Fragrant and Warming Indian Kitchari (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Have you ever experienced difficulty in adopting a healthy vegan diet? Have you ever struggled with psychological food issues such as compulsive eating, overeating, or gratuitous snacking?

In her new book, The Mindful Vegan: A 30-Day Plan for Finding Health, Balance, Peace, and Happiness, our friend and certified mindfulness meditation facilitator, award winning health educator, and longtime vegan advocate Lani Muelrath teaches us how to overcome these dietary issues and embrace a long-lasting and healthy plant-based diet through mindfulness meditation.

The book offers practical advice on the following topics and more:

  • How mindfulness can create a more resilient vegan lifestyle.
  • How the convictions of veganism reduce stress and increase happiness.
  • How to navigate conversations with others about eating—and living—vegan.
  • Tried and true mindfulness meditation tactics that lead to a happier, healthier life.

In addition to the above, Lani shared a few recipes from her new book, including one of our own personal favorites, Indian kitchari. Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Indian Kitchari

Makes: 4+ servings

Created by Lani Muelrath, our fragrant Indian kitchari recipe is a perfect recipe for the fall and winter seasons when heavier, warmer foods go a long way towards keeping us grounded and balanced. Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic healing food and has been used for thousands of years in India to aid in the practice of yoga, meditation and other mindfulness exercises. Lani’s recipe is simple, authentic and tastes great!

Kitchari is one of our favorite go-to dinner recipes and we eat it regularly throughout the cold season. It uses simple, whole ingredients, a handful of digestive spices, requires very little preparation and just about everyone I know loves it. This is a great dish for when you’re feeling stressed and need something comforting to help bring you back into balance.

A few notes: If your spices are ground and not whole, that works well, too. You can also replace the rice with another ½ cup of dal if you prefer or if you plan to serve over rice instead of mixing it in. Lastly, you can find most, if not all, of the ingredients for this recipe at your local Asian or international food market.

Fragrant and Warming Indian Kitchari (Vegan, Gluten-Free)


  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup mung dal
  • ½ cup brown basmati or other brown rice (see note)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. In a nonstick pot over medium heat, roast mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and turmeric powder until the aromas start to mix and the seeds start to crackle and pop.
  2. Add mung dal and brown basmati rice, and roast lightly with the spices.
  3. Add water, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for roughly 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dal and rice are cooked.
  4. Before serving, add lemon juice and salt.
  5. Serve in a bowl or plate over brown rice or other whole grain, with a few sprinkles of fresh chopped cilantro on top and lemon wedges on the side.

Enter To Win A Free Copy of The Mindful Vegan

The Mindful Vegan

Learn more about The Mindful Vegan

Lani has been kind enough to provide a copy of The Mindful Vegan to our community, and you can enter to win!

We’ll choose a winner by random drawing on November 30th, 2017.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
  2. Leave a comment below letting us know the following: What is one small change you make to start improving your health? What’s the biggest barrier that prevents you from following through?

*Note: Giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada


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Matt Jager is a wellness activist, yogi and co-founder of True Wellth. His life mission is to transform the healthcare and food system in this country, so that every single person has access to the tools and support they need to look and feel their best, control their health, own their happiness and revolutionize their well-being.
  • Jacqui P

    I would absolutely love to win Lani’s book. She’s amazing. I have gone “vegan”, but I need to center more on the whole food part of the equation to become my best. I live with an omni who I cook for. I don’t always feel like cooking two meals, so I grab the quickest thing handy for me. Not always a great option.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Jacqui! Incorporating more whole foods is something I think we’d all like to do, and I’d be curious to see how that would positively impact your well-being. Keep in touch and let us know.

