INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!
Maybe it’s because things are a little hairy right now with my book coming out (3 more sleeps yikes), or maybe because it’s almost Spring, or maybe I just have an inkling of major movement on the horizon, but I have this strong urge to simplify my life lately. I’ve been purging things with a lightness in my heart that tells me this is the way forward. The weird, non-labelled spices in my cupboards, the facial serums that didn’t live up to their promises, the jeans that I know I’ll never wear again but feel the need to hang onto because they were spendy… I’m trying to clear all this noise out in the most responsible way possible. It feels like I’m making room for a greater force of love and intention in my life.

I wouldn’t say that we’re cluttered or materialistic in any way, but I also wouldn’t say that we’ve been overly intentional with our purchases these last couple years. We have one dog, but she has 3 beds (and she also elects to sleep on the couch or our bed most of the time). Our main hall/stairway has been painted 3 times in 3 years (shoutout to my sneaky mom who painted it the perfect shade of grey while we were in California). I have 2 fancy filing systems, very cute file folders from several stationary purveyors, but my bills/invoices/what-have-you are scattered all over the place in my office. You should see our collection of area rugs that have bit the dust–they’re fashioned into a floor mosaic for our laundry area in the basement now. Don’t even start on my dish/kitchen gadget collection.

I know for me personally, constantly seeing and interacting with these slightly regrettable choices/things that I can do without weighs me down. It takes up space in my home, but also inside my day-to-day consciousness. The awareness of the excess, and the associated guilt, bleeds into totally unrelated tasks and conversations. If I have any slight amount of stress or pressure happening in my life, it’s compounded by the presence of this unnecessary stuff. I’m a highly sensitive person that takes everything and everyone seriously. I think I’m at a tipping point, and I know that I can’t dilute my energy and resources by living with things that I don’t completely and utterly love/use anymore.

I think sometimes we bring these items into our homes with the thought of a certain promise that our lives will be made better or easier just by having those things around. Your own daily practices/approach and ability to live simply is what really brings that satisfaction though. Every once in a while, I get a flash of a reminder of this. When I really get rolling with the great simplification of my life and home, I’ll keep you guys in the loop. Maybe I’ll share a little link list of the resources that helped me? Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in talking about this (or if you have any resources of your own/wisdom to share).

If you didn’t already know, simplification via cooking is an easy and necessary move for me. A couple weeks ago when I wanted to make a lentil stew, I got too caught up in the process before noticing that I was out of tinned tomatoes. Since I always, always have an open jar of marinara in the fridge, that went in instead. The stew was incredible! Why wasn’t I doing this more often? The marinara has that slow-simmered flavour of onions, garlic etc. built in. It’s a good lazy move when you need that homemade and cozy vibe on short notice. For this stew, I soak French lentils overnight so they cook up twice as fast, and I load the whole thing up with greens while I’m at it. This is endlessly adaptable to what you have on hand, and perfect for these last (brutal) gasps of Winter we’re having here. Stay cozy out there :D

INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!INSTANT COZY: LENTIL + GREENS SOUP via The First Messpin it!
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 2 litres/quarts, about 6 hearty servings
NOTES: Since you’re really relying on the marinara to bring it flavour-wise, make sure you use one that you absolutely love on its own. I’m a Rao’s girl for life, and always will be (unless there’s homemade around, but who am I kidding here?). If you have a Sam’s Club membership, they have a large format bottle of it for an excellent price 👌
-I used small dices of fresh broad beans as my bonus vegetable here, so I threw them in near the end of the cooking process. If you opt for something more dense and aromatic, like small dices of carrot/winter squash or celery/fennel, add it to the pot when you’re sautéing the onions. Tender veg like beans, small dices of zucchini, or chopped asparagus should be added right before the greens.
-Soaking the lentils for at least 8 hours is what cuts down on the cook time here. If you forgot to soak your lentils, give them an extra 10 minutes to simmer until slightly tender.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup French lentils, soaked for at least 8 hours and drained
2 cups marinara sauce
6 cups vegetable stock
1 heaped cup small-diced vegetable of choice (see headnote)
4 cups chopped greens of choice (roughly one bunch–I used a mixture of lacinato kale and dandelion)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes and stir. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to integrate with the onions. Add the French lentils and stir to coat.

Add the marinara and stock to the pot and stir. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Simmer the soup until the lentils are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the heaped cup of diced vegetables and continue to simmer the soup until the added vegetables are slightly softened. Add the red wine vinegar, chopped greens and plenty of salt and pepper. Keep simmering the soup until the greens are wilted. Serve the soup hot.

-If you’re still thinking about getting my book, you can take advantage of the pre-order bonus up until March 14th. Just as a reminder, that’s 10 additional recipes (not in the book and not on this site) for hearty, plant-based main courses. This is my gift to you!

