By Vickie Bhatia, Ph.D., Whole30 Certified Coach

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is the biggest and most important Hindu holiday of the year. Although food is a central part of the holiday, don’t let the celebration derail your Whole30! A lot of Indian food is naturally Whole30 compatible or can easily be modified without sacrificing flavor or spice.

Plan Ahead Strategies

Mithai (Indian sweets) are a common part of Diwali celebrations and are often given as gifts and used to welcome guests into one’s home. Unfortunately, these are all going to contain non-compatible ingredients. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!

The most important part of Diwali is spending time with loved ones. Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on the aspects of the celebration that are meaningful to you–lighting diyas (little clay lamps), visiting with family, inviting friends into your home, participating in pujas or other worship, giving gifts, etc.

If part of your celebration includes worship and receiving prasada (a religious offering consumed after worship–similar to receiving communion in Catholicism), most temples offer prasada options that are naturally Whole30 compatible, such as almonds, coconut, or fruit. These can also be given as Diwali gifts to hosts or family members–instead of bringing a box of mithai, bring an assortment of nuts (check your labels to ensure any roasted nuts are cooked in compatible oil, or get raw nuts instead). Cashews, almonds, and pistachios are widely eaten in Indian households.

Think about how you will handle situations where you are offered mithai before you go to any Diwali celebration. This is when it is really helpful to create some IF/THEN statements (see page 27 of The Whole30 for more information).

For example:

  • IF someone offers me mithai, THEN I will decline or ask for some nuts instead.
  • IF there is a special mithai I really want/like, THEN I will ask to take a piece home and freeze it for after my Whole30 and reintroduction is complete.
  • IF they are bringing dessert out, THEN I will go outside to light diyas or watch fireworks and instead focus on the festivities.

Whole30 Diwali Appetizer or Snack: Aloo Tikki from Masala Paleo

About this recipe (written by Priya Anavarathan and Deepshikha Ganjoo of Masala Paleo):

Since Indian sweets or “mithai” and deep-fried savory snacks served during Diwali are not compatible with Whole30, serving a pan-fried savory traditional snack like the aloo tikki would be a great addition to your Whole30 Diwali menu! Aloo tikki is a popular Indian street food or “chaat” made with boiled potatoes mixed with peas, herbs, onions and spices. This can be served as an appetizer or as a side to your main course.

Aloo tikkis are often sold at street side food carts as well as served at home during festivities like Diwali. Growing up in India, we have fond memories of going Diwali shopping with our families and walking around beautifully lit up markets. The alleys and streets would be teeming with food carts selling lip smacking Diwali goodies and we would hop from one cart to the other, devouring the deliciousness till we were bursting at the seams. My favorite snack has always been these aloo tikkis. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor – the smell, the sight and the taste of these tikkis always transports us back to our childhood Diwali celebrations.

We made a few changes to the recipe to make it Whole30 compatible without compromising on taste. Traditionally, people use lentil flour or corn flour to bind the potatoes. Instead of these non-compatible ingredients, we used egg as a binder and coated the tikkis with almond flour (as an optional step). We also made sure the chaat masala spice mix we used was compatible and did not contain any gluten or asafoetida (which often contains gluten).

Aloo Tikki with Green Chutney

5 from 2 votes
Servings 4


For the Green Chutney

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (packed, hard stems removed)
  • ½ cup mint leaves (packed, all stems removed)
  • ginger 1" piece
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Water as needed

For the Aloo Tikki

  • 4 medium potatoes boiled, peeled and cooled
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ small finely chopped onion
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of egg (whisk 1 egg and use just 2 to 3 tbsps)
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp compatible Fruit Chaat masala (optional) (Refer to the recipe notes for options)
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ cup almond flour (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil


Make the Green Chutney

  • ADD all the ingredients in a blender.
  • ADD just enough water so that you can blend the ingredients well.
  • BLEND till you have a smooth paste.

Make the Aloo Tikki

  • COOL boiled potatoes completely and mash them well into a bowl.
  • ADD the frozen peas, chopped onion, cilantro, red chilli powder, cumin powder, the optional Chaat masala, & whisked egg and mix it well.
  • LET it sit for 15 minutes to reduce the stickiness and make it easier to shape into patties.
  • FORM small balls out of the potato and peas mix.
  • FLATTEN the balls to make patties and pat them on the almond flour to coat the outside (coating them in almond flour is optional).
  • REST the patties for about 20 minutes (helps in holding the shape while cooking)
  • ADD oil to a pan and COOK the patties over medium high heat for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • DRIZZLE a few drops of the oil around the patties, if needed (use very little oil, as too much oil can make the patties mushy).
  • FLIP and cook on the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  • SERVE immediately with the Green Chutney.


