Home   Food and Drink   Article

Recipes: Cook yourself happy with Mind Food

To celebrate the launch of cookbook Mind Food: Plant-Based Recipes for Positive Mental Health by Lauren Lovatt, we're sharing four fab recipes

Described as a “a delicious and revolutionary invitation to nourish our mental health using whole foods, inspired by years of research around how food can make us happy”, new cookbook Mind Food is just what we need to boost us through January’s grey days.

The brainchild of Lauren Lovatt, the chef behind East London’s PLANT ACADEMY, it contains more than 70 spirit-lifting seasonal dishes, all of which explore the power of plants, whole grains, healthy fats and tonic herbs to support emotional balance.

To give you a flavour, here are four recipes for you to try. . .


Serves: 2

Time taken: 30 minutes

Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Oat Fritters CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865643)
Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Oat Fritters CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865643)

These oat fritters are a great breakfast or lunch dish. Oats are naturally soothing and substantial and so they make a great meal to keep you going through the day. These could be made sweet or savoury and are inspired by a sweet recipe taught in one of my cookery classes by the chef Arthur Potts-Dawson. Make the batter ahead of time and make these fritters for a few days in a row, perhaps trying different flavour combinations each time.


175g (scant 2 cups) gluten-free oats or millet flakes

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

275ml (generous 1 cup) oat milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Olive oil, for frying

For the apple slaw:

2 pieces of kale, washed

½ tsp sea salt

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp honey

1 large apple, cut into matchsticks

30g (1/3 cup) parsley, finely chopped

200g (7oz) celeriac, peeled and grated

50g (¼ cup) Rosemary Walnuts (see below)

To serve:

3–4 tbsp hummus



Put the oats in a food processor or blender and blend into a ‘flour’. Transfer the ‘flour’ to a bowl, mix in the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and then add the oat milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix until well combined.


To make the apple slaw, strip the kale from the stems, break the leaves into small pieces and finely chop the stems. Rub the kale with a little of the salt and the oil, then add to a large bowl.

Add the rest of the oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and honey and mix well. Add the apple, parsley and celeriac and toss to combine, finishing with the remaining salt. Crumble over the walnuts and set aside.

Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil and ladle in some of the pancake batter, spreading the mixture into rounds. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until you see little bubbles appear. Flip over and cook each fritter for another 3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.

Add a couple of fritters to each plate, top with hummus and then the slaw. Enjoy warm, then just relax.

TIP: In Mind Food, we love garlicky green fritters for that extra dose of greens, but if you’re looking for more grounding or comfort you can try adding a handful of grated carrots with ½ teaspoon of turmeric and chilli flakes for an even more warming experience.


Serves: 4

Time taken: 1 hour

Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Tacos CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865277)
Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Tacos CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865277)

We are celebrating the celeriac here, which is a wonderful winter root, full of fibre and good for the gut. If you are new to celeriac, you can also use it in place of potatoes for mash, raw and thinly sliced in salads or baked as fries. There are a few parts to this dish, each one complimenting the other: soft celeriac taco shells, crunchy salsa, garlicky mushrooms, greens and a good dash of sauce. Just like looking after your brain, a little care and attention does go a long way in making a good result.


1 celeriac, peeled and sliced into 2.5mm (¹⁄₈in) rounds (offcuts reserved for the salsa)

2 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

For the cacao beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

½ tsp salt

1 clove of garlic

1 x 400g (14oz) tin black beans

30g dark chocolate

For the celeriac salsa:

Celeriac offcuts

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the garlic mushrooms:

1 tbsp olive oil

Selection of mushrooms, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 tbsp plant-based butter

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 rosemary sprig, leaves stripped and finely chopped

To serve:

40g (1 cup) Massaged Kale with 2 tbsp walnut butter (optional)

2 tbsp sprouts or micro herbs for garnish

2 tbsp Lacto-chillies

2 tbsp of New Age Nut Butter

Handful of Rosemary Walnuts (see below)


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C/400°F/Gas 6). Line a baking tray with baking paper.


Place the celeriac onto the lined baking tray and drizzle with oil, salt and 2 tablespoons of water. Bake for about 20 minutes until soft. Make sure they don’t overcook, since each ‘taco’ should be soft and slightly golden but not hard.


Heat the oil in a small saucepan and, when hot, add the chopped onion and salt and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic (peeled and crushed) and cook for one more minute then add the beans and chocolate, cooking through until the chocolate is melted and the beans are hot.


Make the celeriac salsa by chipping the celeriac offcuts into small squares, the neater the better, which will assist you in developing good knife skills! Mix the celeriac with the rest of the salsa ingredients, then leave to sit and marinate.


Heat a large frying pan with a splash of oil and, when hot, add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until golden. Add the butter, garlic and rosemary and cook for a further minute until the superb aroma of the garlic is released. I can smell it now!

Load each celeriac taco with cacao beans, mushrooms and salsa and add kale and any or all of the sauces suggested. Sit down, tune in and feed your mind.


Makes: 4 pots

Time taken: 20 minutes, plus 6 hours setting time

Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Lemon Posset CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865352)
Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Lemon Posset CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865352)

When I was a child, we used to regularly frequent a local restaurant that served this cool and tangy lemon posset with piping hot blackcurrants on top. I was totally mesmerized by the recipe and wanted to create a plant-based version. Fermenting the cashews makes a really big difference in this recipe, as they bring a light tangy flavour that complements the lemon, create a super smooth and utterly luxurious texture and moreover, bring good bacteria into the mix, which makes the cashews more digestible and friendly to the gut.


