cumin roasted chickpea + eggplant lettuce wraps with mango jicama shreds + mint // the first messpin it!cara cara orange with yogurt, zapin it!roasted pineapple spice shake // the first messpin it!
vanilla coconut whipped chia mousse w/ tart raspberries + bee pollen // the first messpin it!View full post »

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  • Kathryn20/02/2014 - 6:20 am

    A much needed blast of sunshine + life this morning, thank you Laura. This gives me hope that there is an end in sight to the unrelenting gloom of this time of year.ReplyCancel

  • molly yeh20/02/2014 - 9:29 am

    can i come over to your house for snack time?ReplyCancel

  • Emma20/02/2014 - 9:41 am

    Wow, gorgeous! I will be trying the pineapple shake this weekend for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey20/02/2014 - 9:42 am

    Read mah mind! These winter snacks totally kill it. I love the vibrant and flavorful combo of ingredients. Each snack is super thoughtful and super fresh! And I totally hear you on the cold-front, I thought I was immune from colds after not having one for over a year, and then BAM! I got hit the most epic of colds. Glad you’re on the mend, friend!ReplyCancel

  • kw20/02/2014 - 10:49 am

    You are truly gifted with your recipe creations and the beautiful photography…still my favorite food blog hands down.ReplyCancel

  • Aleksandra20/02/2014 - 11:31 am

    Just lovely! I have been craving something as vibrant and delicious as these snacks. How do you do it? Everything seems so effortless and inspired. Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • maja20/02/2014 - 11:42 am

    Bright, gorgeous photos as always. That whipped chia mousse is on my to-do list for the weekend – amazingly creative!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen20/02/2014 - 12:05 pm

    The coconut vanilla whipped chia mousse – WOW! I think we all really need these colorful snacks during the last winter months when we long for spring to come already. A beautiful, highly inspiring post.ReplyCancel

  • Amy (parsley in my teeth)20/02/2014 - 12:09 pm

    So sorry to hear you were bitten by a bug! I, too, thought I had super immunity, just to get hit over the head with a triple combo virus — while on vacation no less! Will definitely be trying your snacks. They all look delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin20/02/2014 - 12:14 pm

    what a fun post! i love all of these snack ideas. i have the same sentiments about this weather and the fullness of life. i really appreciate all of these delicious options, particularly the whipped chia pudding!ReplyCancel

  • shilpa20/02/2014 - 12:56 pm

    This seriously brightened my day! Oh what a winter it has been! I love the addition of nigella seeds on top of the warm spiced shake. I can’t wait to try them all!ReplyCancel

  • Leigh T Wetzel20/02/2014 - 1:20 pm

    beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/02/2014 - 1:51 pm

    Gorgeous + delicious enough for all four to snap me out of a winter funk. Amazing photography and writing, as always.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth20/02/2014 - 2:55 pm

    Yes! This was the week I think everyone was like, WTF winter (or maybe the past six)? And I so agree about searching the corners of the produce aisle for wintertime cheer. It’s warm somewhere, right? Can’t wait to dig into all three of these great snacks.ReplyCancel

  • mardi20/02/2014 - 3:42 pm

    what if i don’t have coconut butter…is there a good substitute?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/02/2014 - 4:41 pm

      Hi Mardi, you can substitute some dried, shredded coconut or a dab of extra virgin coconut oil.
      -LReplyCancel

  • cheri20/02/2014 - 7:03 pm

    Hope your feeling better. Thanks for sharing these snacks, they are the best!ReplyCancel

  • Grace20/02/2014 - 9:51 pm

    So much beauty and brightness in this one post – I can hardly deal.ReplyCancel

  • Harriet20/02/2014 - 9:56 pm

    Dude – these look like vibrant and magical snacks. All of the flavours seem to sparkle. Especially that roasted pineapple – delish xReplyCancel

  • Mimi21/02/2014 - 9:39 am

    I’m sorry but I can’t get past the photos. Incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Sam22/02/2014 - 4:27 pm

    I was wondering where all of these photos were coming from on Pinterest. Sure enough, they’re from your blog! You have a wonderful imagination!ReplyCancel

  • Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)22/02/2014 - 6:25 pm

    Such beautiful photos. That pineapple and warm spice shake sounds sublime.ReplyCancel

  • Hilary23/02/2014 - 12:42 am

    All these yummy looking snacks just *brightened* my day ;)

    Question: You live in Ontario, correct? Where the heck did you get za’atar? I’ve looked just about everywhere I can think of!

    Thanks for your inspiring food :)ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food24/02/2014 - 1:54 pm

    I often like to eat dishes that are refreshing this time of year. Citrus is always something we keep around (for cocktails, but for other recipes… but mostly for cocktails). That savory orange dish with the za’atar and the yogurt. Yeah, I need that in my life.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea // The Naked Fig24/02/2014 - 6:03 pm

    How amazing to get so many recipes in one! Citrus has been the main thing brightening up winter for me this year. Thanks for all the other suggestions! Nutmeg with pineapple is ingenious! Why didn’t I think of that!?ReplyCancel

  • Millie26/02/2014 - 6:39 pm

    These all look delicious! You’re definitely right about a few more exotic things brightening up the season – I’ve been throwing mangoes in my smoothies this week to try and do just that. I’m really keen to try a recipe with chia seeds soon so this might just be the one :)ReplyCancel

  • Jessica's Dinner Party26/02/2014 - 9:58 pm

    Been needing a little pump up to get me through the last bit of winter! Inspired by all the recipes up here.ReplyCancel

  • Marion28/02/2014 - 5:35 pm

    MY GOD ! I would be so so puzzled if I was in front of those de-li-cious snacks… Its so beautiful that It would be a shame to eat them…. but not to eat them would be a shame too ! AAAAHHH DILEMMA :D

    Anyway, I clap my hand for this beautiful recipe :)

    Come by http://www.theflyingflour.com one day :) bye !ReplyCancel

  • Jo (yummyvege)14/03/2014 - 11:38 am

    Why don’t I ever have such original snacks? I’ve been meaning to experiment with chia seeds for a while now- lets see if this is the push I need!ReplyCancel

  • […] 1 Tarocco-Orange schälen und filetieren. Orangenfilets auf einem Teller anrichten. 2 EL Labneh oder gekauftes Griechisches Joghurt dazugeben. Mit 0.5 TL Za’atar bestreuen, 1 EL Olivenöl darüber träufeln. 1 gehäufter EL geröstete Pinienkerne darüber geben. Servieren. Quelle: The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Roasted pineapple has been ruining everything I thought I knew about pineapple. How could something so delicious take it to the next level? Its natural sugars caramelize, deeply intensifying the flavour, while the hint of salt and pepper act to balance out the sweetness. It is not even fair that nature grows something so ridiculous and then allows you to make it crazy ridiculous with barely any effort. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Roasted pineapple has been ruining everything I thought I knew about pineapple. How could something so delicious take it to the next level? Its natural sugars caramelize, deeply intensifying the flavour, while the hint of salt and pepper act to balance out the sweetness. It is not even fair that nature grows something so ridiculous and then allows you to make it crazy ridiculous with barely any effort. […]ReplyCancel

  • allison12/12/2014 - 2:00 pm

    they all sound so delicious and look beautiful! thanks again for the wonderful recipes and photos; can’t wait to make them!ReplyCancel

grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messpin it!beetspistachio_FINAL5pin it!grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messpin it!
Well hey there. Wanna talk beets and self love today? I kinda do, so let’s hit it.

Cherubs and chocolate treats are cute and all, but identifying and seizing opportunities to love yourself are about a thousand times more crucial in the greater scope (ahem, DUH). I used to think that even a mere reflection on self-love was a waste of time because I could be doing work and accomplishing real, tangible things that I would probably love more. As I get older, my line of thought on this has veered to the other side. If you want to go after the things you want, it seems you also have to be mindful enough to give yourself the strength to take it all on first. There are plenty of opportunities to build yourself up and now, I find these moments in all manners of ways.

