best vegan lentil soup recipe // via @thefirstmesspin it!pin it!
When I was going to culinary school, one of our instructors would frequently remind us that all of the fuss, the immense preparation for a 7:30 am cooking lab, the pressure, the precisely laid out plans of attack, the possible fear of inadequacy; it was all just for the sake of food. If you screwed up, the end result would still be edible and quite nourishing, perhaps with a touch more salt, the faintest splash of acid and a bit more time on the fire next time though.

And that was fine. The phrase certainly helped take some of the pressure off; not in a way that made you apathetic either. It just helped your hands to shake less when you were tying up roulades, mindful of the distant but aware gaze from the chef professor. You wouldn’t over-think it if you decided to throw a whole clove in to steep with a savory apple, onion and balsamic jam. You knew it would work and it freed you up to focus on your small dices, sautes, blanches, on and on. It helped us to consider the bigger picture.

The “just food” mantra has worked its way into my home cooking too.  Making soup used to be a rather daunting task to me. I always thought that soup was the one simple thing that showed real kitchen prowess. It was certain proof of authentic experience. Thinking of its transformative nature, its ability to turn inexpensive items, scraps, leftovers and afterthoughts into something comforting and whole, a dish with renewed purpose and character, was intimidating as hell to me.

When it finally kicked in that it was just food, an infinitely variable nourishing substance no matter the end result, the soups started tasting a lot better. I take my time, taste as I go and linger over the pot so as to take it all in with every languid stir. I’ve also realized that most soups can be quite forgiving if you take a wrong turn, use too much spice or absentmindedly forget to stir up some rapidly browning onions. It all comes out in the wash. Everyone eats and feels warm and everything is certainly quite good with a decent crust of bread.

This is my go-to lentil soup. It’s a bit smoky and rich with pimenton, tomatoes and olive oil, studded with the usual celery, carrots and onions, earthy and lemony  from thyme and tarragon. It is a simple serving of food that has great effect. Rather easily thrown together but complex and rich. Economical but satiating and full of grace. It is something that every home cook can (and should) tuck under their sleeve for when the deep winter chill sets into the bones and the variety of vegetables winds down to a bit of a minimum. It embodies the benefits of preparation and self-care and it makes your heart feel warm, maybe going a little bit past the criteria of “just food.”

best vegan lentil soup recipe // via @thefirstmesspin it!
best vegan lentil soup recipe // via @thefirstmesspin it!
favourite lentil soup with tomatoes, tarragon and garlic
serves: makes a big pot
notes: I know a 1/4 cup sounds like a lot of oil, but this makes a giant pot of very nutritious food. The volume of oil helps to stew the onions, garlic and herbs so that they effortlessly melt into the soup, meshing all of the flavours seamlessly (and rather luxuriously). Alternatively, you can use less oil and add spoonfuls of stock gradually to prevent sticking/over-browning.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, small diced
4-5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
2 tsp dried tarragon, crushed up with your fingers a bit
1 tsp smoked paprika
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and small diced
1 large stalk celery, small diced
1 28 ounce can dicd tomatoes
1 1/3 cups french lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
6ish cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium low. Add the onions and saute for at least 10 minutes, stirring them around frequently. It shouldn’t sizzle too loudly, this is a slow-cooking kind of process. When the onions are quite soft, add the herbs and paprika and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring all the while. Add the garlic and stir until very fragrant. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.

Add the can of tomatoes and stir  to coat vegetables. Cook out the tomatoes for about 5 minutes so as to remove some of their raw, tin-y-ness. Add drained lentils and stir to coat in the vegetables, oil and tomatoes. Add a splash of the stock and scrape any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add remaining stock, give the whole mix a good stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return pot to a simmer, cover with a heavy lid and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Check in on the pot once in a while and give it a stir. Season to your liking

Serve hot with a bit of fresh herb on top and a nice crust of bread.

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  • Kirsten16/01/2012 - 9:10 pm

    This soup sounds heavenly! The use of smoked paprika and tarragon are intriguing. I just love the look of the French lentils after they’re rinsed and they look like tiny tortoise shells. I find they keep their shape well and see why they’d be great in this soup. This recipe is definitely on my “to-make” list soon. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Ali Seiter16/01/2012 - 10:13 pm

    Goodness, I’d love to dive right into a bowl of that soup. It certainly looks gorgeous, nourishing, and comforting, that’s for sure. The seasonings are also among some of my favorite spices and herbs–this recipe is going straight onto my “must make” list.ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine16/01/2012 - 10:32 pm

    This soup looks like winter in a bowl…such lovely seasonal flavour.

    I have just come across your lovely blog and look forward to reading more :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah17/01/2012 - 9:17 am

    Homemade soup is one of my essentials – I like to take it to work for my lunch throughout the week and the making of it is part of my Sunday rital. I’ll certainly be giving this a go. It sounds wonderfully filling!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea17/01/2012 - 9:52 am

    Your blog looks great! ComplimentiReplyCancel

  • Michelle A17/01/2012 - 7:56 pm

    God knows I love a lentil soup! What a lovely recipe! Will definitely be making this when I’m back in my kitchen. Also: that toast slathered in butter makes my mouth water.ReplyCancel

  • jess white @athriftyfoodie18/01/2012 - 6:31 am

    yes! a lentil soup that is made with dried lentils, you rarely see this!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie18/01/2012 - 9:55 am

    What a beautiful soup. I just love that red color!ReplyCancel

  • Hurst Beans18/01/2012 - 1:11 pm

    Great recipe, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Karin18/01/2012 - 5:20 pm

    Thank you for a great recipe! I haven’t seen French lentils in my stores; I’m wondering if I can sub red or brown lentils?ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/01/2012 - 6:09 pm

