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I like muffins, I do. I can truthfully say that I’ve turned down invitations to go for a beer with friends in favor of cooking up a dozen. Actually heard over the phone in the background: “What, is she 80 years old?!” It was worth it.

I always gravitate towards the crumble topped, glazed or chocolate flecked varieties out of habit though… because it’s like eating a piece of cake. A piece of cake that you can sometimes have with a hot drink and call it breakfast. Oh, and healthy muffins are generally terrible. Like, more terrible than mornings pre-coffee. I wanted this to be different in a real way.

Here’s the thing. It’s hard to make a homemade, legitimately healthy muffin that tastes AMAZING + looks completely beautiful. I have high expectations in a general way. Brown, dome-y cake things are not always tasty and are definitely not inherently glamorous. I wanted it to be real good on all fronts for your health. Sometimes I irrationally worry about offering up recipes for more humble fare here. A muffin is not the most totally unique snowflake-kind of thing to post on a food blog, but it is decidedly everyday and approachable. I am slowly learning that this is enough.

When I lived in the city, I used to pop into the nearby Whole Foods from time to time for a matcha tea and one of their lovely vegan muffins. But it wasn’t entirely muffin-like! They baked them in petite bundt pans and put a sweet little glaze on top. The ingredients were all health-supporting for sure and the small hit of glaze brought it back into light indulgence territory. The idea was to emulate the overall feel of their muffin and fill the recipe out with things I really love.

I went to work, consulted with a new and wonderful book, and here we are. It’s a beauty, I assure you. It’s key to go wild with flavour-y things when undertaking more health-centric, vegan baking. The spices, the vanilla, the add-ins; they all work together to make a non buttered + egged treat so delicious. If I’m vegan-izing/health-ing something up, I generally double the vanilla specified, use spices and citrus zest with abandon, and reach for flavourful fats like nut butters or coconut oil as an overall strategy. Also, stirring the batter gently until just incorporated is key for a nice texture. You could apply that principle to any muffin recipe, but especially here with the inclusion of 100% whole grain flour.

In this particular breakfast marvel, I’ve used hearty spelt flour, almond meal, chia and flax seeds, warming spices, tropical coconut oil + vanilla (still savoring the bottle miss Ashlae sent me), walnuts, tart dried cranberries, coconut palm sugar, a smidge of banana to amp up the natural sweetness and some frozen Ontario blueberries stirred in to remind us of summer’s gifts. I topped them off with a zesty clementine glaze for an inviting hit of freshness. These would be perfect for a weekend brunch at home. Your grandma would be so proud of you for baking these on a Saturday night, just a thought :)

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!

antioxidant power muffins + clementine glaze
adapted from Dr. Weil’s True Food
serves: 
makes 7-8 little bundts or 12 normal muffins
notes: If you eat them, feel free to replace the mashed banana with 2 beaten eggs to avoid any trace of banana-ness. Also! I know if you’re high on health, you might want to turn your nose up at the glaze portion. I found it pretty crucial to the whole experience. This batter isn’t terribly sweet, so the glaze has a rather serious function in the grand scheme (way serious).

muffins:
1 cup whole spelt flour
1/4 cup almond meal (or use more spelt if you like)
1 1/3 cups ground flax + chia seeds (or go with pure flax or pure chia)
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of fine sea salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I used almond)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed (or fresh if they’re in season)
3/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 tbsp cacao nibs

clementine glaze:
juice and zest of 1 clementine
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease your mini bundt or muffin tins and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, almond meal, flax + chia seeds, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt.

Mash the banana in a separate medium bowl. Make sure it is fairly smooth. To the banana, add the coconut oil, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Scrape the banana and milk mixture into the dry indredients (flour, ground flax etc). Gently fold the batter until it is just combined/there are no more dry bits of flour. Add the blueberries, dried cranberries, walnuts, and cacao nibs and gently fold them into the batter until evenly distributed. The batter should be quite thick at this point.

Fill the muffin cups/bundts with the batter to 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and muffins bounce back when you press your finger onto the tops. Cool the pans on a wire rack completely before turning out onto a plate.

While muffins are baking/cooling, make the glaze: whisk the clementine zest, juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Apply glaze to the tops of completely cooled muffins.

