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The first time I went camping, in my whole life, was only two short years ago. Our family holidays always saw us on a beach or at an amusement park in the winter because summertime was just too busy with gardening, work and being happy with the sun-dappled walls and rich soils of home. I had been with my man for almost a year when he proposed a little canoe + camping jaunt for a weekend in the summer. I was coming off of about 6 years in the city at that point. I didn’t really know if I was a wilderness enthusiast/type yet, but when I started to think about wood-fired breakfasts, the sheer density of trees, and when Mark mentioned offhand that the whole thing would be pretty romantic, I was all in.

I bought some hippie-dip s’mores fixins, some cheap-o water shoes at Mark’s recommendation, worried about staying hydrated, made up little batches of homespun instant oatmeal, packed a Malcolm Gladwell book for extra lightness and some other things. We woke up way before the sun to start on the 5 hour drive. There were road stops. I drank a coffee (rarely, if ever, drank coffee back then). I ate a doughnut (same rarity of occurrence–went for sprinkles, duh). I couldn’t believe that even the little Tim Hortons shops were surrounded by conifer-draped cliffs. All the rough trucker dudes just having their first coffee were probably weirded out by the wide-eyed, jorts-clad little lady in the parking lot taking pictures of everything. We weren’t even close to the park yet.

We eventually got to the park entrance. The little shop that sold firewood also had a particularly rich selection of bear figurines and bacon. We set the canoe in at the launching point. The water was shallow, clear and cold. There were two mountainous hills covered in foliage straight ahead. Mark had told me that the 3 hour canoe trip we were about to embark on was pretty much rookie-level. I got a quick tutorial on paddling technique, but I mean I had prepared by doing some dry strokes at my desk informed by Wikipedia, so was basically pro at that point. Once we had been going for a bit and had separated from the other boats, this comment just spontaneously came out of my mouth: “It smells like mulch everywhere!”

So my initial brush with wilderness had me comparing its overall atmospheric greatness to that pre-bagged shredded business that you can buy for your garden to keep the moisture in (and the weeds out, HOLLA). Totally normal.

I was hooked after that trip though. The quiet, the simpler mode of living, the romance of it, the warm glow of fire for hours at night, the growing optimistic hunch that maybe the whole world could be covered in trees. The experience and mindset wouldn’t have even entered my realm of possibility if Mark hadn’t (handsomely) strolled right into my life. I always bust out that crucial chorus from the 90’s Salt ‘N’ Pepa CLASSIC “Whatta Man” when he does something particularly great, but actually? He is kinda mighty(, mighty) good.

This green drink isn’t exactly optimal camping food, BUT. It’s been keeping me energetic while I sort out and check off what I need for our little wilderness jaunt this weekend (!!!). I go in phases where I absolutely love this stuff for breakfast. It’s green, sure, but it’s also minty, punctuated with a nice hit of lime, cold from frozen peaches/mango and lightly sweet. Sometimes I’ll tote one to work if I haven’t had enough time to rustle up a little meal pre-shift and it most definitely hits the spot. Anyway, I know there’s a lot of green drinks and smoothie recipes out there, kale is the new beef, for your health!, yadda yadda–but this one is my favourite because it really does taste great and I feel like a million bucks once I finish up that last sip. Whatta drink, whatta drink, whatta drink, what a mighty good draaaank. (Had to.)

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the green drink recipe
serves: 1
notes: I generally aim for milder greens here. I love kale, but it can be a touch strong in this particular application. Chard, spinach, romaine and beet greens are preferable, friends. If you’re opting for filtered water instead of coconut water, I would add some more frozen fruit to make up the extra sweetness.

1 1/4 cup cold coconut water or filtered water
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups rough chopped greens, lightly packed
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, cilantro, basil or mint leaves, or a combination
1/2 an English cucumber, rough dice
1 small apple, cored and rough diced
1/2 cup frozen + diced peaches or mango
1-inch piece of peeled ginger (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients in the blender in the order specified and blend on high for a minute or so. Once the greens are fully incorporated/non-chunky, you’re good. Drink it up!

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  • Sophie01/08/2013 - 6:05 am

    I love green smoothies! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway01/08/2013 - 8:51 am

    We LOVE green smoothies in this house :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda01/08/2013 - 9:07 am

    I am a lover of green smoothies and this looks like an amazing combination. I have everything in my kitchen to whip one of these bad boys up, it will make the perfect post-yoga refresher. And make up for the bagel and cream cheese I just inhaled. Oops!ReplyCancel

  • michelle01/08/2013 - 9:09 am

    hey there pretty lady!ReplyCancel

  • Blaine Arin01/08/2013 - 9:26 am

    What a mighty might good drink indeed! Just looking at it makes me feel all healthy and virtuous.

    Your wilderness jaunt sounds crazy fun, I haven’t done something like that since camping out in a Texas state park when I was a freshman in high school. There’s definitely sumpthin’ about it!

    Have an amazing jaunt!ReplyCancel

  • carey01/08/2013 - 9:59 am

    Heck yes green drink! I resisted greens in drinks for a while (which I’m sure is something most people can say), but I got past it pretty quickly when J began running the cafe/juice/smoothie bar at the natural foods market in town. I have yet to try parsley in a drink though, and I don’t know how that’s possible. Needs to happen asap-like.ReplyCancel

  • Steph @ stephsapartmentkitchen01/08/2013 - 10:08 am

    I love green smoothies! Your comment about the peaches / mangos is so important. I’ve found that adding just a few slices gives the smoothie a really creamy consistency, and makes it so sweet and delicious!ReplyCancel

  • tara01/08/2013 - 10:46 am

    You’re adorable. And really, you can’t go wrong with a Niagara peach.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Frélot01/08/2013 - 12:10 pm

    Beautiful recipe! I always like new ideas when it comes to green drinks! Haven’t tried peaches yet and it sounds delightful! Thanks! LindsayReplyCancel

  • I do love green smothies, drink them quite often and I do love your story. Camping is in my blood, I just have to do it.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney01/08/2013 - 3:09 pm

    Why have I never thought to put peaches in my green smoothies?! Going to have to try this soon. Oh, and I totally have that salt ‘n’ pepa song stuck in my head now :)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe01/08/2013 - 5:36 pm

    This smoothie it totally the answer to my desire to incorporate more greens into my life. Perfection!
    PS. Have a wonderful adventure!ReplyCancel

  • Tianna01/08/2013 - 6:32 pm

    this sounds lovely! I’m a huge fan of green drinks and smoothies thanks for sharing your recpe ♥ReplyCancel

  • Jaimie01/08/2013 - 10:30 pm

    Ok. You’re too cute. That first photo is SO HAPPY! I am in love. This green drink sounds lovely.. glad you didn’t use kale.. I totally agree that it isn’t really suited for this type of beverage. Question: do you need to strain?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright02/08/2013 - 12:20 am

      Hey Jaimie!
      Thanks for your sweet comment. I have a high powered blender, so I never strain. There might be a tiny bit of “chew” involved if you’re doing this in a regular blender. See what it’s like. A strain might not be a bad idea!

