rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!
This is something that I would make for me and me alone. My man isn’t a lover of mushrooms and seriously? How is it that none of my peeps see the gloriousness of the things-on-toast meal?! It’s a dish that lets me doctor up what I have by employing some other things that I have when there’s a golden pocket of me-time available. A thoughtful and meditative slap-dash, if you will.

I’m generally into this tray-lunch thing as of late. I roast a bunch of things with herbs, lemon, spice, or whatever’s around. Sometimes I transfer the goods to a bowl. Sometimes I eat right from the tray. It’s warm and I get to make some time for myself over it, while I bounce between the renovation duties, freelance work, emails, actual scheduled work, and tiniest fibre-like shreds of free time. I’ve never been “too busy to cook.” Maybe that’s obvious? When the world is spinning, I tend to go inward a bit and cooking helps. When I lived alone, I happily enjoyed a lot of solitary meals, but always looked forward to my post-school life where dining companions would surely be infinite and constant. My current schedule varies from the rest of my world’s seemingly unanimous 9-5, so yep. Still plenty of solo late lunches scarfed at 3 pm right before my shift starts on any given Saturday.

I’ve even been waking up earlier to cook alone too. I’m on this steel-cut oat porridge thing that demands a little extra time, which is kind of immediately annoying, but ultimately for the best. I sip a warm drink and stir, focused on that one thing. I don’t have the headspace for a large batch that can be pre-portioned and reheated throughout the week, and that’s honestly fine. The sleepy straining of tired eyes eventually fades, and I find there’s more strength for all of the things that need doing.

So this is a bit of a deluxe, but still completely simple, flying solo kinda meal (although I did design the recipe for two servings since it’s probably a bit more practical for most). Fun fact: the first restaurant family meal I ever enjoyed as an actual cook was a fancied-up version of mushrooms on toast. I remember being a bit rattled, sweaty, and slightly anxious when I sat down to the plate after service. It was calming in all of the predictable ways though. Holiday wildness is officially on us now, so it seems even more important to take advantage of those peaceful and simple moments. Seize them by putting the good stuff on toast, people :)

rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût prep // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!
rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast
serves: 2
notes: Any mix of sliced mushrooms is totally excellent. I love shiitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire, so I mix them half and half with creminis. Also, before I add the vegetable stock, I simmer it with the mushroom stems for a little bit–like 15 minutes or so. It’s just to intensify the mushroom flavour.

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped fine
10 ounces/heaped half pound mixed mushrooms, stems removed + caps sliced
splash of sherry vinegar
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce (Annie’s brand is my fave)
scant cup of cooked chickpeas
1 cup vegetable stock
big splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk, something rich like cashew or coconut is preferable
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or non-GMO + organic cornstarch if you’re cool with it)
salt + pepper
2 thick slices of good bread

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sautè or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir. Once those are a bit fragrant, add the rosemary. Sauté until the shallots are really translucent. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir them around. Add the sherry vinegar, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and chickpeas and stir. Once the mushrooms have started softening just a bit, about 3 minutes, add the stock. Stir everything up and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third and the mushrooms are quite soft. Add the splash of non-dairy milk and stir. Season the whole thing to taste. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot with a little bit of the liquid from the pot. Make a little slurry and then add it back in to the pot. Simmer until lightly thickened. Keep warm.

Toast or grill the pieces of toast. Lay them in shallow bowls. Ladle the mushroom and chickpea ragoût on top. Finish with a bit more black pepper. Serve hot.

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  • Elenore b zahn27/11/2013 - 6:32 am

    Laura! Oh, love! I have spent the past couple of free time moments (pretty fleeting with little Caspian) reading your a-amazing texts, drooling over your insanely gorgeous food photos, loving the pics from your home (congratulations!!!) and just wish I could HUG you! Maah!! I am grateful for the energy you put into this space, all your vibe-y stuff (haha we are so much alike!) all of it infused with all kinds of gooooodness.

    Take care, honey! Take a sip of that energy drink and pause. Wish I could hop over and help you paint and stuff!

    EReplyCancel

  • I could eat mushrooms straight from the pan. Like it so much. Nice idea for a breakfast. I like to experiment in the morning.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica (bakecetera)27/11/2013 - 8:35 am

    mushrooms and chickpeas are two of my favourite foods, but i rarely put them together while cooking. this ragout is beautiful, and looks absolutely delicious! i can’t wait to try this out. happy thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Kirstie Young27/11/2013 - 9:38 am

    Love this lunch! Beautiful simple ingredients and delicious images, just glorious.ReplyCancel

  • Brianne27/11/2013 - 9:46 am

    I made some Cook’s Illustrated recipe once with mushroom stems simmered in vegetable stock. I was skeptical, but HOLY COW does it give that stock killer mushroom flavor! I picked up ingredients of a similar vein as this for a fancy dinner for one last week–my home is 1.5 hrs south of where I go to school, so I’m alone in a strange kitchen on weeknights–but it did not turn out as indulgent as this. I know what to do differently next time!ReplyCancel

  • tara27/11/2013 - 9:57 am

    Heck yeah to all of this. I love mushrooms on toast, and the chickpeas sound a brilliant addition.ReplyCancel

  • jacqueline27/11/2013 - 10:13 am

    Hi! Have you tried/thought about using chia seed gel (strained of the seeds) as a thickener???? I’ve tried it for some things but not others – I want to try it for this! Thanks for a great recipe. Pinning it now!ReplyCancel

  • carey27/11/2013 - 11:03 am

    Oh lord, this is so the thing I want to eat right now. I am currently without chickpeas in the house — an occasion so rare that I keep forgetting to buy them when I’m at the store. And mushrooms. There are so many mushrooms, but they’re all reserved for Thanksgiving dishes. UGH. (One of my usual bouts of hangriness came on quick this morning, so the fact that I can’t eat this asap feels like a horrible cosmic injustice.)

    P.S. Tray lunches (and dinners) for life. My favorite.ReplyCancel

  • ana27/11/2013 - 11:25 am

    I agree with you! Having time to cook is making time to cook. And it’s therapy! Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Katy27/11/2013 - 12:28 pm

    “I love shitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire” <– yes, so true, I often do this with food. It's too bad amazing food can be super expensive sometimes. This looks delicious and I love the idea of a tray lunch, roasting veg on toast. Nice to have a vegan option. Pinned!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine27/11/2013 - 1:32 pm

    so sad your man doesn’t love mushrooms!! This looks stunning, I’ll definitely be making it soon. (ps. mushrooms + sherry vinegar is the best, isn’t it?)ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade27/11/2013 - 4:16 pm

    Wow, this looks so rustic and delicious. What a great recipe! I just used up a bunch of mushrooms in a spaghetti sauce and I wish I had see this sooner. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar27/11/2013 - 4:17 pm

    I dig this so hard! Yum!!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet27/11/2013 - 6:32 pm

    This looks crazy delicious! I’m a big fan of solo meals, and usually things end up being poured into bowls or over toast. Thank you for your wonderful words that I connect with in a million different ways XReplyCancel

  • Stacy27/11/2013 - 7:29 pm

    YES, GIRL, YES. I would come over and eat toast with you any day if I could. xoReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ The Fresh Direction27/11/2013 - 9:57 pm

    I’m so the same way. Cooking always helps to centre me. I can never too busy to make a meal… even if it’s just a simple one… which can often involve something on toast (NEVER too busy for avo toast, am I right?) This looks delicious, Laura! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • […] HAVE TO MAKE THIS […]ReplyCancel

  • Skye28/11/2013 - 1:17 pm

    Chickpeas are one of my most favourite foods – so flavoursoem and such a wonderful texture. Love how you’ve cooked them here with rosemary – what a fabulously rustic touch.ReplyCancel

  • Julia28/11/2013 - 10:48 pm

    i love everything about this post. thank you, once again.. for marvellous recipes and for reminding me to slow down & savour what i put into my body.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn29/11/2013 - 5:21 am

    I do love a good solo meal; there’s something so luxurious and decadent about spending that time cooking for your own pleasure alone. Things on toast is always a good way to go.ReplyCancel

  • Cristina29/11/2013 - 11:01 am

    Tray-lunch! Now I have a name for the thing I haven’t stopped doing since the weather turned. Lately, my favorite consists of mushrooms, onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes with thyme (spooned over a soupy pot of beans). Before that it was fennel and apples with fennel seeds and chili flakes.ReplyCancel

  • Elle29/11/2013 - 6:37 pm

    Laura,
    I love beans and bread! The combination of flavors in this recipe are fabulous! Love the site…keep it coming!
    ElleReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily01/12/2013 - 2:06 pm

    Well I for one adore all things mushrooms! I honestly think this is my idea of a perfect comfort dish. Pinning it to make next week. Thanks for sharing. Stunning photos!ReplyCancel

  • […] Rosemary Mushroom + Chickpea Ragoût […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • […] List via Buzzfeed, recipe via The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food04/12/2013 - 12:14 am

    I’m all about putting things on bread… and when mushrooms are involved, well, let’s just say I don’t think I could be married to someone who didn’t eat them. But that’s just me. I’m judgy like that. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • MaryJane Cooper04/12/2013 - 3:43 pm

    Hi, being of Lithuanian descent, I LOVE mushrooms, and this recipe sounds intriguing, but I don’t particularly like rosemary; is there a milder herb you would recommend to substitute?
    Thanks, MaryJaneReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright05/12/2013 - 8:29 am

      Hi MaryJane, you could certainly use thyme or sage in place of the rosemary.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Andrea05/12/2013 - 3:07 pm

    This is my lunch for the rest of my life.ReplyCancel

  • […] sure what to make with mushrooms? Try one of these: Walnut-mushroom veggie burgers Rosemary mushroom chickpea ragout Mushroom & chard bruschetta Mushroom millet leek frittatas Roasted king oyster mushrooms Mixed […]ReplyCancel

  • Megan17/12/2013 - 3:57 pm

    My hubby and I have already made this four times! We love this recipe as a quick dinner, especially with sliced tomatoes. Also great for a traditional English-style breakfast too! We love your blog and have made a number of the recipes. When are you coming out with your cookbook? :)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth24/12/2013 - 9:51 pm

    I made this tonight… it was so simple and delicious! We ate it up. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • ranae29/12/2013 - 8:31 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner, using portobellos! Instead of bread, I reserved two of the portobellos and roasted them, then topped with this ragout. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic!