You might also like…

banana zucchini bread + whole grain flour

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banana coconut waffles + a one trick pony

I would love for you guys to think that I churn out some pretty fabulous meals with just a sharp knife, some pots andView full post »

barley scones + roasted plums

I love scones. I actually love breakfast treats in general, but the scone is my absolute favourite one of them all.View full post »

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  • ana cooks16/01/2013 - 6:15 am

    i have no words for this recipe and shots!!!
    just loved it all!ReplyCancel

  • Sophie {The Cake Hunter}16/01/2013 - 6:29 am

    ‘Power muffin’ is a phrase I want to keep strong in my vocabulary. These looks delicious. I’ve become abit obsessed with spelt flour of late. I made the nicest pastry with it the other. The idea of ‘better for you’ baking really appeals to me. Beautiful photos as well :)ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin16/01/2013 - 7:59 am

    i was always a huge fan of the whole foods muffins. i would always read the ingredients in the case and think, “how can something with such healthy ingredients taste so delicious?!” i love the huge areas of blueberries in these lovelies- they look amazing and incredibly flavorful.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae16/01/2013 - 9:48 am

    Giiiiiirl! Loving everything about this post. And if it makes you feel better, my friends also think I’m 80 – but who needs beers when you have POWER MUFFINS!

    PS – this post finally convinced me that I can no longer function in the kitchen without baby bundts. Got ‘em!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn16/01/2013 - 9:53 am

    I can never have too many muffin recipes in my life & it never ceases to amaze me how one simple treat can be so ridiculously incredibly decadent or full of life-affirming ingredients like this. Definitely looking forward to one of these beauties for breakfast in my near future.ReplyCancel

  • erin16/01/2013 - 9:59 am

    I love, love, love these! I also have to agree with Ashlae in that I need baby bundts in my life- they make everything look even more perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia16/01/2013 - 10:32 am

    I am so glad I am not alone in sometimes turning down invitations to stay at home to bake! Seriously, after a long week at work, one of the things that helps me unwind and which I look forward to all week is to come home and bake pizza from scratch (with dough that has patiently been proving in the fridge for a day)!

    And those muffins? They sound delicious – I might just bake my next batch of muffins in my little bundt pans … and those pictures! I am very jealous of the light! Beautiful shots as always!ReplyCancel

  • Christine16/01/2013 - 10:35 am

    These look delicious! I’m putting them on my weekend list :) I just found your blog recently and have seen so many things I’d love to make, but what caught me most was that you are in Niagara – I’m in Niagara too!ReplyCancel

  • Mariela Alvarez-Toro16/01/2013 - 10:37 am

    What GF flour would yo substitute the spelt for? More almond flour? Coconut? I definitely want to try this out. Lovely post.ReplyCancel

  • Kate16/01/2013 - 11:19 am

    I’m all about a muffin that is purposeful in it’s short life; a small diversion from sweet and cloying, a teeny little break in the day where the need for support and sustenance is strong. A muffin should be powerful, despite being tiny. I’m constantly changing up ingredients, adding the flax seed, subbing in whole wheat flour, reducing sugar or swapping it for honey. They need to give me a boost, not a sugar rush.

    I recently re-did my recipe books and was shocked at how many muffin recipes I have. Regardless, I’m printing this one and adding it to the mix. You can never have enough.ReplyCancel

  • Sara forte16/01/2013 - 12:43 pm

    I used to work at True Food kitchen and I knew where these muffins were from at first picture! They are beautiful, Laura. I’m with you on humble offerings. Keep them coming.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy16/01/2013 - 3:56 pm

    Laura, these muffins look fabulous, and your photos are particularly stunning here. I affirm your choice to stay in to bake from time to time, as I do believe I have done exactly the same. And I must say that these muffins seem pretty snowflake-like to me — not the usual muffin offering, to be sure! But either way, absolutely, absolutely enough. (That Dr. Weil. What a rock star.)ReplyCancel

  • la domestique16/01/2013 - 6:54 pm

    A healthful muffin that tastes good sounds like something we could all use in our recipe box. I flipped through True Food recently and man, what a great cookbook! Gorgeous photos, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Shelley16/01/2013 - 6:59 pm

    hi! could regular sugar be swapped in for the coconut palm sugar? thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura16/01/2013 - 7:57 pm

      Hi Shelley! You could absolutely use normal cane sugar in place of the coconut palm sugar. The batter might be a touch sweeter too :)
      -LauraReplyCancel