Food and nourishment are pretty obvious avenues. My current mode of life allows me to choose beautiful whole foods as a regular part of my weeks, and for this I’m very grateful. It’s nice to look into your fridge after a grocery day, see the different colours and textures, and then remember that it’s all for you and the wellbeing of those you keep close. It’s equally nice to look into your fridge, see nothing but various hot sauces and lightly wrinkled scraps of vegetables, turn to your pantry and somehow make a meal out of the whole mess. In the realm of cooking at home, that’s when I love myself the most. It feels like sorcery to serve up a full plate out of nothing.

Other ways of self love? Lately they’ve taken the form of learning how/when to say no, washing my face with manuka honey (one of my favourite parts of the day for real), taking a breather from the renovation happenings (we’re getting closer though!), keeping pineapples on the counter/in my face as a giant eff you to winter, giving into vulgar humour here and there, and marathoning this unbelievably good series in my sweats when I should have been working (oops). I guess the overarching theme here is finding little bits of peace and rest, which is a natural gravitational pull in the depths of winter. If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.

And then there’s these beets with pistachio butter. I bought the bunch at my fave local grocery shop and the cashier asked me if you could eat the tops/greens. I was so pumped that she even asked me that! Of course I gave her an enthusiastic yes! and of course I was overzealous in my explanation as to how one would cook them. Anyway, those greens flopped out the top of my canvas bag and just the sight of that was enough to make my day. I knew I wanted to pair them with citrus and pistachios. Some winter brightness vibes with deep roots.

A couple years ago, Mark and I had a warm and fuzzy spring dinner at Lupa in NY. We started with this big plate that had a little bit of each vegetable-based antipasti they were serving. There was one simple heap of boiled beets with a bit of balsamic vinegar and a dollop of pistachio butter on top, and do I even need to qualify this any further? Crazy good. I had been meaning to do a little remix of that tasty bite for a while, and here we are. I roasted my beets with grapefruit juice and sherry to brighten up that earthy-ness. I lightly sauté the beet greens, finishing them with even more grapefruit juice before chopping them up and adding them to a hearty base of white beans. Then there’s that cozy blanket of pistachio butter and a sprinkle of crushed pink peppercorns to finish–they offer a gentle heat that I always enjoy with citrus and sweeter vegetables.

So yeah, tons of pinks and reds–grooooan. But it’s out of self-lovin’ so shall we embrace it? :) xo

grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messpin it!grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messpin it!grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messpin it!
grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter

serves: 4-6
notes: The pink peppercorns aren’t totally necessary. Just finish it with some fresh black pepper or a sprinkle of za’atar, or even a nice fat pinch of salt. Also, some kind of briny, pickled component wouldn’t be out of place on top of this–like some capers or pickled red onions if you’ve got them around.

beets:
3-4 beets with greens, peeled + greens separated
splash of sherry vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
juice from half a grapefruit
olive oil
salt + pepper

pistachio butter:
1 cup raw + shelled pistachios (+ extra for garnish)
olive oil
salt

beans etc:
2 cups white beans
olive oil
the beet greens
the juice from half a grapefruit
salt + pepper
1-2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the beets into 1 inch wedges and place them in a glass baking dish. Add the splash of sherry vinegar, grapefruit juice, a nice slick of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the beets evenly. Cover the dish with foil and roast for 30 minutes or until the beets give when pierced with a small knife. Uncover the beets, toss them around and roast them for 5-10 more minutes, just to evaporate some of the juices.

While the beets are roasting, make the pistachio butter. Place the raw pistachios in a food processor or high speed blender. Gradually pulse or blend until you have a smooth paste, scraping down the sides here and there with a spatula. I had to add some olive oil at one point to get the motor of my blender moving a bit. Once you have a smooth paste, scrape the butter into a small bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and a little extra olive oil to get it to a slightly runny consistency. Set aside.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the beet greens and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the grapefruit juice. Keep tossing them until all of the greens are lightly wilted. Remove from the pan and chop them up. Toss the chopped greens with the white beans, some extra olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the beans + greens on the base of your serving plate. Arrange the roasted beet wedges on top and finish the plate with some spoonfuls of pistachio butter. Garnish with the pink peppercorns and extra chopped pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • Harriet06/02/2014 - 6:59 am

    This looks stupidly delicious and beautiful. Your topic today is also so heartwarming – I’m totally with you on loving yourself first so you can accomplish things – a nice reminder, especially this time of year when there’s such a focus on expressing external love (which isn’t so bad either!). I always love how genuine your posts feel – it’s always easy to connect with your words and recipes xxxReplyCancel

  • Kathryn06/02/2014 - 7:25 am

    I’m all for self-love. I’ve not been very good at it recently so probably need to take a leave out of your book. This = ace.ReplyCancel

  • Mimi06/02/2014 - 9:15 am

    I’m sorry but I can’t stop staring at your photos.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf06/02/2014 - 9:18 am

    These photos are just incredible. Plus pistachio butter? Favourite thing ever.ReplyCancel

  • Teffy06/02/2014 - 9:34 am

    That looks insanely delicious.
    Never thought to add grapefruit to my beetroot. Sounds so good. I’ve got some blood oranges lying about, do you think I could use them instead?

    ReplyCancel

  • Ileana06/02/2014 - 9:58 am

    I’ve never seen pistachio butter anywhere else. What an idea! I bet it’d be great swirled into ice cream, too.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley06/02/2014 - 10:39 am

    you had me at pistachio butter. Oh my!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley06/02/2014 - 10:43 am

    THIS — “If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.”

    SO true. Sometimes I feel so crazy busy and all over the place and without a moment to breathe. But then I take a break or meet up with a friend for coffee and it’s like a new world. Fab post, lady. Self love, FTW. <3 <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon06/02/2014 - 11:42 am

    “If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.” YES YES YESReplyCancel

  • Trisha06/02/2014 - 12:40 pm

    Beets and Self Love are both awesome! these photos are just amazing… this is a must try recipe for me and my new health kick. thanks! xReplyCancel

  • Ashley06/02/2014 - 1:29 pm

    Wow. What an inspiring and stunning recipe. I think pistachio butter may quickly become my new weakness. Gorgeous photos and marvelous writing, as always.ReplyCancel

  • Daria06/02/2014 - 1:30 pm

    I was just thinking about beeting myself up! Another unbelievable coinsedencd – pistachio butter was on diy wish list. Then you post this and everything comes together.
    It looks too good to be true. On my way to get these goodies!ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ 24 Carrot Life06/02/2014 - 1:48 pm

    What a beautiful and fresh looking salad! All of my favorite things in one dish. Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen06/02/2014 - 3:38 pm

    This salad needs to get on my plate ASAP! That pistachio butter is calling my name. Hooray!ReplyCancel

  • Emma06/02/2014 - 6:05 pm

    If eating a giant plate of this = self-love than I love myself a whole lot :D
    Simply gorgeous. I am a beetroot fanatic and with all those other goodies too this dish has got to be wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Allyson06/02/2014 - 6:14 pm

    Your writing is so lovely. I’ve been working like crazy recently and those words are like a balm to me- so often it’s been just a check list of things to get done and powering through the moments that could give me a little more sanity. I need to remember to pause more often.

