Ayurveda, yoga’s ancient sister science, has long promoted food and diet as a principal means of creating health in the mind and body.
In contrast to the Western concept of diet, Ayurvedic eating is about mindfully selecting and preparing foods that will best serve each person on their unique journey to optimal health and wellness.
We’ve collected some of our favorite simple and healthy Ayurvedic recipes that you can recreate at home in no time.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- What Is The Ayurvedic Diet?
- The Three Ayurvedic Doshas
- Pitta Balancing Recipes
- Vata Balancing Recipes
- Kapha Balancing Recipes
Grab your apron and let’s begin!
What is the Ayurvedic diet?
The name is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Ayu’, meaning Life, and ‘Veda’, meaning Knowledge, thus translating literally as ‘the Science of Life’.
In contrast to the one-off-treatment approach which pervades Western modern medicine, Ayurveda is an alternative approach to health that emphasizes bringing balance to the mind and body and holistic wellness.
Key to Ayurveda is the belief that all disease begins in the digestive tract and that food should be the primary source of medicine.
More specifically, following a healthy Ayurvedic diet tailored to the needs of your dominant Ayurvedic Dosha is a powerful way to experience optimal health.
The Three Ayurvedic DoshasDoshas‘ – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These Doshas make up our life energies, metabolic patterns, and body types. When the Doshas are unbalanced, disease and illness occur.
It’s essential to understand which Ayurvedic body type you are and where balance needs to be restored – for instance, oily foods are very good for a Vata person but simultaneously bad for a Kapha person.
Pitta combines fire and water. It is responsible for digestion, metabolism, and clarity of thought and is associated with qualities such as hot, light, penetrating, and sharp.
To restore balance to the Pitta Dosha, you should focus on cooling, energizing and refreshing foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Think cucumbers, melons, coconut, coriander, and mint.
Vata is the strongest Dosha in the body, consisting of air and space.
The primary features of Vata Dosha are cold, dry, and light. Therefore, a Vata-pacifying diet should favor warming, moisturizing, grounding, and fatty foods which help lubricate the bodily tissues. Dried fruits, bitter herbs, and raw vegetables should be limited.
The Kapha Dosha is made up of earth and water elements and therefore is characterized by coldness, heaviness, steadiness, softness, and stability.
Those with an overactive Kapha Dosha may suffer from asthma, diabetes, and metabolic issues. To balance this, they should favor dry, warming, flavor-filled foods over heavy, cold, and oily foods.
Pitta balancing Ayurvedic recipes
The following Ayurvedic recipes are designed to balance and cool an excessively fiery Pitta Dosha by incorporating soothing foods, spices, and herbs.
For more information about what you should and shouldn’t eat for the Pitta Dosha, check out The Ideal Pitta Diet.
#1 Pitta Balancing Kitchari Recipe
This nourishing, easily digested two-grain dish is a staple in Ayurvedic eating.
In fact, many people participate in a ‘Kitchari Cleanse‘; a mono-diet of this classic Ayurvedic dish thought to detox the body, improve digestion, and boost energy levels.
However, always consult an Ayurvedic specialist before attempting this cleanse as it can do more harm than good if you are unprepared or have health complications.
Whilst this specific recipe focuses on pacifying the Pitta Dosha, it is also appropriate for those seeking to balance an overactive Vata Dosha.
- 1/2 cup white basmati rice
- 1/2 cup yellow split mung dal
- 1 courgette, cubed
- 2 carrots, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups of green beans
- 2 tbs ghee
- 1 tbs turmeric
- 1 tbs cumin seeds
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 6 cups of water
- Fresh coriander to serve
Wash and soak the mung dal and rice for at least 3 hours to ensure optimal digestion. Drain and rinse well.
Heat the ghee in a pan on medium heat, add your seeds and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Add your rice and mung dal, followed by your chopped vegetables and the remainder of your spices, as well as a pinch of salt.
Add 6 cups of water to the kitchari, bring to the boil and cook on a medium heat for 30-45 minutes. Add water to prevent burning if needed.
Serve with a smile and enjoy!
#2 Pitta Balancing Cinnamon and Cardamom Oatmeal
This is an ideal substantial and slow-releasing breakfast option for a fast-metabolizing Pitta-dominant person.
- 1 cup organic rolled oats
- 2 cups coconut milk
- Small piece of fresh ginger
- 1 chopped apple
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds to top
Heat your coconut milk in a pan and add the ginger, raisins and apples. Simmer on a low heat and add your spices, ghee and oats.
Cook slowly and stir occasionally until your oatmeal is soft and smooth. Add a small amount of water if the consistency begins to look a little too dry.
Top with pumpkin and sunflower seeds for some extra soothing goodness. Serve immediately.
#3 Pitta Balancing Cucumber Raita
The cooling cucumber and yogurt used in this Ayurvedic recipe pacifies an overactive Pitta and promotes Kapha. Pair this refreshing, soothing side dish with a curry or simply serve with naan and enjoy.
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 4 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tbsp ghee
Peel and grate your cucumbers, discarding of the excess liquid.
Heat the ghee in a pan on medium heat and add the seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the rest of the spices and take the pan off the heat to cool.
Stir together the yogurt and grated cucumber, and add your spices. Mix well and enjoy!
