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I’ve started to get back into a steady running, yoga + a workout routine lately. Spring/new warmth just brings that whole personal betterment strategy to the forefront for all of us I think. I found myself running on a path near my house recently when I encountered another runner, this lady of about 60-something with a dope ninja-style headband on. I see this woman running by our house all the time and dang if she isn’t IN SHAPE. Definitely one of those badass older ladies that sets the example for graceful aging. Anyway, we were running towards each other and as she passed me by, she looked up, smiled at me so genuinely and waved hello. It was such a simple point of contact, but I felt so great afterward, like she had given me a little fist bump and shot me an “eff yeah!” or something (just imagine the sweetest older lady doing that). I always feel a bit rocky when I get back into running, but that simple gesture made the shakiness just fine.

Other things that have been helping: snacks. You knew that was coming. When I was studying nutrition in culinary school, I learned that my tendency to eat everything in sight after some physical exertion wasn’t the most sound strategy (weird, right?!?). Needless to say, there are some things that need to be taken care of to help your body recover and thrive with a set workout routine. I’ll point out that I’m not like, a fitness expert or anything (I had to ask my man what “beast mode” meant the other day…). I can tell you that after I get sweaty, I want some wholesome carbs (sweet potatoes, fruit, whole/sprouted grains), clean + easily assimilated protein (hemp, legumes, plant-based protein powder, spirulina, soaked nuts + seeds) and mega hydration (fruit again, coconut water, chia seeds, herbal tea). These 4 snacks, generally paired with a non-caffeinated + unsweetened drink (like water or iced rooibos tea), hit all of those marks for me and keep me bright in that amazing exercise contact-high.

So there’s that! I have two sweet recipes and two on the savoury end. Most of these are super quick to rig up if you have the ingredients ready to go. There’s a blackberry smoothie filled out with coconut water, a little protein boost and a healthy squeeze of lime. The chocolate chia bowl needs an overnight rest, but leaves you set for 4ish solid servings of decadent recovery snacking bliss–easily my fave of the bunch. I wrote about some chia seed benefits here if you’re into that. Also, if you have weirdness about chia texture, the crunchy granola on top completely banishes any sort of tapioca vibe, I swear. The loaded sweet potato incorporates some smoky-crunchy roasted chickpeas and fresh chives. This is something you would catch me eating with frequency throughout the week-just a bunch of good things tossed together. Lastly, there’s my favourite variation on avocado toast, all protein and omega boosted with hulled hemp seeds and flavour-maxed with lemon and nutritional yeast. Let’s get pumped! :)

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1. blackberry, vanilla + lime smoothie w/ coconut water
serves: 1
notes: If you don’t vibe on protein powder, you could always throw 1-2 tbsp of hemp seeds or a scoop of almond butter in here to boost it a little.

1 cup coconut water (C20 brand is my fave)
juice of 1 lime
splash of vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blackberries
couple pieces of frozen banana
knob of extra virgin coconut oil
1 scoop of protein powder (I like Vega One or Sunwarrior brands, both in vanilla flavour)

Combine everything in a blender pitcher and blend on high for a minute or so, or until you’ve achieved a texture that you like.

2. chocolate chia granola bowl

serves: 3-4
notes: If you aren’t into chocolate, you can always make raspberry + vanilla chia pudding, just a thought :)

chocolate chia pudding:
heaped 1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups unsweetened milk of your choice (almond, coconut, goat etc)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp – 1/4 cup maple syrup (depends on your sweetness preference)
pinch of sea salt

to serve:
sliced/whole berries
wholesome/non-junky granola (may I humbly suggest this recipe?)
cacao nibs

The night before, whisk together the chia seeds, milk, vanilla, cacao powder, maple syrup and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and set it in the fridge overnight to thicken up.

When ready to eat, stir the chia pudding up a bit and portion it into a bowl. Top with granola, berries and cacao nibs.

3. sweet potato w/ brown rice, chives, crispy smoky chickpeas + almonds

serves: 1
notes: I love to batch-cook brown basmati rice and sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week, just so that snacks/meals like this are always within reach. A nice dollop of plain yogurt (coconut, goat, cow, whatever-based) would be great on top of this too.

1 sweet potato
cooked chickpeas
oil of your choice
smoked paprika
salt + pepper
1/3-1/2 cup cooked brown basmati rice
6-7 almonds, chopped
3-4 blades of chives, ripped up

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pierce the sweet potato a couple times with a fork, wrap it extra good in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, toss the chickpeas in enough oil to coat, salt + pepper to taste and a little smoked paprika. Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Set aside to cool.

To serve: Split open the sweet potato and season the flesh with salt + pepper. Place the cooked rice, some of the chickpeas and chopped almonds on top/inside. Garnish with the chives and an extra sprinkle of smoked paprika.

4. my fave avocado toast
serves: 1
notes: There’s a lot of toppings here, but it’s worth it. This is all stuff I seem to have on hand, but feel free to switch up acidic components, nuts/seeds etc. The bread is crucial though. It’s literally the crutch upon which the entire enjoyment of this snack stands. Choose wisely :)

1 fair-sized piece of whole grain/sprouted grain bread (about the span of my outstretched hand is an amount that feels right to me)
1/2 a ripe avocado, peeled + sliced
salt + pepper
1-2 tsp nutritional yeast
squeeze of lemon
1-2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds (as much as you can handle)
good balsamic vinegar/reduction

Toast the bread to your liking.

Spread the avocado slices across the bread. Season the avocado with salt, pepper + nutritional yeast. Mash it into the bread with a fork. Squeeze a bit of lemon on top and mash the avocado one more time with the fork.

Dribble some balsamic vinegar/reduction/glaze on top of the mashed avocado. Top with the hemp seeds and enjoy.

