{vegan + GF} banana bread granola bars! // the first messpin it!{vegan + GF} banana bread granola bars! // the first messpin it!{vegan + GF} banana bread granola bars! // the first messpin it!
We’re going to New York this weekend! Just a tiny sliver of a thought about that makes my insides glow. The first trip Mark and I ever took as an item was to that fine city in late September. We were visiting a new friend along with our bestest friend, seeing the last Pavement show (probably) ever, staying at a guy’s apartment in Bushwick that had jeans in the freezer and an Opening Ceremony replica of Max’s wolf suit from Where The Wild Things Are hanging in the bedroom. I got to eat every and any high-vibe food I could have ever dreamed of. We visited the Museum of Natural History, leaned back and said “WHOOOOOAA!!!” every time we entered a room with a different prehistoric skeleton. In the LES Whole Foods, I convinced him that I knew my shit to the utmost when it comes to building a salad (“It’s like a vegetable sundae!!”)(#shithippiessay). Surrounded by awesome at all hours, plenty of cheap wine enjoyed on rooftops and the handsomest dude as my co-adventurer. Those are big rays of warm, neon light that shine through my memory.

We’ve visited a few times since. I always come back crazy-inspired in ways that I didn’t even know were lurking below my standard level of awareness. Although our relationship has progressed and changed in ways that are obvious after 3 years, I know we’ll be closer and in tune to each other’s quirks a little bit more come Monday. That stuff excites me. A cookie sandwich at Babycakes is pretty rad, but understanding my main squeeze just a tiny bit more, through a sneaky travel osmosis energy exchange, is about a million times more thrilling.

And here’s something he grew to understand about me right quick, no mysterious knowledge transfer through the cosmos needed: I fall into bouts of hangry-ness with frightening ease–especially on the road. If I can’t get a wholesome snack when I need it, I’m kind of a jerk. Mark is simultaneously patient and eager to point out that I’m being a HUGE baby. It’s just the approach needed to help me move towards the endgame. That guy. He gets me.

So for all of you hangry peeps (I salute you), I made a healthy snack today. I love a good granola bar in terms of concept. They frequently disappoint in execution. Lots of sugar, soy protein isolate, weird things, hard-ass dried fruit, chocolate that doesn’t taste like chocolate if you close your eyes. I had to tackle this project myself. Banana bread is this undeniably cozy, early-fall thing to me and I managed to fix some up on the weekend. I thought about using that flavour base for a granola bar, relying on the bananas for some sweetness and binding power. It totally worked! These are super easy to fix up, I promise. I just used whatever nuts and seeds I had around with some pinches of cinnamon and sea salt. The chocolate drizzling is very key. Also, I incorporated caramel-y brown rice syrup for extra stick-together powers, because you know what good granolas do? They stick together :)

Big hugs to all of you this week. xoxo

brown rice syrup // the first messpin it!hazelnuts // the first messpin it!{vegan + GF} banana bread granola bars! // the first messpin it!chocolate for drizzlinpin it!{vegan + GF} banana bread granola bars! // the first messpin it!
vegan + GF banana bread granola bars recipe
serves: makes 16 bars
notes: In retrospect, my bananas could have been riper–just sayin’. Also, I blend the bananas up with all of the other liquid components for MAXIMUM integration. Totally an optional step. You could just mash them up real nice and whisk the other wet ingredients in for simplicity. I find whole nuts make for harder-to-cut finished bars–chop ’em small-ish. Lastly, I’ll add that this is more of a soft/chewy granola bar as opposed to a crispy/crunchy vibe. Maybe try toasting your oats in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or so before stirring them into the bar mixture to help with crunchiness.

bars:
3 way-way ripe, regulation-sized bananas, peeled
3 tbsp almond butter (any nut or seed butter you love will do)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional!)
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + extra for greasing the pan
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 cups rolled oats (make sure they’re certified GF if need be)
1 1/4 cup chopped nuts + seeds (I used toasted hazelnuts, raw walnuts + black sesame seeds)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped dried fruit/dairy-free chocolate chips/cacao nibs (I went with chippers + cacao nibs)

chocolate drizzle:
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
splash of almond milk
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×11″ or an 8×12″ pan with coconut oil. Lay a piece of parchment into the pan (with overhang on the sides) and grease that with more coconut oil. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the bananas, almond butter, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse or blend until a homogenous and creamy mixture is achieved. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chips etc. Stir to mix. Add the creamy banana mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Scrape the granola bar mix into the prepared pan. Smooth the mix out, pressing down with a flat surface (measuring cup, spatula) until the mix has evenly filled the pan. Bake the bars for 40 minutes or until golden on the edges/top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly on a rack.

Once completely cool, lift the bars out of the pan with the overhanging parchment onto a cutting board. If you still feel residual heat emitting from the bars, allow them to cool down on the rack some more. Once ready, cut the slab right down the middle lengthwise. From here, cut the two halves into 8 bars each.

In a double boiler/non-reactive pan set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine the chocolate drizzle ingredients. Stir constantly with a spatula until chocolate is melted and a sauce forms. Drizzle over the cut granola bars. Refrigerate bars until chocolate is solidified, about 30 minutes. Keep the bars in a sealed container for about a week.

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  • Harriet McAtee19/09/2013 - 5:38 am

    Dude, these granola bars look amazing! Banana anything is enough to get me interested, and all your notes on what makes a good granola bar make the granola-bar-snob in me happy. Have an awesome time away – I totally agree with you on the special vibe you get when travelling with your partner – it’s so precious because you can’t connect with it at home.ReplyCancel

  • Emma19/09/2013 - 6:34 am

    I’m definitely not a pleasant person to be around when hunger strikes and I can’t get a decent snack! To avoid those kind of situations my handbag is loaded with food at all times!
    These granola bars look so so good and perfect timing as I just bought some brown rice syrup :)
    Do you think they’d travel ok? Wrapped in foil perhaps?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright19/09/2013 - 8:40 am

      Hi Emma! I think they would travel fine as long as they’re foil wrapped or ziploc-bagged. They are more of a chewy granola bar as opposed to crispy, so they’ll hold their shape pretty good. Might get a little smooshy, but that’s all :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • carey19/09/2013 - 7:36 am

    DUDE, 1 in 4 chance we were totally at the same Pavement show! (I was there on the 21st.) *high five* I was lucky enough to stay at a family friend’s flat on the upper west side, which was within walking distance of the park. It sounds kind of fancy, but it definitely wasn’t hip enough to have jeans in the freezer. (A friend of mine just explained that to me, since he has a pair of those shrink-to-fit jeans that you’re only supposed to wash once a year, then just stick in the freezer to deodorize them if they start to smell. I laughed a lot. Then I wondered if I own anything that could benefit from some freezer time.)

    And so right there with ya on the hangry-ness, and also on the usually-disappointed-by-granola-bars thang. WAY into these, especially with all that banana-y goodness. Heck yusss.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar19/09/2013 - 7:41 am

    Yay!! So excited for you! Have a great weekend! Granola bars are the perfect snack.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway19/09/2013 - 8:30 am

    Jeans in the freezer, um what?!
    I make a cookie similar to these bars, not sure why I had never thought to cook them like this and drizzle in chocolate though, yours look way yummier! Have a great time in NY, I so hope I get to experience it myself one day. At least once in this lifetime! xxReplyCancel

  • JC Carter19/09/2013 - 8:34 am

    I have been looking around for a recipe like this all summer! Thank you, thank you. Also there is a common joke at work that I should be fed at all times, so I know what you are talking about.ReplyCancel

  • Shelly19/09/2013 - 8:36 am

    Getting hangry is one of my worst traits. I ALWAYS carry around almonds in my purse to try to do the world a favor and keep my food moods in check.