      Hi Karin, I think the brown might be a better substitute since the red ones cook a lot faster and can go a bit mushy. Or if you can find them under the name “de puy”, those are a good bet too.
      -LReplyCancel

  • rx4foodies18/01/2012 - 11:51 pm

    I’m always looking for a good soup recipe… I can’t wait to try this! This is perfect for my 30 days of veganism :)ReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ DailyWaffle19/01/2012 - 12:21 am

    When I saw this soup on this very snowy Seattle morning, I thought, please please please let me have some du Puy lentils in the cupboard. This lentil soup is a keeper, and it was perfect for a wintry night. I have to admit, I did start it off by rendering 3 slices of diced bacon.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa22/01/2012 - 3:24 pm

    Your recipes and photos are so gorgeous! Thrilled that I found your site. =)ReplyCancel

  • […] French Lentil Soup w/Tomatoes, Tarragon, & Garlic – I’m a huge lentil fan and the pictures of this are just fantastic. If it tastes even half as good as it looks it might be my new favorite dish. (Image Credit: The First Mess) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I made a HUGE pot of bean soup last Friday. And when I say huge, I mean huge. I took this recipe http://thefirstmess.com/2012/01/16/favourite-lentil-soup/ and switched it a little bit. I did it all in the crock pot and used the 10 bean soup mix from the […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah26/01/2012 - 6:16 pm

    I made this soup last weekend and it was incredible. I’ve never made anything with thyme and tarragon before – crazy, I know! – and I loved the lemony flavor. Will be making this again!ReplyCancel

  • […] love Laura’s blog The First Mess, and she posted a recipe last week that was of her favorite lentil soup. I thought, I’ve got to make it this […]ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate27/01/2012 - 12:09 am

    Marvelous recipe and post, Laura! I’ve been hunting for a lentil soup that looks just right and here it is. I didn’t know that you had gone to culinary school, that’s so cool. I really only get nervous that something will be “just right” when I’m cooking for company. When I talk to people about cooking, though, I’m always reiterating that it’s not difficult to make something tasty—just mix together foods that taste good together and it will be, as you said, “edible and quite nourishing.”ReplyCancel

  • […] doing a bit of meal planning too. Time to get cooking again, it has been awhile. On the list is lentil soup, tofu balls and tofu ricotta lasagna. That’s a lot of tofu, I swear I don’t eat it […]ReplyCancel

  • Christina Lockwood30/01/2012 - 10:18 pm

    Thank you so much for another delicious recipe! You had me at the description and pics, lentils are a winter staple always look forward to. My family devoured the soup tonight with smiles :) The only change I made was I used fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced, in lieu of the canned tomatoes. A new favorite!ReplyCancel

  • […] chose 2 dishes – I’m going to make pulled pork in the slow cooker and then french lentil soup.  Both recipes comes highly recommended, pulled pork from my sister-in-law and the french lentil […]ReplyCancel

  • […] ready for lunches. The wee one loves it topped with avocado. You wonder what goes in the soup? This! Sometimes I put a handful or orzo in too, just for good […]ReplyCancel

  • […] the plan was to only make pulled pork and lentil soup, but then I decided to add jalapeno cheddar beer bread and an apple tart to the list. The pulled […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Lentil and Early Carrot Soup: adapted from The First Mess serves […]ReplyCancel

  • Emily18/09/2012 - 3:14 am

    This is my new favourite soup! And by new, I don’t really mean new because I have made it over 5 times this winter.

    I’m making a double batch tonight – half for my freezer and half for a new mum.

    This soup has such lovely, deep flavours and is so nourishing. It is a ‘feel-good’ soup and I am so grateful you’ve shared it.ReplyCancel

  • […] One of my favorite simple pleasures in the whole wide world is this. You read a new recipe and you have all of the ingredients in your pantry/freezer already. It was fate. I was MEANT to make this for dinner last night. Have y’all tried smoked paprika? If not you should get some. If you do you can make this soup that my MIL loves—>SOUP […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Bon Appetit’s Basmati Rice and Summer Vegetable Salad; a bathtub-sized pot of Laura’s French Lentil Soup with Tomatoes, Tarragon, and Garlic; and 125 of Leanne’s Candy Apple […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This French lentil soup with pimenton and tarragon. It never gets old. […]ReplyCancel

  • Lynette21/03/2013 - 12:49 pm

    I have never seen “french lentils” so if I can’t find them can I use other lentils instead? I love lentil soups and usually make a beef lentil and just freeze it up so that I can have it during the cold season.ReplyCancel

  • Valeria22/03/2013 - 4:22 am

    We made this last night and we were so so impressed –so tasty! We added a handful of mushrooms we had in the fridge, too. Loved it, especially the smokey note from the paprika. Thanks for sharing this!ReplyCancel

  • Miachel (Spiced Curiosity)01/06/2013 - 10:17 pm

    Beautiful in the utmost. Lentils are a definite soulfood.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah10/09/2013 - 9:27 pm

    Hey, just wanted to say that I am really impressed with your blog and the recipes I’ve tried so far including this one. Thanks for all your hard work, it is appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • Inés02/10/2013 - 6:17 pm

    We made this today and it was really great!
    Thank you for the recipe =)
    We had some self-baked bread with it, but less stock (about 2 cups), as we wanted to have something more stew-like.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie21/10/2013 - 3:14 pm

    As a college student who appreciates hearty, wholesome food, this soup was fabulous, especially as it’s getting cold and I’m confined endless studying in my apartment. Not to mention that my boyfriend are two hearty helpings!ReplyCancel

  • […] squash is perfectly balanced by the cauliflower and balsamic caramelized onions. I think I found the perfect lentil soup recipe this week courtesy of The First Mess. I made two minor tweaks: I added a about a cup of […]ReplyCancel