  • Jess16/01/2013 - 7:12 pm

    Ahhhhhrrr! So gloriously amazing! Your food is always to die for. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui16/01/2013 - 10:50 pm

    These are gorgeous muffins Laura! And I’m guilty of being called “grandma” many times. Baking is totally a worthy excuse for staying in if you ask me!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah17/01/2013 - 2:40 am

    Laura these look amazing. I am going to bed dreaming about clementine glaze – I suspect my shopping list for tomorrow will be altered by the time I get up ;) Thanks for another stunner. I think you’re hitting on something nice here, too, which is that even simple things can be made better when we remember them as the treats that they are, and show them a tiny bit of extra (clementine-flavored, bundt-shaped) love.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf17/01/2013 - 9:34 am

    These muffins are a work of art! I love that you think so hard about coming up with inspiring recipes for the blog – this is certainly one of them :-)ReplyCancel

  • Courtney17/01/2013 - 6:26 pm

    I so need these muffins in my life!! I too have been disappointed by so-called “healthy muffins” in the past as they seem to be lacking in freshness & flavor. These look amazing! I love the clementine glaze and the fact that you made these in mini bundt pans :)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa17/01/2013 - 10:05 pm

    Made them tonight. They are divine. Devoured by all three sons and husband! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}18/01/2013 - 12:42 am

    What a unique and healthful muffin! I love that you use mini bundt molds to change it up! Stunning photos, too!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah18/01/2013 - 6:29 pm

    Laura, I love you so much. I always joke with my husband that I am already a Grandma, so when I read that first paragraph I wanted to send you a bag of cookies and some freshly made doilies. {and, these muffins are so beautiful!}ReplyCancel

  • The Frosted Vegan20/01/2013 - 6:52 pm

    I love how cute and lovely these look, especially with that clementine glaze!ReplyCancel

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth)21/01/2013 - 8:04 am

    Cakes masquerading as a healthy breakfast item drive me bonkers, hence the name of my blog! These little bundts look gorgeous, and are the perfect balance of indulgence and health. I have a recipe on my blog for no sugar banana bran muffins which are my favourite weekday muffins, but I’ll definitely have to give these a try. The only thing I don’t have on hand is the coconut sugar, which can be easily corrected. Thanks for sharing the recipe – and your words here have convinced me to pick up Dr. Weil’s cookbook.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole06/02/2013 - 1:31 pm

    As soon as I saw “for your health”, I instantly thought of Steve Brule! I think I say “for your health” at least once per day, and always out of context like him. My favorite is “for your wine”, though!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright06/02/2013 - 3:00 pm

      Nicole, I’m so glad you appreciate Steve Brule as much as I do! I’m always using “for your health” out of context too :))ReplyCancel

  • Julia08/02/2013 - 2:13 pm

    well, i also have a copy of true food, and at first glance these muffins didn’t wow me, but yours do!! i baked them this morning, and you’re right, the glaze did play an integral role in the amazing-ness of them. thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • […] recept komt van de briljante site The First Mess en ik heb het een beetje aangepast omdat ik niet alles in huis […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Brady12/04/2013 - 3:44 pm

    How have I not come across you before now!? Love all the recipes, have to try them all – where to start?! Fab. xxxReplyCancel

  • Filling my Time | Food Whims18/04/2013 - 2:38 pm

    […] Antioxidant Power Muffins + Clementine Glaze […]ReplyCancel

  • Anna12/05/2013 - 9:34 am

    These look amazing! Would love to make them but any way we can avoid the sugar (ie. use dates, applesauce or more bananas)? If so what would the proportions be??? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright14/05/2013 - 8:21 am

      Hi Anna,
      You could certainly sub in the same amount of date paste for the sugar, but you would have to reduce all of the other wet ingredients in the recipe by 1/4. I’m not sure how this would impact the structure of the muffin to be honest. Let me know if you try!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Leticia01/03/2014 - 4:44 pm

    Made these muffins and they were really delicious, even without the glaze.

    However, after following the recipe to a T, my muffins ended up looking more like 2 bite brownies… Do you have any tips on how to get them to rise up like a muffin, or should I expect them to look they way they did?