  • e / dig in hobart01/08/2013 - 11:36 pm

    it sure is green! i feel healthier and energised just looking at your photos. looks like the perfect summer treat.ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com02/08/2013 - 1:30 am

    Divine! This is one of my favorite green juice combo!!ReplyCancel

  • Julia02/08/2013 - 8:31 am

    i love everything about this smoothie!!!! thx :)ReplyCancel

  • […] I’ve felt so much more energetic this week getting back into my green smoothies […]ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn02/08/2013 - 5:21 pm

    I’ve never actually been camping which I’ve never regretted until now and after reading this all I can think about is how much I want to go out there and explore the wilderness (so long as there are s’mores involved of course). Have an adventure-filled weekend of fun : )ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen02/08/2013 - 9:45 pm

    I love that there’s no banana in this! Frozen peach is much more fun.

    My family went camping at this one spot every year since I was a baby (they still do!) and even though I’ve never been the wilderness type, I do love it. All the reading and cosiness and sunburn and mosquito bites and uncomfortable beds and why do I love it again?

    Also thanks for getting that song in my head :)ReplyCancel

  • Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence03/08/2013 - 5:28 pm

    Now THAT is one green smoothie. Looks so delicious.ReplyCancel

  • SARAH03/08/2013 - 5:30 pm

    Love this so much! The recipe, of course, which looks delicious (and sooo much better than the typical kale-celery-kelp concoction!), but also the writing. I have been craving nature in a very serious way lately, as many city-folk tend to do this glorious time of year. Thank you for yet another gorgeous and inspiring post!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Eat My Tortes04/08/2013 - 10:24 am

    your photos are gorgeous! green smoothie with no banana–can’t wait to try!ReplyCancel

  • linda jaseck05/08/2013 - 10:27 am

    this is so beautiful, i really can’t stand it. i’m making this today.
    thank you for your beautiful, inspiring posts. please never stop.
    this really made my day. i lovelove your stories and everything that you write pre-recipe. truly inspiring & sweet. xReplyCancel

  • sarah05/08/2013 - 5:26 pm

    I so, super-duper love that photo of you. You are the cutest. And! I just found out my Naked green juice has all kinds of crap in it, boo. So, I need to make this! xoReplyCancel

  • Jessina07/08/2013 - 10:12 am

    Love love love your site. I just found your Vimeo page and watched your Summer Panzanella video…I want more! Ok, I just can’t get enough of The First Mess posts. Love love.ReplyCancel

  • Yum, We Love . . .09/08/2013 - 7:05 am

    […] from The First Mess and her incredibly healthy recipes. I mean, check out the ingredients for her Green Drink pictured below . . . if this doesn’t cure me, I don’t know what […]ReplyCancel

  • Sol10/08/2013 - 3:50 pm

    I feel in love with his smoothie from the first time I tried it. I find myself craving it for a light snack or my meal after a heavy brunch. I tried to replace the apple for a banana once and it was not so great, so I will stick to the main combination for now. I’m using green chard, mint-parsley and peaches. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly12/08/2013 - 8:28 pm

    I love the shapes and colors of your green smoothie pre-blending! So gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • […] The second was a green smoothie recipe- […]ReplyCancel

  • Benji15/08/2013 - 3:40 pm

    I’m just looking at your picture of Kale it looks like Chard????????ReplyCancel

  • Benji15/08/2013 - 3:44 pm

    Please ignore my previous comment it’s amazing what happens when you read fyrther…:-DReplyCancel

  • […] ♔ I’m not always 100% on board with green smoothies, but this one seems indulgent AND healthy. Score! The Green Drink […]ReplyCancel

  • Wednesday Bites! | Sous Style11/09/2013 - 10:07 am

    […] Kitchy Kitchen 4. Gruyere and Prosciutto Croissant, Alexandra Cooks 5. The Green Drink, The First Mess 6. Caprese Crostini with Pesto, Pinch & Swirl 7. Kale Grapefruit Salad GymRa 8. Mushroom […]ReplyCancel

  • Claudia03/03/2014 - 4:56 pm

    Love your advice on greenies =)ReplyCancel

  • Grace12/08/2014 - 12:04 pm

    I have never had a better and more refreshing green drink in my life!!!! Thank you for your amazing culinary skillsReplyCancel

  • Martine05/09/2014 - 7:08 pm

    My go-to is blueberries, banana, almond milk, and almond butter. A new creation that I really like is frozen cranberries, a splash of cranberry juice, water or almond milk, and vanilla protein powder.ReplyCancel

  • daba13/06/2015 - 4:58 am

    Awesome and exciting. Can’t wait to try thisReplyCancel

  • […] 19. The Green Drink by The First Mess: […]ReplyCancel

  • Alexia18/08/2016 - 1:15 pm

    Hello! I’m looking forward to trying out this smoothie, but I’ve never put parsley, mint or ginger in my smoothies. Can you give me quantities that are a little bit more specific for these ingredients? I want to make sure I incorporate the right amount of flavor.ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/08/2016 - 1:27 pm

      Hi Alexia, I’ve updated the recipe with specific amounts. Hope that helps!

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  • Emma25/07/2013 - 7:07 am

    I love raw tacos! I’ve only made them with a walnut meat before but like the idea of using a combination of nuts. The raw corn salsa sounds a delicious addition too.ReplyCancel

  • Harriet25/07/2013 - 8:16 am

    These photos have me salivating – beautiful photography. And these tacos – I can taste the freshness and feel the crunch. I love all the components and all the possibilities.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar25/07/2013 - 8:19 am

    Raw tacos are so fun…and this particular recipe is super colourful! Love!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley25/07/2013 - 8:34 am

    Coconut aminos are so good!! I have a feeling after the next week and a half of being in limbo between 3 houses we are going to need a meal just like this. Feeling lucky the huz also enjoys this type of deliciousness. The last sentence in this post is my fav [and so are you!]. XO!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren @ La Dolce Pita25/07/2013 - 8:37 am

    I’m not usually into raw but these look awesome.