  • Angel15/01/2014 - 12:58 pm

    This looks simply divine! Do you have the nutritional content, by any chance? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright16/01/2014 - 9:35 am

      Hi Angel, I’m not really aware of the nutrition content, but you can always plug the ingredients into nutritiondata.com if you’re curious.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Taylor19/01/2014 - 4:40 pm

    Made this yesterday and I still don’t really understand how such humble ingredients can turn into something so luxurious tasting (though I suspect the 1/4C of oil has something to do with it). Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Laura21/01/2014 - 3:49 pm

    I made this soup last night and it was delicious! This is the first time I have ever cooked with tarragon, which is a shame because I really enjoyed it. I also added cayenne, because I can not seem to ever make soup and not add it. I am sure it’s going to taste even better after having the flavors sit overnight. I can’t wait to try some of your other vegan recipes!ReplyCancel

  • Annie | MontgomeryFest28/01/2014 - 4:11 pm

    This is one of our favorite recipes, but my husband usually cooks..this the first time I’ve seen it and I’m LOVing your blog! The photos are beautiful! Thanks for the recipe..ReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwood30/01/2014 - 3:59 pm

    look forward to trying this recipeReplyCancel

  • lisa07/02/2014 - 9:34 pm

    Just made this soup for my family and boyfriend. They all loved it and had seconds. I will definitely have to try the rest of your recipes. This one was divine.ReplyCancel

  • Tina10/02/2014 - 10:01 am

    Love it, but I can’t even print it out??ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright10/02/2014 - 4:48 pm

      Hi Tina, if you want to print it you’ll have to copy and paste the recipe into a word processor/notepad app/google document for now. Haven’t found a recipe display plug-in that I’m happy with yet. Hopefully some day!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Favourite Lentil Soup by, The First Mess {featured above} […]ReplyCancel

  • Jamie G24/02/2014 - 1:02 am

    I made this soup tonight for good friends including kids and everyone loved it! Thank you so much for your beautiful website and delicious recipes. As a reluctant cook, I am inspired and enjoying cooking more than before!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren20/03/2014 - 3:46 pm

    Made this tonight. Realized I didn’t have as many lentil “du puy” as I thought, so I was forced to make do and use 1/2 du puy and 1/2 red lentils. Turned out great–the taste is really good.

    I would say that I come from a big family, so for me a “big pot” is more than this made. After everything was finished, I ended up with about 6 large soup bowl servings, but was expecting a little bit more. Might reduce the oil bc of this next time.

    Great recipe and glad to have it in my repertoire!ReplyCancel

  • 6 Super Filling Soup Recipes28/04/2014 - 11:08 am

    […] Lentil soup is a classic for a reason—beyond its family friendly flavor profile, lentils are considered one of the healthiest foods you could ever eat. Because they’re dried, these little beans take a fraction of the time to soften up, adding body and velvety texture to every bite. One cup of lentils gives you over 60% of your recommended daily amount of fiber, so you’ll be good to go all day. Classic Lentil Soup Recipe […]ReplyCancel

  • Chelle Gonzalez23/09/2014 - 1:11 am

    This was so good! I made it tonight for dinner and my son will be taking some for lunch this week. We give it 10 stars ;) thank you!! And your blog and photos are beautiful!!ReplyCancel

  • allison10/12/2014 - 3:21 pm

    this soup is coming out really good, I’m making it now!I’m happy because I’ve tried to make other lentil soup recipes and they were disappointing, but this looked so good from the photo, I thought I’d give it a try and voila! it is delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Tracee02/01/2015 - 12:05 am

    I’ve made this soup a few times now and I absolutely love it. It’s simple, inexpensive to make (like pretty much every recipe off of the First Mess) and so nourishing. Plus it’s perfectly warming for the winter months. Even my boyfriend couldn’t stop slurping it down. Highly recommended!ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Plummer02/01/2015 - 3:08 pm

    OMG I made this today and I cant stop eating it – I added a finely chopped green chilli for an extra kick – next time I am going to add some mixed beans from a can at the end of the cooking just to make it more filling and then we can have it as a main with some clean eating wholemeal bread. delicious and so easy!! Just wonder could this soup be frozen??? to preplan my meals???ReplyCancel

  • Cristin13/04/2015 - 4:07 pm

    When I saw smoked paprika and tarragon my first thought was, “huh?” I honestly would never have thought to pair these two spices. Oh my goodness the flavor and richness of this is like no other lentil soup I’ve had before. Thank you for sharing your recipe.ReplyCancel

    • Laura14/04/2015 - 11:41 am

      Hey Cristin! So glad that you enjoyed this recipe. It’s one of my all-time favourites from the blog :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Danielle22/05/2015 - 8:52 pm

    I just found your blog a few days ago and am questioning why I did not find it before during my internet meanderings!

    This soup is perfectly seasoned. I hardly ever follow a recipe as written, yet I did follow yours re: the seasonings and we were so happy with our dinner! It’s easily the best lentil soup I’ve ever had.

    I follow Dr. John McDougall’s way of eating, so I replaced the oil with Chateau du Sink (water). I also like my vegetables somewhat crunchy in soups so I did not sauté the carrots and celery as long as you, plus I added the garlic a lot later in the sautéing process.

    To season, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper after the lentils were cooked, and it was perfect.

    Thank you very much for sharing such a delicious recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Tish Bigelow07/12/2015 - 8:17 am

    Just made this soup. It is just as good as it looks in the picture. Absolutely delicious! A Keeper.
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

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Just a little quickie today. I have a guest post over at the gorgeous, gracious and brilliant Happyolks today. Kelsey’s blog is one of my favourites and I was completely flattered when she asked me to pay a little visit over there for a recipe, a little tale and some pictures (secret time: when that little “similar to you” tab on twitter pops up and her handle is listed there, I feel pretty cool). If you haven’t already, I encourage you to subscribe to her blog. Her observations are profound, but very real and relatable. Plus she totally high vibes on the plant-based, whole grain, real food ideology with killer, but approachable and deeply satisfying recipes. How could you go wrong?