    These granola bars sound like a perfect road trip snack!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Dunton19/09/2013 - 8:37 am

    Your bag…I LOVE your bag. Where did you get it? Who makes it?ReplyCancel

  • Margarita19/09/2013 - 8:53 am

    Hello there! I am going to NY for yoga teacher training in 10 days and am super excited to have found these bars. These are what I need to power me through my days… I can’t show my hangry side to new friends when I’m there for a month because they just won’t like me at all. Only my husband has seen my hangry self and he is so nice about it. God bless him. I love making granola and tried so many times to turn them into bars, but they just always end up crumbly. Didnt know bananas were the secret! I need something I can hold instead of cup in my palms and pop in my mouth like pills. Haha! This is perfect! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Ileana19/09/2013 - 9:03 am

    Ha! I am the same way. I get grumpy and my bf knows I’m just a little hangry. Actually, my sister knows this, too. But it’s an easy problem to solve!

    Have a wonderful time in New York! Thanks for the granola bars. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized19/09/2013 - 9:24 am

    I love your photography, you make everything look amazingly delicious! Wish I could eat this for breakfast :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey19/09/2013 - 9:24 am

    Love the idea of using bananas in a granola bar, totally makes sense. And agreed, no granola bar is complete without some chocolatey goodness. Glad to hear you’ll be in my neck of the woods this weekend! NYC is welcoming you with open arms. You and your man have a good trip!ReplyCancel

  • Grace19/09/2013 - 9:41 am

    LOVIN’ the looks of these. Chocolate chips in banana bread is a must in my house. I typically avoid granola bars (for the reasons you mentioned) but these are quite delightful. I too need to be prepped with healthy high-vibe snacks pre-trip or I turn into a hangry monster. My man learned that early on as well ;) we usually go for spring rolls and hearty kale salads but I just might have to add these into rotation!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel19/09/2013 - 11:30 am

    Have you ever tried Enjoy Life chocolate chips? They’re free of nastiness (hence my favorite brand). :-)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright19/09/2013 - 12:10 pm

      Hey Rachel, I have tried those and they are amaaazing! Love the vegan ones from Whole Foods too :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • lyn19/09/2013 - 11:55 am

    Amazing pictures! And wishing these were my afternoon snack. Can’t wait to play around with the recipe! Safe travels. xoReplyCancel

  • Jo19/09/2013 - 12:41 pm

    Hehe I love the way you describe your relationship. I hope to go back to some of the places we visited together in our early days of dating.. now with a bubba and years of knowing each other up our sleeves ; ) Yes to these granola bars. I’ve always been a bit of a throw-together-whatever-i -have-in-the-pantry kind of girl when it comes to making bars like these.. I think your recipe looks like a winner and will defiantly be making them! Have fun in NY!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey19/09/2013 - 2:44 pm

    Have an awesome time in NYC! Gosh I miss that city. These granola bars look so bomb!ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)19/09/2013 - 6:29 pm

    Your descriptions of salad-building at the LES Whole Foods, of what it’s like to hang in Bushwick, of indulging at Babycakes…oh, man. Dealing with I-miss-that-life pangs something MAJOR right now.

    Also: hangry. Yup. Totally in that category. Feel ya.

    Happy travels :) Hoping for photos.ReplyCancel

  • Maria19/09/2013 - 11:42 pm

    go to “the hummus place”. PULEEZE!!ReplyCancel

  • anna @ annamayeveryday20/09/2013 - 7:15 am

    These look fab – seriously delicious with the bonus of being good for you…. Fantastic photographs too.ReplyCancel

  • Christine20/09/2013 - 8:26 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I made these last night and, while I didn’t care for the texture, the flavor was awesome. You’ve unlocked the solution to the perfect healthy granola bar. Way to go. In pursuit of a slightly firmer chewy granola bar (I know, I’m a contradictor), next time I am going to substitute a basic homemade granola for the oat-syrup-salt-cinnamon-coconut oil mixture. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Julia20/09/2013 - 10:54 am

    Oh my God, those bars look so yummy! “Hangry” – I learned a new word for a state I know just too good!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia20/09/2013 - 10:56 am

    Although I like the ‘idea’ of granola bars I find it really difficult to find ones (even at Whole Foods and other organic stores) that are not toothachingly sweet and taste more like a candy bar. That being said, I think these sound wonderful – as much as I like banana bread and banana smoothies it’s nice to have another recipe to use my ripe bananas in. Also, our pantry is exploding with bags of oats I seem to be hoarding for when the weather in Rome realises it’s fall and cold enough for warming bowls of porridge to start my day (and until then I might as well do something useful with all those oats!).

    Have lots of fun in New York – it’s been far too long since my last trip there and I cannot wait to go back.ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade20/09/2013 - 3:40 pm

    Whoa, these look fantastic. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. Your photos are stunning and such an inspiration…as always :) All the best! P.S. I love that green bag! Can I ask where you got it from? Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • dana20/09/2013 - 7:08 pm

    You used an exclamation point. I HAD to read all the way to the bottom. These look glorious! Will have to give them a try! Happy fall, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Mia20/09/2013 - 8:31 pm

    Oh, wow! These look amazing! I could certainly use some healthy snacks like these!!!ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt21/09/2013 - 7:11 pm

    have a fabulous time in nyc! These granola bars are happening at my house this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Lena22/09/2013 - 9:31 am

    Banana Bread Granola Bars sounds too good not to give it a try. And since I have terrible bouts of hangryness, too, I think I really should make those and carry them with me anytime I am travelling. I have gotten better at being proactive and carrying something with me and actually eating it once I start feeling hungry, but there are still moments I could be nicer to my boyfriend.ReplyCancel

  • Amy22/09/2013 - 5:27 pm

    I just made these granola bars and I love how the banana holds them together without having to add an insane amount of honey/maple syrup. The last time I made granola bars they were a lot sweeter and kept crumbling. These ones are perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Ayla Goddard23/09/2013 - 8:34 am

    Hi, Wow I just found you’re beautiful site on Pinterest and its fantastic. For a gluten-free gal just starting out, what do you recommend for ingredients like coconut oil and almond butter? Do you buy online or at a specific whole foods store? Even though I live all the way down under it would be great to hear some budget tips :) Thanks for the amazing work, you are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright23/09/2013 - 8:39 pm

      Hello Ayla,
      I’ve been buying my coconut oil and almond butter at Costco in large quantities to save a few dollars (I’m not sure if you have these stores down there though…?). I use these things often, so buying them in a large lot isn’t too intimidating. It’s really easy and economical to make your own almond butter too, if you have a food processor or blender. Just blitz up raw or roasted almonds until the smooth butter forms. Hope this helps!
      -LReplyCancel

  • chloe grindle23/09/2013 - 10:25 am

    these photos are stunning! you have such a good eye for detail and what will make an interesting shot. all your photography has such vitality to it! jealous! xReplyCancel

  • Christine23/09/2013 - 4:59 pm

    I just made my second batch of theis recipe with an added cup of grated, roasted butternut squash. Amazing! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley26/09/2013 - 2:04 am

    This is kinda epic. I love your granola bar method. Also, the unexpected inspiration hiding out in NYC. Yes.ReplyCancel

  • Anjali29/09/2013 - 12:36 pm

    Yes! I’ve been living off of banana-based granola bars since going back to school in August. Although now I need to explore this chocolate drizzle business.