-If you’d like to get a feel for what some people have been cooking from my book already, you can cruise the #FirstMessCookbook hashtag on Instagram HERE. You can also check out the top section of my cookbook page under the “BLOG LOVE” heading to see some recipes that have been beautifully shared by some very kind and talented people.

-All information for pre-ordering the book, retailers, and how to claim your bonus collection of recipes is detailed HERE at the bottom of the page.

-If you’re in Toronto and looking for a good time next Thursday evening, come hang out with me at The Detox Market for the launch of my book! Here’s the poster with all info below. There will be snacks from the book and refreshments by Greenhouse Juice Co. You can just show up! Hugs are free :)

pin it!

  • Pia04/03/2017 - 7:28 am

    First of all, happy Saturday, Laura, and thanks for yet another wonderful post. I so appreciate your openness, realness, and casualty, and love reading about your findings, experiences, and all other kind of life stuff beyond food, so thank you for that as well! As for your book’s release, I bet you must be super excited, and I want you to know that you can and should be incredibly proud of the masterpiece you have brought to life.
    I also want to note that I think it’s absolutely great that you’ve come to the conclusion to let go of the things you feel no longer bring you joy or enrich you in some other form or way. Because really, what’s the point of surrounding yourself with stuff that brings you down and robs you of precious energy?
    And finally (and then I promise I’ll shut up) thumbs up for applying that very principle to food; for let’s face it, many of us have a tendency to unnecessarily overcomplicate our lives in every which way, and food definitely does NOT always have to be complicated in order to be delicious.
    Wishing you a cozy weekend xReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full04/03/2017 - 10:57 am

    I hear ya. I’m moving soon, and I’m looking at it as an opportunity to declutter… you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to pack it up in boxes! Especially being a food blogger, having all these bowls and vintage spoons and whatnot lying around. It’s time to simplify!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder04/03/2017 - 11:17 am

    Loved reading this Laura <3. And so happy for you to be purging and clearing up you physical and mental space! It means o much to view each item in your life as something that was intentionally and thoughtfully gathered. Unfortunately I don't have many tips, cause my problem lands on the other end of the spectrum. Scott and I hardly ever can bring ourselves to buy something, and our home has always been half empty with juuuuust what we barely need to scrape by. Yet somehow I'm always hauling a box of donations/trash out the door each month! Not sure how that works out (haha). But I do know I enjoy having only two or three outfits at a time and zero bedroom furniture, minus a bed (glad we at least got that one). Wishing you the best in this end of winter de cluttering, and, genuinely, your book is a piece that will be cherished in this home (and never given away **wink wink**) for my lifetime. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi | Enlightened Decadence04/03/2017 - 11:45 am

    Your posts are always so great to read, Laura :)

    Simplification can’t be overstated. This year, I responsibly released so many items in our home. Now when i venture into our kitchen or bathroom or basement , I actually leave with this happiness /lightness because I see only the minimal/ simple/easy/essential. It literally clears your mind of the unnecessary so the necessary can speak. Even on days when I feel down of blue, just remembering how simple things are (literally and metaphorically) is such a pick me up. It reminds me that so many of life’s problems are not really problems at all…I feel so truly thankful for what little we do have.

    I find minimalism is becoming such a buzz word these days, but it is a great topic and one we need to hear more about. I say, share on, Sista!!!

  • mich04/03/2017 - 12:46 pm

    this post inspired me to clean out my entire fridge and OMG feels so amazing right now. have a wonderful weekend friend!ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/03/2017 - 3:15 pm

      THE BEST feeling. That clean slate vibe! Weekend hugs.

  • Kate04/03/2017 - 2:45 pm

    Yes! I completely relate to your desire for simplicity and fewer things, and yet, I am always tempted by flashy new things. I think we share the same high sensitivity streak. This soup looks amazing, and two thumbs’ up for marinara in soup (written as I have a bowl of lentil pasta with marinara in my lap!). Can’t quit admiring your book, and hoping to share one of your recipes (sweet potato burrito bowls) on Monday if I can get my act together. :)ReplyCancel

  • Grace | eat, write + explore04/03/2017 - 7:08 pm

    This looks so cozy and warming! Your photography is always so beautiful too, I need to give this a try on a cold day!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Maguire04/03/2017 - 7:55 pm

    How nerdy is it that your post made me super excited for you? I swear I get a high from de-cluttering and organizing, and I’m feeling the urge to do a major purge soon. Aaron and I move around so much that it forces us to constantly re-evaluate what we bring with us—it’s just too much work to keep packing and unpacking things we don’t love. That said, I definitely hang on to some things, like my old wardrobe from when I worked in an office (it’s a slow process letting go of the “old me” who didn’t live in t-shirts and leggings). On an unrelated note, I absolutely love your cookbook, Laura. I’m super picky about which books I keep on my kitchen shelf and yours will be getting prime real estate. <3ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany05/03/2017 - 1:19 pm