You can check out the guest post here.

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  • Natalie13/01/2012 - 1:20 pm

    Hi Laura! I’m so glad I found your blog. It looks like we’ll both be working on projects for Clean Eating – Congrats!! This salad looks so fresh and hearty… Off I go to snatch the recipe.

    Nice to “meet” you :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura13/01/2012 - 6:24 pm

      Congratulations to you too Natalie. Should be some exciting work!ReplyCancel

  • David from SaladPride15/01/2012 - 1:54 pm

    lovely salad and lovely blog!
    :DReplyCancel

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So in my last post I was talking about how the whole juice fast experience really put me in tune with my body and what it needs food-wise and whatnot. Guess what? My body needed pancakes. On a weekend winter morning, something a bit heartier than a kale, ginger and cucumber juice is… let’s just say it’s ideal. Plus, now that I’ve transitioned out of the juice fast and into solid foods, a healthy indulgence was surely deserved on my part. These little golden beauties did not disappoint.

The batter is crazy stiff and looks kind of weird because of the chia gel, but once you lay it into the hot pan with some coconut oil, it starts to smell awfully familiar in the kitchen. These are like thin, little carrot muffins with a bit of an orange aroma and slightly crisped edges. Slather some tangy, lime-y and rich cashew cream on there with a drizzle of maple syrup and you get full-on breakfast indulgence not unlike the ubiquitous cake slice of choice. I wouldn’t say that cashew cream is low fat by any stretch, but it’s reasonable to say that it’s a more nutritionally virtuous option than sugared up cream cheese icing.

In general, I’m pretty crazy for breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal and one that I never, ever skip. There’s a whole ritual with the tea and that first piece of fruit and the effort to make the meal balanced in the early hours. Everyone has their routines and preferences. When you work as a server or cook for a brunch shift at any restaurant, you see and experience this so strongly: the infinite styles of eggs, sweet or savory dishes, sauces on top or on the side, ketchup on everything!, light or dark toasted white, wheat or rye bread, just toast and butter!, fruit, potatoes, milk, cream and sugar, smoked fish, preserves, yogurt and granola, sausage or bacon?, salads, beans and rice, scones, croissants, doughnuts, indulgence!, but then.. sensibility! It’s very individual and all of the personality and life tied up in it is pretty interesting to me. I feel like I’m learning something about the person as I listen to their precise order. If someone makes these pancakes for your breakfast, you yourself will learn that a) they are the coolest person ever and b) they probably really like you. Another reason to not skip breakfast, am I right?

pin it!pin it!
carrot cake pancakes with tangy lime cashew cream
serves: 4
special equipment: a blender or food processor
notes: Grate the carrots on the fine side of the grater for a more refined textured pancake. Oh, and if you don’t have cashews, you can always make almond cream!

cashew cream:
1 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 4 hours
scant 1/2 cup water
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup

pancakes:
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour
zest of 1 orange (or clementine is delicious)
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup + more for serving
1 tbsp melted coconut oil + more for cooking pancakes
2 cups finely grated, loosely packed carrots
handful of toasted walnuts, chopped

Make the cashew cream: Combine the cashews, water, lime juice, vanilla and lime juice in a blender or food processor and blend/process on high until smooth. Scrape cream into a container and refrigerate until ready to serve (it will firm up a bit).

Stir the ground chia seeds and 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water together until combined. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the mixture gels.

Stir the apple cider vinegar into the non-dairy milk and allow it to curdle for a few minutes.

Make the pancakes: Combine the whole spelt flour, white spelt flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, chia gel and curdled milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in grated carrots gently.

Cook pancakes: Heat a large saute pan to medium-low. Pour in about a tablespoon of coconut oil to get started. Once it’s heated up, place 1/4 cup portions of batter into the pan (not too many at a time!). Cook until bubbles start appearing on the surface and bottom edge looks slightly browned. Flip it over and repeat cooking process. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping cooked pancakes warm in a foil covered plate or in a low oven on a parchment lined sheet.

Serve hot with cashew cream, maple syrup and chopped walnuts.

You might also like…

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  • Rida11/01/2012 - 6:53 pm

    Can you substitute flax seeds for chia seeds?ReplyCancel

    • Laura11/01/2012 - 8:12 pm

      Hi Rida,
      You can definitely substitute ground flax for the chia in equal amount, but (as I’m sure you know) the flavour of the flax may be a bit stronger.
      -LReplyCancel

  • art and lemons12/01/2012 - 2:20 pm

    Hi, Laura. I just discovered your blog over at So Good and Tasty. Your recipes are absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to try these pancakes!ReplyCancel

  • art and lemons12/01/2012 - 2:26 pm

    oops, I meant to say I found you over at Happyolks—had So Good & Tasty’s lemon tart with rosemary crust on my mind…ReplyCancel

    • Laura12/01/2012 - 2:40 pm

      Oh gosh I’ve had that tart on my mind too! LOVE your photography. So gorgeous in all of its life moments. Thanks for visiting :)ReplyCancel

  • Courtney16/01/2012 - 3:35 pm

    My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures! I’ll have to try these this coming weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine17/01/2012 - 4:41 pm

    Yum, I love the idea of the cashew cream with these!ReplyCancel

  • […] food blog, it is a wonderful mix of nutrient rich ingredients and unique ideas. When I saw her Carrot cake pancakes with tangy lime cashew cream, I fell in love! It is vegan, nutrient rich and fraking […]ReplyCancel