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra08/01/2014 - 7:43 pm

    Eating this right now for a late lunch. Holy moly, it’s goo-oood! Definitely making this one again!ReplyCancel

  • […] It is just so damn simple, but I never thought much of sharing this until one of my fav bloggers Laura at The First Mess started sharing her love for tray lunches. Chop. Roast. Eat. What’s not to love? Turns out I […]ReplyCancel

  • […] pulled out all kinds of not your normal weeknight recipes to try :  Crab Spinach and Coconut Soup, Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast and Quinoa and Pea Spice Croquettes.  We each made one: I had soup, Helly the ragout and Lisa, […]ReplyCancel

  • Donna01/03/2014 - 5:20 am

    What a dish, thanks for the recipe!!!! It’s delicious! I made a couple of substitutes:
    * added handful of re-hydrated porcini mushrooms,
    * used the soaking liquid for porcinis as the basis for the ‘veg stock’ (added another depth of mushroom flavour), and
    * doubled the fresh rosemary as I love herbs.

    To serve I sprinkled more fresh rosemary leaves and freshly picked rocket from our garden to add an edge of pepper. I’m saving this recipe and making it again, and again,….and again. Thanks so muchReplyCancel

  • […] Avinžirnių ir grybų troškinys Vegan Rosemary Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast […]ReplyCancel

  • […] spread (that post is coming soon) so I did a search and came across a recipe from Laura over at The First Mess. I adapted her recipe a bit because a) I love sun-dried tomatoes and b) I also had a bunch of them […]ReplyCancel

  • kim19/06/2014 - 12:44 pm

    My husband and I made this last night and it was delicious! Hit the spot! Thanks for the beautiful pics and delicious inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • […] for casual, festive dining. From top-left: 1. Rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast – The First Mess 2. Brown Sugar Grilled Peaches with Ricotta, Honey and Crispy Prosciutto – Cooking for Keeps […]ReplyCancel

  • allison15/01/2015 - 5:34 pm

    This was really delicious! And so filling! thanks so much for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] an hour later. Bright side: amongst all the chili and cinnamon rolls, I was prepping this delicious rosemary, mushroom and chickpea ragout; bright, simple fall slaw; and cauliflower, kale and chickpea curry pot (I subbed sweet potatoes […]ReplyCancel

  • Lee24/11/2015 - 11:06 pm

    Thanks for a fantastic recipe! I made it over polenta instead of toast, which fancied it up a bit. A bowl full of comfort.ReplyCancel

  • SAN ANTONIO + LINKS I LOVE25/11/2015 - 1:07 am

    […] of food, I made this veg recipe last week, and it was […]ReplyCancel

  • […] that I make myself quite frequently. So, I was excited to stumble across this vegan recipe from The First Mess I loved the idea of bulking the recipe out with a few healthy extras and turning it into a main […]ReplyCancel

  • April18/03/2016 - 1:59 pm

    Does this freeze well? I’m looking for good protein meals for my sons lunches but need to make in batches and freeze.ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/03/2016 - 2:34 pm

      Hi April, since this dish is thickened with arrowroot, I’m not sure how well it would perform after freezing. After a little bit of googling and reading, it seems like arrowroot is fine to freeze and doesn’t lose its thickening powers after thawing. I haven’t tried this myself though, so can’t speak from personal experience.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julie02/10/2016 - 1:43 pm

    Thank you for this recipe; I’ve had it pinned for ages and finally made it tonight. It was a hit! My husband had it with toast, and I took it with rice to absorb the extra liquid. We each loved our versions. So easy too!ReplyCancel

  • Jayani18/01/2017 - 12:11 am

    Mushroom <3 You can't go wrong with them. This sounds delicious btw. Thank you :)ReplyCancel

my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!maca // the first messpin it!raw cacao powder // the first messpin it!my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!
The discussion of poutine came up at work the other night because, yep, there was poutine for staff meal (and a giant salad so just relax a bit there). My coworker was telling me how she had recounted a story to some classmates at the yoga studio that she frequents. There was a visit to a local place that specialized in the ubiquitous Canadian calorie bomb. And then at the end of her story, sort of predictably, her peeps at the studio were grossed out by her totally personal food choice. Then I got home that night and saw this tweet from my friend, kindly asking for a halt to the same form of judgement. Funny how the universe always finds a way to communicate the fierceness of your own thoughts.

I have to tell you, the raw food experiment didn’t go well for me and there was no way I was forcing myself to carry it out over a whole month on principle alone. It’s not like I was half-assing it either (totally gave it the full ass) (had to). My body and boots, firmly planted in the cool grey of November in southern Ontario, were not adapting. There were bouts of lightheadedness, shivering despite wearing two sweaters, so much bloat, breakouts, constant hunger despite constant eating, and, most importantly, things that would normally just roll off my back became completely emotional huge deals. A good example: normally I would relish any opportunity to smash up something that causes me grief, but in the midst of clearing out the gross old plaster in our kitchen, I had to leave the room and then later cry my eyes out to Mark about how we would never, ever, EVER live there happily. I can be easily defeated sometimes, but this was shaking me to the core. In that moment, I knew some truer part of me, the part that sees and knows, was being denied.

When I went to the internet with my concerns (pro tip: if you want to keep your sanity, don’t ever do that), I read so many things that went along these lines: “Your body is just purging all of the evil things from the total misery that was your pre-raw life. It’s detoxifying, It’s AMAAAZING. Purification process!!! Etc.” I would never suggest that these well-meaning people are wrong, but as soon as a pile of rubble and some extra hours spent with a pry bar forced me into a crumpled shell of my former self, any concerns for vibrance and purity washed away real quick.

The admission of it here was weighing on me heavily though–the enthusiasm I shared early on, the acknowledgement that I’m extremely fortunate to have access to enough food if I’m perpetually hungry, the ridiculousness of going into it in the early stages of Canadian winter. When you’re privileged enough to have it regularly, your food choices become a belief system on some level and this one seemed too objectionable once I had some distance from it. In sum: I was worried what people would think, which is hilarious because when my coworker friend told me about that judgement-heavy moment at her yoga studio, my knee-jerk reaction was “OH FUCK THAT.”

So there’s all of that and yep. I’m feeling a lot better–the much needed warmth has returned to my bones, there’s satiation with less it seems and there’s that old tenacity creeping up in the challenging moments again. Since we could all use some of that good energy that buzzes in a low and warm kind of way, whatever our food/life choices, I thought I would share this everyday recipe with you. It’s a nice hot drink for morning calm, or any time you need it really. The base of it is any nut/seed/grain-based milk, maca powder, something to sweeten it up and a touch of raw cacao and cinnamon for my personal taste. Maca comes from a Peruvian root vegetable and it has a bit of a butterscotch-y/malt/sweet potato thing going on flavour-wise. I find it really does deliver in terms of an energy boost, but it’s less of a jolt than caffeine.

Sometimes after a cup of it, I’ll feel a little impulse to stretch out to the very tips of my toes and fingers and just breathe a little life into every inch of myself. It’s restoring/life-giving without being over the top, which I love. Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a go. I’ve seen maca in grocery + health food stores, bulk shops, and on Arrested Development, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you’re curious. Lastly, since I’ve been talking about house stuff with such frequency, I thought I’d include a couple little snaps I took the other day in this post (below). They definitely have a “in progress” kind of feel, which is true to life in all the ways you could imagine.

Sending all my good energy this week :)

home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!
my good energy drink
serves: 1
notes: There’s so many options for add-ins with this. I chose a teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a star anise pod, but you could reach for fresh ginger juice, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, vanilla etc etc.

10 ounces milk of your choice, unsweetened is preferable (I did a mix of coconut and almond)
2 tsp maca powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for dusting if you like
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp raw cacao powder
1-2 star anise pods (so, so optional)

I start this drink by blending everything in an upright blender (except the star anise if you’re using it) to get all the powdery bits incorporated. Then I gently heat in a small saucepan over medium heat (with the star anise) until it’s really simmering. You could easily skip the blending step and just whisk the mixture lightly while it’s heating. Drink it warm with a dusting of cinnamon.

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  • SouthernSpoonBelle20/11/2013 - 8:24 am

    Tried going on a raw stint a couple years back , and my mood/stomach/everything was so off kilter that I had to spend half an afternoon curled up on the floor under my desk at work. It’s not for everyone : )
    Your posts/recipes always seem to come from a place of creativity and honesty (without a shred of judgment)– thanks for that! And for this lovely warm drink, will file away for Aussie winter.
    Good luck in the Canadian cold season and house reno. The place looks lovely, those leaded glass windows are ace.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)20/11/2013 - 8:40 am

    There’s a whole list of reasons I love this post, and I could copy+paste all the lines down here…but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just say: you go, girl. Always.

    Best vibes being sent your way as the house adventure continues. Hell yeah for listening to yer body.ReplyCancel

  • Mary20/11/2013 - 9:24 am

    Woo! I for one, am glad you are back to cooking! Sometimes you gotta leave just enough to want to come back. And it’s comforting to hear that others have the same frustrations with judgey friends and food. At my work I like to eat in my office…even if you eat healthy or people have good things to say about your food it just gets a little old everyday to hear the peanut gallery’s comments about your lunch! One of those things that will probably never change – food is such a ritual for many and an insecurity for others.