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  • Sarah01/05/2013 - 5:04 am

    Gorgeous post and recipes! During my marathon training last year, I got into taking chia seeds (soaked in water and lemon juice) on long runs. It actually worked really well! I think I would still gobble cookies afterwards though….. So, I will have to try out these options.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny @ BAKE01/05/2013 - 5:59 am

    what a great group of recipes! I loved the story of the other runner I love the sense of community of runners where I live everyone always smiles and nods at each other as they pass!ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen01/05/2013 - 6:24 am

    Ohh, this is all just what I feel like eating. I’ve started going to the gym for the first time this year and I love how strong I feel as a result. However, I definitely need some good food post-workout, and completely forgot how great chia seeds are.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn01/05/2013 - 8:43 am

    Yes, I sadly came to the conclusion that ice cream is not the best post-run food (oh, and that apple pie is not the best thing to eat an hour before going out but that’s a different story). Love these ideas for healthy & happy foods I can snack on instead.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley01/05/2013 - 9:13 am

    Blended chia pudding is a favorite of mine, but I will trust you that the granola can help me choke it down without blending. ;) All of these recipes look fantastic and so simple. Major love. Also…hemp seeds are the best. Oh yah.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf01/05/2013 - 9:14 am

    I go to the gym before work and cherish those precious moments in the cafe afterwards when I sit down with a little pot of breakfast and take a moment to collect my thoughts. Bircher muesli and chia-based oat bowls tend to be my food of choice but if I was working out in the evening I’d love that chickpea potato or a cheeky bowl of chocolate chia pudding.ReplyCancel

  • Nina01/05/2013 - 9:14 am

    Hello Laura, thanks so much for this post, I love everything about it from what you write about your workout routine to the gorgeous pics and the great recipes, it is one of my favorite posts and totally made my day :) All the best, NinaReplyCancel

  • michelle01/05/2013 - 9:24 am

    LOVE it. All of it.

    Question, since I`m a chia seed newb: is there a difference between black and white chia seeds?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright01/05/2013 - 11:14 am

      Hey Michelle, there’s no difference nutritionally or in terms of culinary performance between the black and white seeds. Just aesthetic!

  • la domestique01/05/2013 - 9:28 am

    I will only run if a bear is chasing me, but I will happily enjoy all these snacks! Eff yeah!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Crowder01/05/2013 - 10:22 am

    Of all activities, running makes me the hungriest. RAVENOUS. And I pretty much eat whatever is in the fridge – motivation to keep these kinds of snacks on hand. That sweet potato sounds particularly great.ReplyCancel

  • Asha@FSK01/05/2013 - 3:15 pm

    I really like the idea of chia seed pudding!! They seem like basil seeds that swell and become gelatinous when soaked! I have only had them baked and actually really like their taste!

    Btw have you ever made cream out of almond milk? I need to make a vegan frosting and I don’t like cashews that much and am racking my brains!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney01/05/2013 - 3:50 pm

    Everything looks so beautiful, fresh, and delicious! I always struggle with post-run snacks (I tend to go for salty things to replace the sodium I’ve lost), but I’ll definitely have to try some of these. I always love it when another runner smiles and waves, so I’ve tried to start doing it, too. Awesome post and hoping there might be more workout-centric ones in the future :)ReplyCancel

  • Kayla01/05/2013 - 4:20 pm

    Those all sound incredible! I’ve been looking for a good chia “pudding” recipe, and I would’ve never thought of pairing blackberries & coconut water, yum!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Eva | Adventures in Cooking01/05/2013 - 8:15 pm

    I just discovered your blog and am completely in love with it. Your photos are so bright and crisp! And the food all looks mouthwatering. I really want to try the sweet potato with brown rice and chickpeas, sounds very healthy but also incredibly tasty :)ReplyCancel

  • Jas01/05/2013 - 8:54 pm

    I love a good healthy and nutritious dinner or snack after a workout. I’m a huge fan of baked sweet potatoes with various vego toppings, I make a nacho style one with salsa, beans, avo and greek yoghurt which is amazeballs! Love your avo on toast, I’m gonna try that recipe, it’s such a staple and there’s so many variations of those two things, avo+toast.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey02/05/2013 - 12:14 am

    Those are some badass shoes, lady! I haven’t been great about getting back to a regular workout schedule since Neko was born, but I’m trying! Taking a pilates class here, doing a little Jillian Michaels video there, and going on long walks in between. I love this breakdown of post workout food! Thanks for sharing. :) xoReplyCancel

  • Liren02/05/2013 - 12:37 am

    Love this post – chia pudding is amazing, and I am addicted (just bought another bag today, in fact). I love it in the morning, too, with my oats. I’m always looks for good post work out snacks, so I can’t wait to try these!ReplyCancel

  • Liren02/05/2013 - 12:39 am

    p.s. I have the same shoes! But in a different color…I need another pair, I think ;)ReplyCancel

  • kels02/05/2013 - 1:17 am

    get it, girl ;)ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Galloway02/05/2013 - 4:00 am

    Love love love the chia seed pudding recipe. I think I would like to eat this after a workout. But for now it is biking the kids around for exercise and eating on the run for me!ReplyCancel

  • kmswann02/05/2013 - 10:49 am

    Heck yeah! My inspiration is the 4 people who invariably will pass me while running on trail every other day. You’re forced to look at their massive calves and their effortless gate.