    And you’re right. Sticking together is what good waffles (and granola bars) do! :)ReplyCancel

  • Musette #1 | Flossy's Fuel01/10/2013 - 7:52 am

    […] Banana Bread Granola Bars? Yes, please! Another great recipe from The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • Erika01/10/2013 - 11:26 pm

    I was sucked in once I read ‘banana bread’.
    Just made my first batch, followed to a T (lies: I used light corn syrup for the rice cuz that’s what I had), and the smell in the house is awesome. Also, first time I ever bought/used vigin coconut oil, and, no joke, it’s so good I licked the spoon.
    So the outcome: really nice and crunchy on top, inside texture crumbly and almost steamed in its loose chewiness. Kinda like bread. Didnt hold together as cleanly as in the pic (read: could not get a crisp clean cuts for the bars). Not exactly what I expected, but tastes ridiculously good, and chock full of good stuff. Maybe next time I use half the mix to make a thinner, more solid product? Any advice? Very, very yum! Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright02/10/2013 - 8:26 am

      Hey Erika! Thanks for your feedback on these. It is definitely more of a soft + chewy bar situation as opposed to crunchy/crispy. I’ve never worked with light corn syrup, so I’m not sure on whether it has decent binding powers. I used/specified the brown rice syrup because I know it helps things hold together really well. Definitely worth a try if you see it in a grocery store some time! Really glad that you enjoyed the taste overall though :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Tricia09/10/2013 - 5:40 pm

    Making these for the 3rd time. And double batch each time too! They are awesome. Have been making for a very finicky eater that needs to eat more. He absolutely loves also. Said they taste too good to be good! I assured him it was miracle goodness. Thanks for sharing the goods!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah22/10/2013 - 6:22 pm

    Thank you for this stunning recipe! I was wondering of I could replace the oats with buckwheat?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright23/10/2013 - 8:14 am

      Hi Hannah! Do you mean raw buckwheat groats or the toasted ones (kasha)? Ideally you want some kind of flaked grain/seed that won’t require any pre-cooking or soaking. Flaked quinoa would be awesome here if that’s an option for you. I’m honestly not sure how buckwheat would perform since it is quite firm in its original state. You might have to cook it a bit and cool it before mixing into the batter, but ensure that the groats don’t get too mushy as well. Worth playing around with I think! :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Mess, a beee-yoo-tiful healthy food blog you must really check out. I was pretty faith­ful to the recipe as it was writ­ten and it was so up my alley. Most store-bought gra­nola bars are packed with […]ReplyCancel

  • […] recipe and photo credit to: http://thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • […] & Other Stuff Sweet Potato Chips Applesauce Muffins Banana Bread Granola Bars Apple, Kale & Celery Juice Cheddar […]ReplyCancel

  • […] in the midst of a heat wave here in Adelaide, Australia, I wanted to adapt Laura’s original recipe to keep it raw and eat it as a frozen treat. This was pretty easy to do, all the ingredients are […]ReplyCancel

  • […] craaaaaaaap). There are a bajillion good recipes out there, though I’m especially partial to this one from my girl […]ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline Yaraghi12/03/2014 - 4:39 pm

    These look wonderful! I really can’t wait to try them. I was wonderful how well they kept? My boyfriend just deployed to Afghanistan and I want to send him healthy bars and granola but the trip will be about a week long before it gets to him. Do you think they’ll stay good on the trip? And for about a week when he gets them?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright18/03/2014 - 10:25 am

      Hi Jacqueline,
      When I make these, I do keep them in the fridge and I generally say that they last a week or so. I mostly refrigerate them because of the chocolate drizzle though. So if you skipped that step, they should keep at room temperature just fine. I would definitely make sure that you wrap them really tight if you’re sending them overseas. They might be a touch drier once they’re unwrapped, but otherwise I think they’ll be fine!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Sugar-Free Banana Bread Granola Bars (Inspired by The First Mess) […]ReplyCancel

  • Annie18/05/2014 - 1:53 am

    These granola bars look absolutely divine! I seriously need to try these out, though I don’t have any brown rice syrup. Is there anything I can sub that with? :c Also, your pictures are gorgeous.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright18/05/2014 - 9:35 am

      Hi Annie, I find brown rice syrup has some really strong stick-together powers with granola bars, but I think the next best thing would be honey if you’re cool with eating it. I think maple syrup or agave nectar might be too thin for this particular recipe. Let me know how it goes if you try!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sandy29/05/2014 - 8:31 pm

    Just made these and they were soo yummy. Thanks for the recipe. I live in a very small town and can’t get the rice syrup. I used honey instead. And I over cooked them a little. They turned out crunchier. I think they would be better softer!!! Maybe I’ll master them the second time. So great for grabbing on the drive to work.ReplyCancel

  • Janett31/05/2014 - 9:13 pm

    Want to make these ASAP but don’t have brown rice syrup. Can I substitute the maple syrup with it?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright01/06/2014 - 3:27 pm

      Hi Janett! I think maple syrup might be too runny, resulting in a more crumbly bar. If you can eat it, I would recommend honey as a better replacement for the brown rice syrup. I can’t guarantee it’ll hold them together though, I just think it might work a bit better if you’re in a pinch.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Monday reminder | Laura Tosney17/06/2014 - 3:13 pm

    […] Life After Life, and have some over-ripe bananas that would perfectly suit being made into these banana bread granola bars. The First Mess is an absolute treasure trove of gluten free and vegan recipes. So do yourself a […]ReplyCancel

  • Road Trip Snacks | MODA03/07/2014 - 10:44 am

    […] bagged mix for a homemade energy bar. Your taste buds are already profusely thanking you. We love these banana bread granola bars, and these almond coconut bars (gluten […]ReplyCancel

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    […] Banana bread granola bars […]ReplyCancel

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  • James27/12/2014 - 6:04 am

    Love these
    Just made a big batch again post holidays
    2 bananas & a bit more rice syrup makes crunchier when baked
    Thanks for the recipe !ReplyCancel

  • Rough Measures04/05/2015 - 11:25 am

    […] Ever so slightly adapted from this fantastic one […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Si voleu la versió original la trobareu aquí […]ReplyCancel

  • […] if you insist on drizzled chocolate….. | via The First […]ReplyCancel

  • reeve17/07/2015 - 11:04 am

    Hey! These sound great. Any tips on sweetening your own chocolate? I have had the hardest time trying to find a chocolate that is sweetened that I can have. Finally found one the other day and it had vanilla in it, which I’m allergic to.

    I was hoping to sweeten with coconut sugar but that was giant disaster. But maybe I’m not doing something right.

    thoughts?ReplyCancel

    • Karissa19/07/2015 - 3:04 pm

      I sweeten my homemade chocolate with maple syrup since that is the only liquid sweetener both my boys can tolerate. Honey works great too, if you eat that.ReplyCancel

  • […] Banana Bread Granola Bars //The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • mia30/06/2016 - 12:09 pm

    i am right there with you with feeling HANGRY… funny, it happens to be a lot when traveling with the BF as well.. luckily he’s used to it. these look so good and nothing beats home-made granola bars! saving this for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca01/09/2016 - 1:57 pm

    These were fabulous, I just tossed the chocolate chips in the batter. Worked like a charm and saved a few steps.ReplyCancel

the everyday superfood salad // the first messpin it!the everyday superfood salad // the first messpin it!picked // the first messpin it!
Superfoods! These things are being pimped out everywhere I go lately. I’ve been frequenting a certain home furnishings discount chain, just to see what I can pick up for our new place and you know something? They have a superfoods section in their little food aisle with the fancy oils, vinegars, salts and preserves. On any given trip there’s mulberries, sprouted quinoa, goji berries, chia + hemp seeds and on and on. A local grocery store has a shelf above the low-boy refrigeration display with bee pollen, spirulina, extra virgin coconut oil, flax powder, sea buckthorn juice, and E3 Live; all right next to the jello puddings and cream cheese. Even our Costco store has a big selection of organic, very nutrient dense pantry and fresh foods now. Kind of amazing when you stop to think about it.

We went on a short little getaway to the Finger Lakes-ish area of New York State this past weekend. It was beautiful in plenty of outright ways: the density of trees, the quaintness of the restoration, the views from up high, the sunshine that wasn’t too balmy and all of that. There were some unexpected bits of wonder too. We traipsed all through a deserted downtown core with beautiful old buildings on a Sunday night. We walked and walked, meandered through a kind of sketchy bit with a quick pace, saw this huge waterfall, the river, a grassy valley where there had been dwellers, a cozy bar in total darkness lit up by orbs of deep red. The air was heavy with a certain kind of energy that I can hardly describe.