    But good for you for trying something different and trying to change your perspective! And at the same time glad you’re back :)ReplyCancel

  • Merri Live Local Greens20/11/2013 - 9:28 am

    Well done for trying! I couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be – definitely not for me! We need warming foods in the cold UK winters! This drink sounds perfect; I try not to drink caffeine, but a perk me up in the morning is always needed. Will give it a go. Oh, and the house looks fab! Good luck with it.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway20/11/2013 - 9:30 am

    Love your honesty Laura! I love raw foods and at least half of my diet (if not more) consists of this, but extremes have never worked for me either. Good on you for doing what’s right for you and giving the middle finger to anyone who cares to judge xxReplyCancel

  • Ashlae20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

    I had a similar experience with raw food about two years ago. My doctor was certain it would stabilize my hormones and regulate my bowels and give me glowing skin and blah blah blah. But four days in I was so bloated I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and I had developed hives all over my chest and stomach. Super sexy. I went back to the witch doctor who fed me some bullshit about it just being my body adjusting/getting rid of all the bad junk it’s harbored over the years. And then one night I had a bowl of warm soup, decided the next day to stop relying on raw foods, and within two days the hives were gone and I could fit into my pants again. HALLELUJAH. Bodies are weird, yo. But also kind of amazing.

    You know what else is amazing? THAT house (the bathroom is making me extra swoony). Cannot wait to see what you two do with the place.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

    This looks delicious! I make a similar drink with turmeric instead of cacao, but I love the idea of star anise and cacao together. Best wishes on your new home!ReplyCancel

  • lysette20/11/2013 - 10:03 am

    Demolition is brute and filthy. I work in construction(and live in British Columbia; -12 this morning whoot!) if I’m doing demo or pretty much anything to do with concrete I fuel with warming foods. I love raw and eat it most of the year (uncompromising vegan all year) but I also need to repair and refuel my muscles (and spirit) for the work day ahead. And I drink a ton of warm liquids!ReplyCancel

  • Valentina20/11/2013 - 10:07 am

    your new place looks awesome! I love when nothing is up and the world is full of endless possibilities !!

    Valentina
    http://valentinaduracinsky.blogspot.com/ReplyCancel

  • Winnie20/11/2013 - 10:15 am

    Love this post! I must admit I was a little worried about your raw experiment. I think raw is fine for, like, a week if you are spending lots of time on a beach in Hawaii. Beyond that I think it can be harmful and the whole “you are just detoxifying” thing is crap. ps the house is looking great!ReplyCancel

  • Daria20/11/2013 - 10:17 am

    Sounds awesome! I’m all about cacao. It’s as simple as “put cacao in it’ and it will turn anything into a delight. I recently finally developed a recipe which works for me (and my man, which was a little unexpected) for hot cacao: 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cups of almond&coconut or just almond milk, 2tbsp (yes!!!) raw cacao powder, 2 tsp maca powder, 1-2 tsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves. Heat everything up in a sauce pan stirring frequently. Oh my, I melt while having it. Great stuff to fix energy levels, mood swings etc.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne20/11/2013 - 10:24 am

    Yessss house photos! It’s a beautiful work in progress. Brava for listening to yourself and adjusting accordingly. No shame in that, ever. I get super annoyed when I’m on a healthy food blog and read a shameful confession about eating a few (organic/local, of course) French fries or some legit ice cream. I think that perpetuating some idea or image of a “perfect” diet does more harm than good. That’s why I don’t keep my love for bacon a secret. Anyway, if I come visit you in Canada someday, will you make me one of these energy drinks before we split a big ol’ plate of poutine?ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey | The Next Course20/11/2013 - 10:30 am

    I can’t wait to try this tomorrow morning! I love the idea of blending ahead of time (and can even see myself blending this up the night before and reheating the next morning). Thanks for your honesty about the raw thing not working for you–bodies are pretty incredible and mysterious, don’t you think?!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah20/11/2013 - 10:34 am

    I am new to your blog, so this was my first post of yours that I have read. I love it. Food is so, so personal. I cannot get over how everything is scrutinized, good or bad. I never have tried a raw detox or whatever. It would be hard here in Wyoming too. By the way, I love your photos, and your house looks awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda20/11/2013 - 10:43 am

    Optimal health is about listening to what our bodies want and need. Sometimes that’s a salad and a smoothie, other times that’s a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Big up on raising your white flag!ReplyCancel

  • T20/11/2013 - 10:46 am

    Honestly, I think it is fully impossible to go raw during a Canadian Winter. Access to all of those lovely fruits and veggies are no longer local. But that is just my experience as well, I need warm food in the winter and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

    For the record, I feel like serious ass when I eat just vegetarian or vegan.

    There is no right answer when it comes to what you eat, but instead what gives you the energy you need to take on the day.

    Good luck with the Renos!

    Maca will make it happen!ReplyCancel

  • LC20/11/2013 - 10:51 am

    You’re such an amazing photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Tucci20/11/2013 - 10:58 am

    Lovely recipes, I love making simple warming hot chocolates like this!ReplyCancel

  • michelle20/11/2013 - 11:20 am

    YES YES YES YES!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney20/11/2013 - 12:21 pm

    I’ve always wanted to buy an older house and renovate it, though I’m not sure why because I don’t have a lick of any type of skills associated with it. I’m loving your in progress photos. As for the raw foods thing, you know your body better than anyone else so to hell with what anyone else says. I can’t imagine doing a raw foods diet in our mild Texas winter so kudos to you for sticking it out as long as you did. As for this lovely maca beverage, it looks awesome though I doubt I’ll be able to drink it without picturing scenes from Arrested Development :)ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Mallon20/11/2013 - 12:22 pm

    Hi. Boy, do I understand. Almost two years ago, Tim and I did a raw week, and I felt so good at the end of it, i wanted to keep going. Let’s just say the second week was NOT like the first one, and things got worse from there. I read the same articles about cleansing and Herx reactions and they didn’t make me feel better, haha. I do think I was cleansing, but I also think you can cleanse too fast and make yourself miserable. Hip hip for trying new things and learning from them! Hip hip for being an honest enough person to talk about it here. I loved reading about it.

    oh and PS I have emotional outbursts all the time.ReplyCancel

  • Grace20/11/2013 - 12:54 pm

    Whew! I was thinking about you the other morning as I was indulging in a warm piece of spiced pumpkin cake (for breakfast!). I started feeling guilty for not having a healthier start to my day – knowing you were probably raw vegging out. Glad we can all get back to real life now. ;) Love the house pictures – please keep sharing them!ReplyCancel

  • Cassandra20/11/2013 - 1:20 pm

    Glad you’re feeling better! You do YOU! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn20/11/2013 - 2:29 pm

    Totally, totally with you. I’m so bored of it all and of the this weird world view where what you choose to eat for one meal of the day – one of the thousands and thousands of meals you’ll eat in your life – becomes some sort of judgement on your worth as a person. Whatever. Welcome back to the land of warm food!

    PS totally digging the pics of your new pad; it has a real English vibe to it which, obviously, appeals to me a lot.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle20/11/2013 - 3:37 pm

    This sounded awful until I got to the energy drink recipe. Kuddos and condolences for attempting such a diet!ReplyCancel

  • Silvia20/11/2013 - 3:40 pm

    Hi Laura, I have been following your blog for a while – love the recipes and the photography is beautiful.
    I tried going fully raw one summer and found it pretty hardcore, I can’t imagine what it’s like doing it in cold weather.. I’m glad you listened to your body!

    Anyway, I wanted to say I relate to what you said and thank you for sharing.
    Cheers!
    SilReplyCancel

  • Harriet McAtee20/11/2013 - 4:25 pm

    Dude – thank you for your unbounded honesty! Judgement is the nastiest thing, and I’m so behind us fighting the best fight against it. We each know our own bodies best. And your new place looks wonderful! Power through – I can see the beauty there already!ReplyCancel

  • Grace20/11/2013 - 4:57 pm

    Love this! I have a somewhat similar perk me up maca drink with cacao and maple sugar. I’m going to try this tomorrow morning. Glad to hear you’re doing what feels right for your body. Raw foods can be especially tough when transitioning to winter. If you get flac for doing right by your body, good riddance!ReplyCancel

  • Emily20/11/2013 - 6:41 pm

    I love this. Good for you for trying out the raw diet, and for listening to your body and stopping. Excited to try this drink!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2013 - 6:43 pm

    I can’t even describe how much I love your honesty in this post. And, again, I can completely relate about the house things and I was never on a raw diet. ;) Your house looks adorably and so much character. It will get there!! I promise!! That light fixture is perfection. I want it! So great that you did what was best for your body and mental state and didn’t just stick it out and feel miserable. You are my high vibin’ hero!! <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey20/11/2013 - 7:54 pm

    I tried the raw thing a couple years ago. I find that balancing my diet is what keeps me sane (or insane), so it’s totally key for me. Not too much of one thing, but always things that are soothing and yeah, healthy too. Anywho, your home in progress looks awesome, can’t wait to see the end result :)ReplyCancel

  • JT20/11/2013 - 9:06 pm

    Heya! Love your blog/photography. Am curious if there were any raw food recipe books you especially dig? Nice to have those in your back pocket even if you aren’t living a totally raw life style. I know I ain’t.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Murphy20/11/2013 - 9:12 pm

    Hi–I just recently started reading your blog. From a Chinese medicine perspective, raw food is really bad for you. It’s because your body basically has to use all its chi (or something) to cook the food in your stomach before you can digest it. In the winter, especially, this can be really bad because cold is one of the five bad influences that can make you sick. You want to be warm inside, and eat warm food, in order to preserve your chi and stay well.

