fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!fall goods // @thefirstmesspin it!
I love sauce (not to be confused with a love for hitting the sauce). I love the taste-as-you-go nature of making one, re-working classics, coming up with wild new versions, and smothering my food with it, always. Most importantly, I like that I can make a jar-full and have some on hand. I think we’ve been over this before, but I tend to make large runs of basic elements (quinoa, rice, lentils, chickpeas) for combining throughout the week with whatever greens we have, maybe a steamed or raw vegetable, and a healthy swipe of whatever sauce/dressing we’re going on at the moment. I think a lot of you might also eat this way, if Instagram is any indication. Those little anticipatory movements are ingrained at this point and our bodies seem grateful so far. Bowl life livin’ pals. Eating well is 95 percent preparation and just making an effort to buy only the good stuff when you’re at the store. Tasty whole foods in the house = a healthy life that comes naturally.

I’ve been trying to make a delicious and velvety goji berry-based sauce for a while now. The idea of that shocking colour on some cold weather veg was too tempting. One version I tried with vinegar soaked shallots was too tart, burying the sweetness of the dried fruit. Another version with dijon didn’t really mesh with the sweet-sour taste of goji berries at all. And yet another one that was carefully calculated with rosemary and blood orange tasted mostly like goji berries pureed with room temperature water and twigs. So frustrating! The other night it came to me out of nowhere–tahini, ginger and lemon. It would be creamy, a bit bitter, fresh and spicy–all good compliments to the slightly herbal finish of gojis (sauce-centered thoughts popping into my head around bedtime aren’t terribly unusual lately). I like using dried fruit in blended concoctions because they add their own sweetness, of course, but they also make for a creamy consistency surprisingly enough.

This goji cream is really well balanced and works for the hearty vegetables that are currently everywhere. I think it would be excellent on a kale salad though. I wanted to roast some of my celery root in the garden for this, but it was so muddy out. I knew it would be like quicksand once I reached for the shovel to dig one. I always have carrots around, but especially now because my dad grew some mighty fine ones this year, so I used those instead. So sweet and lovely! I can never resist a romanesco when I see one, but you know some cauliflower would be just the same. I used black lentils as the base because I had just enough left in my storage jar and thought it would look all contrast-y and good. The texture of the darker lentils tends to be more my pace because of the bite. There’s za’atar and sesames too.  Anyway! Not too much to say today, just some inspired, easy and healthy eats with hot orange saucy splashes. Eating all the colours never gets old for me :)

fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream // @thefirstmesspin it!

Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I cook lentils sort of like how I cook pasta–tons of water and then I just drain when they’re done. Also, any fall vegetables you like would be fine here. After I finished these photos, I added a scoop of cooked quinoa to my bowl and it was extra nice.

veg bowl ingredients:
3/4 cup french or black lentils, rinsed
salt and pepper
2 cups romanesco florets
6 small carrots, scrubbed + cut in half
1 tbsp olive oil
fat pinch of za’atar spice
1 leek, dark green part removed + hairy end trimmed
1 small beet, peeled + sliced paper thin
1 small apple, cored + sliced paper thin
1/2 ripe avocado
toasted sesame seeds
handful of flat parsley leaves

goji ginger tahini cream ingredients:
1/4 cup dried goji berries
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
salt + pepper
1 tbsp tahini
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled + rough dice
1 tsp maple syrup
2-3 tbsp olive oil
big splash of filtered water (2-3 tablespoons)

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

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the lentils to the water and simmer until just tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the lentils and then scrape them into a bowl. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to mix and set aside.

Place romanesco florets, carrots, the tablespoon of olive oil, za’atar, salt + pepper on the lined baking sheet. Toss it all to coat and slide into the oven. Roast until you start to see brown edges on the romanesco, about 15 minutes. Slice the leek down the middle lengthwise and then slice the halves into half moons. Remove the tray of veg from the oven and carefully toss the leeks in the mix. Slide the tray back into the oven for 5 more minutes.

While the veg is cooking, make the goji cream. Place the goji berries in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit a couple minutes to soften. Then, drain the gojis and toss them into a blender. To this, add the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt + pepper, tahini, ginger, maple syrup, olive oil, and filtered water. Blend until you have a creamy mixture. Taste it and see if you need more sweetness, acidity or salt. Adjust and set aside.

Divide the lentils and roasted vegetables between two bowls. Place the thin slices of beet and apple on top. Cut the avocado into wedges or dices and place on top of both bowls. Drizzle the bowls with the goji ginger cream, and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds and parsley leaves. I like an extra wedge of lemon on the side of mine too.