    Looking forward to making them again!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright02/03/2014 - 1:34 pm

      Hi Leticia!
      So glad you enjoyed the muffins. And in terms of rising, these never really puff up like traditional muffins. I opt for the mini bundt way of baking them because they never have those perfectly domed tops. That’s always a tricky thing with vegan muffin batters I find.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] 14. Antioxidant Power Muffins – You know you’re getting your fill of antioxidants when it’s part of the title. This recipe uses a combination of blueberries and cranberries to live up to its name. It combines them with other amazing foods like ginger, cinnamon, and bananas so this is a nutritional feast for the body. The way they’ve made them here almost looks like a fancy doughnut, but they’re calling them muffins. Either way they’re healthy as can be. […]ReplyCancel

  • Ruth15/09/2014 - 10:01 pm

    Just made these muffins tonight – I subbed in all-purpose flour, 1 cup flax meal + 1/3 cup chia seeds, regular sugar and 3 eggs instead of the banana. The batter was not as thick and it made 16 muffins total – I opted not to do the glaze since I will probably pop them in the toaster oven with a little butter, but using regular sugar seemed to make them sweet enough. Good recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy11/12/2014 - 2:13 pm

    I cannot wait to let my husband and mom try these. They sound awesome. Just found this blog. So excited to explore!!ReplyCancel

  • Janja04/02/2015 - 4:50 pm

    Just wondering whether you have used dry chia seeds or the soaked ones? tomorrow I will try out this recipe :)ReplyCancel

  • Priyanka Mehrotra05/02/2015 - 12:08 am

    Hi ! I recently discovered your blog and am so happy that I did!! Quick question on your recipe for Power Muffins. Can I substitute in buckwheat flour instead of spelt flour? If yes, any changes in the other ingredient measurements? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright05/02/2015 - 11:06 am

      Hi Priyanka, I’ve never tried replacing the spelt flour in these with buckwheat and I’m honestly not sure how well they would perform if you did. If you’re looking to make these gluten free, I would either replace the spelt flour with a gluten-free all purpose blend (like Pamela’s brand) OR I would try replacing the spelt with 1/2 cup buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup brown rice flour. You might need some ground psyllium husk or xanthan gum in the mix to hold things together if you go this route as well. If you try the buckwheat (or any other substitution), let me know!
      -LReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!
I say this about so many things, but winter citrus is certain proof that we are loved in this world. January brings us to more hours spent in darkness. The sun is elusive on most days, giving way to shades of mud and blinding white. On winter drives through all of the sleepy orchards, there’s an illusion of hollow space, that the rows of black and empty branches cross each other forever and for no reason, that your breath could escape and go on. A cloudy and warm gasp would lift from your mouth, drifting over the fields searching listlessly for another of its kind. Stepping outside invites the bizarrely comforting act of bundling yourself up to face the world. Promises of impending greatness well up and wait. By the end of March, I’m on my knees for a release from the extremity of it, the spatial restlessness and cold grey, the bleak landscape that seems to dwell within.

Then there are splendid and simple moments, ones of clarity. Cutting into any one of the satsumas, lemons, blood oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines, taking a second to revel in the brightness, is one of those moments. Vivid colour, the intensely perfumed oil in the skin, all succulent with tart sweetness, the symmetry within the shapes–all reminders of the warmth in the design of this world. The core of life still glows and we are assured at the very sight of those neon orbs that vibrate with the sun and earth’s strength.

Something unusual to wake up my winter-dulled sensibilities was bubbling away in my mind and it had to be a chop, a shred, a seasoning from up high, toss toss toss and a fast sear away. Quick. Jude Blereau’s orange pan-glazed tempeh (first seen on 101 Cookbooks for me) is one of my favourite ways to utilize citrus in an upfront and savoury sort of way. I swap out the coriander for some ground ancho chilies in pursuit of heat, but otherwise keep it to the letter and simple. Have you tried tempeh before? That fermented, probiotic and protein-heavy vegan wonder food? The texture is toothsome. The flavour is nutty, hinting at mushrooms and damp, forest floor kind of qualities. It has roots in Indonesian cuisine and stands in beautifully for tofu and animal proteins.

Right here, it goes for a bit of a sear and a sloshy glaze of maple, ancho and soy infused orange juice. I thought of it as the foundation of a taco with a slaw saturated in grapefruit juice and flecked with fresh mint. Grapefruit gets on beautifully with creamy and mild avocado, so that became the crucial third component. A little frivolous tangle of sprouts on top felt fine in the moment. Finishing squeezes of lime are available for even more freshness. The combination is nicely jarring and it brings the world a bit closer, what with the participatory nature of taco get-togethers. The gathering, assembly and communal eating seems to put us all into the light a little more.