    Incidentally, winter and cold are a time for kidney meridian stress, and the emotional component of a stressed kidney meridian sounds like exactly what you describe–total anguish over little things. You might want to go get some needles in ya! Or eat things that nourish kidney such as black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, black rice, miso broth, black sesame seeds.

    PS I am not an DOM–I just learned this the hard wayReplyCancel

  • Cristina21/11/2013 - 9:30 am

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to food rules and food boundaries–what a complex mess that is. Food can be medicine, or it can make us feel so crummy. It’s a windy journey, figuring out the philosophies worth listening to, versus those that are simply snakeoil, and then ultimately what works for each individual. But I think you have it right–listen to your body, and then let the chips fall where they may.

    Also, your house is impossibly darling. I’m sure it’s been so much work, but I am a small bit obsessed with that handsome fireplace, the details carved into windows, the robin’s egg blue porch, the built in shelves, and most especially, that back deck where I can imagine a big table, a grill, friends, and a tangle of fairy lights. It’s going to be a great house.ReplyCancel

  • I like the new place! And thank you for this recipe, I need an energy drink.ReplyCancel

  • charlotte21/11/2013 - 5:39 pm

    thank you so much for your wonderful honesty.ReplyCancel

  • Riley Tea22/11/2013 - 12:00 am

    When some people come to me and say “oh, so you’re one of those health freaks that doesn’t cook anything or only eats tofu and nuts.” I’m like “first of all, you’re mixing three different diets in one. Second, why “health freak”? Vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy. Neither does paleo or raw. Or any of those diets. They can be interesting to try, but ultimately, I believe in eating what feels right for you. I try to implement as much real/whole foods as possible and I feel good about what I eat. That’s what’s important. I don’t care about anything others have to say. (I once had a hindu scold me for eating organic free-range roast chicken.) I’m glad you were able to listen to yourself and stop from doing something that just isn’t for you. That doesn’t make it wrong, but you know your body (and I hear ya, for the Canadian winters. Damn, no hot cocoa?!)

    Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • Ines23/11/2013 - 3:49 pm

    I made your drink last night and I really liked it! As I usually have cocoa in some variation or other every night – I get very sad if I don’t get the chance to have one ;-) – , this is a lovely new variation. Your ideas for the spices are very good!
    Thanks for writing explicitly to not blend the star anise ;-) I did that once and the result was horrible.
    That time I wanted to make a cocoa that tastes like the “winter chocolate” you can buy here in Germany and which contains small pieces of spekulatius.
    I never succeeded in making something like this, though. So if you have an idea I’d love to read about it =)ReplyCancel

  • sarah23/11/2013 - 10:58 pm

    Laura, thanks for such good words here. You always give me so much food for thought. After reading this post and all the comments, I spent some time today reading about the yin and yang of food (and life) and figured some good things out for myself.

    I always feel so encouraged here, and welcome. You’ve made such a great space.

    And, your house. Awesome. I love the wallpaper. Sending love and peace to you. xoReplyCancel

  • […] and rose petals. Self-love indeed! You will find the recipe for this reviving hot drink on The First Mess. I substituted with local honey and added some […]ReplyCancel

  • Weekend Reading, 11.23.1324/11/2013 - 10:11 am

    […] gorgeously photographed good energy drink sounds like a perfect pick-me-up! (When I’m not clutching my coffee, that is […]ReplyCancel

  • Hannah24/11/2013 - 5:42 pm

    Keep your chin up; the truth your body tells you will always be better than any theory, yours or someone else’s. (And anyway, a warm drink on a cold day nurtures us, or most of us.) Also: love the house. Reminds me some of the craftsman I grew up in. Great light, great details, great potential. You will be happy there, my guess is you already are – in progress or no. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Cel24/11/2013 - 7:15 pm

    No judgement here! But I’m raw and living in Canada and loooove the results. The bloating in the increase in fiber and water and raw food clean out the junk baked on inside. I now have glowing skin! Read 801010 by dr Doug graham. Eye-opening. I would just love to see people give it a fair chance and then pass judgementReplyCancel

  • Sini │my blue&white kitchen26/11/2013 - 11:31 am

    This was such a great and honest post with adorable photography! I think the take-home message from this post is “listen to your body”. Always.ReplyCancel

  • tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:31 pm

    have so had the dexter moments, lath (lath, and more lath) moments, and hidden wallpaper discoveries, and piles outside ready to go somewhere… heres to “in progress”!!ReplyCancel

  • Spinning Plates giveaway28/11/2013 - 2:32 am

    […] Good Energy Drink from The First Mess. I love maca! […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel29/11/2013 - 4:35 pm

    Beautiful! How do you get that grainy film-like effect in your photos?ReplyCancel

  • Emilie21/01/2014 - 7:09 pm

    Hi! I just wanted to say I think your blog is beautiful and very inspiring! I want to try making everything on here. All. Of. It.ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess My Good Energy Drink […]ReplyCancel

  • Renee17/05/2015 - 3:24 pm

    I’m loving this drink, thanks for the post. Such a delicious drink to have as its starting to get cold. I love using maca in my drinks :)ReplyCancel

  • […] Dandy Blend– all the benefits of dandelion made easy for you (thanks for the tip, Lisa!) Hot Maca Chocolate– (scroll down) for lasting energy. Matcha Green Tea Latte– matcha is power packed with […]ReplyCancel

  • […] from Laura, this is my good-energy drink of choice lately. There’s a lot of talk that maca, a root […]ReplyCancel

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!
I had this whole thing typed up about all these life-y bits and frustrations. Then Mark and I took a trip to the dump on Monday. It was rainy, cold and the wind would pelt you in the face when you just got around to forgetting about it. I was chucking gnarly old tree roots and heaps of lath into a giant, depressing garbage bin, next to 5 equally depressing garbage bins, when I realized that my glance needed re-adjustment. I was steady-bummed for a while because the whole renovation situation felt a bit unfamiliar and outside of my immediate grasp. There were a lot of comments tossed around that went to the tune of “WHY did we buy this piece-of-shit house?!”

Except… it totally isn’t a piece of shit. I keep forgetting that there is an entire universe of vivid and ecstatic energy bundled up within the vicinity of my cardiovascular system/chest cavity. I’ve been thinking small, that I’m small, that we’re small, that everything else is too big. Then, on that miserable day at the dump, I realized it’s kind of amazing to be uncomfortable, to be far flung outside of your cozy, blanket-wrapped elements. I’m learning heaped handfuls of life-y things every day. We’re gaining strength, understanding and stretching a little bit deeper all the time. The frequency of it just takes a little getting used to. Anyway we’re still here, I’m embracing my inner “big-ness” and now there’s a little bit of cake too.

This is a raw and vegan affair that comes together pretty simply once the cashews are soaked and the carrots are grated. I reserve the walnuts for the top, rather than mixing them up into the already unique texture of this raw “cake.” My favourite carrot cake ever has plenty of orange zest in the frosting, so I went in that direction for mine. Lots of warm spice, vanilla and smooth coconut oil too. Also, the ratio of cashew-based frosting to cake is 1:1 and I don’t even feel the need to qualify that one. Go have some cake for breakfast, friends. xo

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messpin it!

raw + vegan carrot cake slice w/ tangy citrus frosting
serves: makes an 8 inch square cake
notes: I make the cashew icing in my Vitamixbecause the high speed makes for a really dreamy frosting. I imagine this would work out alright in a food processor though, maybe a few more textural bits, but still tasty. Also, you want the icing to set in the fridge to a point where it becomes spread-able, not rock solid. You could probably speed this up in the freezer if you need to.

frosting ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup raw honey/raw agave nectar/maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract/liquid vanilla
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
zest of 1/2 an orange

cake ingredients:
1 cup pitted dates
splash of water/orange juice
1 cup almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour (or more almond if you like)
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extrtact/liquid vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch fine sea salt
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 cup finely grated carrots

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, with some overhang, and set aside.

In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, almond milk, raw honey/agave/maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Blend on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. With the motor running slowly, lift off the top of the blender and drizzle the melted coconut oil in slowly. Once you have a homogenous mixture, shut the machine off. Scrape the frosting into a bowl and fold the orange zest into the frosting. Cover the frosting with cling film, pressing it onto the surface. Allow the frosting to firm up in the refrigerator for about an hour.

In a food processor, pulse the dates with the splash of water/orange juice until you have a chunky paste (you could also just chop the dates up fine to make a paste). Scrape the date paste into a large bowl. To the date paste, add the almond flour, hazelnut flour, coconut oil, spices, salt, orange zest and grated carrots. Mix it up with a spatula or your hands until everything is evenly mixed. Press this cake mixture into the parchment lined pan until you’ve achieved an even thickness and you’ve filled out the pan. Cover it up and place in the fridge until you’re ready to frost it.

Spread the tangy citrus frosting on top of the cake and garnish it with chopped walnuts, more orange zest, currants, whatever you like. At this point, I like to let the whole thing set up all nice in the fridge, but you don’t have to. Lift the cake by grabbing the parchment overhang. Place it on a cutting board and slice into squares. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for about 5 days or so.