    I’ve started drinking a glass of carrot/beet/apple juice when I get back from a run, and somehow this (along with a poached egg for protein) satisfies all my food cravings until dinner. Unexplainable!ReplyCancel

  • Always looking for new snacks after workouts. I usually drink boring old choc milk. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Lindsey02/05/2013 - 2:03 pm

    seriously awesome array of recipes and photos! each photo is more beautiful than the next.ReplyCancel

  • Julia02/05/2013 - 2:44 pm

    running + yoga + amazing snacks= ALL OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS!!! thanks for another winner Laura :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne03/05/2013 - 1:26 am

    A brilliant post if I’ve ever seen one. I want to try all your variations on these post work-out treats. I’m not a runner (never will I ever be one) but Cookie and I have been going on some pretty epic long walks. I’ve been getting back into yoga, too. I say all that like I need to justify eating these healthy beautiful things! ha.ReplyCancel

  • Veronica03/05/2013 - 11:58 am

    I’m back to running after a post pregnancy x2 + baby hiatus. These snack ideas are great. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • I love running because other runners are usually so nice and supportive. Nice collection of recipes.ReplyCancel

  • Asha@FSK06/05/2013 - 8:38 pm

    Thanks a bunch Laura! I wonder if it holds up for frosting?ReplyCancel

  • sara forte07/05/2013 - 6:47 pm

    I am just coming out of the chia/tapioca-texture hater phase. Loved this post and can’t wait to try that granola.ReplyCancel

  • Noelle Peacock08/05/2013 - 11:58 am

    Love your blog, brilliant post but need to know about those trainers! I think they may be the answer to all of life’s deepest questions. Please tell me the make?ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ figgyandsprout09/05/2013 - 10:46 am

    All of these recipes look so incredibly delicious! I’m just after a long run myself and the blackberry lime smoothie is screaming my name ;) I happen to have some coconut water in the fridge too. Thanks for the healthy snack ideas, Laura! You’re a peach.ReplyCancel

  • […] What is your favorite healthy food (recipe)? It’s really simple, but I love avocado smashed on sprouted grain toast with a bit of lemon, salt, pepper, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. (I have this recipe along with some other snack-y things on my blog: […]ReplyCancel

  • […] OUT: 4 VEGAN POST-WORKOUT SNACK RECIPES While we might just want a giant burrito post-workout, we assume a chocolate chia granola bowl is […]ReplyCancel

  • Nicole15/05/2013 - 9:17 am

    Made the chocolate pudding and loved it (although we needed 1/2 cup of chia seeds to thicken since the heaping 1/4 didn’t do the job on night 1). It tastes like a chocolate “snack pack” pudding, which to me is a good thing!

    We plan on making the smoothie for breakfast tomorrow, except with frozen cherries as the main fruit since that’s what we have on hand.

    Also, I LOVE getting the runner’s nod/smile/wave too. It makes me feel so legit and like we both have some awesome secret the rest of the world isn’t in on.ReplyCancel

  • Megan15/05/2013 - 9:59 am

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciated this post, and how I’ve been returning to it! My second batch of the chocolate chia pudding is in the fridge, and I loved the sweet potato. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy05/09/2013 - 3:32 pm

    Oh gosh. I just made your version of avocado toast, and it is utterly fantastic! I’ve made many an avocado toast in my day – this is a special (and particularly healthful!) variation. Good work, lady! xoReplyCancel

  • summerraspberries11/11/2013 - 5:15 pm

    Oh my god amazing pictures, so beautiful! Are they yours?ReplyCancel

  • Melanie G25/12/2013 - 12:43 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say that you can make a great frosting with macademia nuts.. I add lime to give it a citrusy finish.. used it on a raw carrot cake which was supposed to have cashew frosting but I’d already got some soaked macademia nuts so used those.. it was deliciousReplyCancel

  • linda22/02/2014 - 7:02 pm

    Hello! I’m curious where you got the little maldon salt carrier? i’m always wondering how to find a way to store that salt…


  • Sarah K.26/03/2014 - 8:30 am

    I made the chia pudding with soymilk and left it in the fridge overnight but it’s still liquid. Any idea what went wrong? Can I not use soymilk? Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/03/2014 - 12:20 pm

      Hi Sarah!
      I’m so sorry the pudding didn’t thicken up. I’ve never tried making this with soymilk, so I’m not sure if this is the root of the problem. I find chia seeds vary in their jelling ability in a general way, so perhaps this is it? I would try adding an extra handful of chia seeds next time, or possibly grinding up a small portion of the seeds before adding them to the liquid (this seems to really unlock their jelling power for me).

  • Lorna15/05/2014 - 8:39 am

    Hello! What a fantastic bunch of recipes, and, as always, really lovely writing, together with beautiful photographs. I’m desperately trying to lose some baby weight, and something’s out of kilter – I have terrible chocolate cravings as soon as I get up every morning, and sad to say I don’t always manage to resist. I’ll give the chocolate chia pudding a try; it’s got to be better for me than a chocolate bar! I’m also trying to talk myself into running… loved your story about meeting the runner; it’s connections like these that make the difference between a mediocre day and a great one. Thanks for a great blog.


  • paula rothman13/08/2014 - 7:48 pm

    trying to find the eggplant and chick pea lettuce wraps.
    listed on the index but link brings me here..?ReplyCancel

  • Loren Webb14/02/2015 - 3:28 pm

    Ok, I know this is an old post but it makes me smile because I had a similar experience yesterday! An older female runner gave me the most genuine and up-lifting smile as our paths crossed on a trail – I wasn’t running, but had just hiked over 10km into town through snow and had the same “eff yeah!!” reaction. Love this post. xoReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright14/02/2015 - 3:47 pm

      Yes! I love that story, so thanks for sharing it here, Loren. And good on ya with the 10k hike through snow :)

  • Emily17/02/2015 - 12:10 pm

    This chocolate chia pudding is life changing! Such a perfect breakfast for a busy morning. Since cutting out dairy, I have not found a good yogurt substitute. So it’s nice to have something to eat with granola. Your website is the best!ReplyCancel

  • […] de tout ça en ce moment :p En me baladant sur Pinterest, je suis tombée sur ce blog « The first mess » et sur un visuel de patate douce en papillote qui m’a carrément inspiré ! […]ReplyCancel