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orange + ancho braised tempeh tacos with ruby grapefruit slaw
serves: 4-5
notes: I used an all-soy variety of tempeh for this, but there are many varieties with brown rice and other grains thrown into the mix  that are great. Also, as previously mentioned, I subbed in ancho powder + cayenne for the coriander in Jude’s recipe. You could go so many ways with it though.

1 batch orange pan glazed tempeh (recipe link), subbing ancho powder for the coriander

ruby grapefruit slaw:
1/2 small red cabbage, cored and shredded
1 small carrot, grated or peeled into ribbons (I used a funky white, heirloom one)
juice of 1 grapefruit + I cut up a few sections of it for visual/textural interest in the slaw
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 green onions, sliced finely
4 sprigs of mint, leaves sliced finely
salt and pepper

assembly:
corn tortillas, warmed
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted + sliced
handfuls of sprouts (I had pea shoots around)
lime wedges
sriracha or other hot sauce

Prepare the slaw: combine all slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.

Dice and warm all of the assembly components and set aside.

Prepare tempeh according to directions. Serve hot with other taco accoutrements.

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  • Kathryn09/01/2013 - 6:19 am

    This really is food to make you feel alive isn’t it? The brightness and lightness sounds just what I’m graving in these grey January days.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin09/01/2013 - 7:36 am

    there is something cutting into a big, beautiful grapefruit that makes winter a little sweeter. these tacos look incredibly delicious, and i’d love to just eat up all the slaw in one sitting.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf09/01/2013 - 9:21 am

    Everything you’re posting at the moment is exactly what I’m craving! These flavours look and sound delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle09/01/2013 - 10:39 am

    So much love for this.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique09/01/2013 - 11:23 am

    Absolutely gorgeous, Laura! I’ve never tried tempeh, but your description has certainly tempted me to do so. The recipe looks so fresh and uplifting.ReplyCancel

  • Heather09/01/2013 - 12:37 pm

    I just read your interview on Mint, which part of Canada are your from. I am now living in Seattle, but used to live in Victoria, BC? I love this post, the recipe and the photos.ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/01/2013 - 1:10 pm

      Heather! I’m from the Niagara region of Southern Ontario. Lived in Toronto for a loooong time, but came back to my hometown for some country livin’. Thanks for your kindness too! xo
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah B.09/01/2013 - 4:27 pm

    Such a beautiful post Laura, especially love those first three. And delicious, going to whole foods now, might drop some tempeh in my basket. Just a little inspiration today, weee :) Happy New Year to you! <3ReplyCancel

  • Ashley09/01/2013 - 10:19 pm

    Love this post through + through. The photos are perfect, and I especially love the newspaper background. I’ve also never seen a better looking avocado! I completely agree about winter citrus. I am just loving it at the moment. Funny you mentioned the orange tempeh from 101 Cookbooks, as I’m about to make that tonight. It’s one meal that is constantly repeated around here. Definitely want to try your additions to that tempeh soon!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey09/01/2013 - 10:20 pm

    The universe, and it’s gift of citrus, blows my mind. Love this, love you. Happy 2013, lady.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte09/01/2013 - 11:26 pm

    I am seasonally picky. Most of the year I say I don’t like orange/grapefruits for snacking and such, but come winter, I can’t get enough satsumas, clementines etc. Same goes for tomatoes, I’ll only eat them two months out of the year, max. My mom says I’m a snob but I don’t know why you’d bother otherwise. Like you said, good tasting citrus is proof we are loved :) These look fabulous and your photos are so stunning. Especially that grapefruit. love to you, little lady.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar10/01/2013 - 12:20 pm

    So pretty (as always). Love this idea!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne10/01/2013 - 1:04 pm

    Beautifully said, Laura. Citrus is absolutely a reminder of the warmth in the world. I don’t have much experience with tempeh but these tacos make me want to change that. Your photos are exquisite, oh that light!ReplyCancel

  • dervla @ The Curator10/01/2013 - 2:27 pm

    Found you through Mint today. Looking forward to reading! Those tacos look amazing. Happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine10/01/2013 - 2:35 pm

    I loved that orange glazed tempeh on 101 Cookbooks too! Looks so fresh with your grapefruit and mint, yum!ReplyCancel

  • Elenore Bendel Zahn12/01/2013 - 4:41 am

    I love you, Laura.