 

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  • Good for you :) I had the same feelings lately and during the weekend I reminded myself how much I love my life :)ReplyCancel

  • Skye14/11/2013 - 5:30 am

    I made a carrot, ginger and almond cake recently with a cream cheese frosting. It was sublime, but I was riddled with guilt for days afterwards, as I ate far too much… This looks like a very healthy and completely guilt-free alternative. Hurrah! Do you think that it would work if I used blanched almonds instead of cashews?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright14/11/2013 - 8:22 am

      Hello Skye, I think you could use blanched almonds, but the texture/mouthfeel might be a bit different. This frosting gets its creaminess from the fattiness of the cashews, but it’s certainly worth a try :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar14/11/2013 - 8:06 am

    I love the sound of this. The crust looks absolutely perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Tucci14/11/2013 - 9:40 am

    I love you blend the coconut oil into the frosting! I work at a Raw restaurant in NYC and thats what we do for icing/ice cream ect. Glad to see other people are using the same awesome technique! Really glad I found your blog :)ReplyCancel

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites14/11/2013 - 9:57 am

    Renovating is gruelling, no matter the scale of the job. Hang in there. In the meantime, it looks like this cake soothes a lot. Beautiful flavor profile!ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized14/11/2013 - 10:01 am

    I mean, that frosting!! I love this recipe, I”m definitely making it this Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ The Endless Pursuit14/11/2013 - 10:11 am

    Amen sista!
    Laura, seriously this post hit home, as we are trying to renovate our early 1900’s kitchen. With dust everywhere, cookware scattered throughout the house, and just the overall monstrosity of this project has had me feeling the exact same way… small and overwhelmed. Great way to put this all in perspective, I needed that. :) And I also NEED to make this carrot cake now! Wowza!

    Good luck with the reno!ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway14/11/2013 - 10:33 am

    God I need a high powdered blender, then maybe, just maybe I could get into cashew icing. Mine looks nothing like your lovely smooth and creamy goodness right there! Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea thenakedfig14/11/2013 - 10:36 am

    This looks so yummy! I tried making raw carrot cake once before and was a little disappointed (although I skipped the icing so I set myself up for failure). But this looks perfect and I think will turn me back on to raw carrot cakes. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)14/11/2013 - 12:11 pm

    I want to put that frosting on all the things. Also, this sounds like a brilliant breakfast! I think I’ll make this tomorrow morning.ReplyCancel

  • Heather14/11/2013 - 2:05 pm

    Gurl, you have done it again. The most beautiful carrot cake I have ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • Katy14/11/2013 - 5:01 pm

    So gorgeous. I love raw desserts, I find them much easier to make since you can’t mess up the baking part!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Galloway14/11/2013 - 5:34 pm

    Buying a house that needs work is huge but so rewarding. I know the first years of Renos, garden excavating etc. were often challenging for us but now we can sit back and enjoy our little Eden (and plan our next reno, it never really ends :) ).
    And have a built a thing of beauty in this cake will add this to my ‘must make’ list now I have a high sleep blender.ReplyCancel

  • Dearna @tohercore14/11/2013 - 5:53 pm

    Its hard sometime when big tasks like this are so overwhelming. On the upside, its always great to challenge yourself and learn form experiences and opportunities, good and bad. Glad that you are felling more positive about it all now – and good luck with the renovations :)
    Oh, and this cake looks amazing too by the way!ReplyCancel

  • Grace14/11/2013 - 6:31 pm

    Ugh, renovating is intense – but so rewarding! When you’re all done you’ll have a home that you love and your confidence will be through the roof! This cake sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful. Love!ReplyCancel

  • hannah14/11/2013 - 10:11 pm

    I made this almost as soon as I saw it! And it’s delicious! Thanks for all that you share Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ 24 Carrot Life15/11/2013 - 12:37 am

    These look killer good and I can’t wait to make them asap!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Dillon15/11/2013 - 5:42 am

    Hey Laura, I really love the look of this raw cake, carrot cake is my favourite and i love making it with lot of good spices like you have here, and coconut flakes too! Your food blog is an utter inspiration for me (not only because we have the same awesome name), but because everything you post here is so delicious and healthy and just beautiful. I hope one day I can develop my knowledge with food even close to as good as you are now!
    Keep posting the lovely recipes ;)
    from LauraReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Jane15/11/2013 - 7:18 am

    Holy moly i am making this this weekend. Go rock the bigness you are surrounded with xxReplyCancel

  • molly yeh15/11/2013 - 11:40 am

    book marking this. my man’s birthday is at the end of the month and he is gluten free, dairy free, and *mostly* sugar free. it’s a bitch when it comes to birthday cakes! i was thinking of making a steak cake. BUT THIS IS WAY BETTER. you are the bestest.ReplyCancel

  • Lillian @ Sugar and Cinnamon15/11/2013 - 10:01 pm

    Such a healthy and unique take on carrot cake! Carrot cake is one of my favourites and I’m always looking for ways to make it a little lighter and better for you. This raw version looks so delicious and light. Can’t wait to give it a try! And your photos are just inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • amy16/11/2013 - 12:35 pm

    looks great, going to try this today! can i use coconut flour instead of hazelnut flour?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright17/11/2013 - 9:39 am

      Hi Amy,
      Coconut flour tends to be super-drying. So maybe start with half the amount of hazelnut flour, mix it up, see how it feels and go from there. I think the texture might be quite different if you go this way though.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] like to please introduce you to a sweet and savory Raw Carrot Cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting. How wonderful and indulgent does this beautiful cake look? I am always thrilled to read, recreate, […]ReplyCancel

  • Jessica (bakecetera)17/11/2013 - 8:17 am

    this is the most beautiful and original method for making a carrot cake! i love all of the natural ingredients. it looks incredible, i can’t wait to try this out!ReplyCancel

  • Golubka17/11/2013 - 11:36 am

    Amazing you can go through such intense renovations and still make, photograph and write about your beautiful food. Just read your interview with Food and Wine, congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn17/11/2013 - 6:28 pm

    I totally get you. The number of times I wondered why we were even moving, let along trying to project manage a renovation was insane. It was all just so overwhelming but I know you’re going to be so happy in your new home. In the meanwhile, I think you deserve lots and lots of cake.ReplyCancel

  • Victoria18/11/2013 - 8:35 am

    Laura, I’ve been reading this blog (which I love! thank you for not being pretentious) for a year or so now.

    I’m curious about how your body feels going raw when it’s about to be winter. Although, I am in KCMO, so it’s probably already winter where you are! I’ve always felt horrible and off-season when I tried to eat raw or juice cleanse when it’s wintertime. Thoughts?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright18/11/2013 - 9:05 am

      Hi Victoria! I’ll be talking about this next week a little bit. Sneak peek: I couldn’t do it for the full month. I didn’t feel absolutely horrible, but I knew some things were off and had to take some action. Thank you for commenting (and for reading)! :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Healing Tomato19/11/2013 - 9:29 pm

    Those are some awesome pictures and I love your cooking style. It is truly unique!ReplyCancel

  • Maya20/11/2013 - 1:48 am

    I made this as soon as I saw the recipe, it is sooooo yummy! I can’t believe how much it is just like cake in terms of the frosting and texture. Have shared the recipe with lots of friends already and gave them a sample, they are all hooked! Thank you! XXReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen20/11/2013 - 1:55 pm

    Hooray for learning as you go and for a recipe with 1:1 ratio of cake and icing! This recipe sounds super fun, I think I will definitely give it a go sometime. xxReplyCancel

  • […] + Raw carrot cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Vic24/11/2013 - 3:59 pm

    Can I use 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup brown rice flour!?
    Can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright24/11/2013 - 5:43 pm

      Hi Vic, since this is a raw preparation, I’m not sure how good the brown rice flour would taste. I would go all almond flour if possible.
      -LReplyCancel

  • vic24/11/2013 - 10:05 pm

    I JUST TRIED IT AND ITS FREAKING AMAZING! how believe no sugar added :)ReplyCancel

  • Maren25/11/2013 - 12:12 am

    I made this for a Thanksgiving party today and everyone loved it! Thanks so much for this! Do you think it would work with oat flour?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright26/11/2013 - 9:39 am

      Hey Maren, I think you would still have to insure that half of the flour used is nut or seed based for texture maintenance. 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of oat flour sounds heavenly for this cake though :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:37 pm

    very much laughing at “why did we buy this piece of shit!”

    oh how during many, most.. all projects my husband might have said this very thing (while i am saying why did we move our whole lives and how did we possibly pick here?) but then i quickly defend against all reason, i love this house! don’t dare talk bad about it NOW, after we’re IN it, doing it, committed to the point of no return, don’t you dare! haha! (; and then all is good, until the next project. (;ReplyCancel

  • Pop Chef09/12/2013 - 12:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your story. Good read.ReplyCancel

  • Donna23/12/2013 - 10:42 pm

    Discovered this recipe via Buzzfeed and made it today. It is freaking awesome! And the icing is fine in the food processor, just slightly gritty. But OMG this is so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] that had me make a double-size cake with her three days later! That speaks for itself how good The First Mess’s recipe […]ReplyCancel

  • Åsa29/03/2014 - 1:44 pm

    Hi Laura,
    This cake is just fantastic! And, surprisingly, the taste is even nicer after a couple of days.
    My cake is quite wet, though, so I next time I’ll try and weigh the flour instead of using volume measure. I grate my almond and hazel nuts and suspect the result is much airier than the bought flour/meal would be. Brilliant either way, and I can see many other uses for the vegan + no refined sugar icing. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Carrot Cake Bites  […]ReplyCancel

  • Sharna07/05/2014 - 12:33 am

    I made this cake over the weekend and it was my first foray into raw vegan desserts. I can’t believe how yummy this was! I think I actually like this recipe over the traditional baked carrot cake recipes because the nuts make this dessert so rich and creamy. I am so impressed. This has now given me the push to continue exploring raw vegan recipes for my family! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Jill05/07/2014 - 12:17 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I’m making this now and the frosting is seeming quite liquidy.. not creamy like you described. How thick should it be?