There are so many new things coming up for us and all of the usual big ideas. Dining room configurations, a minimalist bedroom that still feels cozy, how we’ll make a dishwasher part of our new kitchen, all of the things we’ll have to give up, all of the things we stand to gain, everything that will become possible in that new light and space. I’m on pins and needles for it, but when my friend asked me how moving preparations were going, my answer followed a “They aren’t.” kinda vibe. I’m thrilled and bursting with pointed intentions, but the crazy can wait. This is a warm, glow-y pocket of time that I want to savour a bit.

So there’s been some purchase-less trips to Ikea (not counting the cinnamon bun that I wolfed down and got all over my face while we examined cabinet options in the showroom–Mark just looked at me and laughed), some antique store hops (fuelling my enamelware love) and a visit to my new favourite place: a clearance/auction house out in the sticks. We got the comfy/rustic chair of our dreams there last week (currently wrapped in a mattress bag in Mark’s garage wooo-ey). Soon it’ll be coming together in ways we would never expect.

In the meantime, there’s the everyday surprises. Before we started on the drive back home on Monday, we hit a local grocery store that had this whole juice bar thing set up. Amazing! And there was a tea counter where I got a delicious matcha latte made with coconut milk. So surprising and wonderful. I overheard an employee talking to a customer about the virtues of chia seeds. There were umpteen-million types of kale and apples available for purchase. I was flitting around without direction, just so excited by the availability of honest and good food! The approach and overall environment was so inspiring. I had this vague concept of an everyday superfood kind of salad formulating. Just a bunch of very nutritious, but still very accessible, foods together with some extra flavour and texture elements thrown in. Massaged kale and broccoli makes up the base with a bunch of other vibrant vegetables that we’ve been digging up. There’s a coriander-spiced + omega-pumped seedy mix on top, blueberry ginger vinaigrette, tons of lime, puffed quinoa, avocado and Himalayan salt.

So yeah, lots of things on the unfold. I’ll be here waiting and planning, belly full of salad duh :)

the everyday superfood salad // the first messpin it!blueberry dressinpin it!the everyday superfood salad // the first messpin it!
the everyday superfood salad recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: I throw some ground coriander in with the seeds, but any spice you’re into would be great. This salad can definitely hang for a few hours if you keep the blueberry dressing off until you’re ready to serve. And a note on the blueberry dressing: the flavour isn’t like a liquified pie filling with ginger. There’s a fresh and tart quality to it. If you want more a more pronounced blueberry-ness, I would suggest cooking the berries down in a saucepan with the maple syrup for a bit before you blend up the dressing.

salad ingredients:
1 bunch of kale, leaves chopped kinda small
1 broccoli branch/segment, florets finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper (I used Himalayan pink salt–any old salt is fine)
1 small beet (red or golden or striped), thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled + sliced
1-2 sprigs of basil, chopped
handful of blueberries

blueberry ginger dressing ingredients:
heaped 1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + chopped
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
big splash of water
salt + pepper
1/4 cup oil (grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil)

omega seed sprinkle ingredients:
handful sunflower seeds
handful pumpkin seeds
1-2 tbsp flax seeds
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
handful of puffed quinoa (or puffed millet, brown rice etc)
pinch of ground coriander
pinch of salt

In a large bowl, massage the kale and chopped broccoli with the lime juice, salt and pepper. Keep massaging until the leaves seem a bit more tender. Taste a leaf for seasoning, adjust and set aside. Chop and prep all of the other salad ingredients and set aside.

Make the dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until you have a creamy and unified mixture. Check for seasoning and sweetness, adjust and set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, combine all of the omega seed sprinkle ingredients over medium heat. Stir them around here and there until they smell toasty and the coriander is a bit more prominent. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Arrange the massaged kale and broccoli on your serving plate. Top the greens with the beets, carrots, avocado, chopped basil, and blueberries. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper again. Stir up the dressing (it should have thickened a bit) and drizzle it all over the top and garnish the salad with the omega seed sprinkle. Serve it up!

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Hey lovely peeps. I took a little break last week but! I’m back with waffles and ice cream sooo, forgive me? Sweet, sweet Melissa from The Fauxmartha is bringing a tiny human into the world, so ooooobviously that calls for a waffle-shower in blog land. Erin got this whole party started and I couldn’t be more thrilled. More love on the internets please! In whatever form we can dream up, seriously. Big changes swirling in the cosmos (September makes that whole thing feel so intense) and right here on earth call for a very high vibrational frequency waffle treat. Would love to have Melissa over for one of these sammies with a cup of tea, maybe on my new porch (!!!!), maybe while we watch a couple Kid President videos and talk about the insanity of bitchin’ sauce, maybe we’d share a few cooking/baking tips (I know she’s got a couple)… It would be THE BEST.

I’ll have to settle for sending out this recipe to all of youse instead for now (oh and revelling in the party posts from Erin, Sarah, Alex & Sonja, Jeanine, Kathryne, Kasey, Nicole, Heidi and Alison too). I worked from her pretty much famous wholewheat waffle recipe, with ice cream sandwiches on my mind all the while. If I find myself at the Canadian National Exhibition during summer’s calendar end, I most definitely indulge in one of these treats. They make the waffle to order right there, break it on the perforation and sandwich it around a slice of ice cream. Hot waffle with cold ice cream at the fair? Yeah it’s pretty great. The memory of that sweet treat was floating in and out of my consciousness these past couple weeks. This waffle-shower of sorts? So, so timely. Thanks universe!

I used a new-to-me gluten free flour mix for these and made a few other adjustments to suit my needs–chia seeds to bind (PRO TIP: 1/2 tbsp chia seeds all ground up + 1/4 cup water = vegan egg replacement extraordinaire sans flax funk), some almond milk, and coconut palm sugar for sweetenin’. The little kiss of orange and vanilla in these is just right. They seemed like the perfect base for some smushy tart berry sauce and (coconut-based!) vanilla ice cream. Yum and yum. Hope you’re all settling in with the blessings and rhythms of late summer/early fall. We’ve been cozying up to tea mugs in sweaters, accepting the wildness of the veggie/raspberry patch, marathoning Burning Love, and combing the ads for energy efficient appliance deals (whoop whoop + hot damn, party train never stops). Sending the big hugs this week, but especially to you, Melissa!  xoxo

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GF + vegan vanilla bean waffle ice cream sammies w/ maple berry mash
recipe adapted from: The Fauxmartha!
serves: makes 4  sandwiches (or 5-7 regular sized waffles for breakfast party times)
notes: For a killer non-dairy ice cream, try Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. Also, everyone’s waffle iron is different for timing and such. Here’s the one I use (link)–It’s basic and I love it.

waffle ingredients:
1/2 tbsp chia seeds, ground + 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or some evaporated cane is cool)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil + extra for the waffle iron
1 1/2 cups warm almond milk (or other milk)
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract!)
little handful cacao nibs (optional)

maple berry mash + serving:
1/2 pint raspberries or blackberries (or a mix)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
vegan (or not, whatevs) vanilla ice cream

Preheat your waffle iron. I have this one, and I set it to 5, which is on the higher end of the spectrum.

In a small bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and 1/4 cup of water. Whisk the mixture and allow it to gel while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the GF all purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt, and coconut sugar. Stir to mix evenly.

To the dry ingredients, add the melted coconut oil, warm almond milk, orange juice, vanilla bean paste and chia gel. Mix until you have a smooth batter. Awesome news: you can’t over-mix/overdevelop the gluten in a GF waffle batter :) Fold in the cacao nibs, if using.

Lightly grease the waffle iron with a bit of coconut oil. Drop a 1/4 cup of the batter into the machine. Shut the iron and cook the waffle until golden. Place the cooked waffle on a baking sheet/plate and ocver if you wish. If you’re serving these as breakfast waffles, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 200 (F) oven while you prepare the remaining ones. Repeat with remaining batter.

While the waffles are cooking, place the berries, maple syrup and vanilla in a pie dish and lightly mash everything together with a fork until you have a textured/saucy consistency. Set aside.

