Kapha Balancing Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Chili with Roasted Green Salsa

Springtime, also known as kapha season, gives the opportunity to slough off the stagnancy of winter as gentle showers replace snowstorms and May flowers awaken the dormancy in the natural world. As this season of rebirth and renewal emerges, the once balancing foods of winter (vata season) give way to lighter fare. For example, the heavy stews, winter squashes, root vegetables and sweet baked fruits that were recommended during vata season can now be replaced with lighter soups, seasonal steamed vegetables like mustard greens, peas and/or asparagus and more astringent fruits like cherries and apricots. According to Ayurveda, foods that contain a light, dry and warming quality are considered to be balancing to kapha because they have the ability to gently cleanse the body, stimulate digestion (agni) and pacify the heavy, dense, moist, cool, static and dull qualities associated with this dosha. Therefore, if you are currently experiencing common kapha season imbalances such as lethargy, fatigue, allergies and/or gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea, low appetite and/or sluggish digestion, we encourage you to explore our kapha balancing foods list so that you may support your body and mind with the best foods for your current needs. Additionally, if appropriate, we recommend daily movement practices like kapha pacifying yoga and pranayama, dance and/or cardiovascular exercise in order to promote lightness, warmth and mobility. 

The astringent and spicy qualities of black beans and chilis are also considered to be excellent foods to help keep kapha dosha in harmony as both contain a light, dry, stimulating and warming energy that will counteract the heavy, moist, dull and cool energy of kapha dosha. By combining kapha balancing foods with kapha balancing spices, your kitchen can become your wellness apothecary! Remember, Ayurveda states that the root cause of all disease is improper digestion; therefore, when we eat the appropriate foods and spices, digestion will be optimized, the tissues of the body will be supported and the body and mind will experience equanimity. 

Below we share with you a long-time favorite recipe of ours- Black Bean Chili with Roasted Green Salsa. This meal is satisfying to the taste buds and brings in the astringent, pungent and bitter tastes which support healthy levels of kapha dosha in the body and mind. As you prepare the recipes below, you can also incorporate the 15 Ayurvedic Guidelines for Healthy Eating. This way you will make the act of preparing and enjoying your food a sacred ritual of self-love and self-care. This is known in Ayurveda as food sadhana



  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano 
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 15 ounces freshly chopped tomatoes (canned tomatoes are an alternative to freshly chopped tomatoes)
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke, optional 
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice 
  • 1 to 2 bunches of dark leafy seasonal greens (mustard greens, chard, kale &/or spinach)
Black bean chili withe roasted green salsa ingredients


  1. Soak the black beans overnight, making sure there is enough water in the bowl to cover the beans completely. Once soaked, drain the water from the beans and place them into a large pot. Add enough fresh water to cover the beans completely. Bring the pot to a boil and cook the beans on medium heat for 15 minutes. Drain the beans again, add 5 cups of fresh water and the bay leaf, and bring to a boil, allowing to simmer for 20 minutes. 

  2. Heat the safflower or grapeseed oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped onions. Saute the onions allowing them to soften. Add the cumin powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika, stirring the spices into the onions for 1 minute. Next, add the garlic and continue stirring everything together for an additional minute. 

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, including any remaining juice, and liquid smoke if using. Allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. 

  4. Pour the spiced tomato mixture into the pot of black beans and simmer for 30-90 minutes, depending on when the black beans are soft and ready to eat. As the chili cooks, add boiling water when needed so that your chili stays your desired thickness and consistency. 

  5. When the chili is nearly ready, add the fresh lime juice and your dark leafy seasonal greens. 

  6. Before serving, season to taste. 

  7. You can enjoy this Black Bean Chili by itself or over a small bed of kapha balancing grains such as quinoa or white basmati rice. Cassava tortilla chips also add a nice crunch, while microgreens add a beautiful kapha balancing garnish.


Make ahead of time or prepare as your Black Bean Chili is simmering.


  • 1 to tablespoons safflower or grapeseed oil
  • 12 small tomatillos, husked
  • ½ onion, peeled
  • 3 small poblano peppers
  • 1 head of garlic (you will have extra garlic to incorporate into other recipes)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
basket of tomatillos


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Use your hands to rub safflower or grapeseed oil evenly over the tomatillos, onion and peppers before placing on the baking sheet. Chop off the top of the garlic head, place on a square of foil, drizzle with a little bit of your oil, wrap into a bundle and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until tomatillos burst and peppers are blistered. The garlic bulb should feel soft. Cool all the vegetables down until they are comfortable to handle. Coarsely chop tomatillos, onion and peppers together in a bowl. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic and mash with a fork into the salsa mixture. Stir in cilantro. Serve at room temperature on top of the Black Bean Chili. 

Thirty minutes prior to enjoying your Black Bean Chili and Roasted Green Salsa, you can blend up a digestive churna easily by using our Kapha Spice Blend! This blend contains digestive spices like ginger, pippali, black pepper and cinnamon and is designed to rekindle and strengthen low or weak agni that has been upset by a disturbance in kapha dosha. You may also find that you like the taste of this Spice Blend sprinkled on top of your chili or mixed into your black beans as they cook.

We hope you find this kapha balancing meal both delicious and supportive to your current needs. To learn more about your unique blend and current state of the doshas, you can take our Dosha Quiz and/or meet with our in-house Clinical Ayurvedic SpecialistLaurel Odom

Kapha Balancing Products

Tomatillo photo by Mark Stebnicki

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