Spicy Crock Pot Kitchari

Kitchari - the ultimate winter dish!


Like dhal? Yeah, me too. It was one of the first lentil dished I ever ate that didn’t immediately make me cry. Sure, I ate it on bread like a sandwich, but whatever. It tasted good!

My mum was vegetarian for a long time, and as she made her way into vegetarian cooking when I was in my late teens and early 20s, this dhal she made quickly became something I asked for every time I visited. It started my love of pulses, Hare Krishna food, Ayurvedic food, and anything that required spices and simple ingredients. Living in Murwillumbah will also do that to you. Gosh, that really was the birthplace of my tie-dye years.

As I’ve made my way through vegetarian cooking for the last 10 years, I’m the first person to forget that these amazing food combinations exist. But when I look at my pantry full of very type of bean, split pea, and lentil there is, it’s ayurvedic and Hare Krishna recipes I turn to. They are warming, nourishing, and are far more creative than I can come up with on my own!

A little while ago I was looking for some good slow-cooker meals similar to this smoky split pea soup I made a while ago, and I remembered kitchari, the “chicken soup” of the ayurvedic world. It’s what you eat for everything – you’re sick, you’ve been travelling, you’ve been gorging yourself on everything else, or you just need comfort food, that sort of thing. I wanted to make a huge batch of something healthy, spicy and delicious that I could freeze in portions for lunches and this kitchari hit the spot. It’s kind of like dhal, but made with mung beans instead of lentils. As a fun extra, you can sprout the mung beans you don’t use and make the mung bean sprouts we all know and love! Then you know you’ve really hit hippie territory. Remember that time I sprouted lentils? They were fucking delicious.

I’ve adapted from this recipe, and I ate it with a hell of a lot of sriracha. Just perfect for gloomy winter days like this! Eight degrees they say. The middle of the day they say. I’m wondering if I’ll ever thaw out.

Now I did make this in the crock pot, but you can definitely make it in a large pot on the stove as per usual. I’ve done it both ways and it’s just as good either way!

Spicy Crock Pot Kitchari


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup dry green mung beans
  • 3 Cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 handful coriander leaves and stems, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 Large bay leaves
  • 1 Large stick cinnamon (about 5cm long)
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic (or pinch of asafoetida if you're doing it legit!)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (you can make with water but I like a bit more oomph to the taste)
  • 1 cup diced seasonal vegetables (I used carrot, celery and potato)
  • fresh lime or lemon juice


Step 1
You can do this two ways: the first takes advantage of the slow-cooking bit of the crock pot and add everything together and simmer on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally. This works well.
Step 2
The other way, if you'd like a bit more colour and flavour but is extra work, is to saute the seasonal vegetables and garlic over a medium heat in some ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil until soft and browned. Add a little more ghee or oil and stir fry the spices until they release their scent, about a minute. Add to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients, and simmer on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Step 3
This also works well in a dutch oven in the oven, or on the stove top in the biggest pot you have!
Step 4
I like to serve this soupier, rather than a thick dhal, so I add extra water at the end, and also to each serve when reheating. Excellent with extra coriander on top. Yum!
Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Five dinner ideas from Pinterest

dinners-from-pinterest-paellaPinterest is glorious. Not only for seeing pictures of overstyled houses and kids birthday parties fit for millionaire children, but as the one-stop-shop for putting stuff I don’t know where to put anywhere else.

Back in the day, I used to cut and paste recipes into word documents (or I’d borrow books from the library and type them out) and keep them on my computer in various files. I still have them – there’s more than a thousand. Then Evernote came along and I would email all the recipes I liked to different folders on that app. I still actually use it and love it, especially because you can take a photograph of the recipe’s directions and upload that, and the photo itself is then searchable when you’re looking for that great nasu dengaku recipe (true story, I search for that one a lot!).

Then Pinterest came along with its pretty boards and its unlimited space and suddenly not only could I save recipes I’d found myself in one go with a bookmarklet (instant and less faffing than cut and paste!), but I could also see what others had saved to their boards, which really felt like all the hard work of finding the best vegetarian recipes on the internet was being done for me! I recently spent some time dividing my recipe board because it was too diverse, and I had to create smaller, more specific boards. And every time I do this, I see at LEAST five recipes I want to make right then and there. Pinterest, I love you dearly.

(You could also swap out everything I just said for the word “crochet patterns” and it’s the same. Glorious, I tell you!)