    • Hi Jacqui! I am so glad to see you enter the contest! It would be great to win but should someone else walk away with the prize, I know you will benefit from picking up a copy of The Mindful Vegan. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Jordan

    After doing research and based on recommendations from others, I have started intermittent fasting (16:8 method) to help reduce my body fat and improve my overall wellbeing. I hold off eating my first meal until midday and make sure I stop eating by 8pm (8 hour eating window), so my fasting stretches over 16 hours (mostly while I am asleep). I am already seeing visible improvements but the biggest barrier for me is sticking to it when going out. The temptation is often strong to cheat when I’m out with friends.

    • That’s really interesting, Jordan. Thanks for sharing. What are some of the improvements you’re seeing with intermittent fasting?

      • Jordan

        Early days but already I’m seeing a visible improvement in body fat, while still eating enough to meet my caloric needs.

        • Awesome. Keep us in the loop about how it’s going down the road!

  • One way I start a healthy habit is by tracking how often I do / eat that thing. I believe that what is monitored is accomplished. So I want to run a 5k – I track how often and how far I run. When you can see your goal and how close it is, it encourages you to push toward it.

    • What is monitored is accomplished…I like that approach. If nothing else, it keeps what we’re tracking in our daily awareness, and that which we put or attention and focus on is bound to improve. Good thoughts!

  • D.Roc

    The concept of this book is amazing. As a busy vegan, I still want to emphasize whole, natural foods, and not rely on processed foods even if they are vegan.

    • Thanks! We thought so too. It’s really interesting to see someone talking about mindfulness and how it impacts a plant-based diet and our lives on the whole.

    • Hi D. Roc, THANK you! The Mindful Vegan is the first book I know of that brings veganism and mindfulness together. Yet isn’t it the first thing about mindful eating – awareness of who, or what, is on your plate? The impact of that on our bodies, our planet, other creatures we share her with? Honestly!

  • Maria Fletcher

    Ooh, thank you so much for this giveaway. The Mindful Vegan looks fantastic!
    One small change: go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and fit in a good workout. I eat a plant-based, dairy-avoiding, nutrient rich diet and I’m a runner. I consider myself “healthy”, but my biggest challenge is fitting in the workouts. The best way is to get it done first thing in the morning, but I tend to go to be late then sleep in. It’s then a juggle to get a run in sometime during the day. It’s a real challenge going to bed at 9pm so I can get up at 4.30am/5am and still get a good night’s sleep. I plan on starting really small with just one day a week, then increase to two days, etc.

    • I can totally relate to that, Maria! It can be really tough getting to bed early, especially after a really busy day when your mind and body are running on high. Starting small seems like a good way to approach it, and then you can slowly build from there if you’d like. Thanks for chiming in!

    • HI Maria! You are not along in fitting in the workouts! I find that one thing is to be sure just to sit less – get up every 30 minutes or so, if seated at work, and move for 2 – 5 minutes. It offsets the acceleration of disease biomarkers from sitting too much! You can also pepper in shorter workouts through the day, so you don’t have to feel like taking a big block of time is mandatory.

    • Hi Maria! Great news, you’ve been selected as the winner of the book giveaway! Please send your mailing address to and we’ll send you a copy. Thanks for your contribution!

      • Maria Fletcher

        Wow! That is fantastic. I’m sooo excited. Thank you so much.

        • You’re very welcome!

  • Shannon Dixon

    Oh, I have watched a couple of Lani’s podcasts and been wanting to get ahold of her new book! Right now my small change is reducing my sodium intake. I found a plant-based physician and went to see her on Monday. I found out my blood pressure is high, which was surprising to both of us. She thinks it is the salt and I realized I really do get a lot of it. Right now I am trying to be really mindful of where I am getting extra sodium and see where I can reduce it. I think I thought I did not have to worry about it really because I eat pretty healthy, mostly WFPB, and exercise.

    • Thanks for checking-in, Shannon! We’re pretty excited about Lani’s new book too and will definitely take a look at her podcasts. I’ve also found that it’s really easy to overdo it with sodium, especially if you’re not cooking all of your own meals at home. Prepared food from restaurants and grocery stores tends to be pretty high in salt. Keep us in the loop and let us know how it goes down the road.