    …and I wish we could share that citrus moments right about nowReplyCancel

  • Jacqui13/01/2013 - 6:45 pm

    I’m so in love with all the color going on here! Enough to turn any of these NW winter gray days into bright ones! Amazingly, I happen to every single one of these ingredients in my kitchen right now too, these are so happening!ReplyCancel

  • […] Citrus is certain proof that we are loved, says Laura at The First Mess, and I couldn’t agree […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate28/01/2013 - 6:30 pm

    I’ve never done anything with tempeh, but this recipe makes me want to begin a tentative relationship with it. Of course, it’s a taco. That makes it simple.ReplyCancel

  • Perry29/01/2013 - 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! It was a perfect winter meal. Just the right combination of heartiness and refreshment. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie01/02/2013 - 9:46 am

    What a great blog you have here! Love the healthy recipes and mouth watering photos.ReplyCancel

  • […] Orange and Ancho Tempeh Tacos with Grapefruit Slaw […]ReplyCancel

  • […] [A Thought For Food]Tortilla Chip-Crusted Tempeh Tacos with Avocado Cream [Veggie and the Beast]Orange and Ancho Tempeh Tacos with Ruby Grapefruit Slaw [The First Mess]Bok Choy Tempeh Tacos [Keepin’ It […]ReplyCancel

  • Johnny Philips03/02/2015 - 1:29 am

    This looks amazing! I need to try this and impress my familyReplyCancel

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Happy new year to you! Sending all of my big hugs. The time for personal betterment is upon us (as always). But first, some soup.

A snow storm drove us indoors right in the midst of holiday time, so I’ve been going hard with the nesting/self care thing. I love to make a vegetable-heavy soup with miso, shoyu/tamari and ginger when I feel a bit off, whether I’m hungover or just generally space-y. The steamy ritual of it brings me back to earth and offers a bit of reconnection. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; just whatever vegetables you have around, a nice broth and some quiet time to enjoy. A version of it was my breakfast of choice for a while, a blast of perfect silence to get the day rolling.

This particular version follows the theme of intense nourishment. I took every immune-boosting, deep-warming, feel good vibe-inducing ingredient I had and put it into this healthy and delicious bowl of love. You get to hold your head over the pot of fragrant broth while it simmers and deepens in flavour. I’m pretty fond of these pour-over style soups. Get the broth crazy hot, splash it around some finely cut vegetables/precooked noodles etc, and instant comfort is yours for the moment. If you batch-cook some broth, tasty and fortifying lunches are a cinch throughout the week.

There’s a lot going on in the pot and I’m confident that some ingredients can be substituted/left out altogether and you’ll still wind up with something tasty and soothing–very much a freestyle kind of effort. I used shiitake mushrooms (stems + caps), ginger, lemongrass, chilies, miso, tamari, cilantro (stems + leaves), thyme and some other aromatics. Pour that potent and mega hot broth over a tangle of vegetable shreds, garnish with sprouts and herbs, a squeeze of lime, some drops of sesame oil, maybe a dab of sriracha swirled into the mix. The process of it leads to a surprisingly heady food-life experience. Simmer, chop, pour, garnish, breathe it in, spoon lifted, instant calm.

Once you get into it, slurping everything up gives you a lightly sweaty flash of food-induced warmth that feels so good. It’s that deeply restorative, whole body satiation that snaps everything into focus and makes you feel ready. Nourishment and power in the palm of your hands. 2013, bring it.