Vata balancing Ayurvedic recipes
The following recipes contain foods that will lubricate and moisturize a cold, dry, overactive Vata.
The Vata Dosha tends to favor warm, moist, oily, and grounding foods while restricting dried fruits, bitter herbs, and raw vegetables.
Do you identify with the Vata body type? For more information on which foods help balance a dominating Vata Dosha, check out our article on The Ideal Vata Diet.
#4 Vata Balancing Butternut Squash Soup
This hearty, well-spiced, warming soup is ideal for colder months. This recipe includes root vegetables and other in-season foods that are naturally Vata-calming.
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 chopped butternut squash
- 3 large carrots
- 1 leek
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°. Roast your chopped squash for 40 minutes (or until cooked).
Meanwhile, heat your ghee in a large pot on medium heat. Add your spices, ginger, and bay leaves and cook until fragrant, taking care not to burn. Add your chopped carrots and leek into the pan and cook until soft and golden.
Now add your cups of water, bring your pot to the boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Add your roasted squash and simmer for a further 20 minutes before taking the pot off the heat to cool.
Once cooled, remove the bay leaves and blend the soup with your blending device of choice. Reheat the soup before serving and garnish with a handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley.
#5 Vata Balancing Oven Cooked Salmon
Vata is balanced by eating foods that are oily and moisturizing, so this healthy salmon recipe is a must.
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 inch minced fresh ginger
- 2 sustainably sourced salmon fillets
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh thyme and rosemary to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Heat your ghee in an iron skillet or oven proof frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Squeeze 1 of your lemon halves into the pan and stir well.
Add the salmon fillets to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, spooning some of the sauce on top of the fillets. Season with cayenne, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Cut your remaining lemon half into wedges and add them to the pan.
Transfer your pan into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Once the fillets are cooked, remove from the oven and spoon more of the sauce on top of them. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary.
Serve with steamed asparagus and whole-grain rice.
#6 Vata Balancing Tofu Stir Fry
This tofu-veggie stir fry is a tasty weekday favorite. Tofu is a protein source that clears heat, detoxifies, firms up stools, and moisturizes the lungs and skin, hence balancing a dry Vata Dosha.
- Extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 bunch of chard
- 1 carrot
- 1 courgette
- soy sauce to taste
Drain, press and dice your tofu.
Melt your ghee in an iron skillet on a medium-high heat and add your tofu, drizzling a small amount of soy sauce over. Cook until the tofu is golden all over.
Add your chopped carrots, onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for one minute, then add the chopped courgette and cook for a further two minutes. Now add your chopped chard and sauté until the leaves have wilted.
Stir in the sesame seeds and sesame oil, and plate up! You can serve this dish with basmati rice, noodles, or simply on its own.
Kapha Balancing Ayurvedic Recipes
Finally, the heavy, lethargic Kapha Dosha limits heavy foods like nuts, seeds, dairy, fat and meat in favor of fruits, veggies, and legumes.
The following Ayurvedic recipes are all designed to rejuvenate the mind and body by reducing Kapha.
#7 Kapha Balancing Red Lentil Lemongrass Soup
Banish any feelings of sluggishness with this warm, stimulating, Kapha-balancing dish. This recipe includes pippali, which enhances immunity and rejuvenation, and soothing lemongrass.
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- ¼ onion, chopped
- 2–3 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 inch peeled ginger
- ¾ teaspoons turmeric powder
- ½ red chili
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 4 tbsp lemongrass paste (see above)
- 1 tsp pippali powder
- 1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 5 tbsp fresh minced coriander
- 2 tsp lime juice
- Salt to taste
Begin by making your lemongrass paste. Blend together your sunflower oil, trimmed lemongrass stalks, turmeric, ginger, chilli, kaffir leaf and garlic until it consists of a thick paste.
Heat your ghee in a pan on medium heat and add your lemongrass paste, salt and pippali powder, cooking for half a minute before adding your tomatoes. Now add the lentils and cups of water and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer for 10 minutes.
When the lentils appear softened, add your coriander and lime juice and mix well. Serve immediately and enjoy!
#8 Kapha Balancing Sweet Potato and Kale
This healthy, nourishing dish will sustain you throughout the day without making you feel full and tired.
Ginger, an ayurvedic staple, is a natural anti-inflammatory and digestion-booster, whilst the nutrient-rich kale lightens the heaviness of Kapha.
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 bunch of kale
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- Fresh thyme
- 1 green jalapeno
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander
- Salt to taste
Peel and dice your sweet potato into small chunks and bake in the oven until soft. Set aside for later.
Place your washed kale into a large saucepan with 1 cup of water, add a small pinch of salt and bring it to a boil before simmering for around 5 minutes. Once the kale is cooked, drain the pan and roughly slice the leaves.
Heat your ghee in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, thyme, and thinly sliced jalapeño and cook until the garlic has browned, infusing into the oil. Discard the garlic.
Now add your sweet potato to the pan and sauté until the potato is hot and golden. Add your cooked kale to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring in the coriander and lime juice at the last minute.
Serve quickly and enjoy!
Dosha Quiz | Discover My Ayurvedic Body Type
Knowing your dosha can provide a window into your inner world.
Whether Vata, Pitta, or Kapha, or a combination of all three, you'll receive tailored information on your unique dosha composition at the end of the quiz.
Answer each question instinctively, try not to overthink!