  • […] cracked pepper are essential in my book, but from there, the possibilities are endless. I learned from Laura the deliciousness of nutritional yeast; at the delightful Berkeley cafe Bartavelle, I discovered […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Things I Like to Eat After a Workout (For Your Health) from Laura at The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

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“Each of us feels some aspect of the world’s suffering acutely. And we must pay attention. We must act. This little corner of the world is ours to transform. This little corner of the world is ours to save.”
-Stephen Cope (seen in this month’s Yoga Journal)

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I think that’s about all I have to offer you today, other than the recipe of course. These lettuce-wrapped veggie delights made my little world quite bright when I finally got the ratios, salt/spice levels, stickiness etc to my liking. The patties have everything that hippie dreams are made of essentially. There’s brown rice, millet, tamari, nutritional yeast, chopped up tempeh, grated veg, the whole tree-hugging vibe thing. This is no instance of beef burger mimesis and it’s not a heavy-topped/”ultimate” veggie burger kinda scene either (sometimes those are great though). It’s a little giving/crazy moist, crunchy-golden-crispy on the outside and super flavourful in a way that doesn’t suggest animal protein, which is ideal for my own taste. Most importantly, the burger can stand alone. Of course I wouldn’t let it, but this seems important to mention. I served it up with a sliced ripe mango, lots of sriracha, sweet pea shoots and tiny, pungent red onion slivers. Balanced, handheld and lovely.

I lettuce wrapped these because I’m feeling that kind of lightness lately. I have about a jillion things on my plate these days, but I’ve been trying to go gently into Spring in a full body + mind sense. Hope you’re all being good to yourselves in your own corners of the world as well :)

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tempeh, brown rice + millet veggie burger recipe
special equipment:
a food processor
serves: 6-8
notes: I leave a lot of room for mods here because I know everyone’s spice/ingredient needs are different. Also, I would highly recommend refrigerating the patties for at least an hour before cooking them to let them set up all proper. I haven’t tried grilling these, but I feel like that endeavour would be unsuccessful. Sauté all the way, guys. (If you try baking or grilling or some other method, let me know how it goes)

patty ingredients:
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup nuts + seeds (I used walnuts + sunflower seeds)
1 clove of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
1/2 cup grated vegetables (I used carrots + golden beets)
3/4 cup roughly chopped tempeh
1.5 tbsp tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp GF flour blend (or wholewheat, spelt etc)
2 tsp organic, non-GMO corn starch OR arrowroot powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 tbsp ground spices (I used za’atar, ancho chili powder + Old Bay seasoning)
1/4 cup chopped herbs/greens (I used thyme + arugula)
salt + pepper
1-2 tbsp water

assembly ingredients:
grapeseed/coconut oil for sautéeing
1-2 heads of butter/bibb lettuce, washed and leaves separated
sliced ripe mango
red onion slivers
pea shoots/other sprouts
+ anything else you like!

Combine the millet and brown rice with 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt. Bring this mix to a boil and simmer until all of the water is absorbed  about 15 minutes. The grains will still be quite chewy. Scrape the cooked grains into a large bowl and allow them to cool a bit.

In a food processor, combine the nuts/seeds, garlic, chopped onion, grated vegetables and tempeh. Pulse the mixture a few times until a moist + chunky paste forms (doesn’t that sound great?!?). Scrape this mixture into the large bowl with the cooked millet and brown rice.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl except for the water. Stir everything together until thoroughly combined and the mix resembles a thick paste. It should hold together when you pinch it with your fingers. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if necessary to bind it at this point and mix one more time.

Form the mixture into 6-8 patties with your hands. Place them on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, cover them in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for at least an hour. If you want to freeze these babies, place the covered tray in the freezer for an hour or two to firm the patties up. Then individually wrap them/place all of the patties in a large zippy bag for maximum storage capacity.

To cook: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cover the bottom with grapeseed/other neutral oil (like a 1/4-1/3 inch? you could also spray the pan with oil if you have a misto thing). Gently transfer 2-3 patties to the pan and sauté until golden on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the patties over and cook until golden on the other side, another 3 minutes. I kind of nudged the patties up against the sides of the pan to brown them all over as well. Repeat with remaining patties, while you keep the cooked ones warm.

Serve the hot veggie patties with lettuce wraps, toppings etc.

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  • No bread in burges – I like it a lot. I could eat as many as I wanted as it’s healthy and looks so delicious. Great idea and amazing pictures.ReplyCancel

  • forkandflower24/04/2013 - 5:19 am

    words can’t express how much i love this… i want to do this, like, asap, or right now? but somehow i’m stuck in the office today… schmeh. thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • sarahsscribble24/04/2013 - 7:22 am

    I adore this! healthy but slightly indulgent all at the same time! Like you, often I seem to have a million things on the list of LIFE and a recipe like this often makes everything so much better….


    Scribbles xxReplyCancel

  • Jeanine24/04/2013 - 8:42 am

    Love it with all those greens, yum! Gorgeous photos…ReplyCancel

  • carly morgan24/04/2013 - 9:02 am

    OKAY- this is the veggie burger of MY dreams!! looks too good. can’t wait to remake :) ps- i NEVER follow recipes, and always come up with em on my own but this one– i am so down for!!! xx thank ya! ps- gorgeous gorgeous photos!ReplyCancel

  • Sara24/04/2013 - 9:26 am

    Really want to try this. I am always scared to try recipes for patties of any type as they fall apart on me no matter what I do, but it’s worth trying again! Just started trying tempeh and am a huge fan.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin24/04/2013 - 9:44 am

    this is certainly a veggie burger with a little bit of everything in there! i love the lettuce wrapping, too. no need to weigh down this beauty with bread.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar24/04/2013 - 10:01 am