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pin it!

a magic healing soup
serves:
2
notes: Whatever vegetables you decide to use, make sure they’re sliced up rather finely. You’re depending on the heat of the broth to soften them up, so rustic chunkiness is less desirable in this recipe. A vegetable peeler, which is what I used to make the strands of broccoli stems, is very helpful with achieving fine-ness.

broth:
1 five inch piece of lemongrass, bashed up with the back of your knife
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 onion, quartered
4-5 shiitake mushroom stems (slice the caps for the soup)
1 three inch piece of ginger, sliced
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 chili, sliced in half
4-5 sprigs thyme
handful of cilantro stems (save the leaves)
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 tsp miso (add at the end of simmering time to preserve nutrients)

to serve:
1-1.5 cups finely sliced vegetables per person (I used carrots, snow peas, broccoli stems and the shiitake caps)
cilantro leaves
sliced green onions
sprouts (I had pea shoots)
toasted sesame oil
sriracha
lime wedges

Make the broth: combine all of the broth ingredients except for the miso in a medium-large sauce pan over medium heat. Pour 5 cups of water over top. Bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour or so (or longer if you want a more concentrated stock). Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Keep the broth hot. Add miso to the pot and stir right before serving

While broth is simmering, you can slice up the vegetables and garnishes.

Arrange vegetables in serving bowls. Pour/ladle hot broth over top. Stir it up a bit. Garnish as you like with herbs, sprouts, sriracha etc.

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  • sreebindu02/01/2013 - 2:56 am

    loving your space, New follower here.wishing u a gorgeous new year ahead :)
    xxReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf02/01/2013 - 5:35 am

    I can’t think of a more perfect way to kick off the New Year than with this soup – absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I’m craving.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway02/01/2013 - 8:04 am

    Sounds like one beautiful soup. Book-marking for winter down these ways xxReplyCancel

  • Erin02/01/2013 - 9:36 am

    What a delicious looking soup-plus any soup you can lather in sriracha is a good deal :)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth A.02/01/2013 - 11:18 am

    Great minds really do think alike! I was planning on whipping up a pot of miso soup today, too. I love this concept of pouring the broth over thin vegetable shreds. Totally doing this.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar02/01/2013 - 11:40 am

    This looks fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae03/01/2013 - 12:44 am

    This is my kinda soul food. Looks delicious, lady – can’t wait to try.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn03/01/2013 - 6:35 am

    I need a big bowl of this soup right now I think – I’m totally craving bright and fresh flavours after the excesses of Christmas.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking03/01/2013 - 6:53 am

    What a pretty soup! We definitely need more healing soups after the holidays.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah04/01/2013 - 1:45 am

    Bring it indeed! This looks terrific Laura – can’t wait to give it a go. (Also, that bowl with the punchy red lip is a perfect vessel for showcasing that riot of color! Love it).ReplyCancel

  • vegan miam04/01/2013 - 2:40 am

    I am a massive fan of soups. That looks amazingggggggReplyCancel

  • sarah04/01/2013 - 1:18 pm

    This post made me feel so happy. What a beautiful soup to start the New Year with. Magic, indeed. {Love you to, Ms. Laura! And Happy New Year!}ReplyCancel

  • Gail06/01/2013 - 4:53 pm

    January is definitely my vegetable-craving month. Thanks for the guidelines for making this kind of soup; it’s not one I’ve done at home before. Your composition of vegetables on the cutting board is beautiful and really helped me wrap my mind around the ingredient list: I can do this new combo! And soup for breakfast… Mmmm! Most people don’t get it, but some days it is just Right.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne06/01/2013 - 6:08 pm

    Happy new year, Laura. I just can’t get enough of the flavors in this soup this time of your. So pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Shine Food07/01/2013 - 1:26 pm

    This is exactly my idea of a magically healing soup. I ate a bowl of pho on new year’s day loaded with sprouts, cilantro, and chilies, and thought, “who needs the noodles?” It’s all about that irresistible broth, the snap of fresh vegetables, and the soul-soothing smell.

    We’re collecting healthy recipes for this month’s Shine Supper Club, and this recipe would be an amazing contribution. I hope you’ll join us!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley07/01/2013 - 1:33 pm

    This NEEDS to happen around our house. The holidays have ended but I’m having a hard time stopping the holiday eating. This looks like the perfect dish to get us back on track.ReplyCancel

  • […] Since I can’t eat Vietnamese pho on a regular basis, I think I’m going to give this magic healing soup a go.  Anytime you add sriracha, it’s a good […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Soup to beat the weather – I came across this website a while back. While she uses tempeh etc.. in her recipes which makes me wary I love her ideas. Plus the photography is brilliant. […]ReplyCancel

  • Angie03/02/2013 - 11:25 pm

    I made this today and it came out amazing! Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] up was this recipe for “A Soup that Heals”. This soup was wonderfully synergistic and packed with […]ReplyCancel

  • […] a magic healing soup with a side of brown […]ReplyCancel

  • angela byers27/02/2013 - 9:39 am

    Looks awesomeReplyCancel

  • R07/03/2013 - 6:00 am

    Miso is my savory best friend. I have a couple of tubs in the fridge t all times. It is soup, broth, or tea in a minute. It plays well with friends, can be sweet with tahini, oranges, etc or savory with lime, ginger and tamari. Really! What ever is in the fridge or cupboard.