    Also, your post made me laugh :)ReplyCancel

  • Jo25/07/2013 - 8:40 am

    This is totally my kind of summer food. Fresh, light and full of flavour! I’ll defiantly be making these. I adore raw corn so much and your combo of ingredients sounds sooo good! Thank you.. I love your orange table cloth too!ReplyCancel

  • Beck25/07/2013 - 11:01 am

    Dude, this looks INCREDIBLE. Also, your intro made me laugh out loud.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte25/07/2013 - 11:28 am

    you are so wonderful. love your hippie self. By the pic, I thought that was tempeh, I am liking the nut mixture. Brilliant, you.ReplyCancel

  • Golubka25/07/2013 - 12:33 pm

    Your writing is so fun and the photos are tempting. Thank you for reminding me of raw tacos, so yummy and I think I have pretty much everything to make them tonight. Love raw corn!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer25/07/2013 - 12:50 pm

    What a great read! I too am a “summer slipper” and a raw taco fiend. And that has to be the most beautiful, pillowy, inviting photo of a head of cabbage I’ve ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • Christine Cummings25/07/2013 - 4:28 pm

    You are so funny! I feel lifted by your vibes. And the tacos are beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • sarah25/07/2013 - 4:43 pm

    Love this! Although, I am sitting here sipping on iced coffee. But I love all your vibes. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway25/07/2013 - 10:44 pm

    This post made me laugh, I’ve been accused of having those same hippy ‘vibes’, which I’m cool with :-)
    These look and sound amazing, another one to bookmark for our summer xxReplyCancel

  • Shanna25/07/2013 - 11:24 pm

    Ha! I can sound pretty vibey, too, I guess, and I am so with you on craving raw things when my body needs a reset. Laura, these pictures are so good! Adding these to my to-make list soon.ReplyCancel

  • Kayla26/07/2013 - 10:13 am

    I can’t get enough of your recipes and writing! Absolutely love it, and can’t wait to try this one out.ReplyCancel

  • carey26/07/2013 - 7:52 pm

    So I avoided lettuce cups in place of taco shells for the. longest. time. I don’t know why — I guess I just imagined they wouldn’t be as good, or they’d make me feel like a weenie. I finally gave them a go this summer, and I realized that (a) they’re delicious and (b) they allow me to eat MORE TACOS. Duh. (:ReplyCancel

  • Annika27/07/2013 - 12:11 pm

    Looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Another great healthy idea.ReplyCancel

  • Julia28/07/2013 - 9:10 pm

    WANT :)ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)29/07/2013 - 8:54 am

    Okay, if there at any point comes a time when we are in the same country, could we, maybe, you know–hang out? Because the whole joking-but-mostly-serious hippie BS + patio beers combo has me thinking that’d be SO much fun.

    I’ll bring the beer, you bring the tacos.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright29/07/2013 - 8:58 am

      Claire, YESSSSSS! I KNOW, without any doubt in my hippie BS-loving heart, that we would vibe :)))ReplyCancel

  • These tacos sound like such a treat, and perfectly light for a nice summer dinner. I plan on having company over this weekend I think these will be on the menu!ReplyCancel

  • Maria | Pink Patisserie31/07/2013 - 12:11 am

    This is perfect, lush summer food. I’ve yet to try a raw taco but I’m going to fix that stat. Gorgeous photos!ReplyCancel

  • Elen31/07/2013 - 11:20 am

    Made these last night and OMG they were so delicious. Full of flavor, but left us feeling light and satisfied when were done.
    This was my first experience with your recipes, but certainly not my last.
    Thank youReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen31/07/2013 - 3:14 pm

    loving the double-green layers of the wraps! Also your relaxed attitude. Um, I mean, vibes. I’ve still got half a jar of recently-made taco pickles sitting in the fridge so will keep this in mind next time I want a vegetable onslaught.ReplyCancel

  • Dervla @ the curator31/07/2013 - 4:02 pm

    i’ve totally been craving caffeine in the worst way lately. That morning cappuccino gets me all revved up and then a few hours later I’ll notice a tight rushed feeling in my body, like i’m being wound up like a spring. I’m on day 3 of no caffeine, and i’m totally making these raw tacos this weekend to feel “light and full at the same time” Love it!!

    PS: we were both on So, How was Your Day?! Fun :)ReplyCancel

  • Courtney West01/08/2013 - 3:22 pm

    I need these raw tacos in my life! I made a version recently using chard as a sort of “tortilla” but the cabbage looks a lot sturdier and easier to deal with. It gives it more of a taco vibe :)ReplyCancel

  • Alanna03/08/2013 - 10:30 pm

    These look absolutely DELICIOUS, especially the the nut and seed crumble. I would totally eat these and not feel deprived in the slightest. After all, my body is a temple. Now for a gin and tonic. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Rose07/08/2013 - 2:33 am

    Words cannot actually describe how good these look right now!!! I’m on exchange and my host family doesn’t go in for raw vegan food much (hardly surprising, I’m in northern France!) and so I must wait for another 2 months until I can get home to try them…luckily it will be spring in Australia by then!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina09/08/2013 - 7:23 pm

    I just made these, and they were great. I used iceberg lettuce for the shells because it was all they had at Trader Joe’s – still good, but I felt a little less healthy. The nut crumbles were AWESOME. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Lately | Charlotte au Chocolat12/08/2013 - 3:44 am

    […] How stunning are these raw tacos?! […]ReplyCancel

  • Jeanette12/08/2013 - 6:17 pm

    Goodness Yum! I am prepping these right now and the “meat” is delicious. I cannot wait to serve them tonight to my friends. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe and beautiful inspiring photosReplyCancel

  • Lauren15/08/2013 - 2:44 pm

    Laura, these photos are gorgeous! I’m so inspired by your thoughtfulness in your photography, and also the FOOD. Amazing! I live in LA and eat relatively clean and these tacos totally fit the bill. I cannot wait to give them a try. So glad to have found your blog! XO, LaurenReplyCancel

  • Teresa03/10/2013 - 1:12 pm

    Holy YUM!! Thank you so much for these recipes! I will be sharing the link in my blog post today ( with a few other healthy taco recipes to celebrate national taco day tomorrow. These look amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Clarke17/10/2013 - 9:58 pm

    I just shared these on my facebook page. We are having them for lunch tomorrow. YUM!ReplyCancel

  • […] my google quest, I took this recipe and this recipe, combined them with this sour cream and then added a few tweaks of my own to […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw + Vegan Taco Vibes by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw + Vegan Taco Vibes by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Vegan Tacos are from one of my favorite blogs The First Mess. They are DELICIOUS and LOADED with nutrition!! A great recipe for a spring day. All of the […]ReplyCancel

  • YoungOldMe16/05/2014 - 11:38 pm

    Made these for an appetizer party with 7 women. They were the best! Everybody ate them and liked them. I was surprised how many ate the cabbage leaves. I had some nice savoy cabbage leaves. Followed the recipe fairly closely. Everyone liked the nut mix part the best – I used cumin and chili powder. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Vegan Taco Vibes by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] town, I was inspired to find a solid recipe for a vegan taco salad. A bit of Googling later, and I found this recipe – so good! It was super simple, quick and both my boyfriend and I really enjoyed it. So much […]ReplyCancel

  • 3 Ways: Vegetable Wrap Ideas02/09/2014 - 5:23 pm

    […] No. 2: CABBAGE & SWISS CHARD raw taco wraps.  The leaves contain cancer-fighting flavonoids shown to help inhibit colon cancer cell growth. // The science. Recipe created by The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Vegan Tacos by The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Taco Tuesday - Chez Us02/12/2014 - 3:04 am

    […] […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess Raw Vegan Tacos with Chard […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw tacos with spicy nut crumble and sweet corn ceviche salsa from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Mushroomes with Spicy Nut and Seed Crumble.  The mushrooms were my recipe but the nut and seed crumble recipe can be found here.  This was truly an amazing and tasty […]ReplyCancel

  • Never Eat Shredded Wheat03/08/2015 - 9:23 am

    We first made this when we were focusing on health before our wedding, but have come back to it many times since. The fresh corn is like a little bit of sunshine. Thanks for the great recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw tacos with spicy nut crumble and sweet corn ceviche salsa from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] weird at first, but with the avocado and other ingredients, it really worked. I  modified the raw tacos from The First Mess. My modifications were sriracha instead of cashew sour cream (the three hour […]ReplyCancel

  • Merilee Estes18/01/2016 - 1:05 pm

    Can’t wait to make this!ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw and Vegan Tacos – If you’re not already blown away by just looking at the health in the picture […]ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin28/03/2017 - 3:24 pm

    I made this into a taco salad for my lunch this week. Delicious!