  • Nimi09/06/2012 - 2:31 pm

    Super yummy, loved these pancakes. Was looking for something special for my b’day and this was perfect. Thanks for another great recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Sol07/09/2013 - 12:36 pm

    OMG! Just having this for breakfast and is zoo good!
    ThanksReplyCancel

  • April Chapman18/06/2014 - 7:28 am

    I was wondering if I coukd use Kamut flour or just organic whole wheat flour. What are your thoughts? My kids will love this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] toppin’s: coconut flakes puffed quinoa hemp seeds bee pollen extra mint sesame seeds extra cacao nibs chopped almonds coconut whipped cream/cashew cream etc.! […]ReplyCancel

  • Peach26/07/2015 - 8:54 am

    This looks incredible! Can I substitute both the spelt flours with coconut flour or almond flour?ReplyCancel

    • Laura28/07/2015 - 8:53 am

      Hi Peach, I’m not sure how well that substitution would work. Coconut flour tends to be extremely drying and almond flour makes goods incredibly moist. If I were to try anything, I’d do a full cup of almond flour and a 1/4 cup of coconut flour–possibly even less. The liquids/carrot amount in this recipe might have to be adjusted to accommodate such a change as well. You can try playing with it if you like, but I’m not optimistic on the workability with this one.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Tim Hordo18/08/2016 - 12:02 pm

    Hi Laura, what does apple cider vinegar do vs white vinegar…is it just flavour, or are there other things at work there? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/08/2016 - 12:51 pm

      It just creates the leavening/flavour qualities of traditional buttermilk. I like the flavour of apple cider vinegar, but you could do lemon juice, white wine vinegar, any other acidic medium of choice.
      -LReplyCancel

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I’m not one to count nutrients, calories, fat grams etc. I’ve talked about this on here before. I cook and eat based on the season, the colours, the market and where my body/mood is at. It’s a very simple and totally gratifying way to live. Having said that, I just finished a juice fast/feast and I’m starting to look at things a bit differently. Rather, I’m feeling things differently.

I did the juice feast because a) I am adventurous and love challenging myself and b)  I totally needed a little recharge/refocus kind of thing in terms of eating. I wouldn’t call it a cleanse but more of a body and mind reset. It makes you look at your eating habits differently and helps you get in tune with your bodily needs a bit. I’m only speaking from personal experience here. I’m sure this kind of thing is so incredibly varied from person to person.

Anyway, I feel good. Like crazy good. I have tons of energy right from the moment I wake up in the morning, amazing stuff. I’ve been slowly working the solid (mostly raw) food back into my routine. A huge role in that whole transition period? Smoothies. Protein shakes. Energy shakes. Whatever you wanna call them, they’re awesome in this kind of situation.  There’s a lot of high quality, plant-based protein mixes out there and I have my own personal favourites (Vega, Amazing Meal and Manitoba Harvest are all great). After a run or in the middle of a busy service when you can’t actually stop and eat, it’s a pretty satisfying substitute.

Taking a look at some of the ingredients, I knew I could make a homespun version on the cheap that might just taste a little better. Sometimes the plant-based protein mixes are decidedly… green tasting. So just for the fun of it, I give you a whole food-based, vegan, homemade protein mix that tastes pretty awesome. It’s got hemp, ground almonds, sesame seeds, chia, raw cacao, cinnamon, vanilla powder; all kinds of good things. And! According to my not exactly scientific, but still totally decent calculations, there’s 2.8 grams of protein in one measly tablespoon of the stuff. Not shabby at all if you end up using 3-4 spoonfuls per smoothie like me (up to 10 grams of protein!). Or if you use a dab of natural peanut butter and some almond milk in your little drink concoction, that number’s going even higher. Shall we get pumped? I think so.

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tasty, whole & vegan protein mix
note: Just use the cinnamon and vanilla powder in appropriate amounts. Like if you do 1/4 cup measurements of everything, use a tbsp of each or so.

1 part raw sesame seeds
1 part raw, hulled hemp seeds
1 part chlorella powder (or spirulina if it’s easier to find)
1 part ground chia seeds
1 part raw, ground almonds
1 part raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa, although the nutritional/mineral content will be quite different)
an appropriate amount of ground cinnamon  (optional)
ditto for vanilla powder (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and place into a container. Store in the fridge.

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  • Kate23/01/2012 - 1:40 pm

    This mix sounds great and I’m looking forward to trying it in my morning smoothies. I was just wondering what juice fast/feast regimen you used that made you feel so incredible. I’ve been thinking of doing the same, but I’m really unsure about where to start. Any helpful hints will be much appreciated!! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/01/2012 - 1:57 pm

      Hi Kate, I just literally feasted on fresh juice, water and herbal tea all day for 4 days. My morning juices were more fruit-based and then I progressed to veggie-based ones throughout the day to mirror my normal eating habits. Leading in and out of the fast, I ate primarily raw fruit and veggies. This blog post from My New Roots is really informative on the subject: http://mynewroots.blogspot.com/2010/05/great-juice-feast.html

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Kate23/01/2012 - 3:30 pm

    Great! Thank you so much, Laura. I will definitely check out the website. What wonderful colors veggies have, whole and juiced :)ReplyCancel

  • Christina Lockwood29/01/2012 - 12:19 pm

    Thank you for your inspiration! I was so excited to try this mix and beyond delighted by the results! The taste is superb mixed with almond milk, the green color once mixed is a fun escape from the muted browns and grey of other drinkable proteins and I love that the ingredients were all whole without preservatives found in commercial drinks. Thank you again!ReplyCancel

    • Laura29/01/2012 - 2:25 pm

      So glad you liked it Christina! You rock :)ReplyCancel

  • Keelin29/01/2013 - 9:38 pm

    I just made this and I’m super happy with how it turned out. I used spirulina, and used flax meal instead of hemp seeds because it’s what I had on hand. I just tried it mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a dash of agave…. it was so good! Thanks for the empowerment!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany25/02/2013 - 10:35 am