    And this looks beautiful. I’m a beet disliker who is trying very hard to like beets, and I love everything else in this recipe. I might have to give this a spin.ReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily06/02/2014 - 9:22 pm

    Bam! No more necessary qualifications needed. I’m 100% sold and in l.o.v.e. Pinned and dreaming of this.ReplyCancel

  • Tereza07/02/2014 - 6:28 am

    Love the freshness of this salad with the grapefruit!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe07/02/2014 - 7:21 am

    made this for dinner tonight and everybody loved it! so simple but delicious and satisfying AND good for you. I didn’t have any pistachios (much to my disgust) so thinned out a bit of tahini with juices from the braised greens and it was yummy.
    delicious food is definitely the way to go on the self-love train. sending more warm and fuzzy’s your way :* xxReplyCancel

  • Ondina Maria07/02/2014 - 11:27 am

    This week one of my veggie dinners was boiled “farmer” beans with boiled beets and cabbage sautée in olive oil and garlic. Simple but delicious. I can’t wait to try this recipe with the pistachio butter (I love pistachios)ReplyCancel

  • amy07/02/2014 - 2:14 pm

    This looks gorgeous and delicious as always! I meant to write and say that I mentioned you in an interview for Get the Gloss here’s the link.

    http://www.getthegloss.com/article/blogger-of-the-week-coconut-and-quinoaReplyCancel

  • WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I love the look of these!!!!! I love the grapefruit – beetroot combination!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • yp08/02/2014 - 5:02 pm

    Lovely! Trying this week for my meal prep ! So hearty for winter and easy to makeReplyCancel

  • Megan08/02/2014 - 8:26 pm

    Made this tonight, and now I never want to eat beets any other way. The variety of textures and flavours (like the pop of pink peppercorns!) was awesome. Plus I have lots of leftover pistachio butter! Life is good. Thanks for your wonderful recipes!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoonBelle11/02/2014 - 6:57 am

    This looks divine, and just the kind of food I’m feeling at the moment. The hubs will love it too with all those glorious beets– I’m going to make up the recipe and take it down to the beach for our Valentine’s Day picnic on Friday. Thanks! And happy day of love to yourself and your Mr.ReplyCancel

  • […] portobello mushrooms / broccoli and pistachio soup / smoked salmon and herbed goat cheese tartine /grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter /cripsy quinoa and sweet potato tacos / creamy pasta verde with garlic brown butter breadcrumbs / […]ReplyCancel

  • Hannah13/02/2014 - 3:10 am

    How it has never occurred to me to combine beet with grapefruit I don’t know but, man Laura, I can’t WAIT to try it. So much goodness. And love too.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer13/02/2014 - 1:02 pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious! But I may have had the juiciest grapefruit ever, because my beets were swimming in it, rather than ‘coated’.ReplyCancel

  • A Gluten Free Love Story14/02/2014 - 12:55 am

    This dish looks really yummy and the photography is gorgeous! I wish I could eat this food right off the page. I got to try this sometime.ReplyCancel

  • […] These Grapefruit-Roasted Beets, Green, and White Beans with Pistachio Butter. Umm… yes, this is the second grapefruit and beet dish on this list. Yes, I may have a problem. But the pistachio butter, though! […]ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food16/02/2014 - 10:24 pm

    Amen to all of this. First of all, I’m glad there’s someone else out there who is totally in love with True Detective. I don’t know many people who are watching it… which is a shame because it is incredible. That last episode. Wow.

    Now, I’m totally in love with this recipe… I’m obsessed with both grapefruit and beets and will often pair the two, but never had I thought to roast the beets in the juice. Just brilliant.ReplyCancel

  • […] Grapefruit-roasted beetroot, greens & pinto beans with homemade cashew butter and pink pepper: adapted from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea // The Naked Fig18/02/2014 - 10:05 am

    Pistachio Butter! SWOONReplyCancel

  • […] I took inspiration from here and squeezed half a grapefruit on my beets before roasting them. Sliced beets + high heat tolerant […]ReplyCancel

  • IAmJ03/09/2014 - 12:55 pm

    Laura,
    Just wanted to thank you for this recipe. So delicious! I didn’t like beets until a few months ago and this might be my new favorite way to have them. And the pistachio butter is fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • allison12/12/2014 - 2:03 pm

    this is one of my favorite recipes, I didn’t like roasted beets until now! And the pistachio butter is so creamy and good, my first time having that! all these flavors go so well together, I will definitely be making this again! thanks :)ReplyCancel

  • […] for a salad […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This winter salad combines some of our favorite cool-weather flavors—the freshness of citrus and with the earthiness of beets. See the recipe. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This winter salad combines some of our favorite cool-weather flavors—the freshness of citrus and with the earthiness of beets. See the recipe. […]ReplyCancel

  • Brittany08/01/2017 - 1:20 pm

    Just curious as to how well this keeps in the fridge? Would it last for a few days to eat off of for lunch? Dying to try it. Thanks!

    -brittReplyCancel

    • Laura08/01/2017 - 3:38 pm

      I would probably leave out the greens if I was storing this in the fridge. You could hold it over for 5 days if you drizzled the pistachio butter over as you ate it!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] This winter salad combiones some of our favorite cool weather flavors – the freshness of citrus with the earthiness of beets. Get the recipe. […]ReplyCancel

gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!
I inadvertently made you a recipe with a detectable “game day” vibe this week. How crazy is that?! Mark and I went to our first ever NFL game with these lovely people when we were in Denver last year and the atmosphere kinda threw/took me. I’m usually pretty chill at any and all sporting events, partaking in more of the social drinking/deep fried snack-related aspects, but the tendency to veer from complete elation to total effing outrage was decidedly acute in that environment. But did I mention it was also awesome? Anyway, it was amazing to see the Broncos win when we were there and we’ll be steadily summoning up the good juju for the big win this Sunday, even if it means eating a quinoa burger that tastes like a dirty old tree branch.

But obviously I won’t be doing that because I have these golden delicious little orbs of crunch to snack on. I’ve been working on this recipe since I developed a version for a magazine a while ago (which wasn’t vegan or gluten free). These are, admittedly, a shameless rip on my favourite onion rings of all time from a Toronto vegetarian restaurant (this one if you’re wondering). Their rings were very obviously fried and for that reason, very obviously delicious. I knew I could make some baked magic happen without any major sacrifice.

To start, I went classic on the battering steps: a toss in flour, a swipe through a wet mixture, and then a final coating in some crumbs and other tasty bits. I used a GF all purpose flour for that first step. Generally eggs are employed as the glue for crumb coatings on nuggets, onion rings etc. But heavy life truth? You can make any coating stick to any food with a little unsweetened almond milk, a fat pinch of salt and some flour. I whisked some dijon into mine for extra flavour, but you could use herbs, chili sauce, lemon zest, whatever you like. The puffed quinoa makes for really light and beautiful bits of airy crunch along the outside. I mix the puffs with heavily ground up GF crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers are my fave), lots of Old Bay seasoning, some little sesames and lots of pepper. You could use smoked paprika, za’atar, curry powder… lots of options.

I’m not saying these are exactly like deep fried rings, but they are crunchy and golden and salty, which basically covers all of my pleasure points. They don’t really have that moist slick-of-oil-upon-biting thing, so a tasty sauce to smooth things over is somewhat necessary. And also, I love sauce in most applications of most food. Since I was already in deep with mustard and celery salt flavours, horseradish stirred into a creamy mayonnaise kinda scene seemed natural. I point out a few methods of achieving this in the notes–veering from simple to only slightly complex.

gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!orings_final3pin it!gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messpin it!

vegan + GF quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip
serves: 
a large onion’s worth of rings (like 20ish)
notes: 
It is crucial that you let these hang in the fridge for an hour once they’re coated. It helps to pre-soften the onion and it also helps to adhere the coating that extra bit more. Also, I basically used my pine nut mayonnaise recipe and added a tablespoon of fresh grated horseradish and a little squeeze of lemon, but if you vibe to Vegenaise (which I sometimes do) or regular mayo, you could certainly just stir some fresh/prepared horseradish into some of that. Even some sheep’s milk yogurt or sour cream could be nice.

rings:

1 large spanish onion, peeled + cut into 1/2 inch thick rings
1/2 cup GF all purpose flour
salt + pepper
an oil spray of some kind

wet mix:
1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
small handful of GF all purpose flour
salt + pepper

quinoa coating:
1-2 cups gluten free bread/cracker crumbs (I ground up Mary’s Crackers in the food processor)
1-2 cups puffed quinoa
handful black sesame seeds (optional)
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning (or whatever spice you like)
salt + pepper (keep in mind that Old Bay already contains hella salt)

horseradish dip:
1 cup mayonnaise/creamy base of your choosing (see notes)
squeeze of lemon juice + some zest
1 tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish (or a prepared variety)
ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Combine the cut onion rings, 1/2 cup of flour, salt and pepper in a large Ziploc bag (or bowl). Toss the rings to evenly coat them in flour and seasoning. Set aside.