    I will say that I followed your instruction to blend the cashew sour cream and it went poorly. The mixture just went right into the corners and beneath my blade in my vitamix and I was constantly scrapping down. Ended up moving it into my food processor and it blended right up!ReplyCancel

  • […] Find the recipe here: The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Sara10/08/2017 - 7:26 pm

    I made this tonight for my newly vegan husband (Im still a carnivore lol). Absolutely wonderful recpe. We both loved it. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • […] Mac and cheese (add smoked crispy sage leaves or your fav veg bacon!), and raw tacos (I add jicama slices, and make my “meat” with dehydrated mushrooms sometimes too – you can […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Raw Corn and Avocado Tacos […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thought I’d make some vegan tzatziki out of this great cashew sour cream I had just made. I have dill growing in the garden and happened to have an organic cucumber and […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
There’s a few instances of life-y things that I can count on one hand (hope you’re not expecting deep thoughts today):

The number of times in my adult existence that I’ve had a professional haircut (ditto for manicures and pedicures combined).

The number of times that I’ve visited New York City (’bout to change in September yesssss!).

The number of times I’ve bought a tie dyed/acid wash clothing item and regretted it (I can actually count that on NO HANDS, guys).

…And with the previous in mind, the number of times I’ve lingered over this Himalayan salt lamp purchase page (good air viiiiiiiibes).

Finally, the number of times I’ve really, truly, sincerely enjoyed a potato salad (LET’S DO THIS THING).

It’s hella obvious why a more typical potato salad is just not my scene. The texture is most definitely gloppy because the ratio of potatoes to mayonnaise is generally 1:1. There’s something wrong there. I’ve had a few vinaigrette-dressed versions that I could totally get behind, but I mean… filling 1/3 of my plate with potatoes at the hot-as-eff-in-July BBQ and washing it down with at least two beers (make mine a High Life, k thanks) is going to elicit some lethargy + all-out crankiness later on in the day (“But I’m TIRED.”). I want some vegetables. Some crunchy things. Something with water and vitamins.

So with this version, I started with seriously tender potatoes dug up from the garden. I filled out half of the salad with vegetables, grilled everything for texture, and dressed the whole mess in a tinkered up version of one of my favourite sauces. I love romesco because the ingredient list is fairly basic and it offers mucho flavour to anything you could possibly want to eat. Typically I would blitz it up in the food processor, but I went for a full on purée in the blender to achieve a creamier consistency. Once I had a batch made, I mixed a portion of it with a bit more oil for even coating and a touch of dijon mustard to evoke that traditional potato salad feel.

Then I went crazy with the add-ons: grilled mini zucchinis that I had picked up at a farm stand (some of them came with flowers attached!), the sweetest cherry tomatoes, garden green beans, olives, chives and grilled lemon. Basically all of the good things. Grilling a halved lemon is kind of my go-to fancy lady barbecue trick (you have those too, right?). The juices caramelize a bit and add just the right amount of lightly smoky acidity. Just baller on simple grilled vegetables or kale salads, but especially nice here because it thins the intensity of the romesco a bit. I kind of love this little mash up salad because it knocks out the veggie + the starch sides in one slick move.

And with that, I’ll raise a frosty High Life to you all from my heat wave-drenched nook of the world :) xo

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!

grilled potato, lemon + zucchini salad with romesco recipe
serves: 6-8
notes: If you don’t have access to a grill, roasting all of the vegetables in batches might be a nice approach (but maybe only if you have air conditioning/a crazy strong fan in your house…).

romesco sauce ingredients:
1 roasted red bell pepper, stems + seeds removed (use one from a jar if you feel it)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup blanched almonds
2 tbsp tomato paste
big splash of sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of chili flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper

salad ingredients:
1 lb of small potatoes, scrubbed
1 big handful of green beans, trimmed
6-7 small zucchinis, or 2 regular ones, cut down the middle lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup romesco
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of pine nuts (optional)
handful of olives
10 chives, rough chopped
salt + pepper

Make the romesco: combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for a minute or so, until a creamy consistency is achieved. Check the sauce for seasoning, adjust, and scrape into a sealable container. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to help preserve the sauce a bit more. Place in the fridge or set aside if you’re using it right away.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover them with cold water. Put a lid on the pot and place it over medium-high heat. Bring the pot a boil and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of them. Place the beans into the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the whole thing and return the potatoes to the pot. Run the green beans under cold water to avoid overcooking. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces once cool enough to handle and thread the pieces onto skewers. Coat the potatoes with a bit of the grapeseed oil. Season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat a grill to high. Toss the zucchini halves with a bit more of the oil and season them with salt and pepper. Place the potato skewers and zucchini halves on the grill. Place the grilled lemon, cut side down, onto the grates as well. Flip all of the vegetables once they start charring a bit, about 5-8 minutes total. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Cut the zucchini pieces into bite sized bits if necessary. Remove the grilled lemon from the grill as well.

Combine the romesco with the remaining oil and dijon mustard. Squeeze the grilled lemon into the romesco mixture and stir it up. Pour this mix on top of the potatoes and zucchini. Add the blanched beans, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olives and chives. Squeeze the grilled lemon over top and season the whole mix with salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine. Check the salad for seasoning and garnish the top with some extra chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • Nat @ the Apple Diaries18/07/2013 - 7:27 am

    Amazing! I love the addition of olives in this recipe, they’re a great source of healthy fats and good for hormone balancing. I just wish I had seen this when I needed to use up my zucchinis!ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway18/07/2013 - 7:50 am

    Oh you lucky thing, freshly dug spuds are one of life’s greatest things. Loving reading about your summer salad as I sit here freezing my butt off with gloves on :-) xxReplyCancel

  • Kathryn18/07/2013 - 8:12 am

    Totally on-board with your feelings about potato salads(although I’m not sure I will ever forget the potato salad my ex-housemate made for a barbecue without realising that he had to cook the potatoes first…). Grilling the potatoes is a great start plus the kick of flavour from that romesco sauce. Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley18/07/2013 - 8:14 am

    Umm, can I tell you how much I love your use of the word, “gloppy?” This is the potato salad of my dreams!! But, High Life? Yah…we’ll work on that when you’re out here. ;) The light in the kitchen table shot is spectacular!!!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar18/07/2013 - 8:17 am

    This looks totally dreamy!ReplyCancel

  • nicola lynde18/07/2013 - 9:39 am

    This looks awesome! As much as I love a good old bacon, cheddar, green onion classic, I love some of the sans mayo version too. Definitely pinning this for my next BBQ.ReplyCancel

  • Leah18/07/2013 - 10:28 am

    Yes to hating on conventional potato salad. There’s an interesting section in My Berlin Kitchen where Luisa Weiss discusses her hatred of all things mayonnaise-potato-salad. She then turns to a vinegar based German variety, finding herself relieved that her partner shares this preference. True love indeed. I’m happy for her, but this is still not my thing. Like you, I prefer a sauce based in oil.

