fragrant.
- Stir in the rice and chickpeas. Add the water, carrots, celery, onion, ginger, and 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes (less for white rice).
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add a generous squirt of lemon juice, taste for seasoning, and add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, if desired.
- Serve warm, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.
Susan C says
I followed the recipe exactly as written, except I used only 1 teaspoon of salt, instead of 3-4 teaspoons. I purchased the fenugreek seed online. This was my very first attempt at an Indian recipe and it came out absolutely wonderful. Full of delicious flavor, super easy to make, and very satisfying. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!!
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it.
Jill H. says
This is very satisfying and easy to make–once I found fenugreek! haha. Well worth it and will make again. Incredibly flavorful rice bowl.
Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing this recipe! This is my new favorite lunch–I could eat this every day and be completely happy. In fact, after making my first pot of it, I did eat it every day for lunch until it was gone, and then I was still craving it, so I made another pot. The first time I made it exactly as the recipe is written (except used 1 tsp dried fenugreek instead of the seeds since I didn’t have those), and the second time, I used 2/3 cup red lentils and one can of chickpeas instead of the two cans of chickpeas. Also delicious! For those looking at the recipe thinking, “brown rice and chickpeas? booo-ring!” I can only say that the blend of spices that it calls for is SO good, and combined with the soft, porridge-y texture of the rice and chickpeas, it’s just pure, savory, wholesome comfort food in a bowl. I love it with some chopped cilantro and a little squirt of sriracha sauce on top. I feel so good after eating a big bowl of this. More recipes like this, please!
Thank you so much, Alyson! I will be featuring more recipes like this later this winter, especially in January when so many of us are trying to refresh our diets after those rich holiday meals! Your comment made my day. Thank you!
I can’t wait! I’ll definitely be needing more recipes like this come January.
I have been eating this all week for lunch. It’s very good and I enjoyed trying the different flavor profile from things I usually cook. Yea, kitchari!!
I think this is an excellent one pot meal that left me feeling very satisfied, in a healthy way. I really enjoyed this.
I had everything but fenugreek so I made it and it was healthy and filling.
Loved the flavor and creamy texture despite that this is so healthy and VEGAN! I also added some peas.
I have eaten kitchari before and enjoyed it, but have never made it myself. I had to find the fenugreek online, but it added a very good flavor, as did all of the spices. I will be eating this all week for lunch and thanks! I recommend this dish.
Colleen McD. says
Way more flavorful and tasty than I thought it might be! Will make this again.