    This is such a great idea. Thank you for sharing the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • gluttonforlife25/02/2013 - 10:40 am

    Thanks for this excellent idea. I would be interested to know what the protein content is in a mix like this – any thoughts on how it might compare to whey-based powders?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright25/02/2013 - 10:47 am

      Hello!
      I think I mentioned in the post that I did a really rough calculation of the protein content and it hit around 3 grams per tablespoon. So it definitely cannot compare to whey based mixes (I know they have really high protein counts in general). I mostly made this up as a little protein boost of sorts for my smoothies. Again though, my calculation is probably rather crude compared to the more scientific conclusions of actual for-purchase mixes.
      Best,
      LauraReplyCancel

  • FRANCES25/02/2013 - 1:43 pm

    I work for a company that routinely randomly drug test the employees. I cannot injest HEMP. Do you have a suggestion for a subsitute and still use the protein mixture.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright26/02/2013 - 4:11 pm

      Hi Frances,
      I would replace the hemp seed portion with either ground flax seeds or more chia (or both if you like). Nutritionally and taste wise, hemp is rather unique, so the mix will be quite different. Hope that helps you!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Erik28/02/2013 - 9:15 pm

    Would adding brewers yeast to this mix be good or bad?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright03/03/2013 - 9:52 am

      Hi Erik,
      I assume if you enjoy the taste of brewer’s yeast, it would be fine. Although I do think it will alter the taste significantly. This mix has a bit of a nutty/spicy/chocolate-y vibe going on, so I can’t imagine the brewer’s yeast contributing much to that. Hope that helps.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Anna22/09/2013 - 4:43 pm

    My little brother is in Afghanistan and has sent me this link on FB wanting me to make this for him to take back with him next time he’s home. I’m familiar with everything except for the vanilla powder… What is this?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright23/09/2013 - 8:42 pm

      Hi Anna,
      Vanilla powder is a dried version of vanilla extract/beans that’s been ground into a powder, without the use of alcohol as a preservative. I’ve only ever seen in it in health food stores, but you can buy it on Amazon pretty easily. It isn’t completely necessary–you could certainly go without it and still have plenty of flavour in the mix. Hope this helps!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Paula24/11/2013 - 11:51 am

    I’ve been looking for a way to make my own protein powder. It seems there are always ingredients in the commercial products that I’m sensitive to eating. I did find one, but it’s incredibly expensive. I’ll be making my own now. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • […] Make your own vegan protein mix  […]ReplyCancel

  • michelle20/02/2014 - 4:56 pm

    hello! i just saw your blog post as i was doing a search online to make my own protein powder. after all is said and done, how much powder mix do you put with a liquid (almond milk, milk, water, etc?)? 2 tbsp? thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Sophie Beraud03/04/2014 - 1:35 pm

    Thanks for this recipe Laura!

    It inspired me to make my own, slightly different version using organic hemp protein powder rather than seeds (to “up” the protein content) and adding home-grown stevia leaves “powder” to satisfy my sweet tooth.

    PS: for those wondering where to get vanilla powder — just make it!! Dry out vanilla pods (air-dry, oven, or dehydrator), grind up using a spice/coffee grinder, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Awesomesauce!

    – SReplyCancel

  • Yanneke Josephus Jitta12/05/2014 - 12:51 am

    Any idea how long one could keep the ground mixture? ThanxReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/05/2014 - 7:25 am

      Hi Yanneke, As long as you store this in a closed container in the fridge, you could have it for a few months.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Yummy, vegan + totally empowering DIY protein mix by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] them a bit. One came from a dietician who suggested dry milk, oats, and almonds. Another was decidedly fancier with chlorella, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cocoa, vanilla powder, and sesame seeds. Option 1 is a […]ReplyCancel

  • Allie20/08/2016 - 4:41 pm

    Did you grind the seeds & nuts yourself or buy them already ground?ReplyCancel

    • Laura22/08/2016 - 8:56 am

      Hey Allie,
      I can go either way on this. The only two ground components (almonds and chia seeds) are widely available pre-ground. If I only have whole almonds and chia seeds on hand, I’ll grind them up in the dry container of my Vitamix. Really, the same amount of chia seeds could be left whole so that you only require ground almonds.
      -LReplyCancel

pin it!
So how did you fare over the holidays? Oh me? Pretty great. There was plenty of food, amazing people, kisses, hugs, cookies  and unexpected (but still wonderful) gifts around every corner. Celebrating anything with those you love is definitely the best thing. Like ever. I never make new year’s resolutions, but this year I’ve decided that it’s important to infuse that celebratory feeling into my routine a little bit more. If it means cozying up to a book when I have a million other things to do, I am going to fully enjoy that luxury. Or maybe after the work week’s done and I wanna get myself some really fancy lady-level bath salts? No question. It’s happening.

More importantly, I want to put in the effort to make more meals like this. I wouldn’t say that it files neatly away under the quick and easy column. It takes some time and consideration. Even if you buy sheets of pasta (rather than making them), it’s going to be a little time consuming making the filling, making the pesto and crimping the little raviolis shut just so. But it’s worth it! All of your hard work resulting in a delicious, wholesome, totally handmade meal with someone you like. I’m pretty convinced that there’s nothing better in life.

Santa brought me the pasta roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer this year (lucky girl, I know) so I tried a spelt and chia seed combo for the dough. The ground chia works as a binder and contributes perfectly to the confetti-like flecked appearance of the sheeted whole grain pasta. The sweet potato and pine nut filling is similar in texture to ricotta- whipped and airy with light, acidic notes of lemon. The kale pesto compliments the sweetness nicely with its heavy, cruciferous flavour. A  little sprinkling of buttery toasted pine nuts and you’re poised to have the most celebratory feeling dinner of recent times, guaranteed.