    It’s funny that potato salad is such a staple, yet if you read food blogs, people seem to hate it! How is this possible? Either food blogs are just doing their own thing, or people are politely eating a ton of potato salad that they can’t stand.ReplyCancel

  • Michele18/07/2013 - 12:59 pm

    Just curious, did you never make any tie-dye purchases or did you never regret the purchases you made? Have fun in NYC!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright18/07/2013 - 1:02 pm

      Ahaha. Clarification! The tie dyed section of my closet is impressive–no regrets EVER. And thanks!ReplyCancel

  • dana18/07/2013 - 4:34 pm

    BEAUTIFUL! Love everything about this post – its simplicity, the stunning photographs and this gorgeous, gorgeous recipe. Must try this summer!ReplyCancel

  • Shanna18/07/2013 - 8:55 pm

    Your pictures seriously always blow me away. Gorgeous post.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen19/07/2013 - 6:32 am

    Romesco! I love it. Also I am totally with you on the professional haircuts thing. I like my hair to be long…and tend to just be able to get by on the occasional fringe trim. Also, this sounds a million times nicer than any potato salad I’ve ever had (looking at you, three-day-old supermarket delicatessen offering…)ReplyCancel

  • Jessen19/07/2013 - 7:31 am

    LOVE This! In the winter I usually make Roasted Potato Salads without the Glop.ReplyCancel

  • Harriet21/07/2013 - 6:03 am

    So many good things in this salad I don’t even know where to start! Romesco is frickin’ awesome, but I hadn’t thought to use it as a salad dressing before – genius! The mix of veggies, herbs and olives also looks divine!ReplyCancel

  • Blaine Arin23/07/2013 - 9:44 am

    I couldn’t be MORE with you on this potato salad situation – gimme more veg! Gorgeous post, thanks lady.ReplyCancel

  • JAY23/07/2013 - 6:33 pm

    Looks amazing! Zucchs are my favorite this summer!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoonBelle24/07/2013 - 8:07 am

    I really dislike mayonnaise and ‘traditional’ potato salad, always looking for alternative recipes for spring/summer meals. This looks incredible, love all the veg, and romesco is amazing. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Shira25/07/2013 - 1:35 pm

    Gorgeous salad Laura! I am with you and gotta have something special to make me want to make (or eat) potato salad. Looks like we will be in NYC in the same month too – so looking forward to getting back. Happy summer to you!ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess, Grilled Potato, Lemon and Zucchini Salad […]ReplyCancel

  • Michelle York01/08/2013 - 10:49 am

    As a vegetarian for 35 years, I adore your blog. The photographs are gorgeous..the writing is so personal. The recipes are begging to be made. Thanks for all your efforts.ReplyCancel

  • jgBoston03/08/2013 - 9:50 pm

    Made this for a picnic potluck, though it wasn’t in a pretty container, it tasted fabulous and travels well. I only had a few olives and no chives, I’d include more next time. I don’t have a grill, but “grilled” the veg in a grill pan and it had a great char. I’d grill a few more lemons, some sliced to add to salad presentation.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle06/08/2013 - 11:10 pm

    Beautiful pics!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jess11/08/2013 - 4:25 am

    Just made this for dinner & it was amazing! Definitely going to be making a regular appearance on the dinner table. Made it with roast chicken and kumara as a side. Delish :) love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • […] a new recipe last night for a grilled vegetable salad with romesco dressing /sauce.  I first tasted romesco at one of my most favorite restaurants anywhere – […]ReplyCancel

  • […] grilled salad: I have already made this potato, zucchini salad + romesco sauce with this summer’s bounty and I can testify that  it is unbelievably delicious. The romesco […]ReplyCancel

  • […] different. I pretty much followed Deb’s recipe here and was using The First Mess’ recipe: Grilled potato, green beans, lemon + zucchini salad as inspiration for the image I just mentioned. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] link is here and you should check it out for sure as the photograph is mouth watering gorgeous.  And then you […]ReplyCancel

  • […] on this recipe from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] suggest befriending someone with a zucchini garden | via the First […]ReplyCancel

  • Elise Campbell06/11/2017 - 3:16 pm

    Made this last night and loved it :) Just wondering, how long does the romesco keep for? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura15/11/2017 - 5:16 pm

      Usually about 5-7 days covered in the refrigerator!ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
Putting food on the table is an obvious highlight point of the day for someone like myself and no doubt someone like you as well if you find yourself here with frequency (waves hi). Even if it’s just for me, I enjoy the passage of raw product from thought to nourishment, however long it might take. Actually, I enjoy it with a special heightened sense of gratification if I’m cooking for myself. In these stickier and brighter days, the ratio of effort to ultimate pleasurable experience is approached with a touch more consideration though. There is much to do in the long daytime hours of summer and the heat seems to pull at our focus on most days. The vegetables require less effort when they rise up out of our own dirt and we like to cut to the chase as far as meal semblances go anyway. The season is bright, it warms us to the bone, and it provides immensely, but it is also here and gone like a flash of lightning.

I’ve been working on all manners of things with intensity as of late–at the restaurant and on some creative projects. It feels like I’m always frantically jotting something down so that the next step/movement is easier. It keeps me in the realm of the future-possible and I’m all the lighter for it. My love and I have been planning his birthday weekend (oh lordy can’t wait), as well as a very rustic camping trip for the beginning of August and I caught myself uttering something to this effect: “Well yeah, it’ll be your birthday and then there’s a week of stuff, we go to that concert and then we go camping and then summer’s basically over.” And I mean… that isn’t true of southern Ontario as far as actual weather is concerned. September is stunningly beautiful here. But that feeling, the way we carry ourselves with less weight because it all just comes together, it seems to blow over like the intensity of a summer storm. Once in the thick of it, blinding light + black everywhere, and then the quiet of a movement gone.

It seems even more important to feel your feelings and wrap yourself up in what’s happening within arm’s reach.

