A spice blend, dried peppers and beans for soup make colorful gifts in jars.

An Easy, Insta-Worthy Homemade Food Gift

You can put this super simple last-minute gift idea together with items from your pantry.

Whether you can’t bare the mall traffic or have extra guests to gift, look no further than your pantry. You can create considerate and delicious homemade gifts that feature a comforting weeknight meal. During the holidays, ICE Los Angeles Chef-Instructor Mette Williams makes everything from quinoa mixes to oatmeal chocolate dried cherry cookie mix to pickled vegetables and jams for her family and friends. Here’s her picture-perfect homemade soup jar and spice blend sachet to gift with a recipe card.

You’ll need a quart-sized Mason jar, a small sachet or bag for the spices, paper or a note card, string or twine, and optionally creative supplies to decorate your jar, lid and/or recipe card.

Ingredients for jar:

  • 6 ounces dried orange lentils
  • 6 ounces dried black beans
  • 6 ounces dried chickpeas
  • 6 ounces dried cannellini beans

Ingredients for spice blend:

  • 1/4 cup dried onion
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup dried carrots
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Jar assembly:

  1. Layer and alternate dried beans to create an appealing package using the contrasting colors. Fill the jar about three-quarters of the way. If you have different beans already in your pantry, feel free to substitute, but be sure that you have 1-1.5 pounds of beans in the jar at the end.
  2. Measure and place the dried spices and herbs in a sachet or a small resealable plastic bag and place on top of the beans in the jar.
  3. Secure the lid and decorate the jar as desired.
  4. Write or print recipe (below) and punch a hole in the corner of the paper or card.
  5. Tie the recipe card around the neck of the jar for your recipient to use!

A jar of beans and spice sachet makes a beautiful homemade gift.


Bean and Lentil Soup

Serves 6-8


  • Assorted dried beans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 spice blend (above)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  1. The night before, place the beans in a large bowl and add cool water until the beans are covered. There should be twice as much water as beans in the bowl. Let the beans soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours, in the refrigerator.
  2. When you're ready to begin cooking, drain the beans in a colander and rinse them well. Set the beans aside so they can warm up to room temperature.
  3. In a stock pot, sweat all the dried spices in the coconut oil until fragrant over low-to-medium heat; be careful not to burn them.
  4. Add the beans and cover with water; bring to a simmer.
  5. After 90 minutes, the beans should be quite soft and have broken down a bit, causing the water to look slightly thick and cloudy. Add the diced tomatoes, stir to combine then let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Finally, stir in the apple cider vinegar and chopped fresh parsley, or whatever fresh herbs you like. Enjoy!

Pro tip: To give your soup a natural creaminess without adding any fats, take ¼ of the prepared soup and use an immersion blender to emulsify. Mix this with the un-blended soup for a whole new texture.

Note: The soup can be made ahead, but keep in mind that as the soup is stored in the refrigerator, the salt may absorb into the beans and taste more muted. You may need to add more salt the next day when reheated. 

Study Culinary Arts with Chef Mette at ICE's Los Angeles campus.

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