So a while ago one of my weekly meal plans was made from my Pinterest Food-O-Rama board, and each one was a hit. I also move them to my Pin There, Done That board once they’re made, so I can remember if I liked it or not, or any changes that needed to be made to the recipe. It’s all terribly organised, and not taking up space on my computer, and I long ago lost the ability to put one more sheet of paper in my overflowing recipe binders. Here are a few I tried and loved.

1. Vegetarian paella

This is the dish at the top of the post. I was skeptical, but it was GOOD. I pinned it from Prevention Magazine online and I’m glad I did. Super-delicious and makes great leftovers.

2. Charred sweetcorn fritters with homemade buttermilk ranch

Found here, it was ALL OF THE YUM. I pinned it from PBS food. So crispy and crunchy, with the cool, creamy ranch dressing. Definitely making it again this week as I’ve got a LOT of corn to get through.

3. Vegetarian cabbage and potato soup with jalapeno and lime

Again, I was pretty skeptical of this one. It seemed weird that you would take a real Eastern European dish like a cabbage and potato soup and Mexican it up – but it worked. I had an absolute buttload of potato and cabbage to get through in every veggie box I’ve been getting and I had to get creative! The jalapeno and lime caught my eye and I had to try it – and I’m so glad I did. It was a real hit.

4. Vegan chicken teriyaki steak

I am a little bit obsessed with Japanese food, and get disproportionately excited when I can find vegetarian versions. This one, from the blog The Japanese Vegetarian Kitchen, was a bit of fun. They made little patties with the soybeans themselves, which is a great idea for making mock meat without having to buy processed things (not that I’m averse from time to time, but this had literally two ingredients). It didn’t overly taste like “chicken”, but it was a pretty good little patty to go with some Japanese-style salad. No complaints!

5. Grandma’s Meatless Ball Recipe

This is such a good big-batch family dinner, and once you get the meatballs done, super-easy. They are pretty similar to regular meatballs (this sort of combination of ingredients usually are, I’ve had great success with meatballs/sausage rolls/meatloaf that sort of thing), and I fiddled with the sauce a bit, but on the whole, was pretty rad. Matt even took it to an end-of-year party for his students and they were all pretty surprised at how not-gross they were (you know, being vegetarian food and all).

So if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration this week, may one of these fit the bill. I’ve got a whole bunch of other stuff to try this week too – I will keep you abreast of the situation :)


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Meatless Monday: Vegan split pea soup

vegan split pea soup in the crockpot

I don’t have very good memories of split pea soup (or pea and ham soup) from when I was a kid, for I was quite the food phobe. Plus, the version I had tried contained barley and barley was weird, man.

I do, however, have great memories of singing the pease porridge nursery rhyme, and this is sort of the same!

I needn’t have worried, because I eventually grew into it, and when I had the idea to veganise it for the crock pot, I realised how delicious it really is. I’m trying to think up lots of crock pot recipes this year, and I remember pea and ham soup being a bit of a staple in it growing up. I thought about how I would replace the smoky ham flavour, and then realised I didn’t really want a hammy-tasting soup. The smoke I like, the ham… not so much. I would normally use a liquid smoke for the same effect, but I’m all out, so I turned to my backup – smoked paprika.

Then I saw Veggieful had posted a split pea soup recipe and figured I must have been on the right track! Do you read their blog? It’s irresistably gorgeous.

Anywho, if you’re up for a creamy soup full of flavour, then this one’s for you. Winter warmer at its best.

Vegan split pea soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 30 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Main Dish, Soup


  • 1 Large onion, diced small
  • 1 Large stalk celery, diced small
  • 1 Medium carrot, diced small
  • 2 Large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 5 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • 1 Large bay leaf
  • salt and pepper


Step 1
Sweat the onion, celery, carrot and garlic over low heat for 20 minutes, until it caramelises and the flavour deepens. Add paprika for the last few minutes. This can be a bit of a drag if you're just looking to throw everything in the crock pot and go, but is much nicer. By all means, throw and go, though!
Step 2
Put the sweated veggies into the crock pot with the split peas, the thyme, stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and cook on low for 6 hours. You don't want any bite in the split peas at all, they should have simmered into a thick mush (add extra stock or water if too thick). Check for seasoning and don't be afraid to be liberal with the salt if you have used a homemade stock.

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!