So in terms of an actual meal and day-to-day living, this means that I’m relying on strong, very flavourful + easy sauces, as well as trusted techniques for more basic foodstuffs. Flicks of the wrist, a few chops and retrievals from the fridge are enough for dinner out of necessity. They have to be. Sauce at the ready, good vegetables, tasty staples and 10 minutes at the grill is the long and short of this particular dish. I had been thinking about homemade teriyaki and some charred-up eggplant for a while, but many recipes for the much-loved sauce are all salty soy and brown sugar (and sometimes starchy filler things). I love salt (like, true love 4 ever kind of love) and sweet things, but I wanted this to be a bit higher vibe with all of the punchy flavour still intact. I consulted a few books and rustled up this balsamic + honey/brown rice syrup-based mix that fills the role pretty wonderfully. Not authentic. Not even concerned. Just tasty. The rice that I serve it with is all herb-flecked with lots of delicious summery add-ins. Lime, chilies, shallots, cashews, scallions, sesames and more importantly, it’s cooked with a knob of coconut oil for that tropical fragrance. This is a strategy I always fall on for lovely brown rice. The aroma is lush and the fat helps to separate the grains a bit. The confetti tangle of garnishes really makes this dish for me.

So just like that, with a scrap of somewhat scattered forethought, dinner is ready in the great outdoors. We’re full, but still vibrant because of it. Hope you’re all savouring these days, staying hydrated and being kind to yourselves and each other. xo

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vibed-out teriyaki grilled eggplant w/ herbed cashew coconut rice recipe
serves: 4
notes: Tofu, tempeh, portobellos and any other protein/highly absorbent vegetable you could find would be equally good in place of the eggplant.

teriyaki sauce:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey/brown rice syrup/maple syrup/agave nectar
splash of GF tamari
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
white parts of 2 green onions, roughed up with the back of your knife a bit (save green parts for the rice)
black pepper
1 tsp miso
1 tsp mirin

eggplant + herbed cashew coconut rice ingredients:
2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
sea salt
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 slice of fresh ginger
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + extra for the grill
fat pinch of sea salt
2 cups filtered water
juice of 1 lime
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
green parts of 2 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 sprigs basil, chopped
2 sprigs mint, chopped
1/3 cup toasted cashews + extra for garnish, chopped
small handful black sesame seeds
1 chili, thinly sliced (optional)
more salt + pepper
handful of sprouts/micro greens (optional)

Make the teriyaki sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the miso and mirin in a smal saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the miso and mirin until the miso is fully dissolved. Set sauce aside to cool.

Place the eggplant slices in a large colander. Season the slices liberally with salt and toss them around to ensure even contact with the salt. Let the eggplant drain in the sink for about 10 minutes. Pour out any excess water and place eggplant slices in a ceramic dish. Cover the eggplant with 1/2 of the teriyaki sauce and allow it to marinate while you prepare the rice.

Place the brown rice, ginger slice, coconut oil, salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the rice to a boil and simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Scrape rice into a large bowl and allow to cool for a bit. Once adequately cool, toss the rice with all of the remaining herbed cashew + coconut rice ingredients, reserving some of the herbs, shallots, cashews and seeds for garnish. Check the mix for seasoning and adjust. Set aside.

Preheat your grill to high and brush it with some coconut oil. Place the marinated eggplant slices on the grates. Allow them to develop char, about 3 minutes, and then flip the slices over. Brush the grilled sides with extra teriyaki sauce. Once the other side is charred, flip the slice sover once more and quickly brush the other side with teriyaki sauce. Remove slices from the grill and serve with herbed cashew coconut rice. Garnish with remaining herbs, nuts and sprouts.

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  • Kathryn10/07/2013 - 4:41 am

    Love what you say about savouring these days; this looks like the perfect dish to do just that.ReplyCancel

  • Emma10/07/2013 - 4:50 am

    I’m exactly the same- I adore the whole process of putting food on the table, whether it’s just for me or for family and friends. It’s so grounding somehow.
    This dish looks spectacular. I love Ottolenghi’s soba noodle dish with teryaki aubergine (eggplant) and mango so am already a fan of aubergine done sweet and sticky style.ReplyCancel

  • Harriet10/07/2013 - 5:32 am

    Teriyaki eggplant sounds like just the right thing, and that tricked out rice looks amazing! Mint and basil paired together are so good. Perfect summer meal.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar10/07/2013 - 7:53 am

    LOVE this! It screams summer!ReplyCancel

  • Leah10/07/2013 - 9:51 am

    Ah — the Canadian approach to summer! So fast to come and go. Each September, no matter how beautiful, is a heartbreaker.

    I love coconut rice, but have tended to use coconut milk — I’ll have to try the oil on for size. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne10/07/2013 - 10:34 am

    This looks too good to be true! Can’t wait to try it :)ReplyCancel

  • Kankana10/07/2013 - 1:57 pm

    I love pan fried eggplant with plain steamed rice but teriyaki eggplant with coconut rice sounds SO good!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren10/07/2013 - 11:34 pm

    I am definitely making this- it looks AMAZING! And so different from any other eggplant recipe that I use.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • e / dig in hobart11/07/2013 - 1:07 am

    i’ve been neglecting brown rice lately for the fluffy healthiness of quinoa. but i’m drawn to your flavoursome way of cooking the rice, and all that green herbiness is very fresh!ReplyCancel

  • Charul @ Tadka Masala11/07/2013 - 1:23 am

    Your pictures are oh-so-delicious! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea11/07/2013 - 10:34 am

    YUM! Pinning this to try later. I love cooking with eggplant and cashews! I just made some vegetable pockets with them. So delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Golubka11/07/2013 - 11:20 am

    I love your words about cooking and enjoying the summer. The dish looks delicious, especially as I adore eggplant in every possible prepared way.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey11/07/2013 - 2:14 pm

    I’m really looking forward to trying this teriyaki sauce out. I usually stay away from the store bought kind becasue of the sodium overload, and like you said, the fillers. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Kris11/07/2013 - 5:33 pm

    I just put a spoon of coconut oil into this evening’s pot of rice. Can’t believe I never thought about this before! Genius.ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoonBelle15/07/2013 - 7:34 am

    This looks incredible, we have really been loving eggplant right now– putting it in Indian curry, mediterranean fish dishes, anything we can think of. This is being bookmarked for the next bbq meal. Thanks, and happy summer to you!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy15/07/2013 - 10:21 pm

    I’m so quick to say something along the lines of what you said to your fellow – rattling off the list of what’s ahead and then the fact that when that’s done, summertime is over. You’re spot on with your reminder to savor it. I think, too, that when we obsess less about the timeline and the quickness of the season, focusing instead on just savoring and enjoying, it doesn’t feel so short after all. Wishing you many bright and simple meals and a deep enjoyment of all of it!ReplyCancel

  • Julia16/07/2013 - 7:21 am

    this is SO what i need now!!!! just returned home from a trip east.. where we ate & drank merrily. need to get back to some CLEAN eating. so looking forward to trying this eggplant dish! thanks Laura ;)ReplyCancel

  • kelsey17/07/2013 - 11:20 pm

    Things I like, not in order of importance.

    a) The phrase “high vibe,” I’ve seen you drop that little number a few times now and I’m a super fan. Going to try it on my friends. Probably not cool enough, but we’ll see how it goes over.

    b) I’m relieved you like eggplant. I’m suspicious of people who do not.