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spelt and chia seed ravioli with sweet potato filling and kale pesto
serves: makes 25-30 ravioli (like 4 servings-ish)
special equipment: a food processor
notes: This recipe uses a whole cup of pine nuts. I know they can be expensive, so feel free to swap in the nuts/seeds of your choosing (walnuts would be delicious). Most grocery stores carry decent quality fresh lasagna sheets in the refrigerated section if you don’t have a pasta roller at home (or don’t feel like making an extra hour of work for yourself).

dough:
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water, divided
1 cup white spelt flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

filling
1 medium sweet potato, roasted or steamed until very soft
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic, smashed
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

kale pesto:
1/2 bunch of kale (about 4 stalks), leaves removed
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Make the dough: combine the ground chia seeds with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water. Give it a stir and set aside until it forms a thick gel. Place the flours, sea salt, remaining tbsp of water, olive oil and chia gel into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until lightly combined (about 30 seconds). Switch to the dough hook on your mixer and knead on medium speed for 2 minutes (or knead by hand for about 5-7 minutes). Dough should be smooth and feel a bit sticky, but doesn’t leave residue on your fingers when you pinch it. Cover and set aside.

Make the filling: scoop sweet potato flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse 10 times to break up the nuts. Scrape down the sides and turn it onto low for about 30 seconds until smooth and homogenous. Cover and set aside.

Make the pesto: place the kale leaves, pine nuts, garlic and 2 tbsp of the olive oil into the food processor. Pulse 10-15 times to break up the nuts and chop the greens a bit. Scrape down the sides. Put the food processor on high and drizzle the remaining oil into the feed tube until a smooth paste is achieved. Season to taste and set aside.

Sheet the pasta: cut the dough into 4 pieces. Take one of them and flatten it out, brushing some flour on both sides as you press into it. Feed it through the pasta roller at the “1” setting. Fold the sheet of dough in half and feed through again. Repeat this step 2 more times or until the sheet of dough is uniform width. Adjust the roller to setting 2. Feed lightly floured dough into the roller. Feed through at this setting 2-3 times. Flour the dough lightly again. Adjust the rollers to the “3” setting and feed the sheet of dough through twice. It should be fairly translucent, but not so thin that it would break if stretched too much. The sheets should be about 2 feet long. Repeat with remaining dough. Allow dough to dry for 15 minutes or so before filling and cooking.

Make ravioli: cut pasta sheets into 2 inch squares. Place a little bowl of water near your working area. Place a scant tablespoon of sweet potato in the middle of the square. Dampen two sides of the pasta square with your finger and fold the opposite side of the square over, pushing down on the seams to form a seal. Push down on edges with a fork to strengthen the seal. Repeat until dough/filling is used up. Lightly dust the shaped ravioli with flour, place in a dish and cover loosely with a tea towel until ready to cook.

Cook/plate ravioli: boil a large pot of water with a solid glug of olive oil in it. Place about 10 raviolis in the water at a time. When they all start bobbing at the surface (about 2-3 minutes), remove from the water with a slotted spoon. To serve: place a good schmear of kale pesto on your serving plate, place raviolis on top, put a few dabs more of pesto on top and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.

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  • Kelsey02/01/2012 - 11:01 pm

    Love the new look, woman! Chia seed pasta? Um yes. And I’m with you on the bath salts.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer02/01/2012 - 11:48 pm

    This looks outstanding!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy03/01/2012 - 11:52 pm

    WOW. I am so excited about this ravioli! I will try it. Maybe this weekend. So cool.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney04/01/2012 - 12:14 pm

    These look amazing! It’s a perfect balance of health, flavor, and beauty!ReplyCancel

  • Shelley04/01/2012 - 7:43 pm

    Laura… I’m speechless. This recipe, the photos… simply amazing! And, if I am not mistaken, a new blog theme? Either way.. everything looks beautiful.

    Happy New Year! Been very wonderful meeting you this year, albeit online. Many good thoughts for a wonderful year! XOReplyCancel

  • Heather05/01/2012 - 4:49 pm

    Your Blog is so adorable!
    Congratulations on the Liebster Award ;-)ReplyCancel

  • […] oil into the feed tube until a smooth paste is achieved. Season to taste and set aside. Source: http://thefirstmess.com/2012/01/02/sweet-potato-ravioli-with-kale-pesto/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in […]ReplyCancel

  • […] & pumpkin garlic knots Sun. lunch: more pumpkin chili & pumpkin garlic knots Sun. dinner: homemade pumpkin ravioli with kale-sunflower pesto M/T/R lunch: spaghetti squash with homemade pasta sauce & sweet peppers Mon. dinner:  random […]ReplyCancel

  • […] from freezer Mon. dinner: spaghetti squash with feta, basil & sun-dried tomatoes Tues lunch: homemade pumpkin ravioli with Swiss chard/parsley pesto Tues. dinner: eggs & tortilla chips (It was a rough, long day. I […]ReplyCancel

  • Jess02/11/2012 - 7:13 pm

    Just found this recipe and my foodie brain is literally bursting with excitement! What a fabulous recipe! Really want to try this perhaps with some rocket instead to use up the surplus in the garden an the moment. Love love it!ReplyCancel

  • Merlin05/11/2012 - 5:35 pm

    I made this tonight for my first meal in my new house; it is absolutely sensational. I would NEVER have thought to combine these ingredients, it’s really opened my eyes to something. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • […] & apple with a side of kale Mon. lunch: barley soup, radishes & cornbread Mon. dinner: sweet potato ravioli with arugula pesto sauce Tues. lunch: red beans & rice with salsa & tortilla chips Tues. dinner: butternut squash […]ReplyCancel