Assemble the sandwiches!: Place a scoop of ice cream onto a waffle, flatten the ice cream out a bit. Spread a bit it berry mash on top of the ice cream and sandwich it all with another waffle. Serve immediately.

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  • Harriet04/09/2013 - 4:42 am

    Holy frickin’ wow. My mind is blown. These look amazing! I’m new to the waffle making game, and this idea is so perfect for those waffles that don’t quite stick together. And that ice cream looks perfect for the upcoming hot months here in Australia. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae04/09/2013 - 5:25 am

    Sending a big swarm of love from the rocky beaches of Hvar. So excited for baby Coleman and your new front porch and these waffle ice cream sammies. High fives to you, lady! These look insaaaaaaaaanely delicious.ReplyCancel

  • […] Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Melissa // The Fauxmartha04/09/2013 - 9:15 am

    I came to your post, like I always do, and started drooling. Then I saw my name, and “baby shower”, and waffles and I’m nearly in tears. This is so so incredibly awesome! The amount of love is overwhelming! Thank you Laura! And yes, I wish too we could hang with these in hand on your new porch while watching Kid Pres. One day. xoxoxoxReplyCancel

  • Ashley04/09/2013 - 9:22 am

    These are absolutely stunning and SO dang creative!! Wishing Melissa and her hubs all the best with the little one on the way! Also, congrats on the house!ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized04/09/2013 - 9:40 am

    Amaaaaaazing!! Love this and can’t wait to try it this weekend …. well done, awesome photos… what kind of camera do you use?ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway04/09/2013 - 10:03 am

    Such a great idea! Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn04/09/2013 - 10:05 am

    You guys are so unbelieveably wonderful to organise this for Melissa (and to let us all share in the delights!). I have a mega waffle-craving now which I’m going to have to do something about right now.ReplyCancel

  • Erin04/09/2013 - 10:19 am

    You are awesome, lady. My fiancé always tops his waffles with ice cream and now I’m thinking I’ll just have to make him these.

    And congrats on the house! That porch (I can’t wait until I have a porch!)ReplyCancel

  • David04/09/2013 - 10:33 am

    These look absolutely ridiculous. Holy batman! Need to make these ASAP!

    Sending Love!ReplyCancel

  • Heather04/09/2013 - 11:09 am

    These look and sound amazing. I am forever dazzled by your magic, both food and camera related. I am in love with the blackberries shot in the window light. Stunning work!ReplyCancel

  • sara forte04/09/2013 - 11:13 am

    oh I would have loved to celebrate melissa’s babe! This is so sweet. This community never ceases to inspire me – such incredibly talented and equally thoughtful women. I LOVE the luna and larrys ice cream too. A little pricey but the perfect special treat. Gorgeous photos, miss.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey04/09/2013 - 12:55 pm

    These look so freaking good. I wish we could sit around your table and eat them together with all the rest of these beautiful ladies. Congrats, M!ReplyCancel

  • […] of This Homemade Life Yeasted Waffles with Berries and Cocoa Sugar from Kasey of Turntable Kitchen Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich from Heidi of Foodie Crush Waffles with fig compote and orange crème […]ReplyCancel

  • Alexa04/09/2013 - 1:55 pm

    The photography here is beautiful! I am definitely putting this on my end of summer baking list! How about trying it with a fig and pear compote for fall?ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine04/09/2013 - 1:56 pm

    yum yum! What a great idea!

    I’ve watched every episode of burning love – too funny. enjoy :)ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen04/09/2013 - 2:52 pm

    Gosh, berries are just the loveliest, prettiest things in the world. Also, thanks for the good tip about ground chia seeds. I eat eggs, but sometimes just don’t have one on me (I mean, in the pantry, not like in my handbag) or just don’t want to add an egg to a mixture. And hurrah for all the love abounding!ReplyCancel

  • Oli04/09/2013 - 3:13 pm

    Hi,
    Looks amazing!!
    Is it possible to use Buckwheat flour or Almond flour instaed of the GF all purpose flour?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright04/09/2013 - 3:35 pm

      Hi Oli, thanks for your note! I think buckwheat would be a better bet out of the two, but you’d have to consider adding some kind of potato or tapioca starch to the batter as well to improve the binding. Generally a GF all purpose mix includes one or both of those.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Emma04/09/2013 - 3:46 pm

    Wowza! I’m so loving this blog waffle party and these look phenomenal. Love berries with orange too, in fact I made blueberry-orange buckwheat waffles earlier this summer :)
    http://coconutandberries.com/2013/07/15/blueberry-orange-buckwheat-waffles/ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com04/09/2013 - 3:55 pm

    With waffles floating everywhere, celebrating Melissa — I have a huge hankering for some myself. Loving this ice cream sammy with waffles :)ReplyCancel

  • la domestique04/09/2013 - 5:48 pm

    Gorgeous! I love blackberries so much (and waffles too!). What a great way to celebrate!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly05/09/2013 - 8:42 am

    These look so gorgeous and delicious! Love the positive vibes of your post and can’t wait for the cooler nights to make their way down to the US Midwest for sweater and tea time!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey05/09/2013 - 9:41 am

    When I was kid me and my friends would look forward to sleepover weekends, and if our parents let us, we would toast up some frozen waffles and top them with ice cream. Long story short, your sandwiches totally brought me back in time! You ladies are awesome, one lovely waffle after another. Congrats to Melissa, and to you on your new casa!ReplyCancel

  • […] Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne06/09/2013 - 12:24 am

    You’re getting a house!!! Congrats, Laura. I imagine there will be lots of laughs and whiskey sipping on that porch. And waffles as ice cream sandwiches… genius.ReplyCancel

  • sarah07/09/2013 - 9:53 pm

    I love love love these. And your photos! Perfect. Oh, I hope we all have a waffle party together one day. Or any kind of party. xoReplyCancel

  • […] of This Homemade Life Yeasted Waffles with Berries and Cocoa Sugar from Kasey of Turntable Kitchen Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich from Heidi of Foodie Crush Whole Grain Vegan Flax Waffles from […]ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush08/09/2013 - 1:22 am

    Beautiful, as usual :) I can’t wait to mash up some blackberries in my kitchen soon. Their colour is unrivalled!ReplyCancel

  • Zesty Five: September 1-7, 201308/09/2013 - 11:55 pm

    […] Vanilla Bean Waffle Ice Cream Sammies with Maple Berry Mash […]ReplyCancel

  • Amanda11/09/2013 - 10:48 am

    In the name of all that is good and waffley, I have to tell you. This year at the Ex I had my heart set on a waffle ice cream sandwich. BUT! When I was in line I realized that the waffles are NOT made to order! They are made ahead and then reheated. It was one of those sausage factory moments, my heart was broken. So I had a water melon smoothie instead.ReplyCancel

  • anh12/09/2013 - 2:51 am

    I discovered your blog today and am so inspired by it xoxo!
    This looks fantastic, and so is the millet corn chowder!ReplyCancel

  • julia13/09/2013 - 2:32 pm

    LOVE this internet baby shower, such a cute idea! The sammies also look PERFECT, could have picked something more fitting!ReplyCancel

  • […] Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Creamsicles | The Fauxmartha26/05/2014 - 11:56 am

    […] of This Homemade Life Yeasted Waffles with Berries and Cocoa Sugar from Kasey of Turntable Kitchen Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwich from Heidi of Foodie Crush Whole Grain Vegan Flax Waffles from Jeanine […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Vanilla Vegan/Gluten Free Waffle Ice Cream Sammies from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Mess Website + Instagram Oh She Glows My New Roots Turmeric Chai from A Year In Food Vanilla Bean Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches (my The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Shannon20/07/2016 - 11:33 am

    Ahh, I really want to make these, but I don’t have a waffle iron! Has anyone a creative way around that?ReplyCancel

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“Does this rye have wheat in it?” my coworker asked me last Saturday night. One of her tables had asked for a rye-based drink, but the woman had a wheat intolerance.