Chaat masala is a versatile blend of Indian spices used to add a punch to savory snacks, grilled meat dishes like kebabs, salads and even some Indian drinks. It has ingredients like black salt, dried mango powder, coriander and cumin. Not only is this spice mix perfect for Indian street food but it’s tangy flavor enhances the flavor of anything it is added to. For a Whole30 compatible version, please make sure this spice mix does not have Asafoetida/Hing as that may contain traces of gluten. If you can’t find a Chaat masala which is Whole30 compatible, you can use 1 tsp of lemon juice, or lemon juice and 1/4 tsp black salt, which adds the distinct flavour of the Chaat masala. If using black salt adjust the regular salt accordingly. We have used fruit Chaat masala as it has no asafoetida added, and is Whole30 compatible.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Whole30 Diwali Main Dish: Aloo Gobi by Vickie Bhatia

This spiced potato and cauliflower dish can either be a vegetarian main dish or a hearty veggie side dish.

Whole30 Diwali Recipes 1

Whole30 Diwali Main Dish: Aloo Gobi by Vickie Bhatia

5 from 1 vote


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (approx. 6 cups of florets)
  • 4 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (approx. 3 cups)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seed removed, finely diced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 tbsp avocado or olive oil (do not use coconut oil)
  • 2 tbsp ghee

For the Spice Mixture

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (or 2 tsp cumin powder)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  • HEAT oil and ghee on medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the minced ginger, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
  • ADD tomatoes and jalapeno and sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • ADD all spices, reduce the heat, and combine until the oil is absorbed. It will resemble a thick paste.
  • ADD potatoes, stir to combine with the spices, cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes
  • ADD cauliflower florets, stir to combine and make sure spices fully coat the cauliflower. Add 2 tsp water and cover. Cook on low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, but not soggy. Uncover and cook for 1-2 minutes if there is any remaining liquid at the bottom of the pan. Cook on low heat until all liquid is evaporated.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Whole30 Diwali Main Dish: Butter Chicken by Marissa Allen of First And Full

Looking for another main dish option? This Butter Chicken recipe by Marissa Allen of First and Full is a great addition to your menu.

Whole30 Diwali Side Dish: Bhindi (Okra) by Vickie Bhatia

This popular Indian dish is made with okra, onions, tomatoes, and spices and is an easy and delicious side dish.


Whole30 Diwali Side Dish: Bhindi (Okra) by Vickie Bhatia

5 from 1 vote


  • 12 oz okra
  • 1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 plum tomato, large chopped
  • 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil do not use coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee

For the Spice Mixture

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 1/4 tsp cumin powder)
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  • WASH and pat dry the okra. If the okra is not fully dry when you cut it, it can be very slimy. Trim and discard the edges of the okra. Cut the remaining okra into half-inch rounds.
  • HEAT the oil and ghee in a pan on low/medium heat. Do not have the heat too high or this will brown the okra. Add okra, stir to coat in oil, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the okra is no longer slimy.
  • ADD the red onion and spices, stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • ADD tomatoes, cover and cook another 3-4 minutes until tomatoes soften. Uncover and cook additional 1-2 minutes for any remaining liquid to evaporate.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Vickie Bhatia

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Vickie Bhatia is a licensed clinical psychologist who has extensive specialized training in evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma, disordered eating, and relationship dissatisfaction. In addition, she works with clients on issues such as self-esteem/self-worth, difficulty managing or coping with negative emotions, self-care, stress management, sleep difficulties, and coping skills (including emotional eating). As a Whole30 Coach, Dr. Bhatia helps individuals examine the relationship between physical and psychological health, and create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. Visit her at

Priya Anavarathan and Deepshikha Ganjoo

Recipe Creators | Masala Paleo

Masala Paleo is the brainchild of Priya Anavarathan and Deepshikha Ganjoo, also known as Pri and Dee! We met virtually through a health and fitness community on Facebook and now we both are part of the amazing team that leads and runs the group. Spreading the love for fitness and nutrition to women in our community is a passion we feel very strongly about. We both ended up trying the Whole30 in our journey to heal our bodies through food. One suffering from PCOS while the other with an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos, we started being our own advocates and exploring how certain foods were affecting our bodies. The Whole 30 was an eye opening experience for us, and made us realize that eliminating certain foods from our diet helped us heal in ways that actual medicines couldn’t. Now we both are strong advocates of this food philosophy. Indian food is our soul food, so we have experimented and learnt how to make our soul food Whole 30 compatible. Through our food freedom, we also focus on gluten free Indian Food. During our Whole30, we realized there were very few resources out there for Whole30 India and Gluten Free food, so we decided to share what we learnt out through a lot of experimentation with you all. With Dee being from the very north of India and Pri being from the very south, we cover Indian recipes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and everything in between. If you thought Whole30 Indian recipes were limited to just chicken tikka masala, you are in for a treat !