In a pie plate, combine the almond milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk this together with a fork until combined. Set aside.

In another pie plate or large dish, combine the GF bread/cracker crumbs, puffed quinoa, sesame seeds, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine.

Set up an assembly line like this: flour coated rings, almond milk mixture, quinoa + crumb coating and then the lined baking sheets. Take a few rings out of the Ziploc bag and toss them into the almond milk mixture, coating them evenly and completely. Transfer the almond milk-soaked rings to the quinoa crumb mixture. Toss the rings in the quinoa crumb mixture, really pressing the coating onto the rings. Once the rings are adequately covered, place them on the parchment lined baking sheet, ensuring that there’s a bit of space around each one. Repeat with remaining onion rings.

Place the onion rings in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour (I once left a tray of these in the fridge for a full 24 hours by accident and they were totally fine).

While the onion rings are chilling, whisk the horseradish, lemon juice/zest and pepper into your dip base of choice. Keep covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

When you’re ready to bake them, spray the coated rings lightly with oil and then slide them into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm and golden brown, flipping them halfway. Serve hot with the horseradish dip.

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  • thecitygourmand29/01/2014 - 7:54 am

    A slightly quirky twist on a classic. I saw a polenta version the other day, but these look tasty!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures29/01/2014 - 9:20 am

    Such a wonderful idea! I’ve been making Isa Chandra’s baked onion rings for years and although the texture is different than deep fried ones, it’s still totally delicious and kicks that ‘junk food craving’ when it surfaces. I can’t wait to try your version next time – puffed quinoa + a pint nut mayo? I’m in.ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ The Endless Pursuit29/01/2014 - 9:34 am

    Even at 8:30 in the morning I’m drooling for some of these right NOW! Holy goodness. I’ve always stayed away from cooking foods like these at home since I rarely deep fry… but baking these looks like they come pretty damn close to tasting like deep fried! Great for game day!ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway29/01/2014 - 10:07 am

    These look and sound amazing Laura! Especially love the little puffed quinoa action. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley29/01/2014 - 11:00 am

    Mind blown. Love all your little tips + ideas. It’s always fun to read about more of the nitty-gritty process that is oftentimes left out. Also, I MUST HAVE that white/blue mug/cup the onion rings are in. Obsessed.ReplyCancel

  • These look so, so good. I don’t really like fried onion rings, but am really digging the idea of these.

    PS: Not sure I’ve ever seen puffed quinoa before. Basically toasted, right?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright29/01/2014 - 1:25 pm

      Hi! Puffed quinoa is sold in the cereal aisle with the puffed wheat, millet etc. I’ve seen it at some local general grocery stores and at health food stores. I use it for these, but also to top yogurt, salads, anything that needs a little light crunch essentially.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Lydia29/01/2014 - 2:40 pm

    Any way to use regular quinoa for this?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright29/01/2014 - 3:00 pm

      Hi Lydia,
      If you want to try using regular quinoa, I would use less of it in the coating mixture. An equal ratio of it to cracker crumbs might be TOO crunchy, like break your tooth-kinda crunchy. A little handful of it might be pleasant enough, but I will highlight that the puffed quinoa has more of an airy crunch, like puffed wheat almost. No harm in trying though :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Ashley29/01/2014 - 2:41 pm

    Mmm, I’m a saucy one myself. Most foods are drenched in whatever sauce I can find. These baked onion rings look incredible! I can’t wait to try and to play with the spice flavorings! Go Broncos!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen29/01/2014 - 3:23 pm

    I can just imagine the super-strong crunch that quinoa must bring to these onion rings. So good. Hooray!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn29/01/2014 - 6:12 pm

    I thought for years that I didn’t like onion rings. Then I tried one and was totally smitten. These are total genius.ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt29/01/2014 - 6:37 pm

    I need to get my hands on some puffed quinoa. These onion rings sound fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Kris29/01/2014 - 9:05 pm

    Whoa! I was literally just thinking today that I wanted to make some quinoa onion rings this weekend, but I didn’t (yet!) have a recipe. Laura to the rescue!! Also, stunning photography, as per usual. xoReplyCancel

  • cheri29/01/2014 - 11:17 pm

    Never heard of puffed quinoa before, sounds tasty. These onions rings look delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Alysa30/01/2014 - 10:03 am

    I can’t even begin to tell you how DELICIOUS these look. Whoa. Love that you’ve taken the onion ring to a whole new level.

    Thanks a million times over for this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Lana30/01/2014 - 12:05 pm

    GIRL! These remind me of the ones at Fresh in Toronto… Except, you know, way less greasy. Love the choice of dip.ReplyCancel

  • Lana30/01/2014 - 12:10 pm

    (Ha! I totally pulled a fast one and commented before reading the text. And for the record, I’m so jealous you got to hang with Kelsey!!)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig30/01/2014 - 2:53 pm

    OH MY GOD, YES!! These look amazing. I love onion rings and nothing goes better with them than horseradish sauce. Can’t wait to try this out. And thanks for the tip about refrigerating them. I can never get baked onion rings soft enough!ReplyCancel

  • […]   I have a hankering for these kimchi tacos, these bok choy dumplings, this egg roll, these quinoa crusted onion rings, these black energy bars, these cucumber noodles, this black rice pudding, this vegan coconut ice […]ReplyCancel

  • […] with salty snacks, as I don’t understand football): Vegan, gluten-free and nut-free onion rings for party noshing sound delicious. And […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Tomato Avocado Tarts Sweet Potato Chili Fries Homemade Salsa Baked Black Bean Taquitos Quinoa Onion Rings with Horseradish Dip Loaded Sweet Potato Rounds Corn and Cotija Cheese Dip Quinoa Sausage Balls Avocado Goat Cheese […]ReplyCancel

  • DIY Weekend, sewing projects01/02/2014 - 7:09 am

    […] these as a healthy twist on a super bowl dish, that’s not […]ReplyCancel

  • Ananda Rajashekar02/02/2014 - 5:11 pm

    Laura, your pictures are stunning! can’t take my eyes off….and onion rings are just AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food02/02/2014 - 5:38 pm

    You don’t know how excited I am to see this recipe… my mom’s best friend is vegan and gluten-free and I know they’re always struggling to find fun recipes to try. This looks like so much fun. Just passed it along to her and I’ll let you know when they make it.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl03/02/2014 - 3:50 pm

    These look so delicious,and love the twist with the quinoa, major yum. Your photos are pretty to add!ReplyCancel

  • sara forte03/02/2014 - 5:05 pm

    sweet heavens you are so damn creative. and pine nut mayo? What? Girl, you are too good. These look incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Peter VandenBerg03/02/2014 - 10:00 pm

    I’ve been a Vegetarian for over two years now and it has already had a distinct effect on me being willing to cook. Before I was vegetarian eating somewhat healthy was very easy without really doing any work. There are lots of frozen options out there that although not really great for you do in the end have what you need to maintain.