“Well, rye IS wheat technically, so yes. Maybe ask her if she drinks a certain type? I don’t know…” I replied.

A few minutes later I saw her pouring the whiskey of choice for the table. Full on rye. Wheat in the glass. That woman, with her laundry list of food sensitivities, was full of shit. “She’s an idiot” I said and we had a laugh.

So yeah. In one move I completely wrote this stranger off as a human being over a libation choice essentially. I feel like working in hospitality tends to encourage that kind of dismissiveness in even the most genuinely wonderful people. You see and feel the wrath of it all. I’m working on avoiding the motions that always lead to scorn and the whole empathy thing, I swear. It just takes time and and some intention in terms of arming yourself with better stress-coping mechanisms–sipping the good tea, staring at the trees, laughing, carving out time alone to lose yourself in books and other pursuits. It’s all been good.

***EDIT!: It’s been kindly brought to my attention that the distillation process of whiskey-making may very well remove the glutenous/wheat-y properties of the grain that cause digestion/overall living troubles for many. I really, really, big-time send apologies for the ignorance and like I said, totally working on trying to understand/not being so fast to judge thing. Hope we can still be friends :)***

One of the books I’ve been spending time with in a cozy chair just leisurely flipping through is Makini Howell’s Plum. It’s a most fitting inspiration right now as we slowly transition into fall. Lots of hearty recipes and simple strategies to make good and honest food even better, right out of her restaurants. I generally aim to choose plant-based and organic foods whenever possible, but I also tend to eat A LOT of that high vibe stuff. I have a fairly active job and have been amping up the workout routine lately (feeling amazing, thanks), so when I’m fixing something up for myself, I’m usually bordering on ravenous. Flipping through this book reassures me that people understand the whole veggie-focused-but-hungry-like-a-wolf thing. There are unusual flavour combinations and full, FULL plates of goodness for all levels of cooks. I’ve already bookmarked the apple tempeh fillets w/ fennel and garlic, the barbecued oyster mushroom sliders w/ pickled onions, the chai-spiced yam bruschetta w/ crunchy kale, and the tiramisu pancakes. I would say that the soon-here fall season is shaping up rather beautifully.

And this soup! I tend to not eat corn very often or shy away from items that feature it because we’re completely spoiled by the best corn EVER in the summertime. My dad plants rows in stages so that we can lengthen its season. Not exaggerating. Truly the best. I had a culinary instructor who explained seasonal cooking like this one time: “If I wanted to make you some corn, like the best possible corn, I would bring a portable stove out to a corn field and we would pick, shuck, and boil it right there. That’s how delicate the situation is.” I was fist bumping that sentiment with my mind before he even formed the entire thought. SO crucial to get it fresh while it’s on. The sugars fade to starch and just like that–chewy, dry corn experience. Frozen kernels would be just as tasty in this soup if corn isn’t so fresh where you live.

I was rather pleased with the outcome of this though. The addition of millet fills the bowl out and the ratio of greens was spot on. So satisfying and perfect in these late summer evenings. It was nice to hover over the pot while it simmered, quieting all of the busy thoughts. Summer’s typical cooking/non-cooking techniques seem to lack those clarifying moments, so a return is rather welcome. Maybe a few more sliced tomato lunches first though :)

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creamy millet corn chowder with greens
C 2013 By Makini Howell. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro by permission of Sasquatch Books.
serves: 4
notes: I only made a couple minor changes to this recipe. Howell specifies baby spinach for the greens component, but I didn’t have any. So I clipped a bunch of baby leaves from our chard, kale and beet plants outside and threw them in at the end. I added a bit of smoked paprika and decided to blend a portion of the soup for extra creaminess. After I cut the kernels off, I slipped the cobs in with the millet cooking water for extra corn flavour vibes. Lastly, we have mammoth chives in the garden currently, so I swapped them in for the specified green onions. I’m also going to add that you shouldn’t be afraid to use some salt in this recipe. The millet and potatoes tend to soak up a lot of it and I mean, corn seriously loves the stuff–it amplifies the flavour quite a bit.

3/4 cup millet, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small hot pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 baby potatoes, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (reserve the cobs if you’re using fresh)
10-12 blades of chives, chopped (or a bunch of green onions)
2 cups small greens (baby spinach, small kale + chard leaves etc)
salt + pepper
+
extra chives, paprika, extra virgin olive oil and fresh pepper for garnish/serving

In a medium stockpot, bring 7 cups of water to a boil along with the stripped corn cobs. Add the millet and a pinch of salt. Cook until the millet is barely tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the corn cobs with tongs and drain the millet, reserving the liquid.

Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil in it over medium. Add the garlic, hot pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Sauté the mix until the garlic starts to appear golden in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the diced potatoes and 6 cups of the millet/corn stock to the pot. bring the soup to a boil.

Add the cooked millet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so. At this point you can purée 5-6 ladlefuls of soup in the blender and add the creamy mix back into the pot if you want a creamier consistency. Your call! Then add the corn, chives and greens to the pot, give it a stir and allow the greens to wilt just a tiny bit. Serve the soup hot with extra chives, sprinkles of paprika/pepper and drizzles of olive oil if you like.

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  • thecitygourmand21/08/2013 - 4:44 am

    A brilliant photo series + beautiful ingredients!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet21/08/2013 - 5:18 am

    Oh man, hospitality brings out the best and worst in people for sure. I share your sentiments! But soups like this look like that could fix anything that ails anyone. I’m yet to try millet, but I love the look of it in this soup.ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com21/08/2013 - 6:06 am

    I could easily down a few bowls of this delicious and comforting corn chowder!!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar21/08/2013 - 7:39 am

    This looks fabulous, and lovely photos as always!ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway21/08/2013 - 8:33 am

    Love the sound and look of this chowder and stoked to see the addition of millet, it’s one of my favourite ingredients and I can see how it’s creaminess would be a welcome thing here. I hear ya on the hospitality thing too, I once took a woman into our kitchen to show her the recipe we used for our chutney, assuring her it was gluten-free. And then she ate cake. With wheat. Sadly it’s people like those who give the rest of us ‘gluten-free’s’ a bad name :-/ReplyCancel

  • Nicole21/08/2013 - 9:31 am

    This looks incredible! I’m always looking for a new way to use my CSA greens. So pretty, too.ReplyCancel

  • erin21/08/2013 - 10:40 am

    I never thought I would miss living in the midwest but not having good sweet corn is a downer- I could never get over how sweet and delicious freshly picked sweet corn taste! I’m putting this soup on my to-make list anyway and I’m thinking I’ll try cracking the millet first for a bit of extra creaminess :)ReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon21/08/2013 - 11:31 am

    YES!!! This looks so, so wonderful. I’m a millet fan through and through and would’ve never thought up this recipe. Lovely photos, as always. And a much needed hit of inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle21/08/2013 - 1:01 pm

    This sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I also appreciate your honesty. It’s hard to maintain empathy, especially in the hospitality industry, so I think it’s so important to be conscious of our immediate thoughts and opinions about others.ReplyCancel

  • Renee @ Nourish The Roots21/08/2013 - 1:57 pm

    Oh, I can definitely relate to dealing with customers in the restaurant world…it’s a funny thing isn’t it? Gorgeous recipe and photos, as usual. I have to get me some fresh corn stat!!! Much love to you. ~ReneeReplyCancel

  • This looks incredible! What a great idea to use millet in a soup.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey22/08/2013 - 8:59 am

    This soup is super. I love how textured and layered it is, totally different from a pureed cold corn soup I had the other day. It’s amazing how important freshly picked produce is. I know I won’t have an opportunity this summer, but hopefully next summer I will find myself in a field of corn, near a pot of boiling water!ReplyCancel

  • Gabby22/08/2013 - 1:26 pm

    I made this dish yesterday, fantastic. I had never had millet before I tried this recipe. Fresh squeeze of lemon on top really brightened up the dish!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright25/08/2013 - 9:04 am

      That’s such a great idea, Gabby. I froze a bunch of the soup to enjoy when things get colder here. Will totally be hitting the reheated bowls with some lemon or lime. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • The corn chowder sounds to-die-for!And these photos are GORGEOUS, doll! xoReplyCancel

  • carey23/08/2013 - 8:28 am

    Owning a large enough plot of land to be able to grow massive gardens that include rows and rows of corn is a dream of mine that will one day happen. I’m now considering seriously looking into this husband-finding thing so I can put a portable stove on the wedding registry.

