I love creating nature inspired artworks with food and playing with natural colorings, plants, herbs and flowers. When it comes to food coloring, synthetic food colorants are widely used because of their high stability and low cost. But for me it’s important that every ingredient I use for my creations are straight from nature.There are so many beautiful sources for natural colorings, which can be found all over the place, and many may already be in your fridge. Nature hands us a whole spectrum of rich and varied colours, so why not use them?

One of my favorite creations are these botanical pancakes. I made them for the first time last year, when I bought different herb powders in a small shop in Amsterdam. The colors of the herb powders inspired me to create these vibrant and colorful botanical pancakes.

I used the following herb powders & colorants:

  1. barley grass
  2. aronia berry
  3. maca
  4. rosehip
  5. turmeric
  6. mashed spinach
  7. mashed raspberries
  8. cacao

You can purchase many fruits and vegetables in powdered form, or you can make your own by buying freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and pulverizing them to a fine powder in a food processor. Powders are the easiest way to make DIY food colorings because they dissolve easily and are already somewhat concentrated, meaning they can lead to more intense color.

One thing that natural food colors have that commercial colors don’t, is taste. Remember that the color comes from real food ingredients, which means the more color you add to the dish, the more it’s going to taste like that ingredient. Another challenge with naturally-occurring food colorings is that they aren’t as intense as commercial ones. So, my best advice is just to accept that off the bat: Your red won’t be pure red, but the colors have unique tints all their own.

Botanical Pancakes Recipe

The vegan botanical pancakes are made with rice milk (you can use any plant-based milk of your choice), buckwheat flour and egg substitute (arrowroot powder). After separating them into 8 batters to add their distinct color, I have fried them on low heat. Repeat until you have no batter left and last but not least decorate them with edible flowers or any topping of your choice, such as maple syrup, bananas, nuts and chocolate chips.


  • 300 g buckwheat flour
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 500 ml rice milk
  • ½ tbsp of the powders (or mashed spinach or raspberry) for each pancake
  • little bit of vegan butter or vegetable oil
  • optional: 2 tbsp sugar or agave syrup


  1. Heat a frying pan on a low heat.
  2. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Divide the batter into 8 parts and add a little of the colored powder (barley grass, aronia berry, maca, rosehip, turmeric, fresh spinach and raspberries) to each part.
  4. Put a bit of vegan butter and 1/8 of the batter onto the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes before carefully flipping onto the other side. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  6. Serve them with your favorite topping or sauce and ENJOY!

About the author

My name is Lieke Romeijn (@liekeromeijn on Instagram) and I am a photographer and crafter making ceramics, wooden spoons, weavings and paintings. I love walking through the fields with my basket and picking everything edible that I encounter along the way. I constantly dream about the cottagecore life of moving to a beautiful small house in the middle of the mountains, together with my love and having my own garden, where I can grow my own plants and herbs to use for my food.


By Lieke Romeijn

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