  • While reading your recipe I’ve been mentally checking off all the ingredients and I happen to have everything at home to make this tonight :) This is just the sort of thing I love for a healthy dinner that also takes care of my over-buying at the market haha. Also the sauce! I love topping my meals with something super flavourful too and I can’t wait to try this with gogis!ReplyCancel

  • Maria22/10/2014 - 8:22 am

    It’s like you’ve read my mind / pantry! I soaked puy lentils this morning and in the fridge we have carrots, beets, cauliflower and half an avo! Amazing recipe, thank you so much. Looking forward to dinner already :)ReplyCancel

  • Laurie22/10/2014 - 9:12 am

    Interesting idea re. the dried goji berries. I’ve been wanting to try a tahini dressing so may give this a try —thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth22/10/2014 - 9:15 am

    The color of the sauce is beautiful and the warmth of ginger with the tahini sounds splendid!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley22/10/2014 - 9:41 am

    The colors are truly beautiful!! Love love.ReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little22/10/2014 - 10:07 am

    This looks amazing – SO delicious and comforting without weighing you down!ReplyCancel

  • Karishma22/10/2014 - 11:09 am

    One of my roommates is like the queen of healthy salads. I am definitely showing her this one! It looks so satisfying and fresh!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar22/10/2014 - 11:57 am

    Loving all those colours! This is such a pretty bowl!ReplyCancel

  • SLauren @ Modern Granola22/10/2014 - 3:22 pm

    Wow! Gorgeous photography and styling!ReplyCancel

  • ALE22/10/2014 - 4:33 pm

    Amazing! Gonna try it!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}22/10/2014 - 9:23 pm

    I just posted a bowl recipe on my blog? Bowl life livin’, for sure
    :) And can I just say : goji sauce!? You constantly raise the bar for all of the health bloggers out there with your recipes that utilize healthy, creative ingredients. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Nik@ABrownTable23/10/2014 - 3:07 am

    You’ve given me a new and wonderful use for goji berries! When you shared the tahini cream picture on Instagram, I was eagerly waiting to see what you were up to. You always come up with the tastiest and most innovative dishes.ReplyCancel

  • […] This fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream is just about the dreamiest thing I’ve seen all […]ReplyCancel

  • Caroline23/10/2014 - 9:25 pm

    I love this colorful and fresh bowl. I could eat this any time of the day…every day. Lovely.ReplyCancel

  • hannah24/10/2014 - 11:13 am

    Laura this looks phenomenal! I can’t wait to try it!
    Quick question – did you make this in the vitamix or do you have a mini-blender for these smaller quantity sauces?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright24/10/2014 - 2:17 pm

      Hey Hannah! I did mix this dressing up in the Vitamix. I find as long as I’m about one inch above the blade with liquid/ingredients, I can get the blade going.

  • Renee H.24/10/2014 - 2:09 pm

    I never would have thought to combine goji and tahini! Brilliant. You are right, I eat in a similar way. Make big batches of quinoa or beans and mix with veg through out the week. It really makes things so much easier.

    Your photos are beautiful- do you mostly use natural light?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright24/10/2014 - 2:18 pm

      Hi Renee! Thanks for your lovely comment and yes, I always photograph food right by a window or outside. I find it’s the most flattering way to showcase food :)

  • Katy24/10/2014 - 9:12 pm

    I was just looking for some salad inspiration! Thanks! I’m definitely going to be making this! :)ReplyCancel

  • […] veggie lentil bowl with ginger tahini cream. those […]ReplyCancel

  • […] to end, laura’s beautiful roasty fall vegetable + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream. i love her ideas about sauce. and making big abundant meals out of a few simple, make-ahead parts. […]ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne25/10/2014 - 4:36 pm

    I’m a saucy girl myself but never, ever would have thought to make a goji sauce! You genius, you. I have always looked at romanesco with suspicion—looks like alien babies—but it’s probably about time to get over that, huh?ReplyCancel

  • Bec26/10/2014 - 5:16 am

    You’re so right – ensuring you have delicious healthy stuff on hand really makes the lunch time choice much easier. Here’s to eating the rainbow :)
    Bec x

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen26/10/2014 - 7:13 am

    It’s like this dish is singing to me! Gorgeous and a downright genius way to include goji berries in our diet!ReplyCancel

  • ATasteOfMadness26/10/2014 - 1:04 pm

    This looks amazing! This looks like the perfect fall meal!ReplyCancel

  • Love CompassionateLee26/10/2014 - 2:23 pm

    A festival of colors! This dish looks vibrant and tasty. Enjoy a restful Sunday, Laura :)ReplyCancel