    Lunch yesterday was leftover noodles, mandaline sliced peppers, scallions, apple, boc choy, summer squash, splash of vinegar, hit of pepper. At work I can microwave water till it boils in a big mug, add anything I want to heat, like the noodles and nuke again, add veggies then nuke again. At the table I dissolve the miso and slurp away.

    I answer questions in between my slurps and splashing. ( Japanese cooks find the best compliment to be the most vigorous and loudest slurping) My fellow workers are amazed what I swish in the broth and eat, like left over chicken, more veggies, baked tofu, pork or a crust of bread.

    Slurp on people! Miso is what you make it!ReplyCancel

  • […] DINNER: For dinner I usually have 4 ounces or wild salmon with steamed vegetables and quiona, or a small chicken breast with sauteed kale and quiona. If I eat entirely vegan for dinner, I eat the same quiona bowl variation as suggested for lunch. Some nights I will have salmon sashimi or albacore sashimi from a sushi bar and a bowl of clear soup with mushrooms. I really love having a light dinner and having a filling soup. I usually have vegetable soup or I have this soup. […]ReplyCancel

  • Socca pizza80twenty12/03/2013 - 3:33 pm

    […] During this time, I pumped my body full of concentrated garlic and botanicals, ate 4 batches of this healing broth in 3 days (really, Laura), listened to audio lectures when I could focus, and caught up on […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Wednesday: Cabbage & kale salad and The Soup that Heals […]ReplyCancel

  • onmybike07/06/2013 - 12:00 am

    Absolutely love your site, pics, writing and recipes.

    The soup is a particular favourite, nice to see it sso well documented, i’ve been making soup this way for a long time, so quick and easy and soooo good. You describe it so well! Here’s my take on it (plus fresh fish which I adore)

    http://2tired2cook.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/sweet-pea-soup.html

    Keep up the great work!ReplyCancel

  • Mark30/09/2013 - 1:52 am

    This was FABULOUS! But, not enough. I should have noticed it served two… I wanted to eat four servings myselfReplyCancel

  • […] from The First Mess. Makes 2-3 […]ReplyCancel

  • MARIA MAROVICH11/11/2013 - 6:16 pm

    a must make!ReplyCancel

  • Carole18/01/2014 - 1:09 pm

    Thank you, can’t wait to make this!ReplyCancel

  • HomemadeMother29/01/2014 - 11:39 pm

    Made this tonight and it was soooooo good! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!ReplyCancel

  • […] A Magic Healing Soup […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Tree Atlas. 4 // This MONK & LOU Rory Cocoon Blazer from Plen+y. 5 // This vegetable laden Magic Healing Soup from The First Mess. Just YUM. 6 // This Mexican Chocolate Sorbet from The Gouda Life. Try […]ReplyCancel

  • Saskija21/05/2014 - 6:28 am

    I’ve made this a few times and it gets better with practice. I didn’t have my usual brown rice miso paste until just last night. I made it for the first time with this ingredient and it really made a difference. So good and healing. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] ‘Magic’ Healing Soup: The food-induced sweat diners experience from this soup helps to break a cold, while satiating the entire body with the taste of lemongrass, chilies, and other aromatics. Don’t believe in magic? You might with a bowl of this soup! See the Recipe Here […]ReplyCancel

  • Melissa11/11/2014 - 11:17 pm

    Thank you for this soup! Truly magical. I am so sick & this is the only thing that is saving me!!ReplyCancel

  • Jen29/12/2014 - 11:06 am

    I’m having fun pinning your recipes this morning! I have a long list to take to the grocery store today lol.ReplyCancel

  • allison19/01/2015 - 12:47 pm

    your presentation and photos are so beautiful! I can’t wait to eat this, it’s on the stove now simmering, smells delicious! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • […] Magic Healing Soup from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] A Magic Healing Soup @The First Mess […]ReplyCancel