    I’m hovering in that almost-fall limbo place when it comes to food, and a not-too-hearty soup filled with late summer flavors like this is the thing I want to eat. (Like, right. now. For breakfast. Because it’s cold, and I woke up early, and reading the phrase “veggie-focused-but-hungry-like-a-wolf” has made me extra hangry.)ReplyCancel

  • Chiara M25/08/2013 - 11:32 am

    Would you think you could replace the millet with bulgar? I’ve never cooked with millet so I’m not sure how it cooks up or compares.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright26/08/2013 - 9:50 am

      Hey Chiara, bulgur tends to not go as creamy or break down as much as millet. Also the cooking time is much shorter so you would have to adjust for that too (I don’t think it would need the pre-cook like I do with the millet in this recipe). The bulgur will make for a fairly different result than what you see here I think. You might want to purée a larger portion of the soup to get that creamy quality. Hope that helps!
      -LReplyCancel

  • katheryn @ wineandthyme26/08/2013 - 9:03 pm

    I wish customers could be recommended for “restaurant sensitivity training”. I would volunteer to teach the classes if it meant a generation of people who were more patient because they realized what went into their meal.
    Also, my former roommate who had celiac disease (I know its a step above intolerance) stayed far away from whiskey so it definitely doesn’t remove everything. This makes me wonder.. can the gluten intolerant eat regular oats? Or share toasters and non-stick pans with us glutenous folk? So many questions!ReplyCancel

  • Nina29/08/2013 - 5:07 am

    Oh, I don`t blame you at all for your reaction, I tend to react in the same way. But seen as I am wheat intolerant I wanted to explain that while rye is a member of the wheat tribe and closely related to wheat itself, people who are wheat intolerant can usually eat it. Just like spelt. :) That soup makes me look forward to fall, millet is one of my ultimate comfort foods.ReplyCancel

  • Kulsum01/09/2013 - 2:10 am

    I am so envious of your access to fresh corn. Dream like!In general we all need to be less judgemental, atleast I do :)ReplyCancel

  • […] creamy millet corn chowder with greens […]ReplyCancel

  • Lauren08/09/2013 - 9:10 pm

    I made this tonight and it didn’t quite turn out like yours. For one, it seemed a lot thicker. I kept adding more water because it almost had the consistency or grits. I didn’t cook it longer than the recipe required. Also, I found it REALLY needed salt. Otherwise it was nice. My boyfriend loved it. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright09/09/2013 - 8:35 pm

      Hey Lauren,

      Thanks for your feedback and for making the recipe! I wonder if your corn had a touch more starch in it than mine? Can’t figure out why it would thicken up so much… Also, I’m with you on the hefty salt. Corn, grains + potatoes looooove it. I always write the salt amount in a recipe as a “to taste” context but somewhat secretly generally use a lot myself :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Kimiko12/09/2013 - 1:33 am

    I had high hopes for this soup, but it turned out tasteless. I used super fresh corn, which is delicious on its own, but it seems to have lost all of its flavor in there. :/ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/09/2013 - 8:23 am

      Hey Kimiko, I’m so sorry this didn’t work out for you! Especially because your corn was super fresh. I found that this soup needed a heavy hand with the salt because the millet and potatoes really absorbed a lot of it. This could be a part of the issue. Also, my chives from our garden are more similar to green onions, so that could have accounted for more flavour. I’m going to add a few notes to this recipe to hopefully help others out. Thanks so much for your feedback!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Emily14/09/2013 - 9:23 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful recipe, Laura! I also found it a bit thick, and I read the comments about the salt, so I added an additional cup of liquid — veggie broth — and also tossed in a Parmesean rind. Perfecto! I’ve always hated corn chowder because it’s usually rich and heavy on the milk. This was divine. :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright16/09/2013 - 1:49 pm

      So glad you had success Emily! I’m going to add a note on the liquid content. I SO appreciate that feedback :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • dalyn18/09/2013 - 6:38 am

    I made this last night with corn, potatoes, and radish greens picked right from the yard, and, like other commenters, found that it was a bit on the bland side. I added plenty of salt and it still didn’t help. What did help, however, was the addition of some jalapeno brine that I had left over from canning candied jalapeños. So, maybe a bit of sugar and more heat? Anyway, it turned out terrific with some tweaks but I thought you’d want to know…ReplyCancel

  • Weekly Wants04/01/2014 - 7:01 am

    […] This Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens. The super delicious and comforting-looking vegan soup makes me crave summer fresh corn. Looks like I’ll just have to buy a bag of frozen in the meantime! […]ReplyCancel

  • Cecilia27/01/2014 - 7:34 am

    I am making this for dinner tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn27/03/2014 - 12:33 pm

    I made this tonight and it was fab! I used sweet potatoes instead as I don’t use the white ones and I made it using veggie stock. Skipped the chilli because of the kids but my husband I drizzled ours with chilli olive oil. Came out beautiful, so tasty!ReplyCancel

  • Brian05/04/2014 - 7:54 pm

    Beautiful soup. I used some lime juice to up the acid level just a bit and topped with fresh tomatoes. Will definitely make again.ReplyCancel

  • […] Recipe and Photo credit to thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 5. Millet Corn Chowder with Greens […]ReplyCancel

  • Millet 4 Ways | Veggie Inspired17/10/2014 - 11:30 am

    […] Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens […]ReplyCancel

  • Lacey16/08/2016 - 8:07 pm

    I just made this tonight and it was so good!!! It’s been pinned on my soup board and I have wanted to make it for so long. I am glad I finally got around to it because it did not disappoint. Thanks for sharing this delicious late summer soup

    P.S. the note about being heavy-handed with the salt was definitely helpful, I tend to shy away and this soup truly shines with an extra bit of salt.ReplyCancel

  • […] Get the recipe on the First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!
I know, more panzanella. And another dish with a trillion vowels and syllables. I had the idea for this in my mind last week and could not let it go, couldn’t let it wait until next summer. Caponata is this irresistibly rustic Sicilian eggplant  and tomato stew/condiment that comes together with some minor rough chopping and simmering. It brings out the meatiness of the eggplant to the point of serious questioning sometimes. There are wonderful salty bits, cooked out summer-tomato juices, a scatter of parsley leaves that have barely been grazed by the knife. Sweet, sour, salty–perfect on any and all toasts once it’s cooled, maybe with some charcuterie and cheeses if that’s your thing. I thought I could cut to the chase and just throw the toast component right in there, mix it up real simple with another dose of olive oil, bursts of fresh tomato and even more grassy, peppery parsley. That thought was correct. So correct.

There is a pre-fall cool blowing through town, so I didn’t mind flipping the oven on to make the croutons while I sipped some tea and hung out by the stove. I donned a sweatshirt on my morning run today and marvelled at the pace of the clouds drifting on by while the whoooosh in my ears never ended. I have plans for soups, cookies and hella roasted summer squash next week. The pup shivers a little bit when we try to enjoy a little coffee/tea break outside and requires snuggling (OBV). My jorts preferences have faded to actual jeans-wearing. Maybe this isn’t so much the same where you live (especially on those jorts). Tuck the thought of this hearty salad into your back pocket for September if that’s the case. So simple, wonderful and lightly warming. Doubling the caponata for other uses/eating straight from the pan still-warm is a fine idea too.