    c) I’m really enjoying Mark’s instagram. Yes. I’ve taken it to a new level. I noticed all these blog readers following Shaun for some BTS action and I was like AHHHAAA! I know whose boyfriend/life partner I need to cyberstalk.

    d) Your respect for sauce. I mean, really. You are a sauce queen, dear. I’m thinking a “Laura’s Own” would be, ahem, a pretty sweet branding “opportunity.” That’s what the PR folks say, at least. ;)


  • […] teriyaki eggplant and cashew herbed coconut rice looks awesome. I love anything Asian, I love when rice is made into something bright and […]ReplyCancel

  • val01/08/2013 - 4:53 pm

    This=delicious, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith05/08/2013 - 3:33 pm

    Just made this for dinner with an organic aubergine (I’m British ;-)) and it was amazing! So easy to make and I think that sauce world work in other recipes like stir fries etc. Lovely to have something different on our plate on a Monday evening! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright05/08/2013 - 8:16 pm

      Hey Meredith! Aubergine does have such a lovely ring to it. Glad you were digging it :)

  • Amanda Paa (@amanda_paa)06/08/2013 - 9:11 pm

    I just made this and we loved it – so hearty and satisfying. I think grilling other vegetables the same would be wonderful as well. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] for the recipe, Laura! Do you think we can bond over Canadian peaches and Georgia […]ReplyCancel

  • […] – Sticky Teriyaki Eggplant with Herbed Cashew and Coconut Rice – for some reason, I got the idea to twice roast the aubergines, which causes them to shrink more than they should have, very tasty though. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thursday: sticky teriyaki eggplant with herbed cashew and coconut rice […]ReplyCancel

  • […] // Teriyaki Eggplant with Herbed Cashew and Coconut Rice : Nothing much to say about this dish apart from that it looks amazing. I love eggplants and […]ReplyCancel

  • The Charm of Bowls -18/06/2014 - 12:47 pm

    […] Eggplant Bowl. I turned this dish into a Bowl, using quinoa instead of rice and adding different toppings such as avocado. That […]ReplyCancel

  • Ssmall1827/04/2015 - 11:44 am

    I was wondering if you could bake the aubergine in the teriyaki sauce instrad of grilling as I don’t have a griddle pan.
    How long would you recommend?

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura28/04/2015 - 9:04 am

      You could certainly roast the eggplant in the oven. I’d put the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, lightly brush the eggplant slices with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast on a parchment-covered sheet for 25-ish minutes, flipping the slices a couple times. In the last 10 minutes of roasting I would brush the teriyaki sauce onto the slices a few times. Once the eggplant is browned and sufficiently cooked, remove it from the oven and brush it one more time with the teriyaki sauce before serving.

  • Sarah | Well and Full30/06/2015 - 1:07 pm

    You are such a great photographer, Laura! The plating, the lighting – everything is perfect. I always love coming here for photographic inspiration :)ReplyCancel

  • Marry21/08/2015 - 12:39 am

    I made this tonight and really liked it. I did the oven roasted method and roasted some tofu at the same time. Love the homemade teriyaki sauce as my boyfriend can’t eat much salt and I would rather have homemade anything any day. Thank you for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Valérie Charest29/08/2015 - 11:00 am

    I discovered your blog earlier this week and I’m so impressed so far! I just went vegetarian and I embrace my new diet by cooking a lot more and trying a bunch of delicious and fresh recipes. We LOVED this one! Will definitely make it again and again! Thank you and keep up the amazing work!It’s very inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • […] Sticky teriyaki eggplant with herbed coconut cashew rice. While I can’t give out the slaw recipe, this is one Laura already published that is delightful. Along with the slaw it made a great vegetable-packed meal. I don’t have a grill so I broiled the eggplant for 8 minutes on high, flipping halfway through. My one change would be to make more sauce (probably double it) so there is some leftover for drizzling over the cooked eggplant and rice. […]ReplyCancel

  • Cassie26/05/2016 - 11:23 am

    I too definitely find myself making reeeeeeeeeeally early future plans! I just get so stimulated by stress-, which is pretty bad! Alsooooo, YUM, OMG. I love eggplant with teriyaki sauce! This is a great way to put a super easy and creative twist on eggplant!ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
You know what is completely lovely? Pie and ice cream in the summertime. Kind of a no-brainer, but still worthy of the mention and a little recipe on here I think. Just thinking of a little plate heaped with shattering crust, stew-y fruit and cold cream feels hazy and dream-like. I’m not fanatical about crust all the time if I’m being frank. The filling is more of an attraction in a general way and what’s even more desirable is the creamy scoop that is casually finger flicked and served alongside, slowly slipping into a puddle on the plate. The pie is flaky, crumbly and jammy. The ice cream is smooth, fatty and cold. The one component carries the seasonal abundance and texture, the other adds lightness while simultaneously bringing out the rich aspects of undeniably homey dessert. Happy, happy union.

I do enjoy a strawberry pie quite a bit. It seems like the crop is at its mega-prime right at this very moment. We went driving around some of the more agricultural/wine country-ish areas of the region over the weekend. There were original plans to go to the beach, but this was all just as well. We stopped at an astro turf-covered stand that’s run by this rather quirky-seeming lady who wears floral jeans in a way that is decidedly unaware of movements/trends in the fashion world. She just likes them and that is totally fine. Her brother was sorting through some berries and as I was buying them up, they both mentioned no less than 6 times that I had to eat them right away because they didn’t use any spray or herbicide. Got it. All smiles and reassurances.

The rest of the day was spent tip toeing through the creepiest ever antique shop bargain basement (scored a totally sweet bowl though), having lunch at one of our favourite places, stopping at a local distillery for some white rye + bitters, and then putting those spoils to good use at the drive-in with some wonderful friends (and snacks, duh). Just going along wherever the wind blows. That’s summer. And that’s how I happened onto this pie + ice cream combination.

I love chocolate and strawberry together (seriously, who doesn’t). But I also enjoy hazelnut with both of those flavours, so I thought I’d go all out on this one. I made hand pies because I can’t resist that sweet half moon shape. Also, a portable dessert is rather convenient when you’re running from one incredibly fun/chill-breezy summertime activity to the next. The pastry is all whole wheat pastry flour and coconut oil, which gives a nice grainy heft and fragrance. The ice cream is my favourite part though. It’s maple sweetened full fat coconut milk at the base. I make it warm with vanilla and blend it up with a big scoop of wine-y + dark raw cacao powder. I toasted hazelnuts right to the edge of burnt (this makes them so easy to peel!), chopped them up and dropped them in right at the end of churning. Doesn’t even seem like it could be real, it’s so dreamy.

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strawberry hand pies recipe
serves: makes 12
notes: I used the coconut oil pie crust recipe from Food52 pretty much to the letter, aside from subbing whole wheat pastry flour in for the all purpose. Also, I didn’t use a food processor like they suggested–just a pastry cutter and my own two hands. The coconut oil should be cold, but not so cold that you can’t cut it into the flour. I like to put a 1/2 cup of little oil scoops into a bowl and chill it for about 1/2 an hour or so.