    Thanks,
    JillReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright07/07/2014 - 5:38 pm

      Hi Jill, My frosting for this started out quite liquidy too. It really benefits from some chill time in the fridge. Because of the coconut oil addition, the cool temperature should thicken the mixture up considerably. Hope that helps.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Thea12/08/2014 - 3:54 pm

    Just made this today and it is really delicios! I actually put half of the batch in the freezer, and they turned out like a frozen carrot cake cheese cake/fudge! Definitely a keeper – even my dad enjoyed them (score!) :-)ReplyCancel

  • […] Meal/Flour is my favorite for baking. Check out this amazing Carrot Cake Recipe All I’m going to say is YUM!  Almond flour is among one of the most nutrient dense flours and is […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Carrot Cake Slice w/ Tangy Citrus Frosting […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Carrot Cake Slice with Tangy Citrus Frosting by The First Mess  […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah09/04/2015 - 1:05 pm

    This cake is seriously magical! I wanted to lick the frosting off my food processor blade (but thankfully my better judgement prevailed). Word of advice for anyone who buys “pitted dates”: check those f***ers for pits– I added too much water because the dates were just not processing; thankfully I didn’t destroy my food processor! Despite my cake being a tad more moist than I imagine it’s supposed to be, it’s delicious. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] change. Explore food that is nourishes you does taste amazing. Try two of my favorite recipes, Raw Carrot Cake from TheFirstMess.com or Rainbow Veggie Bowl from PinchofYum.com.  Try 1 new thing a week and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] change. Explore food that is nourishes you does taste amazing. Try two of my favorite recipes, Raw Carrot Cake from TheFirstMess.com or Rainbow Veggie Bowl from PinchofYum.com.  Try 1 new thing a week and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Meal/Flour is my favorite for baking. Check out this amazing Carrot Cake Recipe All I’m going to say is YUM!  Almond flour is among one of the most nutrient dense flours and is […]ReplyCancel

  • Clare03/02/2016 - 3:25 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing!! I can’t wait to try this. There is a cashew allergy in the family though so I’ll try it with coconut cream instead and I think it’ll work out deliciously! Love the beautiful website and photos. I always look forward to your next post.ReplyCancel

  • jenny25/03/2016 - 11:21 pm

    am making this for the first time, it’s currently all chilling but looks amazing so far – will feed back! I ended up using medjool dates as that;s all I had, which has made it a pretty expensive slice. Do you use the cheaper dried dates? Have you tried using sultanas instead? I know that won’t give it that caramel-ly deliciousness that dates have. Thanks for a another great recipe!ReplyCancel

    • Laura26/03/2016 - 8:19 am

      Hi Jenny,
      I know that the Medjool dates can be pricy. I always buy them in larger quantities from Costco/other stores for a bit of a break. I’ve never tried this with dried dates or sultanas. I imagine the dried dates could work if you soaked them in boiling water first to soften them up.
      -LReplyCancel

      • jenny27/03/2016 - 12:31 am

        Thanks Laura – they came out pretty good! Will try again next week, it’s the kind of recipe one can play around with quite a lot I feel, different ground or chopped nuts, spices etc. My topping lost the creamy cashew taste I had expected, the other flavours were strong. Do you use that much honey as a preservative? It was a tad too sweet for me, Great recipe though! XReplyCancel

  • Marjorie01/05/2016 - 12:13 am

    I love this cake, everyone that’s had it loves it! I added flaked unsweetened coconut flakes which I ground up, it replaced a portion of the almond flour. Absorbed the wetness of the carrots and added great flavor.
    One question, the first time I made the frosting it was perfect, this time it got a little grainy looking, not sure why. Still tastes amazing!ReplyCancel

    • Laura01/05/2016 - 9:18 am

      Hi Marjorie,
      I’m so glad that you like this cake, and your ground coconut addition sounds wonderful. I’m not sure what would cause the grainy texture in the icing other than the possibility that the coconut oil wasn’t fully incorporated. If the oil is only briefly mixed in, once the cake is chilled, any pockets of oil will turn solid and make for a grainy texture. But besides that, I’m not sure what else could contribute to this! Happy that you enjoyed it despite the grainy-ness :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Carrot Cake Slices by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messpin it!shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messpin it!
This is an easy one, completely by my own choice. Eating raw foods with regularity, while simultaneously trying to make it varied, is HARD. (Feels way awesome though, trust.) My brain is always in a future-thinking mode where food is concerned. I need to soak almonds because I’m almost out of almond milk! That granola needs to dehydrate for 8 hours, which means I should be around to check it later on, probably… I should pick some greens and celery now and put them in the fridge so that I don’t get lazy about juicing tomorrow morning. Salad is the one thing I’m eating everyday that allows for spontaneity (oh, and raw chocolate + banana shakes, I’m having those everyday too).

I wanted to make one that would be suitable to gathering ’round though, a little more baller-time. If I’m in a potluck situation, I always volunteer the salad portion. Mostly because I don’t want to eat a crummy salad, but also because I want my peeps to get real jazzed about vegetables. I know I can fix them up pretty well, so the token salad offering becomes this sort of greater mission thing. I was thinking about holiday time and all of that indulgent heft, the need for a fresh counterbalance that still felt rich in certain ways.

I love a tangy and creamy tahini-based dressing. It seems like a bit of a hippie-dip staple, but for good reason. It has a luscious texture that really fills out a salad/slaw. Its undeniably fatty feel on the tongue carries flavour really beautifully too. Citrus, cumin and garlic tag along, all with a quick blitz in the blender. Then I just did some small shreds/cuts on a bunch of my fall faves. The beets and sweet potato stay crunchy. The apple is lightly tart and juicy. The brussels sprouts fill this out and the celery was kind of a last minute addition, super fresh though.

I ate this with a big helping of greens and half an avocado, you know, just for fun. Pretty refreshing and perfect as far as Fall lunches go. Anyway, gonna keep it short today. This gal’s got seeds/nuts to sprout, buckwheat to soak, cherry tomatoes to dry, lathing to tear out in a future kitchen (!!!), trim to paint, and other fun things :)

Big hugs,
Laura

shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messpin it!tahini // the first messpin it!shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messpin it!
shredded brussels sprouts + fall vegetable salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing
with tahini dressing guidance from Tara
serves: 4-6
notes: You could easily mix up the veg here. I went with beets and sweet potatoes (because yay! Just found they’re kind of awesome in their raw state), but kohl rabi, celery root, little turnips and fennel would all be so tasty. I use a very basic Benriner Japanese Mandolin to make quick work of the shreds. I’ve had it for years and it’s still so sharp–highly recommended small investment.

salad ingredients:
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed + finely shredded/sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 small-medium beets, peeled + cut into thin matchsticks
1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled + cut into thin matchsticks
1 apple, cored + thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced into little slivers
salt + pepper

dressing ingredients:
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp grainy mustard (or dijon, whatevs)
1/3 cup raw tahini (or regular, NBD)
juice of 1 orange (a generous 1/4 cup)
raw honey/maple syrup/agave nectar to taste
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
splashes of apple cider vinegar/water for thinning out (if necessary)

to finish:
big handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl, combine the sliced brussels sprouts, celery, beets, sweet potato shreds, sliced apple and red onion slivers. Season all of that with some salt and pepper and toss. Set aside.

Make the dressing: combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender on high until you have a smooth dressing that will coat the back of a spoon, in a decidedly thin way (you might have to add splashes of cider vinegar/water etc to get there). Check it for seasoning, adjust and set the dressing aside.

Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss it up. Garnish with the pumpkin seeds and parsley. I think it could hold up in its dressed state, sans apples, for a couple hours if you had to bring it somewhere. Just add the apples and garnish it up right before serving.

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  • Harriet06/11/2013 - 6:07 am

    I have to admit, I’ve been totally inspired by your raw-someness (tehe). Lately I’ve been doing roughly two-thirds raw, one-third cooked, and am just IN LOVE with how I feel. I’m enjoying food in a totally different way, and it’s terrific. Thank you for giving me the courage to step out into it!

    This salad looks exactly like something that should be in my belly right now. Raw beetroot is a favourite, as is nearly every other ingredient. Bliss.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)06/11/2013 - 8:31 am

    “1 tsp grainy mustard (or dijon, whatevs)
    1/3 cup raw tahini (or regular, NBD)”

    This is what I love about you.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn06/11/2013 - 9:15 am

    The whole having to get my shit together for raw food is one of the things that puts me off but this salad? This I can definitely get it together for. Such totally great flavours.ReplyCancel

  • tara06/11/2013 - 9:25 am

    Lady! This is gorgeous. I’ve got all the ingredients in the house, so I’m taking that as a sign.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf06/11/2013 - 9:48 am

    This is exactly the kind of thing I love to pack for my lunch at work. Tahini dressing comes up trumps every time :-)ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway06/11/2013 - 10:17 am

    Oh yes, shredded veges and creamy salad dressing forms about half of my daily diet! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kristen06/11/2013 - 10:45 am

    This salad looks marvelous! I was just wondering, how you cut your veggies into matchsticks? Elite knife skills or a mandoline? :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright06/11/2013 - 1:48 pm

      Hey Kristen! I’ve had a loooot of practice in the knife skills department, so I’ll chock it up to that. Mandolin would have made it go a bit faster though :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Maja06/11/2013 - 10:56 am

    I am always looking for my next new favorite tahini dressing and this orange version looks like a serious contender. Definitely prioritizing this recipe for tonight’s dinner salad :)

    As an aside, your photography and recipes are consistently inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • Emma06/11/2013 - 11:04 am

    How stunning is this?! It’s so sad that many people think of salad as some sad undressed lettuce and perhaps a few token tomatoes!This would certainly prove them wrong.
    Root vegetables are so versatile and tahini with anything sounds good to me.ReplyCancel

  • Fresh and Foodie06/11/2013 - 12:17 pm

    A tahini dressing! Great idea. I usually just use mine to make hummus or to drizzle on salads as-is.ReplyCancel

  • Katy06/11/2013 - 12:32 pm

    I love tahini but have only made dressing from it once or twice. I definitely need to do that again. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had brussels sprouts raw but I love the combination you’ve done here, especially with the apple!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Joy06/11/2013 - 1:01 pm