    I hear you on the purging. I’ve gotten into the habit of setting the timer on my phone for 15 minutes each morning to focus on tidying a specific area of the house with no expectation of what the end result will be (other than, I hope, a tidier space). But if the job isn’t done in 15 minutes I move on to the day’s work. I tried this recently when purging my bookcase of books that I bought years ago and never read, and realize now I have no interest in reading. I was pretty happy about the result and the timer made it feel like less of a mammoth task. I go through my closet twice a year and am due for another purge, so I’ll try this method with that, too.ReplyCancel

  • Karen van der Merwe05/03/2017 - 1:45 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to share all your lucid thoughts. I can resonate with every word. Especially the part where you say it seeps into your consciousness unknowingly everyday. Just being there. Taking up space, reminding us of moments when we weren’t clear on how we want to live. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that your space isn’t only about food, but that everything you write also provides some spiritual nourishment. Thanks LauraReplyCancel

  • Belén05/03/2017 - 10:21 pm

    I loved so much reading your post!! I’m feeling the same, I want to keep my things to a minimal, so I can look beyond them. I’m getting inspired by the minimalists, this article ( summarizes a little how I feel about it: “…the process of paring down is really the process of asking yourself, “What’s important?” We tend to forget what’s important in the din and tumult of daily life. We need a mindfulness bell to bring us back to the essentials, and paring down is that bell for me.”.
    There’s a documental on Netflix about them, that I haven’t had the opportunity to watch yet, but I’m sure it’s good!ReplyCancel

  • Lee06/03/2017 - 6:19 am

    I get this urge periodically…just to clean everything that looks like clutter in my house (and feels more like clutter in my life!) It’s so invigorating and liberator.. Somehow like cutting your hair? Well, I would certaily love to read more about this topic here! Sure, Kondo is a corner stone with this topic, but I would love to hear your experience and (perhaps other) sources :)
    Will be making this soup soon! Looks delicious :) YumReplyCancel

  • Genevieve06/03/2017 - 8:11 pm

    I’ve been feeling this way for a while. We just moved into our apartment at the end of October but I feel like we have so much random crap from who knows where. I try to declutter every now and then, but it’s hard! As one of my chefs tells me: clean space, clean mind. It’s so true!ReplyCancel

  • I so get you. I started to clean my space and life about a year ago and it has changed so many things in my life, it made me feel free in a way. It was definitely a good changeReplyCancel

  • Nina Olsson - Nourish Atelier10/03/2017 - 3:01 pm

    I’m so eager to hold your book in my hands now, it should be here any day, yay! About minimizing,If there’s one thing I have a hard time getting rid of it’s books and magazines. I recognise that slight feeling of guilt over the stuff I bought that I’m not appreciating as much as I thought.You write it so well Laura, it’s quite subtle feelings I think. Much love from The Netherlands. xoReplyCancel

  • Abby13/03/2017 - 2:12 pm

    Yes, please share more about your home simplifying process. I love reading about how other people do it and reading always inspires me to get rid of some of my unnecessary shit :)ReplyCancel

  • […] not soup weather here in Los Angeles at the moment but I did have serious heart eyes for this lentil and greens soup by The First […]ReplyCancel

  • so very well said, laura. i agree, and maybe often there is original and positive intention that the objects we acquire will indeed better our days – but I find my deepest satisfaction coming from mere breathing and experience. that being said, i simplified all of my material belongings recently, and it felt liberating!

    on a side note, it is sunday evening and this is the second week in a row i’ve made this soup! for my vegetable, carrots (i love them with lentils), and for my green – curly kale. perfect recipe in so many ways. i completely dig the marinara short cut and embrace the hell out of it – thank you for another fantastic flavor bomb. this is such a lovely accompaniment to the early spring clouds and rain, and i’ve found myself craving it after long days. xoReplyCancel

  • Alex28/03/2017 - 7:59 am

    I so agree with you on the idea of simplifying one’s life – decluttering especially is one of my greatest passions haha.
    Love the addition of dandelion greens here!ReplyCancel

  • Karen02/04/2017 - 2:33 pm

    Hey Laura! I Just wanted to pop in and tell you how much I’m enjoying your cookbook. I had high expectations and you did not disappoint. I just made your spicy curry tempeh patties…so perfectly spiced and easy. I am always trying to get eat more fermented foods, so I’m glad to have this new tempeh recipe in my rotation. Yum! And, Big Congrats on this masterpiece-of-a-cookbook!ReplyCancel

  • Omigy15/04/2017 - 6:09 am

    Well done for the book Laura and great Lentil soup. Dandelion green? Never heard of that addition and I have plenty of Dandelion in my garden. Well I guess it is soup with lentil and some nice dandelion greens. Hope the book goes well.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren27/11/2017 - 8:57 pm

    I made this soup for meal-prep work lunches this week and it turned out SO good! I added celery, asparagus, green beans and mushrooms in line with your timing suggestions and it worked great. It was an easy, relatively cheap and very filling recipe and will be on repeat this winter. Boyfriend approved as well! Thanks so much.ReplyCancel

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