    This looks fabulous! Love the photos you took too :)ReplyCancel

  • Alexa24/04/2013 - 10:38 am

    I am always looking for sandwich and burger recipes without bread– this is perfect! beautiful photos as well!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley24/04/2013 - 11:07 am

    Ummmm. I don’t even know where to start so I’m going to make a LIST for this comment. 1 – You had me at (hello) “veggie burger of my dreams” and “tree-hugging vibe thing.” 2 – Brilliant using tempeh! Haven’t tried that yet. 3 – I want your quartz counters. 4 – I love that your wooden spoon is charred on the end. ALL of my wooden spoons are charred. 5 – The tray setup made me think, “breakfast in bed,” but how awesome would, “burgers in bed” be!? You know, after a mid-afternoon nap. 6 – Lettuce wraps. Mmmhm. 7 – Perfect lighting. 8 – You kind of rock. Let’s be best friends.ReplyCancel

  • Julia24/04/2013 - 12:14 pm

    lovely little post. sweet pics. rockin’ burger!! i think i may actually have all of the ingredients on hand to make these!! pumped. thanks :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne24/04/2013 - 12:51 pm

    That is the most perfect quote for today, Laura. And talk about the veggie burgers of MY dreams—I love how you wrapped them in lettuce. Veggie burgers with big buns are just too bread-y for me. Gotta try these asap.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle24/04/2013 - 8:02 pm

    This looks incredible and your photography is amazing! I just started eating vegan two months ago and am still in search of a good veggie burger recipe (they all seem so focused on black beans!) I can’t wait to try this out <3ReplyCancel

  • eliza24/04/2013 - 9:26 pm

    Just found your site and it’s stunning! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Liren25/04/2013 - 12:56 am

    Yes. I’ve been craving more lightness, so these veggie burgers wrapped in lettuce feels so right.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf25/04/2013 - 8:24 am

    I was veggie for nearly 10 years and never once did anyone serve me anything as fabulous looking as this. Now I eat meat and fish, but I still love the look of this – on my to make list!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley25/04/2013 - 12:53 pm

    These photos are EXTRA dreamy. As are these burgers. LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • carey25/04/2013 - 5:39 pm

    Oh yeah, love me a veggie burger that tastes like actual grains and veggies, not pretend meat! My poor parents (having been vegetarians for the past several decades) were super excited many years ago when they first started hearing about vegetarian patties and such showing up on the grocery store shelves, only to be disappointed by the fact that most of them were trying to taste like meat. My dad has been bugging me for years to come up with a good homemade veggie burger recipe, and I’ve done a few that were so-so. But THIS could definitely be the veggie burger of his dreams too! :DReplyCancel

  • sara forte25/04/2013 - 8:16 pm

    um, of my dreams too. I wish I was your lunch date.ReplyCancel

  • Fresh and Foodie26/04/2013 - 9:26 am

    Wow. These look wonderful — love the photo styling, too.

    I’ve had trouble with veggie burgers holding together in the past, but these look good enough to get me to try again.ReplyCancel

  • Richa26/04/2013 - 1:46 pm

    this is indeed the veggie burger of my dreams too.. and the photographs..of my dreams too.. the beautiful millet on the blue, the gorgeous rustic wood, and the delicious burger!ReplyCancel

  • Mallory26/04/2013 - 3:08 pm

    I cannot even begin to describe how delicious this looks! I love veggie burgers but they are just so much work. Worth it for sure, but still lots of prep.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah27/04/2013 - 12:28 am

    WOWWW. This looks incredible!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Galloway27/04/2013 - 4:08 am

    What a beautiful quote, so true! And the burger sounds fantastic, love the flavour combos. Thanks again for another inspiring recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke Schweers28/04/2013 - 8:37 pm

    These scream fresh and healthy. An amazing recipe thank you for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon28/04/2013 - 11:24 pm

    Holy perfect veggie burger. My boyfriend Sam makes a pretty fine millet burger, but these look like they’d trump his any day of the week. Cannot wait to try. Thank you for another beautiful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Golubka29/04/2013 - 9:43 am

    Can’t wait to try this, just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi29/04/2013 - 10:45 am

    Yes. My inner hippie thinks that these sound awesome and that the lettuce wrap is genius. Loving it all.ReplyCancel

  • Daria29/04/2013 - 2:26 pm

    These are absolutely delicious! I baked them instead of frying (30 min 425F), they are so tender and juicy and mmm..served in lettuce wrap with avocado and homemade ketchup sauce. heavenly!ReplyCancel

  • Julia29/04/2013 - 6:25 pm

    WOW!!! made these for supper tonight.. FABULOUS!!! the whole family loved them. they are delicate, wondering if a bit more flour would have helped them hold together better? regardless.. REALLY, REALLY delicious. i will most certainly be making these again. MUCH thanks Laura :)ReplyCancel

  • sarah29/04/2013 - 10:36 pm

    You’re amazing. If I ever find myself with a personal chef, I’m just going to have them cook from your blog. xoReplyCancel

  • The Wooden Spoon30/04/2013 - 2:15 am

    Gorgeous post!!!! I love the newspaper sheet you chose for the photo xxx big loveReplyCancel

  • Elenore Bendel Zahn30/04/2013 - 8:04 am

    Tree hugging vibe? Well duh! I’m in pretty lady!

    So much love for you in my heart!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey30/04/2013 - 6:58 pm

    what an amazing list of ingredients! sounds just as lovely as it looks.ReplyCancel

  • Joanne T Ferguson30/04/2013 - 10:10 pm

    G’day! I’ve never cooked with millet before, TRUE!
    What a healthy, exciting veggie burger this is and LOVE your photo/staging too!