250g (2 cups) cashew nuts, soaked overnight

1 tbsp kombucha or probiotics

200ml (scant 1 cup) almond milk

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

80g (1/3 cup) honey

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

150g (5½oz) coconut oil, melted

Rosemary Walnuts to serve (see below)

For the hot blackcurrants:

200g (2 cups) blackcurrants, fresh or frozen

1 tbsp honey



First, ferment the cashews. Rinse the soaked nuts really well and then blend them in a food processor or blender with 100–200ml (1/2–1 cup) of water until silky smooth. Once smooth, ensure that the mixture is not too hot. If it’s warm, let it cool slightly, then add the kombucha or probiotics and pulse once more to combine. Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave overnight in a warm place to ferment.

The next day, the mixture should be lightly aerated and smell slightly fermented. If your environment is particularly cool, it may take a little longer, or if you are in a hot and humid place, the fermenting time will be significantly quicker.

Blend in the remaining ingredients, except the coconut oil, until very smooth. Stream in the coconut oil while still mixing and blend until everything is well combined. Check that you are happy with the taste and the sweetness is to your liking.

Pour the mixture into ramekins or heatproof glasses and place in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours.


To make the hot blackcurrants, put the blackcurrants and honey in a small saucepan – if using fresh fruit, add 200ml (scant 1 cup) water to the pan. Simmer the fruit until you have a runny jam consistency.

To serve, take the posset from the fridge and top the cool, set posset with hot berries. Serve with Rosemary Walnuts.

NOTE: It is not essential to ferment these possets, but I highly recommend it. If you don’t have time, use cashews that have been soaked in hot water for at least 2 hours and then rinsed. Blend them with the remaining ingredients in place of the fermented cashews by adding 50–80ml (¼ – 1/3 cup) of extra almond milk.


Makes: 3 pots

Time taken: 10 minutes, plus 3 hours to set

Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Chocolate Pots CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865350)
Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt - Chocolate Pots CREDIT Sara Kiyo Popowa (53865350)

As you may have gathered, desserts for me are always about memories. These little pots are no different and remind me of a shop-bought rich chocolate pot I used to adore. These pots go beyond mere silky chocolate goodness and can be adapted to whatever you need in terms of your mood. If you tune in when you eat this, I’m pretty sure your heart will light up.


150g (5½oz) plant-based chocolate, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp mood-balancing mushroom powder of your choice

150ml (5fl oz) plant-based milk

¼ tsp salt

Maple syrup, to taste (optional)

Coconut yoghurt, to serve

For the candied cacao nibs:

150g (¾ cup) cacao nibs, roasted

2 tbsp maple syrup

Large pinch of salt

For the cherry compote:

200g (1 cup) fresh or frozen cherries

1 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 150°C fan (170°C/325°F/Gas 3).


Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the olive oil and your chosen mushroom powder.

Heat the milk in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, then pour the milk over the chocolate and stir until very well combined. The mixture will become progressively smoother as you continue to stir.

Add salt and taste; depending on your chocolate, you may like to add a teaspoon of maple syrup for sweetness.

Pour the ganache into small glasses or ramekins and leave to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.


To make the candied cacao nibs, combine roasted cacao nibs, maple syrup and salt in a small mixing bowl and spread the mixture out on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until they are roasted and crispy.

Once they are ready, cool them and keep them in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Next, make the cherry compote. If you are using fresh cherries, halve and deseed each one. Place the cherries and maple syrup in a small saucepan over a medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes until they are soft and gooey. Set them aside as you bring everything else together.

Once the ganache is set and cacao nibs are cool, top the ganache with the cherry compote, a spoonful of coconut yoghurt and the candied cacao nibs and enjoy.

TIP: Replace 50ml (scant ¼ cup) of the milk with coffee for a delicious and more energizing result or substitute any of the medicinal mushroom powders for a pipette of CBD for a different result.


Makes: 1 x 250ml jar

Time taken: 1 hour

These walnuts are a great addition to sweet and savoury dishes, crumbled over porridge, tossed through salad or as a portable snack. Activating walnuts makes a big difference to the taste and crunch, and you won’t believe how dark the soaking water becomes, showing there’s a lot of stuff on these mighty nuts that you can do without.


200g (scant 1½ cups) walnuts, soaked far at least 1 hour, then rinsed well

1 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp lion’s mane mushroom powder (optional)

¼ tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 150°C fan (170°C/325°F/Gas 3).

Place the walnuts in a bowl, mix with the other ingredients and set aside while the oven preheats.

Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes until golden. The long baking time gives a rich and deep roasted result.

Leave the nuts to cool and then place them in a jar or sealed container and store for up to a couple of months.

TIP – Activating means soaking, rinsing and then drying out a nut for optimum nutrition.

Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt (53865280)
Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt (53865280)

Mind Food: Plant-Based Recipes for Positive Mental Health by Lauren Lovatt with images by Sara Kiyo Popowa is out in eBook on January 18 and hardback on February 1, published by Leaping Hare Press and priced £20.

Read more

More by this author