    Right now I’m at the stage where just putting a bunch of stuff into a skillet is cooking for me, but I’m hoping to progress towards something a little more eloquent and rewarding. I definitely like the idea of being able to cook for my friends that eat meat and them enjoy it. It shows them that it’s possible to enjoy food while not destroying valuable life on this planet.ReplyCancel

  • Nat @ the Apple Diaries04/02/2014 - 6:41 am

    I literally have not had onion rings since my teenage years of eating fast food! I never even thought to make a healthy version! Awesome idea :)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Anne04/02/2014 - 3:54 pm

    I love your site! Subscribing asap (:ReplyCancel

  • Kasey06/02/2014 - 12:08 am

    You consistently wow me with your creativity, lady. I loooove onion rings (usually, the fried kind) but I am so pumped to try this. I am one of those Americans who could care less about the Superbowl, but I’m all for the food. :) xReplyCancel

  • […] photographers. I’m thinking of it as a win-win since I’ll be munching on Laura’s Quinoa Onion Rings if The First Mess wins and this Orange Chocolate Tart if Happyyolks is sent to […]ReplyCancel

  • […] vegan recipe, this horseradish dip has some spice. Pair it with quinoa onion rings for protein! (via The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Judee@ Gluten Free A-Z Blog07/07/2014 - 3:00 pm

    Looks like a wonderful recipe that I am sure everyone in my family would absolutely love, but I am most impressed with your bowl. Is it from Turkey?ReplyCancel

  • […] This is one of those dishes with quinoa that proves nearly anything can be made healthily! Get the recipe here. […]ReplyCancel

  • Natalie20/10/2015 - 11:28 am

    Fuuuuun. I was reading the Fresh cookbook this morning and thought the onion rings looked dreamy and wondered if I could bake them instead. And then I just happened to be rereading every recipe you’ve posted after having lots of success with yours, and found these guys! Weird. And now I want to make every recipe you’ve posted.ReplyCancel

  • Puppy Bowl Recipe Round-Up04/02/2016 - 2:36 pm

    […] Quinoa Onion Rings with Horseradish Dip: Laura Wright is basically a genius and has a way of mixing unusual ingredients together to create something truly amazing. These baked onion rings are coated with puffed quinoa and seasoned with Old Bay. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Blago izmenjen recept. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] because the ingredients work for you, or you can just make them because they are darned delicious. Recipe from The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • Caroline14/10/2016 - 3:23 pm

    Can you use spelt flour? it’s what I have on hand. THESE LOOK AMAZING!ReplyCancel

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!
Let me start by telling you that in extreme weather and more relaxed periods of time, I always turn to really pared down food. Meals and bowls that have a borderline ascetic kind of vibe. Steamed vegetables with olive oil, roasted squash with a squeeze of lime and pepper, avocado eaten out of its peel with a bit of salt etc. Sharpening of temperatures and some much-appreciated slack times always seem like good opportunities to re-focus on my body and what it’s trying to communicate. Essentially, I know in my heart of hearts that my personal food program needs a bit of cleaning up. Most of the major renovation stuff is over and done with at the house (there’s a kitchen floor now!), I’m in a very relaxed pocket of time with work, and yep. All those desperation/hangry pizzas ate in paint-splattered clothing on the living room floor have taken their toll.

So a bit of a meditation on paring it all down, food and otherwise, is an ongoing thing right now. I’ve been really inspired by 5-7ish ingredient preparations and just trying to find the best way to coax flavour out of various foodstuffs. I’ve been making notes with all of the ideas and successes and I can’t wait to share more of this kind of thing with you here. I find it’s really easy to make food/meal time/life in general rather complex. So finding a wellspring of inspiration in the pursuit of simpler (but still very full) living has been really welcome. So yeah. More of that kinda stuff ’round here for sure. Hope you’re all game.

So the soup! I find soup/stew is a nice go-to when you’re cleaning things up, so to speak. It’s nice to calmly hover around the pot, it’s an economical meal strategy, and soup is also really easy to make healthy and totally delicious. With this one, it’s hard to believe that so few ingredients could be luxurious and satisfying in that deep-warming kinda way, but seriously. So silky and rich. I slowly cook the onions, garlic and aromatics in a hefty slick of oil to bring out the sweetness and to remove any speck of raw spice. I always employ this strategy with soup–kind of stewing the onions + flavour-y bits in oil before I add the larger components. When you see that slick of oil mingled with herbs, spice etc. on the top of the pot, you know you’re doing it right.

And a note on that slick of oil: I was a grapeseed kinda gal through and through until I read Winnie Abramson‘s book One Simple Change, which is a completely excellent, no-nonsense companion to living a brighter + healthier life.  I reserved my olive oils for salads and general drizzlin’ because everyone was saying that it wasn’t fit for heated contact. So grapeseed oil became my thing because of its neutral taste and ability to handle high heat, but in her segment on fats and oils, Winnie mentions its tendency to originate from genetically modified crops, so I’m slowly moving away from it/seeking out a more trusted source (holler if you got one). In the meantime, I’m using standard, organic olive oil (not extra virgin), which can be had for a reasonable price at almost any establishment that sells food. Winnie notes that bringing up the temperature slowly is crucial, so I’m taking her advice and loving it big time. It’s been nice to bring olive oil back into the circle a bit more. Anyway, hope all of youse in the midst of polar vortex round II (electric bugaloo!) are snuggled up this week. Make soup! :)

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!squeezed // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange
Barely adapted from GP’s It’s All Good (Yes, I get to call her GP).
serves: makes 2 litres
notes: Juice from a regular orange or a splash or sherry vinegar would be just as nice as the blood orange. Also, I garnish this with some little quickie sweet potato chips: just sauté some thin slices in olive oil over medium heat, remove when lightly browned, and then dust them with a bit of salt or spice (I used Old Bay seasoning).

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili flakes
juice of a blood orange
2 sweet potatoes, peeled + diced
5 cups vegetable stock
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, coriander, and chili flakes to the pot. Lower the heat until the sizzling sounds a bit lighter. Stir and sauté this mixture until the onions are stew-y and soft, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add more oil if necessary.

Add the blood orange juice to the pot and stir. Add the sweet potatoes and stir again. Season everything with lots of salt and pepper. Add the stock to the pot and increase the heat. Once everything’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer. Cook the soup until the sweet potatoes are really tender, about 12-15 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup hot with little sweet potato chips and a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you like.

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  • Kathryn23/01/2014 - 7:43 am

    Oh yes, I remember those hangry pizzas so well especially during the month or so that we didn’t have any kind of kitchen and had a weird messed up crazy diet. It was so good to get back on an even keel. And I’m all for simplicity and paring down. There’s nothing like a gigantic list of ingredients to put me off a recipe; it just seems like you’re trying to hide something. This soup = perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Supal {chevrons and éclairs}23/01/2014 - 9:10 am

    The addition of the blood orange juice right after browning the onions a bit is a brilliant idea! Will have to try this for future soup and perhaps other fruits too :) xReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan23/01/2014 - 9:39 am

    I’m with you sister! Sometimes it’s easy to make things/recipes too complicated and miss out on the simple flavors. I have everything I need for this, so be gone polar vortex! Also, can these vortexes pleaseee be over??ReplyCancel

  • Tessa | Balancing Active23/01/2014 - 9:40 am

    I was wondering what to do with the two sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge that are about to go bad. Then I realized I also have all the other ingredients for this soup in my house (minus the blood orange, but I’ll take your word on the substitutions)–problem solved! Thanks for the simple recipe. Your photos are stunning–especially that last one.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda23/01/2014 - 9:42 am

    This is a favourite in our house; I love how much body this soup has considering it is made up of so few ingredients. Last weekend I made a double batch to freeze so we’ve got sweet potato soup for days! I love the idea of adding orange juice!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:05 am

    Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. It’s like having sunshine in your bowl. Can’t wait to make this.ReplyCancel

  • Belinda@themoonblushbaker23/01/2014 - 10:20 am

    I praise you that you only get hangry pizza during kitchen renovations; I get them even when I am re doing any part pf the house. I am a fan of grape seed oil too; I have never relaly been in to olive oil as the flavor is way too strong for me.

    it is wonderful you are being inspired by short list recipes; they are naked recipes were the best produce makes the best meals and you can focus on your cooking skills. Love this soup; and the colour is so bright and cheerful for the blue cloudy days.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway23/01/2014 - 10:27 am

    I too have moved away from grapeseed (and rice bran oil) in the last year or so, after reading about the process it takes to make the stuff (using chemicals!) Ekk. I now only ever use olive oil, ghee and coconut oil.
    ps-love that you call her GP you rockstar. Lovely soup!ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon23/01/2014 - 10:37 am

    goooooorgeous. and ps Winnie’s book! I love it, too.ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth23/01/2014 - 10:55 am

    I thought the blood orange juice would turn this a shade of pink, but the yellow color is gorgeous! Definitely the kind of hearty soup we need in the Frozen North right now!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle23/01/2014 - 12:45 pm

    This looks amazing, I really wish I liked sweet potatoes!! The pictures make me want to be brave and try it again in a new way.ReplyCancel

  • Golubka23/01/2014 - 1:18 pm

    It’s my favorite soup in that book. Can’t wait to try it with blood orange juice next time.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward23/01/2014 - 1:23 pm

    This soup looks so balanced, fresh and flavorful! And the color – wow. Any vegetarian or meat eater would enjoy it. Thank you for sharing! Best, ShannaReplyCancel

  • Eileen23/01/2014 - 2:06 pm

    That soup is the most beautiful color. I love the idea of punching up sweet potato with citrus!ReplyCancel

  • Kankana23/01/2014 - 2:31 pm

    I am in love with the color of the soup, so warm, like sunshine in a bowl. Perfect for the season.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey23/01/2014 - 3:02 pm

    YES! I am so with you on the simple ingredient thing! I’ve been making a veggie stew with little more than 6 ingredients, it leaves me super full and warm, totally essential during these months. I am so intrigued by the blood orange juice, I am totally adding it next time I make sweet potato soup! GP for the win!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig23/01/2014 - 3:30 pm

    This looks so delicious! Nothing beats a creamy soup on a cold day. And I love the addition of blood orange. Can’t wait to try!ReplyCancel

  • Amy23/01/2014 - 3:41 pm

    I love when something that looks so beautiful is made with all the stuff hanging out in the bottom of my fridge at this very moment. Perhaps a swirl of cilantro oil for party purposes?ReplyCancel

  • Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:15 pm

    Try macadamia nut oil, it has a pleasing buttery taste. I use it for shallow frying and in baked goods. Or sesame oil.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:16 pm

    I don’t use the sesame oil in baking, just for frying.ReplyCancel

  • Medha23/01/2014 - 4:36 pm

    Your gorgeous pictures brighten up my day in this chilly weather. I moved away from olive oil little bit and start using ghee and coconut oil in cooking, I love the taste and smell of these oils.ReplyCancel

  • Kate23/01/2014 - 5:36 pm

    This soup looks beautiful and the flavors sound like exactly what I need to unclench my shoulders on these subzero days we’ve been having in New York City. Thanks for the idea!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola | Homegrown Kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:01 pm

    Regarding using olive oil in cooking: I am of the belief to use food how we have for centuries. Olive oil has in fact been used for ‘gentle’ sauteing in Mediterranean style food for as long as the olive groves have existed. However, and here is a tip I learned while studying natural nutrition, always add chopped onion and/or garlic when cooking with olive oil over a low/ medium heat. The sulfur in onions and garlic is a powerful antioxidant that protects the oil for oxidising. If you think about it we generally always add chopped onion and/or garlic when we make soup or sauce or a casserole, right?
    Happy cooking with olive oil Laura, love your recipes :)ReplyCancel

  • kw24/01/2014 - 4:19 pm

    I made this today. It was really good. It hit the spot during this cold snap we are having. Instead of the sweet potatoes I fried Yukon potatoes in with oil, rosemary and sage that I added at the end.

    Really good stuff. Thanks for the recipeReplyCancel

  • Sandy24/01/2014 - 5:43 pm

    You take such beautiful pictures. How does someone take red onion peels and make them look like flowers? Well done! Also I love sweet potato so I need to make this soup.ReplyCancel

  • […] 2. Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander + Blood Orange  from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Helen @ Scrummy Lane28/01/2014 - 11:33 am

    This is such an interesting and tasty-sounding twist on a simple soup. Still seems like it would be easy to make though. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures02/02/2014 - 9:43 pm

    I always struggle with what oil to use as well – there are so many contradictions out there! Lately, I’ve been using ghee (per my yoga / hippie reading: http://www.yogajournal.com/health/56) as my choice but who knows if it’s just another trend oil or could be the answer.ReplyCancel

  • […] van zoete patat met koriander en bloedappelsien! Ik kan er niet aan weerstaan. Ik zag het op The First Mess en die dame maakt echt heerlijke […]ReplyCancel

  • Ileana19/02/2014 - 6:50 pm

    Such spectacular photos! I’ll have to keep your soup tips in mind next time I’m cooking up a batch.ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander and Blood Orange / The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander & Blood Orange from The First Mess — The title of this soup had me drooling, but the photos and recipe made […]ReplyCancel

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!flipping through "Whole Grain Mornings" by Megan Gordon // the first messpin it!farro breakfast bowl ingredients // the first messpin it!
Lately, I’m really into daily devotion, as opposed to yearly resolutions. Also, I didn’t make that up myself. I saw it on the sign outside of a church down the road from my house last week, all covered in snow and ice.  Mark was driving, and I read it as we whizzed on by, everything a blur except for that sharp line of guidance in neon. “Oh! That’s really great.” I made a note of it.

There weren’t a lot of spare moments for contemplation or general downtime in the four months leading into the eve of this year. There are lines of reasoning for that harried period of time, a few of them more ridiculous than others now that I have a shred of hindsight. But I caught a bit of a break over the holidays and legitimately spent one of those days shuttling to three different Target stores on the hunt for highly specific Christmas decorations that were now 70% off. You know, for our festive aesthetic enjoyment an entire year from now. I am awesome at self-crazy-making and as much as I recognize this dumbfounding capability, this is going to be the year that it stops.

On new year’s eve, we thought it would be fun to spend the night at the house, our house. We have an operational heating system, running water, a beautiful plant from a lovely friend, and a bed in its right place with cozy sheets (but not much else at this point), so it seemed like the right way to greet a new calendar year. I got some beers from the brewery down the road from my parents’ place, packed my favourite pyjamas into the overnight bag, and we were on our way as the sun began its exit. The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.

This time, my eyes started misting up at the end, the relevance and surprising weight of it all. The notion that you can build up your own personal hell with ease, taking the path of no surrender to madness despite knowing better, the startling transience of our lives here, and that you can find refuge and stillness by finally seeing the love and varied semblances of “home” that are all around you. It was a moment of clarity that caught me off guard.

There was no well-planned dinner or restaurant reservation, no champagne, not a stitch of sequins in my wardrobe that night, and no grandiose proclamations or gestures either. We stepped out for some Tsingtao’s and noodles, and then followed that up with more beers in our jams watching Parts Unknown. We barely made it to midnight before passing out, but it was perfect. Amidst the boxes and mess, our work-in-progress home was flooded with warm light and laughter. Those moments of relief were arrived at with surprising ease too.