  • Pamela Joy30/04/2013 - 10:25 pm

    Looks LOVELY!!! My mouth is watering!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline30/04/2013 - 10:25 pm

    I’m so thrilled to have found your site! I am always on the lookout for veggie burgers. I love them. Some more than others! This one is gorgeous. I love the combination of ingredients and your presentation is so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • […] homemade veggie burger recipe (and every other recipe) on natural food blog The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks01/05/2013 - 10:55 pm

    These photos are GORgeous! I love the burger with the greens — but was it hard to eat? I always have problems with unwieldy greens… :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright02/05/2013 - 7:31 am

      Hey Sonja! I definitely used multiple lettuce leaves for wrapping them up. Kind of cheating but… more greens, sooo better? :)

  • tina10/05/2013 - 8:27 am

    Yum..I can’t wait to try this veggie burger tonightReplyCancel

  • Kobi Kenzo13/05/2013 - 5:25 pm

    your blog is like a warm comfy comforter on a cold winter day….simply divine!ReplyCancel

  • […] kind of get obsessed with burgers in the summer. I’ve already made these. And you can bet I’ll be making these and these. If you come back next week, I also have a […]ReplyCancel

  • oven chaos20/05/2013 - 1:55 pm

    Thank you for the recipe! Made the burgers with beets, arugula, hemp seeds and smoked tempeh and enjoyed the final result. The taste reminded me of PPK beet burgers. I liked the different ingredients and extra protein in your recipe :)ReplyCancel

  • Lissylu22/05/2013 - 4:40 pm

    Really like the recipe, but my burgers turned to complete mush. I couldn’t even cook them. I think it might be because the rice was too wet. Any advice? I’d desperately like to find a good veggie burger recipe, but this seems to always be the problem, they are total mush or fall apart.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright23/05/2013 - 1:03 pm

      Hi Lissylu,
      I’m so sorry they didn’t work out for you. Was the mixture so mushy/wet that you couldn’t even form a patty? If you did manage to form the patties, did you chill them down for at least an hour before attempting to cook them? Did you sub any of the ingredients at all? It sounds like the rice might have been overcooked/there was too much water left in the grains when you mixed them in. I kind of cook the grains to a point where they’re still quite chewy and usually there’s no water left in the pan at that point. If you try them again, I would cook the rice to a point of under-doneness and drain any remaining water in the pot out (although, there shouldn’t be any). You can kind of see in the photo of the mix, that it isn’t terribly wet and the flour contributes to some moisture-sopping as well… Hopefully some of these observations help a bit.

  • Lissylu23/05/2013 - 4:09 pm

    Thanks for your insight! I was able to form patties, but just barely, really really soggy patties. I did chill them for over an hour, but they were still so soggy. I cooked the grains using the measurements you suggested, but i do think they were still too wet when i added them, maybe i should have let them cook a bit longer to absorb all the water. The only thing i subbed was flour for most of the yeast since i didn’t have enough yeast. I’ll try again and will let you know!ReplyCancel

  • 25 Gourmet Veggie Burgers17/06/2013 - 1:29 am

    […] Lettuce Wrapped Veggie Burger – The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] that the words “grilling” and “meat” are inseparable? Have a look at Lauras veggie burger or the jerk-style veggie grill and be convinced […]ReplyCancel

  • Katy @ Katy's Kitchen30/06/2013 - 7:07 pm

    I made these the other day and they were absolutely fantastic. I probably tripled the nutritional yeast because I really wanted that cheesy flavour. I had them smothered with avocado and they were really wonderful. I also used tempeh that was pre-marinated in sesame garlic sauce. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Kai15/07/2013 - 12:42 pm

    I made these first time for a cookout — though the recommendation is to sauté these, it’s July in DC and we don’t cook indoors this time of year ;-) Came out perfect — wrapped the grill in foil just in case, but the held together just fine… I only omitted the water, used gram masala, chili powder + old bay, & regular flour. Tripled the recipe for a batch of 18, folks have been raving ever since. Will definitely add to my veggie burger go-to recipe list…ReplyCancel

  • […] Here we have served the burger in a dark sourdough walnut bun from our favorite bakery. But we also often wrap it up in a cabbage leaf. Or serve it between to pieces of dark danish rye. If you want a dairy free burger you can replace the feta with tofu. Or you could do these Beetroot & Millet Burgers that we posted waaay back. If you want an entirely vegan burger you could always make our Portobello & Peach Burgers. Or try this awesome recipe by Laura from The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • Cameron14/09/2013 - 2:03 pm

    I’m a new vegan. You are such an inspiration. Your photos are beautiful. Your recipes are awesome (I made your Magic Healing Soup today). Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • […] veggie burgers from scratch, I was excited. The recipe came from an award-winning vegetarian blog, The First Mess. We accompanied the lettuce-wrapped burgers with sweet potato fries (and evil-delicious vegan […]ReplyCancel

  • Golubka Kitchen14/10/2013 - 11:17 pm

    […] take the prize. I must admit that veggie burgers have always seemed boring to me, but after seeing these two, I became fascinated with the idea of creating my […]ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie04/12/2013 - 11:44 pm

    My belly doesn’t do well with fried food so I baked these and they were deeeeelish! I put them on parchment on a baking sheet and baked them at 350 for 45 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Scrum-dilly-icious! Great recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] Lettuce Wrapped Veggie Burger […]ReplyCancel

  • maureen pay25/06/2014 - 7:05 am


    From Niagara but now in Toronto so I check the Niag. Review on line. This is how I found you. I was wondering, as I live alone, that it might be helpful to note if some of your recipes can be frozen. I am looking at the burger recipe and it looks very good but it seems to make a lot of burgers and it would be great if I could freeze some for later use. Keep up the good work and thanks.