    • Hi Shannon! So glad you’ve been hearing some of the podcasts! I adore doing them, such a good way to get out important messages and I hope these have helped. Good luck on the entry and be sure to let me know when you have a copy of The Mindful Vegan!

  • Adam Scharf

    One small change I could make is to stop eating after dinner so that I give my body enough time to digest the food prior to bedtime and enter recovery mode during sleep. I’ve started making this switch but old habits of snacking are hard to break. Especially when others in the house still keep up those habits.

    • Snacking is a really tough habit to curb, for sure. I think even the best of us fall into late night snacking from time to time. I’ve found that your body naturally gets hungry at times when you’re used to eating, but if you can get over the hump of three nights without snacking before bed, I think you’ll find that you feel less hungry at that time. Keep us updated!

    • Adam the good thing about tapering off with eats as the day winds down is it drives up morning hunger. The key here is to be sure to meet those fuel signal needs, on time, from early in the day! I found that when I gave up being reckless in any way about meeting hunger signals – like delay eating because you are busy or stuck somewhere without fuel – that night noshing dissolved. It just takes being prepared and responding! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Hi Matt and everyone! What a treat to see this recipe posting and giveaway show up in my email today. It is wonderful when we can work together to advance the cause in any way we can, and joining forces like this is a big one. I wish I could give a copy to everyone! But now you know what to put on your wish list for the holidays – though it would be a shame to wait! So much we can create with stress reduction and improved resliliency through the holidays!

    Love to all,

    • Sending love and gratitude right back to you, Lani! Thanks so much for sponsoring this giveaway. We’ve learned a lot from reading through your book and have lots of takeaways to practice with. I appreciate you helping out our little community.

  • Sue J Thomas

    What a wonderful idea to link mjngdfuness top diet! This meditation .made a great difference to my life forever; so I would be ever so happy to revcieve
    A copy of the book. Thanks for writing. This LAni!…and wish me luck🐯, Sue

    • Thanks for chiming in, Sue! Lani has given us a wonderful gift with this book and we hope you get a chance to check it out!

    • Hi Sue, yes, all best luck to you and I see we share the treasure of what mindfulness meditation has done and the difference it has made!

  • nicole40

    If I could only stop the mindless eating and only eat intentionally, i would be very happy!

    • I think we’re all in the same boat with you on that one, Nicole! I used to practice putting my fork/spoon down between each bite and that seemed to help. I noticed that I would get full more easily and felt more balanced after eating.

    • Nicole40 my presentation often begin with the question, “Has anyone here ever experienced – or known someone who has experienced – mindless snacking? Stress eating?” By this time everyone is laughing and hands are up all over the room! Reactivity shows up in this way for more people than it doesn’t. I go into this a great deal in The Mindful Vegan. Mindfulness meditation practice as I teach it in the book gives us practice in opening up a space around our habits of reactivity so we can make a more skillful choice. It’s a wonderful process! And also, part of mindful eating as I teach it is paying attention to our hunger signals and meeting the need when they arise – so they don’t come back later to bite us with a stress eating response because of the urge to relieve the primary stress – hunger! I think you will enjoy The Mindful Vegan!

      • nicole40

        Ok, If i don’t win it, I’ll buy it!!!

  • Jenny

    I have been off sick from work with an undiagnosed neurological issue for over a year now. I have been trying to take back control of my health. I have been making a lot of small changes over the last couple of months. The (biggest) small change I have made is the mindset that I can fix my own health with better food choices. My biggest barrier to doing this is my health. Some days I just don’t have the energy to do anything.

    • Hang in there, Jenny! It sounds like you’re going through some tough times right now but know that we’re here to support you in any way that we can. Do you have any specific questions about the plant-based diet that we could help you with? Sending hugs your way.