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How to Make Vegan Kitchari with Chef Lou Oates

04 Apr 2020


Prep Time | 1 ½ hours + 5 hours to soak lentils + rice

Ayurveda has long been a healing modality that I have been able to glean wisdom from. Kitchari is a well known staple of the ayurveda philosophy which dates back 5,000 years or more. This simple meal is also given therapeutically as part of panchakarma, Ayurveda’s ancient mind-body, cleansing, and rejuvenation practice to strengthen the digestive and immune systems, restoring balance and wellbeing.

Kitchari is highly nourishing, keeps blood sugars stable, and gives a calm, centered energy. It has healing properties and balances all doshas. For me, kitchari is hugely grounding and warming and gives me a sense of wellbeing and calm—vital for the modern world. 

This highly nutritious one pot meal is a really great dish to make in a large batch and eat throughout the week. 


1 cup white basmati rice or quinoa

2 cups split mung bean or red lentils 

2 tablespoons coconut oil 

2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1/2 cup yellow onion, medium dice 

1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 2 - 3 cloves)

2 teaspoons turmeric

1” fresh ginger peeled and grated 

4 cups vegetable broth (store bought or fresh)

4 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste 

3 - 5 cups chopped vegetables (whatever is available to you)

Garnish: cilantro, mint, coconut yogurt, pumpkin seeds, lime (all optional)


  1. Pour rice and mung beans into a bowl, rinse thoroughly, and drain. Add 3 cups of water and soak for at least 5 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse at least twice.
  2. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and fenugreek seeds. Stir until mustard seeds pop, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion starts to caramelize.
  4. Add mung bean and rice mixture, broth, water, bay leaf, salt, and vegetables. If you have chosen leafy greens then add them at the end when all the ingredients are cooked. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally until most of the water is absorbed and the rice and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. I recommend checking on it every 10 minutes to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Garnish, eat, enjoy!

Watch Lou Oates in Beautiful People here!
Photographed by Alex Kenealy for Youth To The People
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