    • Laura Wright25/06/2014 - 9:13 pm

      Hi Maureen! Lovely of you to say hello here. And yes, I like the suggestion on freezing meals and such. Will keep it in mind for the future. As for these burgers, I freeze them all the time. I just shape the patties, place them on a parchment lined tray and freeze them until they’re pretty much solid. From here, I place the frozen patties in a large sealable container or ziploc bag. Thaw before you plan to cook them and all’s good!
      Thanks again,

  • […] orange cakeEating… this vegie burger, I hopePlaying… 21 questions with the kidsWatching… this linguist stick it to […]ReplyCancel

  • […] orange cakeEating… this vegie burger, I hopePlaying… 21 questions with the kidsWatching… this linguist stick it to […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Dream Veggie Burger – an excellent choice if you prefer plant-based proteins! […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Bean‘s Tempeh: I made The First Mess’s Veggie Burger of my Dreams with this brand of tempeh. Now it is in my dreams […]ReplyCancel

  • […] post! and who doesn’t always end up with extra quinoa?)  Along our journey, we discovered an amazing idea from The First Mess, which replaces the traditional toppings with lettuce, mango slices and hot sauce. We loved the […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!
Despite bemoaning comfort food’s ubiquity or “upscale comfort cuisine” in predominantly shoddy-glossy establishments, I do find these foods to be rather important in a day to day sense. Misery, sickness or fatigue aren’t the only occasions that find me seeking that sort of cozy reassurance though. I work towards comfort immediately upon waking every day — and I find it in a cup of tea, a piece of fruit, a handful of granola, some avocado smushed on toast with chill flakes, whatever’s there… Perhaps my angle on this sought-after feeling is different, but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal. If there are harsh forces in the world, I won’t bring more of the same violence down onto my body. The food or drink’s abilities to soothe and revitalize must work in tandem.

With that criteria floating in the background, I generally find the most comforting foods to be elemental, aligning with the makings of our magnificent earth. In nature, that force of Goodness or God is all around. The total immersion in colour and textures is evidence of this power. I want that on the plate in front of me in as much as I can manage. The approach to nourishment carries itself out from there rather seamlessly, making its own intuitive connections along the way.

There are poached eggs adorning the top of any dish you could imagine, their gleaming whites evoke drifting clouds and life-moving/affirming breezes. A salty noodle broth splashes, cleanses and renews us from deep down like the sea. Greens and roots arrive with the earth still intact, upfront with their healing power. The deep brown bottoms of heavy sourdough loaves remind us that fire was the original cooking tool of choice, that it really is all we need for sustenance. The flavour and whole-life-satiety of such things are with me long after the food is gone. These are instances of true comfort, one’s self made better by reconnecting with the world for a moment and a meal.

It takes me in with its warmth and, more importantly, the meal brings me outside of my own mind a bit as well. There is an awareness involved that goes beyond automated fork and spoon lifting. In this particular example of simple soup, there are still-toothsome bits of greens, heavy with garlic, that require a small chew. The broth is a bit saline and can be sipped carefully while piping hot. The sweet potatoes are soft and rustic, bringing a very felt fullness. I add lentils to contribute even more hearty qualities, which I find necessary on these cool and damp early spring evenings. The chickpea flatbread has a bit of a socca vibe, but it’s more of a low maintenance affair, doing its thing in the oven while you simmer the soup and what have you.

So with that, I’ll cut it short and sweet right here — hopefully leaving you all in thoughts of comfort, vibrance and the many other good things that we have going.

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
I almost forgot to mention that I have a guest post at the wonderful Golubka blog this week. Anya’s cuisine and photographs speak of life lived well and vibrantly, so I’m more than happy to be sharing some little (gluten free and vegan) lemon tarts over there for you. You can check them out by clicking here.

simple garlic + greens soup with sweet potatoes
serves: 3-4
notes: Use regular potatoes if you like and any kind of greens that strike your fancy. This soup is rather easy going.

1 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup french/brown lentils, rinsed + picked over
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-1 inch dice (peeling is optional)
5 cups vegetable stock (or 1 veggie bouillon cube + 5 cups water)
4-5 cups of roughly cut, sturdy greens (mustard greens, kale, cabbage, collards)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are quite soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and diced sweet potato and stir them about to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring the pot here and there. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes/lentils are just soft, about 15 minutes. Add the greens and give the pot a stir. Allow them to wilt just slightly. Add the lemon juice, taste for seasoning and serve hot with chili flakes, drizzles of extra virgin olive oil and whatever else you like.

smoky chickpea flatbread
serves: 2-3
notes: You can mix this up with any spices/herbs/citrus zests etc that you like. Also I mixed this batter up, covered it, and left it in the fridge for 3 days. All worked out fine and it baked while my soup was happening.

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
salt + pepper (I was liberal with both)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used bittersweet)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups filtered water (approx)

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and olive oil. Stir that up a bit. Add the water, starting with about 1 1/4 cups. Stir the batter with a spatula until combined. The consistency should be like thin pancake batter. Add more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the batter. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it with more olive oil.

Scrape the batter onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out to 1/4 inch thickness or so, shaking the pan and banging it on the counter to do so. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden in spots and lifting off of the pan with ease. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve warm in torn pieces. Optional: drizzle with more olive oil and black pepper.