    This looks beautiful and delicious! Would be great to share at Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn06/11/2013 - 1:24 pm

    Your salads always look so beautiful! Love the colours.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen06/11/2013 - 2:08 pm

    Thanks, Laura! Sounds like I need to get a mandolin. :)ReplyCancel

  • Eileen06/11/2013 - 3:17 pm

    Prettiest salad ever! Plus orange and mustard with crispy shredded winter veg just sounds right. :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar06/11/2013 - 3:44 pm

    HELLO! This slaw looks fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt06/11/2013 - 5:20 pm

    lovely, easy, tasty. Love this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • I love everything about this salad; the colours, the flavours! Looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • I have to say your photos this time totally rock me. I am floored by them! I love the in your face close ups and the collage of the various elements. Very inspiring. Plus the recipe. These ingredients raw, I have never tried something like it. Awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Nina07/11/2013 - 12:25 pm

    This sounds amazing! I’ve never cooked with tahini or raw sweet potato and this recipe has inspired me to try both!! Thanks so much for sharing and your photos are beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • molly yeh07/11/2013 - 1:14 pm

    you had me at brussels sprouts. and then you had me again at tahini.. and then these gorgeous photos omg i just about died. this is everything i want in a vegetable thing and more. plz come be a guest at all of my potlucks?ReplyCancel

  • Golubka07/11/2013 - 9:46 pm

    This is such a beautiful salad and that tahini dressing sounds heavenly. You’re definitely inspiring me to make more raw food again. Thankfully, it is just the right time for it here in Florida, our green market is bountiful for the next 6 months!ReplyCancel

  • Justina08/11/2013 - 1:16 am

    The dressing sounds amazing. I love the tahini. I’ve seen it in recipes but I have not used it for a dressing.

    I’m also amazed that beets are in salads now (or again, I’m not sure). I love it.

    How long have you been eating raw?ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures08/11/2013 - 9:31 am

    I had no idea you could eat sweet potatoes raw! I love this raw adventure you are currently knee deep in!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Jane09/11/2013 - 7:59 am

    This is pretty much the exact salad i had the other night. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve said in this post. Tahini dressings totally round out a big asse bowl of salad and i’m there with you in terms of raw food preparation- always something to dehydrate/ soak. I love it- i fall in love with food even more when i have to make that extra effort. Good luck with all you’re busy with xxReplyCancel

  • Adri09/11/2013 - 9:03 pm

    This is a delight! It looks utterly tempting, and your photographs are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Jessicaisbaking10/11/2013 - 1:35 am

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING!! New Thanksgiving side, for sure!! Thanks for the recipe and keep up the inspiration!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz Oppenheim10/11/2013 - 2:58 pm

    This is one gorgeous looking salad. I love shredded salads, and the dressing looks refreshingly different.

    One quick question: I have read several places that it is not safe to eat sweet potato raw because it contains an enzyme that inhibits protein digestion. I can never tell if this is alarmist, or advice worth heeding. Do you have any personal experience with feeling funny after eating them raw?

    Thanks so much! I always enjoy your new recipes.ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food11/11/2013 - 10:07 pm

    Winter is when I tend to go with slaws and salads… even more than stews. Because that stuff can get old really REALLY quickly. You need these lighter dishes to keep things interesting.ReplyCancel

  • sarah13/11/2013 - 9:34 pm

    I am sick in bed, sneezing and coughing my head off, and this looks like just the thing to make me feel better. Also, I love when you say hippie-dip. xoReplyCancel

  • […] dann aber wohl oder über an die Essensbereitung gemacht. Zum Glück hatte ich noch ein Glas mit diesem Dressing im Kühlschrank, sodass ich nur noch schnell etwas Gemüse raspeln musste und fertig wars schon das […]ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae17/11/2013 - 9:48 am

    I’m thinking of embarking on some sort of raw journey in the near future, as four months of being removed from my normal eating habits have taken a SERIOUS toll on my belly. With that being said, I think this is just the nudge I need because I – miraculously – have every. single. ingredient for this recipe just chillin’ in my kitchen, waiting to be chopped up and sliced and thrown together to make this rawsome (too cheesy?) salad.

    PS – Your photos are my fav. <3ReplyCancel

  • […] Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with fall vegetables and garlic-tahini dressing, via The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts19/11/2013 - 7:48 am

    I love the colors in this! They’re so vibrant and yet so perfectly Fall-y. Thank you for sharing — it’s now on my list of must-try salads :)ReplyCancel

  • […] First Mess’ Garlicky Orange Tahini Dressing (Gluten + Dairy Free): You really can’t go wrong with tahini! A bright salad to match […]ReplyCancel

  • Lo13/12/2013 - 5:27 pm

    Sounds lovely! Can not wait to mix it up. To u make your own tahini? I found a method to make it that allows me to store and keep it longer.ReplyCancel

  • […] recipe from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (pin) / 3. Kale Citrus Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing (pin) / 4. Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Garlicky Orange Tahini Dressing […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Shredded Brussels Sprouts + Fall Vegetable Salad from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] another one from brussels sprout-loving The First Mess, this time featuring a garlicky orange tahini […]ReplyCancel

  • […] sprouts can be intimidating, but shredded in a salad, they are an approachable and fun way to mix up your greens! (via The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Žalių daržovių salotos ir saulėgrąžų duona. Dėl salotų – tikėjausi kažko įspūdingesnio. Gaivios ir sezamai fone maloniai žaidžia, bet nieko stulbinančio. Sveikatinimosi sumetimais pasilieku jau blog’e skelbtas. Dėl duonos, tai jau reikėtų susivokti, jog su kepimo milteliais duona nekepama. Nei skrudinimui, nei panini keptuvei. Visgi, “keksas” vienas labai malonesnių ir mes jau kaip suokalbininkai prisirišom prie saulėgrąžų duonos ir obuolių bei imbiero džemo derinio (svajonių pusryčiai). Beabejo, obuolienei tik cukraus 5-6 kartus pamažinus, apsiribojus viena citrina ir mažiau vandens. Žodžiu, duona – itin itin. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Fall Vegetable Salad with Garlicky Orange Tahini Dressing (the recipe calls for raw vegetables, but I think it could be equally delicious with roasted ones!) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Loosely adapted from my whole foods idol, The First Mess Nutrition Information Serving size: 1/6th of the recipe Calories: 179 Fat: 11.8g […]ReplyCancel

  • […] potatoes + gravy super veggie sage stuffing {see below} sauteed green beans with mushrooms + leeks shredded brussel sprout fall salad roasted acorn squash with caramelized shallots And then . . . a generous slice of this cranberry […]ReplyCancel

  • […] celery root + apple salad caramelized butternut squash salad with quinoa salad and roasted grapes shredded brussels sprouts + fall vegetable salad with garlicky orange tahini dressing roasted onion, squash, and fig salad with maple-mustard balsamic dressing herbed quinoa and […]ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne C28/11/2014 - 1:12 pm

    I just found your website/blog last week and so happy I did. Love your recipes and your mojo! I made this salad yesterday and it was delicious! Love the raw beets and all the flavors are perfect together. I’m going to go have the leftovers for breakfast. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • […] of nut butter doesn’t have any added sugar either) 4. The Raw Brownie from My New Roots 5. Shredded Brussel Sprout and Fall Salad from The First Mess 6. Coconut Mango Popsicles from The Little Epicurean (she calls for added […]ReplyCancel

  • […] verdund, als robuuste sladressing. Het is een goede basic tahinisaus om in je repertoire te hebben, het recept komt van The First Mess. Tahini is een pasta van sesamzaad en vindt je in alle Midden-Oosterse […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Brussel Slaw with orange garlic tahini sauce: Double the dressing. It’s worth it. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Vinaigrette au Tahini à l'Orange adaptée de The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Orange Tahini Dressing adapted from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] turn a vegetable into a heap of noodles. I’ve played around with julienned raw sweet potatoes in a slaw/salad before, but never as the main component of a dish. It’s so delicious! The “noodles” are […]ReplyCancel

  • […] shredded brussels sprouts + fall vegetable salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Shredded Brussels sprouts + Fall vegetable salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing [The First Mess] […]ReplyCancel

  • Lyndi23/11/2016 - 5:45 pm

    I have made this salad almost every week since September. Instead of doing raw beets and sweet potato, I roast them in the oven seasoned with a little cumin and garlic powder. I’m taking this to Thanksgiving tomorrow and adding in goat cheese because, well… cheese, it’s Thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • […] Shredded brussels sprouts + fall vegetable salad with garlicky orange tahini dressing […]ReplyCancel

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!raw autumn sushi w/ celery root "rice", zapin it!the dill out back // the first messpin it!
Have I mentioned this? I’m going to try the raw food thing for a month! That completely immersive and beautiful dinner we had at Pure Food & Wine back in September left a pretty serious impression on me. It was so innovative, colourful, satisfying and, most importantly, life-giving. I didn’t feel like a half-drunk, belly-aching, lumbering bear clambering around in the streets afterward. Sometimes destination restaurant experiences have that sleepy after-effect, but not this time. We had three courses, cocktails, the whole bit, and just bounced right outta there afterward without missing ANY sort of beat. I’m pretty sure I observed out loud at least 7 times how awesome and vibrant I felt.

I’m not a stranger to raw foods or anything, but I wanted to give the lifestyle a very sincere effort for a lot of reasons. I feel like my creative nature might need a slight kick in the pants–just been in steady resting mode with foods and preparation methods lately. Certain constraints seem to reveal a whole new world more often than not–i.e. travel, changing careers, using twitter as a communication medium IN GENERAL etc. You can lose those everyday crutches and gain a new set of tools/capabilities once you decide that the lead-up actions are worthwhile. Any shred of personal growth is so valuable to me, so yep, I dug out the dehydrator and bought myself some lucuma.