So I’m working on greater appreciation and overall life improvement on a day-to-day basis now. I don’t poison myself with guilt over enjoying a coffee (or three) in the morning like I used to. I’m mentally pumping myself up on the idea of saying no to anything that diminishes a self-determined value of my work. I’m trying to communicate better with the man I have the privilege of sharing a life with. I’m listening, like really listening, with less pre-conceived notions. I’m valiantly trying to use less paper towels. And I’m making time for breakfast.

Megan Gordon’s book, Whole Grain Mornings, arrived in the post around Christmas time and I loved it as soon as I took a 3 minute glance through its pages. I’ve always appreciated the calm and grounded tone of her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, and she drives home the importance of mornings with her granola guru ways. The book’s arrival at my doorstep in the crush of the holidays was rather timely to say the least. It’s all laid out by season and the varying paces of life–the mornings that flash by on the way to work, the brunches that see us entertaining loved ones into the afternoon, and the days to slow down and savour every drop of that quiet early light. Simply put, it’s my kind of book. It’s personal in a way that’s relatable, all tying back to those deeply felt seasonal shifts. I’ve been eyeing the banana walnut baked oatmeal, the pear hazelnut oat muffins, the nutty millet breakfast cookies, and the whole grain gingerbread. For now, I’ve been playing around with the savoury inspiration. This bowl is a mix of her greens + grains scramble and the California barley bowl with lemon yogurt sauce. Farro is one of my favourite grains because of the delightful chew. I add some “scrambled” chickpeas with scallions + turmeric, and top the whole heap of it off with some pickled jalapeños, ripe avocado, sesames, and a creamy lemony sunflower-based sauce. Along with the myriad of daily devotions going on, it’s my new favourite thing. Maybe make it yours too?

Wishing everyone all the good things for this year. Thanks, as always, for your kindness in this space. xo

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!all done // the first messpin it!
farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas, avocado, and sunflower lemon sauce

Inspired by Megan Gordon’s Whole Grain Mornings
serves: 2
notes: I take a pasta-ish approach to cooking farro–I just rinse it under cold water, drop it in a medium saucepan and cover it with a bunch of fresh water. I bring it to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, or until it’s cooked through, but still slightly chewy. You can add more water as it cooks if necessary. Once it’s done and I’ve drained it, I pour a good bit of extra virgin olive oil on top and coat all the grains in it to keep them from clumping up.

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least an hour
juice + zest of 1 lemon + extra for serving if you like
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
4 scallions, sliced, white + green parts separated
1 1/2 cups cooked farro (using the cooking method described in the notes above)
grapeseed oil (or other heat-tolerant oil)
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2-1 tsp ground turmeric
sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + diced
pickled jalapeños
salt + pepper (I like Vege-Sal or Herbamare for this)

In a blender, combine the sunflower seeds, lemon zest, juice, dijon salt, pepper and a splash of water to get the blade moving. Mix it on high until a smooth sauce-like consistency forms. Add as much water as you like to make the sauce veer towards thick or thin, depending on your preference. Check it for seasoning and scrape the sauce into a jar or small bowl. Stir in a fat pinch of the sliced scallion greens and set aside.

Portion the cooked farro into two bowls.

In a sauté pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium. Mash the chickpeas up with a fork, leaving some of them whole. Add the sliced white parts of the scallions and the turmeric to the pan. Stir them around until the scallions are slightly soft and the raw edge from the turmeric has faded. Add the mashed chickpeas and season the mix with salt and pepper. “Scramble” the mix in the pan until everything is hot. Stir in some of the scallion greens at the end.

Divide the chickpea scramble between the two bowls of farro. Top bowls with the sunflower lemon sauce. Garnish both with the extra scallions, diced avocado, pickled jalapeños, sesame seeds, and some extra ground black pepper.

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  • Kathryn08/01/2014 - 5:04 am

    I’m so excited for this book to arrive – I can tell it’s going to be my favourite thing ever. I love this savoury take on breakfasting too; I never thought I’d be the kind of person to want anything other than a muffin in the morning but I’m finding more and more that the idea of proper grains + veggies is appealing. Happy new year Laura, looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for you xoReplyCancel

  • Melissa08/01/2014 - 5:51 am

    What a wonderful take on a savoury breakfast. I will be bookmarking this recipe to make. Gorgeous photography too.ReplyCancel

  • Brianne08/01/2014 - 9:43 am

    I have to get a hold of this book. Everything I’ve heard about it sounds great! After a crazy holiday apart, my husband and I stayed in on New Year’s Eve. We, too, went out for noodles without any sparkle. Afterwards we watched some movie at home in our sweats while drinking champagne. I fell asleep at 11, but he woke me up at 11:50 so we could ring in the new year together. It was wonderful. I love your outlook on the new year; it’s so inspiring. Best to you!ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized08/01/2014 - 9:44 am

    This is absolutely incredible! I want this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.ReplyCancel

  • Karolina08/01/2014 - 9:51 am

    OMG!! I am doing this for my tomorrow breakfast. I have a whole jar of farro sitting on my kitchen shelf and I never knew how should I use it. I like your version very mush. Can I make it in advance? (say in the evening, to take it to work the next day?)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright08/01/2014 - 1:53 pm

      Hi Karolina, You could definitely assemble the bowl the night before and just heat it up in the morning and top it off with your avocado, sesames and sauce. And if you’re cool with a room temperature kind of thing, by all means throw everything together the night before.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Tessa08/01/2014 - 10:42 am

    I love your use of the avocado skin (peel?)with the lemon as a little garnish/prop–very creative.ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon08/01/2014 - 11:22 am

    daily devotion. YES. I want that, too.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique08/01/2014 - 11:27 am

    I’m a breakfast-loving person and this bowl looks like a great way to start the day! Here’s to a mega-fantastic 2014!ReplyCancel

  • Christine08/01/2014 - 1:34 pm

    This all sounds delicious, and I think you’re a genius with the sauce. Thanks for the reminder to savour those quieter moments and take a step back perspective-wise :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley08/01/2014 - 4:48 pm

    So lovely, in thoughts, words, and pictures. As your posts always are.ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie | With Food + Love08/01/2014 - 8:14 pm

    Laura –

    Super gorgeous photos on this one. I actually own that same vintage red + white pot! I have a blue + white too, they’re the prefect props.

    So much love!
    SHERRIEReplyCancel

  • Lindsey08/01/2014 - 8:18 pm

    I totally hear you on the whole not making resolutions thing. Sounds like you and yours had a quiet and lovely celebration together – those are the best!

    This scramble is super! I love the idea of making a breakfast with chickpeas + turmeric + scallions! I’m also all over the sunflower cream,that’s def going on the must-make list!ReplyCancel

  • sara forte08/01/2014 - 8:45 pm

    first off, your writing is so sweet and wonderful. Love all of it, but especially the day at a time sort of devotion. I find that to be way more practical and worth sticking to as opposed to larger, vague goals that I seldom revisit until I return to that same binder the following Dec. 30thish. I’m on board. Also. You never cease to amaze me, Laura. Scrambled chickpeas. Of course. I love eggs HOWEVER this is genius and I am so impressed with your continued creativity, my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Sally - My Custard Pie09/01/2014 - 12:30 am

    Hopped over here from My Darling Lemon Thyme and so glad I did. Love your photographs, writing and recipes but most of all your approach to life. Balanced…and a bit messy. Will be visiting often.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)09/01/2014 - 8:10 am

    “The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.”

    This. Just, this.