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  • Kathryn17/04/2013 - 7:48 am

    Food that nourishes the body is, I think, the very best kind of comfort food. Reassuring and life-affirming, like this bowl of goodness.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae17/04/2013 - 8:41 am

    Word, lady. Nourishing food is the only kind of comfort food – if it can’t heal or warm or soothe my soul, then it’s a far cry from comfort (for me, at least). Loving this soup and your gorgeous, gorgeous photos. You rule.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf17/04/2013 - 8:45 am

    I love the photo of that garlic. And I love your definition of comfort food – so much more than what we’ve come to categorise as comfort in the form of bland, pappy carbs, sugar and sweets.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley17/04/2013 - 9:25 am

    Gorgeous photos, colors, and recipe! And, ohhhh your words. Always so meaningful and honest. LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Great recipe, so healthy. And pictures are amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne17/04/2013 - 11:53 am

    Love your concept of comfort food, Laura. Funny how comfort food seems to connote unhealthy cheesy/salty/fatty things more so than warming, nourishing soups like this one. Looks lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar17/04/2013 - 2:02 pm

    This looks fabulous!!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny @ BAKE17/04/2013 - 3:50 pm

    This soup looks absolutely perfect, I am going to have to make it as it has so many of my favourite ingredients in it!ReplyCancel

  • Christina17/04/2013 - 8:49 pm

    There’s something about the earthiness of this soup that makes it seem so inviting. I can almost taste it already…ReplyCancel

  • Kris17/04/2013 - 10:42 pm

    You know, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with food a lot lately, feeling really positive shifts happening (both subtle and major) regularly… or perhaps I’m just more aware of them now. You speak my language, girl! My approach to comfort food has only started to shift in the last few years of my life, but this captures the change in its essence. As always your words, photographs, and culinary developments are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah17/04/2013 - 10:54 pm

    Laura I love your thoughts about food and what can make it comforting. It is an elemental comfort, a basic human need, and when we make it nurturing, we are actually getting at the real root of why it is comforting … Thanks for making me think about that, in this week when we all can use some comfort. xoReplyCancel

  • Caitlin18/04/2013 - 10:37 am

    the only comfort food for me is the kind that warms and nourishes my body. if i feel awful, i make a huge bowl of veggie soup, salad, or stir fry. the more veggies, the better. i can’t wait to make this delicious and simple soup paired with socca, which happens to be one of my favorite things in the world ;)ReplyCancel

  • Annie18/04/2013 - 1:24 pm

    Simply beautiful and nourishing. This is exactly what I want today. It’s raining and partially snowing in Minnesota and I’m wishing for spring. This is going on my “to make” list.ReplyCancel

  • Julia18/04/2013 - 3:14 pm

    Wow this soup looks and sounds delicious. I’m a huge fan of garlic so I’ll definitely be making this.ReplyCancel

  • Loren18/04/2013 - 6:08 pm

    If you wanted to make a big pot of this and eat it throughout the week should you hold off on the greens until you are ready to eat it?Thanks for the recipe looks delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright19/04/2013 - 8:12 am

      Hi Loren!
      I’ve been eating leftovers from this just very simply heated up with scoops of brown rice + other add-ins. The greens won’t be AS vibrant green and a touch softer afterwards, but it’s still really tasty. As long as you use thicker/tougher greens, you should be all good :)

  • Cheri Litchfield20/04/2013 - 5:54 pm

    Just found your blog yesterday and I am so excited about every single beautiful picture and recipe. I want to try each and every one! Thank you thank you!ReplyCancel

  • sarah22/04/2013 - 11:44 am

    ‘but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal.’ Everyone of your posts has one sentence that completely cuts to my core, and challenges me. I don’t aim for renewal, and I need to work on that, asap. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate your voice so much.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen23/04/2013 - 6:54 am

    Oh my, this just makes me want to eat all the amazing comfort food there is. Also, I like that the chickpea batter can sit around for a bit, in case I’m slightly organised on one day and slightly organised on the second day, but not super organised on one whole day, y’know?ReplyCancel

  • Riley23/04/2013 - 12:09 pm

    Made this last night– just brilliant, and a great way to be introduced to kale– plus, your photography is GORGEOUS. Thank you, just. Wow.ReplyCancel

  • Sara24/04/2013 - 9:28 am

    I’ve been wanting to try socca for so long–I love chickpeas and I know I’ll love it. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Zach28/04/2013 - 11:12 am

    Your photos are stunning and your recipes sound delectable. We would love for you to share them at The Feasting Eye is still a bit new, but I think you will like what you see :-).ReplyCancel

  • Frances13/05/2013 - 8:39 pm

    Eating this soup as we speak and it truly is amazing, yet so simple!!! I used lacinato kale and topped with some avocado. This is the first recipe I made off your blog and I look forward to exploring more. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Ariadna23/05/2013 - 2:56 am

    What you just made there is faina. You can order some at any self-respecting pizzeria in Argentina.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel07/08/2013 - 5:28 am

    YOU ARE AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • Soup Style | Sous Style14/10/2013 - 10:30 am

    […] Recipe credits: 1. Williams Sonoma,  Asparagus Soup with Poached Egg & Crispy Prosciutto 2. Whole Living, Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup 3. Bayaderka, Red Lentil & Carrot Soup with Cinnamon, Tumeric & Chilli  4. Kellies Food to Glow, Creamy Zucchini, Walnut & Thyme Soup  5. Doriannn, Spiced Spinach & Lentil soup 6. My New Roots, Coconut soup 7. The First Mess, Simple Asparagus & Ramp soup  8. The First Mess, Simple Garlic & Greens Soup […]ReplyCancel

  • […] anyway, it is a soup for not-quite-but-maybe-soon-hopefully fall. it’s my own version of the garlic + greens soup on the first mess, with some changes in process, different ingredients, etc., leading to something i find more […]ReplyCancel

  • Claudia04/12/2014 - 4:31 pm

    I just made a big pot of this soup and it tastes A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! Had to swap the brown lentils for red ones though because I didn’t have them at hand. Already looking forward to my dinner tomorrow – it’s just about the right dose of cozyness for a cold winter night! :)

    Greetings from Germany!ReplyCancel

  • […] cocktail, and some cute kitchenware is inspiring me to do some springtime entertaining… 1. Simple Garlic & Greens Soup with Smoky ChickPea Flatbread, via The First Mess 2. Dr. Bird Juicer from imm Living, image via Honestly Yum 3. Dragon Fruit Limeade Cocktail, via A […]ReplyCancel