  • Carly26/10/2014 - 4:17 pm

    I’m making this right now, but in hopes of keeping it in the work fridge all week I’m also roasting the apples and beets. Fingers crossed!ReplyCancel

  • hannah26/10/2014 - 4:55 pm

    Thanks Laura! I might give it a go in there then with your reassurance I’m not gonna lose it all in the corners ;) although I do have a Tribest personal blender that I usually whip out for bits like this. Also are you a raw or roasted tahini kinda a girl?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright26/10/2014 - 8:35 pm

      Hey again Hannah, I’m an unhulled + raw tahini gal if I can get it. But mostly raw just so I can mute any strong sesame flavour if I need to :)

  • Emily28/10/2014 - 12:47 am

    This sounds like such a great recipe! So many healthy and beautiful ingredients.ReplyCancel

  • Musings #8 | bean + nash28/10/2014 - 4:51 pm

    […] Fall foods, aka brussel sprouts, carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, are some of my faves, and this vegetable and lentil bowl does a great job of mixing them all up and adding ginger and tahini to make it […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate29/10/2014 - 12:53 pm

    I made this for dinner last night, subbing butternut squash for the beet. Absolutely delicious — thank you for the recipe and inspiration!ReplyCancel

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    […] Peas & Crayons Layered Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bread – Yeah…immaeatthat Fall Veg + Lentil Bowl with Goji Ginger Tahini Cream – The First Mess Curried Brussels Sprouts Salad – The […]ReplyCancel

  • sara05/11/2014 - 3:01 pm

    GORGEOUS!! This looks completely amazing. :)ReplyCancel

  • […] The colors of this Fall Veg and Lentil Bowl w/ Goji Berries is making me salivate. – The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] my ‘I WANT ALL THIS FOOD’ list: one. two. three. four. […]ReplyCancel

  • Ella Imison13/11/2014 - 5:58 am

    Looks delish!
    Will definitely try this at home.ReplyCancel

  • […] Fall Veg + Lentil Bowl w/ Goji Ginger Tahini Cream […]ReplyCancel

  • Jenny18/11/2014 - 2:59 pm

    Your pictures are amazing! Do you use a macro lens? Also do you photoshop? You are an inspiration. I look forward to making this salad.

  • Mariela Alvarez03/12/2014 - 10:04 pm

    I have made this sauce three times, and each time it tastes better than the last. Laura, if you don’t start bottling this stuff, I might. ;) So efffffing delicious!!! I want to eat this every day.ReplyCancel

  • Alyx03/01/2015 - 2:37 pm

    Just made this for my family and it worked so well! They all loved it, so delicious!!ReplyCancel

  • 155 | Spices and Spatulas12/01/2015 - 11:02 am

    […] I can get. I make this dressing in bulk for salad days; I’ve made several adaptations of this meal at least tri-weekly (minus the goji berries because when I drop $39.95 at Whole Foods it’s […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Get the recipe for Veggie and Lentil Bowl with Goji-Ginger-Tahini Bowl here from https://thefirstmess.com/2014/10/22/fall-veg-lentil-bowl-w-goji-ginger-tahini-cream-recipe/ […]ReplyCancel

  • Ally @ Om Nom Ally14/01/2015 - 7:44 pm

    That sauce sounds divine! Gorgeous photos and delicious sounding bowl :D Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • […] Recipe adapted from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

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  • Kristen @ The Endless Meal01/03/2015 - 12:43 pm

    I want to reach through my computer screen and eat this right now! I’ve been seriously crushing on za’atar lately and have been looking for any excuse to add it to my meals. I’ll be making this for sure. Pinned!ReplyCancel

  • Trish24/04/2015 - 3:59 pm

    This was the tastiest thing I’ve ever made!! The dressing is killer. So creamy and tasty. Great blend of flavors. I subbed a few things and it turned out great using Mediterranean seasoning on the veg, broccoli carrots and fennel roasted over quinoa with cilantro. the apple and beets add a nice crunch. I’m in love.ReplyCancel

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  • Hannah16/02/2016 - 4:33 pm

    So wonderful! What a great mix of flavored, texture and color! Making it for the second time in three weeks, tonight!ReplyCancel

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  • […] I’ve made this sauce at least 5 times in the past two weeks. And I’ve been developing riffs on it almost every night. Yesterday it was a parsley version (omit the scallions & goji, add 1 cup parsley and more lemon). Sauce inspired by the inimitable Laura Mess of The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

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