So with that, I’m just going to keep it short today. This is my favourite time of year, this micro/in-between season of bright, cool and dry days. Maybe a little summery thunderstorm here and there. It tends to make me a touch sentimental while giving a clear focus for what’s ahead at the same time. Renewed purpose, eyes up to the moon, creativity and inspiration is everywhere you could find it. It’s a generous time in my corner of the world. Hope you’re all wrapping yourselves up in it too :) xo

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
caponata panzanella salad recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: It’s pretty crucial to cook the eggplant until it’s way tender, like a solid 15 minute simmer. Also, there’s a lot of salty bits in the caponata so maybe taste the finished product before you season the whole thing.

caponata ingredients:
big glug of olive oil
1 large eggplant, chopped into big pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 small red onion, small dice
1 clove of garlic, rough chopped
big splash of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp capers
handful of green olives, pitted + rough chopped
2-ish cups diced fresh tomatoes
salt and pepper
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

panzanella ingredients:
4 cups torn up bread pieces
olive oil
salt + pepper
handful of small tomatoes, halved
more chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the pieces of eggplant and oregano. Stir the pieces around to coat them in the oil and herb. Stir the pot here and there until the eggplant is browned on all sides. Add the red onions and garlic to the pot. Stir it up a bit, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary to avoid sticking. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the red wine vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir the mix until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the capers, olives and tomatoes to the pot and stir. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the eggplant is tender and the tomatoes have let out a bit of juice. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, season to taste, and set aside to cool.

Place the bread pieces on the parchment lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Slide the tray into the oven and bake until golden brown on all sides, about 12-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Set aside to cool.

Combine the caponata with the croutons, stirring gently until just combined. Garnish the salad with a healthy drizzle of more olive oil, the halved tomatoes and extra parsley. I also like to scatter the crouton crumb-y bits left on the pan over the top of the salad for more crunch.

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  • Harriet15/08/2013 - 4:56 am

    Wow! This dish is seriously resonating with some tomato vibes I’ve got happening this week – definitely going to the top of my to make list when the eggplants come into season here in Australia! And the salt-hound in me loves the olives and capers!ReplyCancel

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche15/08/2013 - 5:40 am

    This is a fantastic idea! And a great way to turn caponata into a full meal. Your photos are gorgeous too :)ReplyCancel

  • Johanna15/08/2013 - 8:21 am

    This looks delicious! I can’t say I knew what caponata or panzanella was before actually looking at this, but now I’m convinced I need to make this :) You always have such great recipes.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf15/08/2013 - 8:26 am

    It’s cold here in the UK but I’m not ready to admit the end of summer yet! I’ll hold onto this recipe for autumn though, it looks gorgeously fresh and full of beautiful flavours.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Barnaby15/08/2013 - 9:09 am

    Thank you for reminding me about Panzanella! I haven’t made it in yonks but it will be perfect for a dinner party I’m hosting this Saturday. I loved your photos too. I hope mine looks as pretty as yours.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley15/08/2013 - 9:33 am

    Your optimistic words are refreshing and always make my day. And this recipe? Showstopper (OBV).ReplyCancel

  • Heidi @foodiecrush15/08/2013 - 10:18 am

    Thankfully for us you didn’t let that idea escape your head, what a stellar combo. But then I’d eat anything with capers in it. Beauty.ReplyCancel

  • fashionablecollections15/08/2013 - 11:10 am

    wow this looks INCREDIBLE.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna15/08/2013 - 1:01 pm

    You can never have too much panzanella! Love this!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley15/08/2013 - 1:25 pm

    Seriously cannot wait to make this!! You have the best recipes, stories, pictures EVER! Thank you for an amazing blog to read :)
    ~AshleyReplyCancel

  • Kathryn15/08/2013 - 1:36 pm

    This is a magical kind of dish, just absolutely perfect for this time of the year. I can’t think of anything I want to eat more.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen15/08/2013 - 2:11 pm

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with another panzanella–especially when it’s as beautiful as this one! Roasted eggplant and tomato sounds so good right about now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Big wow, this looks truly amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Steph @ This Chick Eats Clean16/08/2013 - 12:01 am

    Holy cheese and rice!!! Or should I say, holy panzanella! This looks ahhhmazing and I can’t wait to give it a shot! And your photography is gorgeous!
    xo, This ChickReplyCancel

  • What a gorgeous looking panzanella. Sounds delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine16/08/2013 - 10:46 am

    yum! I love caponata and panzanella, genius idea to combine them!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey16/08/2013 - 3:45 pm

    Ahhh! This makes me want to go back to Sicily so bad! I have what felt like 100 different versions of caponata there – some more salty, some sweet. The combination of caponata + panzanella is brilliant! Also, that is helluvalotta vowels. xoReplyCancel

  • Emma16/08/2013 - 4:44 pm

    Caponata and panzanella are 2 of the most fabulous things! I have an Italian friend who makes a simply incredible caponata- I keep meaning to ask him how he makes it. I bet the hearty, crunchy bread is the perfect foil to the melting aubergine and rich tomato base here.ReplyCancel

  • Adri16/08/2013 - 8:12 pm

    What gorgeous photos, and what a wonderful dish! Complimenti1ReplyCancel

  • Angharad16/08/2013 - 9:18 pm

    We just made this for dinner and it was an absolute delight! Our caponata was a bit more liquidy because our tomatoes were just that juicy but adding uncooked tomatoes at the end was a genius fix for that.

    We added in some fresh basil too, just because we had it, and garlic. And then proceeded to wolf the whole thing down! Delicious.ReplyCancel

  • HolliDe16/08/2013 - 10:29 pm

    I am soooo glad that I found this fab recipe today. How could you go wrong with both of those mixed together? I subbed 4 Japanese Eggplant for 1 large one and toasted an olive oil/rosemary rustic loaf for the bread part. It was out of this world; we finished the entire platter!ReplyCancel

  • Abby16/08/2013 - 11:48 pm

    these photographs are absolute perfection. so, so gorgeous… wow. i adore ALL your work but the first photo in this post? and the third one…
    seriously incredible!!ReplyCancel

  • Juliette17/08/2013 - 3:56 am

    This looks very tasty! Enjoy the first chilly days!

    JulietteReplyCancel

  • Valeria17/08/2013 - 4:06 am

    Uh, caponata -love! You didn’t dare frying the eggplant for the caponata – I almost never do, too, I have to say, as I live in the smallest tiny flat and couldn’t cope with the smell of it. I find it works nicely without frying the eggplant as well, but oh gosh, the Sicilian oily real-deal thing is something I die for.
    I really like this combo – a bit of Sicily and a bit of Tuscany revisited and mixed into such a lovely dish. It has been moderately warm here in London but evenings are fresh and the oven on is more than welcomed.ReplyCancel

  • Julia18/08/2013 - 9:03 am

    brilliant post. brilliant panzanella. thx:)ReplyCancel

  • sarah18/08/2013 - 9:51 am

    ‘It’s a generous time in my corner of the world.’ – Love that. I feel the same – it was cool here for over a week, and that ‘just before fall’ feeling is lovely! Fall is my favorite time of year, and while I hate to rush the end of summer, I don’t mind the cooler temps. I always feel more creative/inspired, too. Your panzanella is beautiful! Another good idea for dinner tonight. :)ReplyCancel

  • Amy S21/08/2013 - 8:32 pm

    Serious goodness. We made this on Sunday with the eggplant, red onion and super sweet grape tomatoes in our bushel this week. Fantastic, enjoyed every bite, and will put it in the “make often” category when eggplants are plentiful.ReplyCancel

  • Amrita22/08/2013 - 2:03 pm

    Seriously?

    With your food photography, I feel like walking away from my computer screen, turning back around, and taking a running jump to dive right into the screen so I’d land smack-dab on your food. Face first and spread-eagle.

    Total bliss.ReplyCancel

  • menningen liên24/08/2013 - 5:21 pm

    thank you for this refreshing vegetables “bouquet”of garden, we feel the earth, love of cooking, tasty and delicious, life and love of sharing, thank you again and have a good day, liênReplyCancel

  • Kathryne29/08/2013 - 3:17 pm

    What Amrita said!ReplyCancel

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