  • […] lunch: eggs & home fries Tues. dinner: egg & cream cheese baguette sandwiches Wed. lunch: sweet potato ravioli with arugula pesto sauce Wed. dinner: smashed potatoes & bleu cheese/beet salad Thurs. lunch: homemade vegetable noodle […]ReplyCancel

  • veronica04/01/2013 - 1:50 pm

    oh my goodness, this looks delicious!! hope i can use whole wheat instead of spelt flour…ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/01/2013 - 8:30 pm

      Hi Veronica,

      Whole wheat flour should work out just fine. The texture might even be softer, which is always a bonus :)

      -LReplyCancel

  • Food Wine Fashion30/01/2013 - 12:43 pm

    Laura – saw this recipe over at The Kitchn and I’m an instant follower! This will be a much needed break from my soup making over the past two weeks (it’s been so cold in Denver and I just want something warm and savoury). I LOVE the use of the chia seeds, I’m a big believer in their health benefits.

    So happy to find you!
    -JessicaReplyCancel

  • Val07/02/2013 - 7:16 pm

    I’ve been interested in making homemade pasta for ages and looking for an egg-free recipe and came across this deliciousness through Kitchn! Amazing…chia! Can’t wait to try this tonight!ReplyCancel

  • vanessa20/02/2013 - 2:23 pm

    This looks amazing! Could this work with brown rice flour or gf all-purpose flour? (I have to use these two up somehow!)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/02/2013 - 4:52 pm

      Hi Vanessa!

      I think you could sub either flour, but you may have to introduce a better binder like xanthan gum or perhaps extra ground chia + water mixture. I can see it crumbling without the gluten as a structural component. Let me know how it works out!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Cecilie23/05/2013 - 7:10 am

    Hi,
    I love your blog, the look of it, the recipes… and this is no exception. It looks amazing! But the thing is, I don’t have any chia seeds, and they’re quite expensive. Is there any way I can use ground flax seeds instead?

    – CecilieReplyCancel

  • […] dinner: lentil burgers with your favorite toppings, potato wedges & teamed veggies Fri. lunch: sweet potato ravioli (make a lot some Sunday & store it in the freezer) Fri. dinner: pita & hummus turned into […]ReplyCancel

  • Megan06/11/2013 - 1:47 am

    We made this tonight and it was delicious! We made a few adjustments based on what we had on hand. We substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for white spelt flour and added an extra tablespoon of water to the dough mixture (for a total of 3/4 cup of water). We went up to “4” on the pasta maker, and I might even try “5” next time since the dough was quite stretchy due to the whole wheat flour. To compensate for only adding half of the required lemon juice to the filling (oops!), we sprinkled just a touch of fresh lemon juice over top of the kale pesto after plating and this really made the pesto flavor wonderfully bright. We’re so happy we found your thoughtful stories and thoroughly tested recipes through TheKitchn!ReplyCancel

  • Beth | {local milk}09/12/2013 - 7:18 pm

    Was trolling the internet for sweet potato ravioli inspiration for tomorrow’s post, looking for something other than the usual sage & brown butter (though don’t get me wrong…that is awesome) and *of course* here you are with a totally original spin on the whole thing. Totally inspired!ReplyCancel

  • Teffy09/01/2014 - 6:17 pm

    That looks incredibly delicious, so so good.
    I love sweet potato on anything, and this seems like the perfect combo.
    ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Ravioli with Kale Pesto Chia seeds and spelt flour combine to make ravioli dough for this dish. It may be homemade, but […]ReplyCancel

  • janey bray09/08/2014 - 12:32 pm

    i could not find spelt flour at the store. i am planning to use quinioa flour instead. will that work?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/08/2014 - 8:46 am

      Hi Janey, I’ve never tried using quinoa flour, but I’m fairly positive that it will not work. Spelt is a relative of wheat, but a more ancient form. So it has a higher protein content and a better starch ratio, which is why it works for this dough. Suitable substitutes for this flour would be: kamut flour, einkorn flour, wholewheat flour or wholewheat pastry flour.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Bon15/09/2014 - 7:24 pm

    Another resounding success, we are quickly learning that if it’s a first mess recipe, the meal is guaranteed to be delicious!
    We made a second flavour alongside the sweet potato ravioli- roasted pumpkin (with only a splash of lemon juice), not surprisingly that also works beautifully.
    Also, I substituted the white spelt with all purpose flour by necessity and it turned out fine.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy the Vegan20/11/2014 - 8:56 am

    As a vegan and ravioli fan, this is a must-try recipe for me. Kale is not my biggest favorite though, so if maybe you can recommend me something else instead of the pesto, I would really appreciate it. Anyway, it’s still a really good recipe. :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/11/2014 - 9:58 am

      I think you could get away with a traditional basil pesto on this one! Or even using spinach in place of the kale would be delicious :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Ravioli with Kale Pesto from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet potato ravioli? Always a go. Try it from […]ReplyCancel

  • Janey27/03/2015 - 11:31 am

    I love ravioli but I’ve never seen something like this, need to try it asap :) looks wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • […] Beat the sugar rush with raw strawberry twizzlers! 2. Get your nom on with sweet potato ravioli! 3. Grab canvas, modge podge, and magazines to mimic this canvas feel. 4. Gluten free, vegan banana […]ReplyCancel

  • […] around online for different ways of doing it and I used the idea of lasange sheets from this recipe but I didn’t make my own pesto or really follow this recipe. I will say that using fresh […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and want to make your own ravioli, why not try this super healthy version by The First Mess? Sweet Potato Ravioli with Kale Pesto contains no cheese, actually if you take a look at the ingredients, it’s basically all […]ReplyCancel