1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
coconut sugar/evaporated cane sugar to your like (I used about 1/4 cup) + extra for sprinkling
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of coconut oil pie dough (made with whole wheat pastry flour if you like)
milk of your choice for brushing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, coconut sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Set aside.

Generously dust a working surface with flour. Place the chilled disc of pie dough onto that surface. Roll it out as evenly as you can to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use a large-ish circular biscuit/cookie cutter to punch out individual crusts (my cutter was 3 7/8 inches). Lay the dough circles on the parchment lined sheet. Spoon the strawberries onto the centers of the dough circles. Fold one side of each circle over the fruit and pinch the edges shut by pressing the tines of a fork into the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.

vegan chocolate hazelnut ice cream recipe
with guidance from A Couple Cooks
serves: makes 1 litre
notes: This churns up a lot better if the mixture is cold when it goes into the ice cream maker. You could always just make sure to chill the cans of the coconut milk overnight too.

2 cans of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder would be fine!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of xanthan gum (very optional)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted + chopped

Whisk or blend together all of the ingredients except for the hazelnuts. Chill this mixture down properly if you need to. Pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. In the last couple minutes of churning, sprinkle in the toasted + chopped hazelnuts. Once fully churned, scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze until ready to use.

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  • Kathryn03/07/2013 - 5:59 am

    There is nothing about this recipe that I’m not totally in love with.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - The Sugar Hit03/07/2013 - 6:23 am

    You have perfectly summed up everything I love about pie and it’s best friend ice cream. This looks freakin’ awesomeReplyCancel

  • ileana03/07/2013 - 7:15 am

    The food blog world is taunting me with pies! Slab pies! Hand pies! These are gorgeous. And I love the less common combination of hazelnut and strawberry. You’re doing summer well! :)ReplyCancel

  • Becs @ Lay the table03/07/2013 - 7:20 am

    It sounds like you had an amazing time – I love not making specific plans and seeing where the wind takes me….especially if it involves eating! The pies sound amazing – haven’t made a vegan icecream yet but would love to try as my dad is lactose intolerant.ReplyCancel

  • Emma03/07/2013 - 7:35 am Both the little pies and the ice cream look heavenly. I’m not usually a chocolate ice cream kind of girl but bring in hazelnuts and I can definitely get behind it..ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf03/07/2013 - 8:36 am

    Beautiful way of using this gorgeous fruit and the ice cream sounds incredible too. I’ve never made vegan ice cream but have been eating a little less dairy recently due to skin allergies and am keen to try!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan03/07/2013 - 8:47 am

    Summer=love, including this ridic awesome pie and ice cream, yes girl!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda03/07/2013 - 9:19 am

    Beautiful photos! I am definitely going to have to make these, what a great summer combo.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough03/07/2013 - 9:37 am

    There really is nothing like pie and ice cream in the summertime. Oh, how I love it. And this recipe is exactly how I want to enjoy that combo this summer. YUM.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney03/07/2013 - 10:14 am

    Anytime I have pie without ice cream, I always end up craving ice cream instead of enjoying the pie. Glad to see this delicious combo :)ReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily03/07/2013 - 11:41 am

    What cute little pies! I’ll have so much fun making (and eating) these with the kids!ReplyCancel

  • Blandine03/07/2013 - 11:41 am

    Yes please!!! What a beautiful way of celebrating summer :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily K. @ Leaf Parade03/07/2013 - 1:35 pm

    These photos have me summer-hungry. Beautiful!
    -Emily K.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer03/07/2013 - 2:31 pm

    These look great!

    xo JenniferReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen03/07/2013 - 3:01 pm

    Well, if hand pies aren’t just the cutest things ever. Also, SUPER sweet score with that bowl! And now I want to call in sick to work and spend some significant time relaxing with white rye and bitters. And hand pies.ReplyCancel

  • Harriet03/07/2013 - 6:09 pm

    Man! All you lovely northern-hemisphere food blogs are making me crave summer and summertime food SO much (it’s winter here in Australia). I’m new to the concept of hand pies, and I absolutely can’t wait for an opportunity to make some (who knows, they look good for a snack!). And that ice cream looks dreamy.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte03/07/2013 - 10:29 pm

    oh happy summer! A drive in sounds so lovely. Wish we had one close. I’m with you, not the biggest fan of crust, but I do love the romantic mini pies. And ice cream I am always behind. Looks fabReplyCancel

  • Nicola Galloway04/07/2013 - 4:38 am

    Mmm strawberries pies and chocolate icecream. sometimes it is so difficult reading blogs on the other side of the world. not a strawberry in sight here.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna04/07/2013 - 10:26 am

    All I can say is WOWReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com04/07/2013 - 5:44 pm

    There’s pies and ice cream. I’m feeling so much better about the scorching summer in FLorida :)ReplyCancel

  • Claire05/07/2013 - 10:10 am

    I have just died. This. Is. Heaven.ReplyCancel

  • […] And for a variation on a theme, strawberry hand pies. (The First Mess.) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] A pretty healthy take on strawberry pie and chocolate hazelnut ice cream […]ReplyCancel

  • Liren07/07/2013 - 2:32 pm

    If only my pies turned out as perfectly as yours! Hand pies, however, I can do. And ice cream. I do love how you pair the gooey strawberry with the cool and creamy chocolate hazelnut – heaven.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey08/07/2013 - 7:57 am

    i love how simply delicate these hand pies are. i wish strawberry season could last forever, or at least a little longer than it usually does.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey09/07/2013 - 11:17 am

    I love chocolate and strawberries, and as much as I love hazelnut, I actually hadn’t thought to put the two together! Nothing says summer like handpies and ice cream. Beautiful, girl!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley17/07/2013 - 5:01 pm

    love hand pies! my daughter and I made cherry hand pies last week for our picnic.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl12/08/2013 - 10:10 pm

    What a perfect way to use our strawberries straight from the garden, thank you for this delicious recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] Duo worthy of sharing, as it appears just as decadent if not more than any other dessert.  These strawberry hand pies and chocolate hazelnut ice cream from The First Mess remind me of childhood, and I just could not […]ReplyCancel

  • […] blend pastry this time, and I went from there. After seeing Laura’s (from The First Mess) strawberry hand pies a couple months back, I decided something similar was definitely on the cards. Instead of […]ReplyCancel

  • […] at Luna & Larry’s to make this come together quickly. If you have time to make your own, this recipe without the hazelnuts would be just […]ReplyCancel

  • Golubka Kitchen23/03/2014 - 6:02 pm

    […] Despite how it may seem now, summer is not far – soon will be time to make Laura’s Strawberry Handpies and maybe even the ice cream too? 2. Lindsey’s gluten free Cranberry Poptarts with Ginger […]ReplyCancel

  • Anna24/06/2014 - 9:31 pm

    I just made this yesterday. OMG. So good! My husband says it’s better than ice cream, and I concur!ReplyCancel