    We’re on a hella similar musical plane, and that just makes me smile.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda09/01/2014 - 1:56 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now, but this post resonated so much with me I had to comment. A) I love that Tom Waits song and B) the line about creating your own personal hell with ease despite knowing better just is so true. It’s amazing how we can recognize the false starts and sometimes choose not to mitigate the damage. But things have a way of righting themselves, as you felt and saw. This meal is a great reflection of that. Thanks for showing such a true reflection of yourself here on your blog. Best, AReplyCancel

  • Megan09/01/2014 - 2:25 pm

    This looks just lovely, and I am liking your outlook resolutions or lack thereof. We all could use a break from our own judgment from time to time :)ReplyCancel

  • I made resolutions but smart ones. There are two not that east- visiting Wild Wild West and seeing bridges from The Bridges of Madison County. But so far so good, I do it day by day and it seems to work. Thank you for the tip about book, I am always looking for morning inspirations :) Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Amy09/01/2014 - 6:48 pm

    Gorgeous photos per usual! I love a good savory breakfast. Curious, why do you soak the seeds?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright10/01/2014 - 12:25 am

      Hi Amy! I soak the seeds just to soften them up a bit before they hit the blender. Makes for a creamier dressing in the end.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jenn Radford09/01/2014 - 7:50 pm

    This looks amazing. I’m hugely into breakfast, so this book sounds right up my alley! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us readers in 2014. All the bestReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon10/01/2014 - 12:40 am

    Such a beautiful post and I’m so glad you’re making the recipes your own — I think this savory bowl really lends itself to that. Leftover grains + little bits you’re excited about in the fridge = new breakfast inspiration. Gorgeous photos, as always. Happiest of weekends to you! ~MeganReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway10/01/2014 - 4:04 am

    Your New Years eve sounded absolutely perfect. As does this bowl of goodness, scrambled chickpeas?! Brilliant xxReplyCancel

  • Jacqui10/01/2014 - 12:23 pm

    Scrambled chickpeas! Such a great idea! I love a good savory breakfast, but it usually includes eggs, this will be a nice switch. Here’s to a less “creating personal hell” year ; )ReplyCancel

  • […] about as sexy as oatmeal ever looks, folks. Then I’ll probably have to try Laura’s spin on the farro bowl and prepare some saucy tomato poached eggs for brunch once I’m settled into my new house. I. […]ReplyCancel

  • hannah10/01/2014 - 9:45 pm

    This looks DELICIOUS, I’d actually love it as a cosy dinner. I’d love to see you veganise some of those recipes linked above – would you just add a flax egg to the cookies?
    Also, do you fancy sharing that persimmon smoothie? I Loooooove persimmons but have never blended one, do you just throw it in with some dates? do you peel it?
    Thank you for sharing and wishing you such a happy new year, I love your blog and every word that you write and look forward to following your adventures!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright13/01/2014 - 1:04 pm

      Hi Hannah,
      For the millet cookies, I think I would sub mashed ripe banana for the egg and up the baking powder in the recipe to a full teaspoon. And for the persimmon smoothie, I just used a chopped ripe persimmon (peel and all), a couple chopped figs, 3 pitted dates, some vanilla, the juice of a couple oranges and some coconut yogurt. The pectin in the persimmon made it pretty thick so just be aware of that if you make it :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Teri11/01/2014 - 11:19 pm

    um, the list of ingredients doesn’t seem to have farro. (not that I have any, what is it and what can I substitute, please) and thank you for the second paragraph of your essay. I needed that… very very much.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:22 pm

      Hi Teri, sorry about that confusion. I added the amount of farro into the recipe, and just to let you know–it’s a grain similar in body/texture to wheat berries or whole grain spelt. You can use any cooked grain you like in its place (quinoa, millet, bulgur etc)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Megan12/01/2014 - 1:39 pm

    As someone who can rarely handle a sweet breakfast but is getting a bit sick of eggs and bagels w/ cream cheese, this looks AMAZING. And the further I got in the pictures the more I realized: I have almost all of these ingredients in my pantry right now, but never would have thought of combining them. It was as if you knew and were writing just for me!

    On that note, though: one of the things I’m missing is dijon mustard. Would you have any recommendations for a substitute/alternative cream sauce? Last time I had a similar problem I made a maple chili curry yogurt, but I feel like that would be too heavy for this.

    (Note: I’m very much a beginner homechef. I’m still learning a lot about flavor pairings, often through a lengthy trial and error process, as I over-zealously make things up as I go. I was quite surprised when the aforementioned yogurt turned out semi-decent.)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:24 pm

      Hi Megan, in the cookbook I was working from, the author actually recommends a simple sauce of yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped chives/green onions for this bowl. So maybe you could do something like that?
      -LReplyCancel

  • Steph13/01/2014 - 3:18 am

    That bowl of goodness looks so vibrant and inviting, I have never tried farro, but think I should :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily | The Guest House13/01/2014 - 10:56 am

    I am always, ALWAYS, looking for new good savoury breakfast ideas. This is one I’ve never thought of before so thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food13/01/2014 - 11:38 am

    Well… this is going on my must make list. What a wonderful way to start the day.ReplyCancel

  • Allyssa14/01/2014 - 12:22 pm

    That breakfast looks delicious! I love your blog, by the way. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristie Eccleston15/01/2014 - 8:42 pm

    I’m new here and WOW! I can’t get over the photography of the food. I mean I can’t wait to try some of these recipes but I was drawn in by the photos!ReplyCancel

  • The Rose Journals17/01/2014 - 1:36 am

    Every time I come on your blog I’m swept away with the originality. Seriously, you be killin it. So blessed for you! :):)ReplyCancel

  • T18/01/2014 - 3:52 pm

    Beauty. I am going to try think with black rice to make it gluten-free!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoonBelle19/01/2014 - 12:35 am

    Savory breakfasts have unexpectedly become one of my favorite weekend habits– really looking forward to trying this combination. Happy 2014 to y’all, and, as always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful food!ReplyCancel

  • Monica21/01/2014 - 6:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! It’s already become a favorite. Made exactly as written, the only change we made was adding fresh serrano chiles as garnish. The sunflower butter was a great surprise — excellent vegan ‘yogurt.’ Thanks for the great tips for cooking farro.ReplyCancel

  • Georgia09/02/2014 - 8:30 pm

    There is no way I’m not making this
    ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey17/02/2014 - 10:17 pm

    I have been a bacon and eggs for breakfast kind of girl for a long time. And even though I won’t be giving up bacon and eggs for good anytime soon, this has become my new everyday breakfast. So easy to throw together in the morning when everything is made up ahead of time, so satisfying and feel good. The jalapenos just send this over the awesome edge for me.ReplyCancel

  • Kayla01/04/2014 - 12:10 pm

    Scrambled chickpeas with greens has been my go-to lunch lately thanks to this post! I absolutely love it. I add a big spoonful of tahini right before taking the scramble off the heat and stir it around so it binds a little – adds just the right amount of creaminess.ReplyCancel

  • […] Farro Breakfast Bowl with Turmeric – The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Farro Breakfast Bowl with Turmeric + Scallion Scrambled Chickpeas- The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] A nutritious whole-grain and savory breakfast. Get the recipe here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] them in a skillet with spinach or other veggies and seasonings (check out this yummy scallion-turmeric version from The First Mess for inspiration). (15 grams […]ReplyCancel

  • amelia05/07/2015 - 10:30 am

    I came to your website seeking chickpea scrambled “eggs” and found answers of a different kind instead. Thank you for Tom Waits and Thank you for you. God Bless!ReplyCancel

  • Audrey29/07/2015 - 11:02 pm

    Hi-
    I loved this recipe. I made it for a lunch sharing plan with a co-worker.
    When I made it, I used sunflower seed butter instead of sunflower seeds and it turned out great. The flavor of the sauce is so nice and gives just the perfect taste with the turmeric. Thanks so much for posting this!!ReplyCancel

  • […] in the morning. Some mornings it’s a quick protein shake or smoothie and others it’s a chickpea scramble or bowl of savory breakfast porridge, but lately my go-to has been this waffle. Partly because […]ReplyCancel