It’s also a bit of a control readjustment thing. The house and its updates are kind of maddening/sad-party some days (but also really great in a future-thinking sense–not complaining, dudes). I’ve been reaching for what my man calls a “poor man’s mocha” more often than I’d care to admit (it’s like ordering a coffee and then asking that half of the cup be taken up by hot chocolate–I know sooooo sneaky). There’s a lot of hastily grabbed snack-y foods that are less than virtuous floating around. I figure a new mindset/mission is what I need to take the power back. I get to a point almost every day where I pause in the middle of some glamorous task like piling up smelly old floor boards outside, and I think “Aaaah, maybe I’ll just like, make sure I eat a salad before I go to work…?” That doesn’t usually pan out. It’s just an overall operating-at-75-percent kind of thing, in the efforts put forth and the results, that’s bothering me. I’ve never been a 75 percent-er, ever, so it’s time to change and work outside of my comforts a bit. Simple as that.

And the last obvious thing: it’s for my health, duh! I’m excited to feel a bit more in tune with my body and this magnificent, consistently humbling earth. It’s pretty crazy to think about the amount of energy you can just weave into the fibres of your being by simply eating. And the land provides! I’m excited to make beautiful things happen, and to feel a bit more spring in the heels. Also, no shame, a bit of this.

So yeah! Gonna try it all out, learn a few things, make some stuff. Just living and working with a bit more intention is all. This little snack came to me while I was flipping through Sarma’s amazing book. She has a version with jicama for the rice portion, which sounds really fresh and lovely. We have celery root everywhere and I love its lightly sweet, fresh, creamy celery-ish taste. I thought it would be mind-blowing all rice-d up in an autumnal nori roll (or sushi if you aren’t gonna be all crazy concerned about cuisine terminology usage) situation with some dressed carrots, dill and dijon. The combination was pretty solid–nice and crunchy, bit of chew from the nori and zing from the mustard. My dad grew some mighty fine carrots in his garden this year–so sweet and flavourful. The dill is vibrant and green out there too, despite negative temperatures at night. Thankfully, it all just grows and goes together. Nature, seriously!

See you next week with some more raw goodies, loves! xoxo

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zapin it!
raw autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”
with vegetable-based rice guidance from Raw Food, Real World
special equipment: A sushi mat! These can be had rather inexpensively.
serves: makes about 18-24 rolls, depending on how thick you lay the rice mix in
notes: I coat the celery root chunks in lemon juice pre-processing to prevent any sort of browning. Also, it’s fun to have the leafy bits of sprouts sticking out the ends of the rolls. Pretty presentation!

celery root rice ingredients:
3 cups diced (peeled!) celery root
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
splash of rice vinegar
splash of raw agave nectar OR raw honey
fat pinch of sea salt

za’atar carrots:
1 large OR 2-3 medium carrots, peeled + cut into matchsticks
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp za’atar
little handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper

assembly:
3-4 sheets of nori (there are raw brands available, if you are concerned)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
extra dill sprigs + the little seedy flowers if you got ’em
big handful of sprouts (sunflower is my fave)
nama shoyu/coconut aminos to serve

Toss the diced celery root with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Throw the pieces into the food processor along with the pine nuts. Pulse/run the motor until the nuts and celery root become rice-sized. Scrape all of that out into a medium bowl. Toss the “rice” with the rice vinegar, agave/honey and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, toss the carrot matchsticks with the lemon juice, za’atar, dill, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Line up your nori sheets, sliced avocado, sprouts, dill bits and pour your coconut aminos/nama shoyu in a little serving bowl.

Lay a nori sheet, rough side facing up, on your sushi mat. Make sure the lines are going horizontal. Spoon some celery root rice onto the bottom third of the nori. Spread it to all the corners, packing it down. You should have a solid layer of the rice with minimal gaps. In the middle of the rice, lay some of the carrot mixture down. Top that with dill, avocado and sprouts.

Now, grabbing the bottom edge of the sushi mat with your thumbs and simultaneously pushing the sushi filling in with your fingers, start rolling it up. After you’ve enclosed the center bits (carrots, avo etc), clamp down on the roll to firm it up a bit. Continue rolling, firming up the shape of it as you go. Moisten the last little edge of the nori with water on your finger before you completely roll it up, just to seal it a bit.

Cut the roll in half. Then cut those halves into 3 evenly sized pieces each. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, carrots etc. Serve it up with the nama shoyu or whatever you like.

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  • Emma30/10/2013 - 6:42 am

    These are stunning! I keep meaning to try raw sushi rolls but haven’t yet.
    Hope the raw month goes well. I did a fully raw week and felt so good but a month might be a bit long for me to go without baking and roast veggies!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe30/10/2013 - 7:02 am

    he he you’re pretty great to listen to :) I love the way raw food makes me feel too – so much goodness. I’ve made raw sushi with cauliflower rice before, also pretty great. looking forward to the raw goodies ! xoReplyCancel

  • thecitygourmand30/10/2013 - 7:53 am

    Some gorgeous detail in that first shot!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures30/10/2013 - 8:24 am

    These look soooo good! I am always looking to go a little more raw and am excited for you to share your raw adventure!ReplyCancel

  • Grace30/10/2013 - 9:36 am

    Beautiful! Props to you girl for going raw for a month! Totally raw is tough for me but if anyone can make it incredibly delicious it’s you. I’ve been feeling a similar disconnect from my body and so am doing a detox for the month of November. Raw, lots of broth, and zero sugar or allergens (well my potential ones at least). Let’s get these high vibes going!ReplyCancel

  • erin30/10/2013 - 10:00 am

    These are just gorgeous and I love the idea of using celery root as the rice!ReplyCancel

  • Grace30/10/2013 - 10:08 am

    Such beauties. I want to pop them all in my mouth and feel happy! Can’t wait to see more fresh goodies you “cook” up this month! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Christine30/10/2013 - 10:32 am

    These rolls look vibrantly life-giving, and your words are inspiring. Thanks for mentioning the books _Raw Food/Real World_ and _Living Raw Food_. Would you mind mentioning a few other sources that have guided and inspired you in preparing for this month? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • stacey snacks30/10/2013 - 10:45 am

    Just harvested the last of my fennel and has now turned to seed, which I am happy about, now I have a big container of fennel seeds………

    I just posted your beautiful Moroccan stew with chickpeas and dates, I’ve made it 3 times so far! It’s so good!
    Thank you for your lovely recipes and beautiful photos.

    Stacey
    http://www.staceysnacksonline.com/2013/10/moroccan-style-vegetable-stew-w.htmlReplyCancel

  • Shanna30/10/2013 - 11:45 am

    Brilliant idea and I can’t wait to hear how you feel as the month goes on!ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf30/10/2013 - 12:48 pm

    This looks incredible! Not sure if I could do a whole month of raw food but seriously impressed :-)ReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ The Fresh Direction30/10/2013 - 4:17 pm

    Look at you go! These looks amazing – never made sushi before but this raw version has definitely inspired me. Good luck with the raw food venture, totally down with that. Keep us posted! :)ReplyCancel

  • Harriet McAtee31/10/2013 - 12:16 am

    These looks so wonderfully delicious and inspiring! Like you, I seem to love a new eating challenge and the ingenious ideas that spring from them. Haha. I’m the person that’s a little bit sad when I detox is over, and I return to normal eating. Totally digging that intentional, purposeful feeling you get from eating that way. These rolls look seriously good – I can’t wait to see what else appears here while you’re raw!ReplyCancel

  • jade o'donahoo31/10/2013 - 5:09 am

    the photos are gorgeous! i can’t wait to give the celery root ‘rice’ a go. XReplyCancel

  • […] Autumn Sushi with Celery Root “Rice” from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • sarah31/10/2013 - 3:02 pm

    You are so inspiring. Although, I’m having a very hard time imagining you as a ‘lumbering bear clambering around in the streets’ regardless of what you eat, ha. Your photos are gorgeous as always! And I can’t wait to see this house of yours take shape!ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com31/10/2013 - 4:48 pm

    Divine! Raw foods can be so satisfying and beautiful! Need to try this soon!ReplyCancel

  • JCollins01/11/2013 - 10:19 am

    I am VERY familiar with the ‘poor man’s mocha’. During my college days as a barista, we had a poor man’s version of several drinks we thought were too pricey for consumption during work (even with a discount). Poor man’s Italian soda – a can of sprite and some of the syrup flavoring (yes, a total sugar bomb).ReplyCancel

  • Fresh and Foodie01/11/2013 - 11:00 am

    Beyond gorgeous! I’ve been trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. If I could eat like this everyday, it’d be much easier!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen02/11/2013 - 4:52 pm

    This has to be some of the prettiest sushi I’ve ever seen–and most sushi is pretty beautiful, so that’s saying something. :) I love the idea of using zata’ar too!ReplyCancel

  • Haley04/11/2013 - 12:52 am

    Oh my gosh these look great. What a cool idea for the “rice”ReplyCancel

  • Miachel (Spiced Curiosity)05/11/2013 - 10:24 pm

    What an amazing raw meal, and a creative take on making sushi healthy.

    Cheers! :)ReplyCancel

  • […] Autumn Sushi w/ Celery Root “Rice”, Za’atar Carrots, Avocado, Dijon + Dill ~ The First Mess. I have been obsessed with making nori rolls lately, and this take on them with spiced carrots looks amazing. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sonja06/11/2013 - 11:10 pm

    I read this the other day and was blown over by your creativity here (but forgot to leave you a little note to say so :) ). I’m a huge fan of celery root but never would have thought of using it as sushi rice. I’m inspired!ReplyCancel

  • Joy Newton13/11/2013 - 10:54 pm

    Wow! Such beautiful images! I can’t stop looking at them :).ReplyCancel