Ayurveda is all about tuning into the world around us and living our lives in conjunction with the seasons. Regular seasonal cleansing is one way to do this. Doing a full Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse can feel overwhelming, complicated, and unrealistic. Luckily, doing a modified version can still have profound impacts on your digestion and overall health. Continue reading to learn how to do a modified Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse and to get the recipe for this butternut squash kitchari…
As the seasons change, certain doshas become more present in the environment and also in our bodies and minds. These seasonal transitions can be challenging and cause imbalances to arise in the form of fatigue, headaches, weight gain, skin issues, poor digestion, frequent colds etc. In order to maintain balance and optimal health, Ayurveda recommends following a seasonal routine and doing regular seasonal cleansing in order to reestablish healthy digestion, support the body’s innate healing processes, eliminate toxins, and guide the body back to its natural state of balance.
A full Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse, involves a preparatory phase (simplifying one’s diet and enkindling digestion), a process of internal oleation (consuming liquified ghee on an empty stomach to initiate fat metabolism and pull toxins from the fat cells), a kitchari mono diet, herbal supplements, daily oil massage and steam therapy, a purge to eliminate toxins, and a process of rejuvenation, post cleanse. Sound like a lot? Luckily, a modified seasonal cleanse is simple and totally doable. Here’s how…
A SIMPLE AYURVEDIC SEASONAL CLEANSE
-A modified Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse is a great way to simplify your diet, let go of cravings, reestablish healthy habits around food, stabilize your blood sugar, nourish your body, and improve digestion.
WHEN TO CLEANSE
-Seasonal cleansing is traditionally done biannually in the Fall and in the Spring, but this modified version can be done any time.
HOW TO CLEANSE
-Eat a kitchari mono diet for three to seven days (that means no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, wheat, dairy, or anything else that’s not kitchari or steamed veggies).
-Eat three meals a day (no snacking).
-Hydrate with plenty of room temperature water and hot herbal tea.
This cleanse is super doable and if you’re feeling a little off or your digestion is struggling, I hope you’ll give it a go. As always, I’m here to answer any questions you might have.
This post was created as part of the annual #virtualpumpkinparty. Be sure to check out all the other pumpkin recipes HERE.
This kitchari recipe is a little different and includes pureed butternut squash for some extra lusciousness (pumpkin or sweet potato would also work). If you don’t like squash (we need to talk) simply leave it out and add chopped veggies like carrots, celery, or zucchini or serve the kitchari plain alongside steamed veggies.
Butternut Squash Kitchari
1 butternut squash
1 1/2 teaspoons ghee
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup white basmati rice
1/4 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a large baking dish. Add about an inch of water. Bake for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Allow to cool before removing the seeds and scooping out the flesh. Transfer the flesh to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup of the squash puree, reserving the rest for another use.
Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a medium pot. Add the ginger, cumin, and coriander and fry until fragrant. Rinse the rice and lentils then add to the pot with the ghee and spices. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes, until the rice and lentils are cooked and the kitchari is creamy. Stir in the pureed squash, turmeric, and salt. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve warm, topped with black pepper and minced cilantro.
13 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Kitchari”
Thank you. I have been searching for easy to make, easy to find ingredients for kichari to try it. I did not want to spend the fortunate (to me) for a kitchari kit that I did not know if I (or we) would like. This is great that it is just enough for two. I love the winter squashes and I am thinking I may get it past my husband.
Would another kind of rice work here? Say forbidden, or even short grain brown (though maybe harder to digest?) — or even a pseudo-grain? I’m going to give it a go this weekend!
Brown rice will work or quinoa. Yes, harder to digest but still nourishing and delicious.
Oh wow – I’ve never heard of kitchari before but this sounds fantastic. Especially since I’ve been working on some digestive issues, I’m totally filing this one away for when I need something comforting and easy on my system. Thanks so much for this amazing contribution to the VPP! xoxo
Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with digestive issues. This is a great digestive reset. If you try it let me know how it goes. Hugs!
I’m not interested in doing a cleanse, but this looks like a wonderfully warm and nourishing autumnal breakfast!
I just pureed up a ton of Red Kuri squash, which would be perfect for this. Thank you for sharing!
I’ve never had kitchari–thanks for the inspo! And Happy #virtualpumpkinparty! xo
You have me curious about something. Given how important the cleanse seem to be to the Ayurvedic practice and the use of ghee does that mean that vegans cannot follow that tradition?
Jacquie, Thanks for your question. Not at all! While it’s true that ghee (and other animal products like milk, yogurt, and honey) are widely used in Ayurveda that doesn’t mean that vegans can’t benefit from Ayurvedic traditions and practices. For this recipe, simple swap out the ghee for olive oil or coconut oil. Enjoy! Sasha
thanks for the clarification. It is just something i have wondered about for awhile so it is good to know there is a solution if one wants to go that route or just try a recipe or two.
Such beautiful photos! I love kitchari – it always feels like such a nourishing meal. I’ve never tried a full kitchari cleanse but definitely intend to soon after seeing this xxx Gabriella
Gabriella, I also LOVE kitchari. It’s the ultimate comfort food. If you do a cleanse let me know how it goes… XO