salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!clementines // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash // @thefirstmesspin it!
I know the season’s only just started, but man. I think it’s already got me trapped in its neon, crazy-making claws. This was a particularly hairy week with some deadlines, projects on the up and up, people outright saying no to me, an ever-growing pile of Christmas garland in my living room, plus a scary wind storm/so much snow. And then, in the thick of it, the man I really truly love asked me to get up early one morning and make him a vat of kale slaw for a work function. He brought it up last week, I had forgot about it already, and was–admittedly–a huge dick about it.

He called me from work when I was in the middle of photographing a time sensitive thing (it was a stir fry sorta thing and it was fading fast). Lots of impatient “Uuuuugh” sounds and swears and sighs. I finally said: “You’re gonna have to pick up the ingredients tonight because I DON’T have time this week.” I’ve been making this kale and cabbage slaw with a creamy mustard dressing, some apples, scallions, sesame seeds, and a few other things. It’s so delicious that we’ve already ate it a bunch of times ourselves, plus we brought it to a potluck brunch a little while back too. Devoured every time. So I knew the ingredients off by heart and impatiently rattled them off. “The flat kale! Not the curly, blue-ish one.” + “The cashew butter’s going to be so expensive at that store, but ugh whatever.” and on and on.

I had made up my mind that I would just get up early the day of and make the whole thing instead of doing some prep the night before. Of course I barely slept that night and was miserable, even after two coffees. Just chopping away and not talking much. Using the mandolin slicer lightning fast to get it over with, even though it makes Mark so paranoid because I won’t use the hand guard (and, turns out he’s totally right to be paranoid). Anyway, he thanked me so many times, gave me a kiss goodbye, took the slaw to the work function, and made a point of texting me to say that everyone loved it so much. He’s a lot more patient, forgiving, and easygoing than I am. That calm energy always brings me back to the center when I’m taking things a bit seriously, being just a touch selfish or, more often, just irrationally freaking out.

I’m hoping he can help me embrace and become more of that calm life force over the next month or so. I really want a laser beam focus on good health and wellness through this holiday season. It’s so easy to slip and toss some principle aside, and then feel fed up by New Year’s eve because of all the sugar/pressure. There’s a lot of guides to help with not over-indulging in cookies and booze at parties this time of year (drink a ton of water and eat a vegetable-heavy meal at home first blah blah blah), but I want this effort to go deeper. A bit of a health and mind cleanse, but not in a creepy mind control kinda way. Just aiming for some peace, chill time and optimal health. Join me? ;)

This is another easy, weeknight main course kind of thing with hardy vegetables. Just a nicer version of an everyday supper at our house. I’m in the middle of some freelance food-related projects so there are scraps and halves of all kinds of vegetables/herbs in the fridge right now. The dinnertime move lately is a roasted vegetable + some grain + a slaw-ish-salad with seasonal accoutrements. The glazed squash is so delicious and sticky and awesome on its own though. I dress the whole thing with a fresh turmeric and clementine dressing. Nice and light, sweet, and pretty yellow. My first little crate of the citrus is deliciously sweet, so I’m hoping that’s indicative across the board.

Some other bits: I have a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chunk ginger cake on BAKED this week and a Thanksgiving-appropriate recipe for pot pie in The Washington Post too (hey ‘merica!). Also, I’m making the recipes here print-able now by linking to a Google document below the recipe title. Hope this is helpful for some of you! Big hearts this week xo

salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!
salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw recipe
print the recipe here!
serves: 2
notes: It might be helpful to pre-peel the squash before you roast, just for easier eating. I didn’t really do this and the experience was a touch more rustic, if you will (and I hope you will). Also, if you can’t find fresh turmeric for the dressing, just substitute 1 tsp of turmeric powder. I use a Benriner mandolin for shredding here.

squash ingredients:
1 small butternut or acorn squash, seeded + cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper

turmeric brussels slaw ingredients:
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed
1-2 scallions, sliced reserving white parts
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp cashew butter (preferably raw)
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 clementine (like 1/4 cup)
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds

rice etc:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled + minced
2 scallions, sliced
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds/arils

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lay the squash pieces on the parchment, peel side down. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, tamari, olive oil, salt + pepper. Brush this mixture on the squash (flesh parts; not the peel). Slide the tray into the oven and roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the brussels sprouts very thin into shreds. Toss them into a medium bowl with the sliced scallion, and chopped dill. In a blender, combine the cashew butter, dijon mustard, clementine juice, fresh turmeric, and olive oil. Season the mix with salt and pepper and blend on high until the mixture is totally smooth and incorporated, adding splashes of water if necessary. Pour 1/3-1/2 the dressing onto the brussels sprouts mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and gently toss again. Set aside.

Heat the 2 tsp olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and sliced scallions and stir until ginger has softened a bit, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir to coat in the ginger scallion oil. Keep stirring and sautéing until the rice is warm, about 3 minutes. Season mix with salt and pepper.

Lay the squash slices in two shallow bowls/plates. Top the squash with the ginger scallion rice. Divide the brussels slaw among the two plates and garnish with extra turmeric dressing and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm.

  • valentina - sweet kabocha20/11/2014 - 4:40 am

    The colors of this plate are awesome. It seems perfect : the softness in rice and squash, the crunchy side of raw brussels sprouts, the creaminess of the cashew butter and the sourness of pomegranates.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie20/11/2014 - 4:46 am

    This dish looks so delicious! The colours look so pretty together. You’ve got talent :)ReplyCancel

  • silja20/11/2014 - 5:05 am

    sounds & looks delicious! however, after reading this mouthwatering description of that kale salad I’m very curious where to find the recipe for that one :)ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com20/11/2014 - 7:27 am

    So delicious looking and so fresh and healthy too! As always, you are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • The VegHog20/11/2014 - 7:45 am

    What a colourful dish and wonderful photos! I’m so happy it’s squash season right now.

  • Stephanie20/11/2014 - 9:50 am


  • Meredith20/11/2014 - 10:23 am

    More gorgeous pics! Anything with turmeric is gold in my book! I was kinda hoping to see you incorporate those osage oranges/monkey balls I spotted in a couple of those photos. I’ve seen them around my area (northern VA), and know the seeds are edible but wouldn’t have the first clue what to do with them. What are your plans for them? Just decorative? They are pretty cool looking.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/11/2014 - 10:31 am

      Hey Meredith, my plans are purely decorative–that is, until now. I had no idea you could eat the seeds! I’m going to cut one today and take a look ;)

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan20/11/2014 - 10:50 am

    Agreed, sometimes it’s hard not to give into that sugar/boozy temptation. I just don’t want to come out on the other side of January and be all ‘what the eff happened?!’ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2014 - 10:58 am

    I am SO pumped to try this slaw!!!! Also, love your honesty in this post. I’ve had similar things happen with needing a potluck dish for the husband’s work functions. :)ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon20/11/2014 - 11:00 am

    Totally relate.ReplyCancel

  • All the colours – the flavours … sounds incredible!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2014 - 11:49 am

    I’m loving this recipe, as it sounds like my piecemeal fridge right now – leftover rice, some roasted squash, and some Brussels awaiting whatever fate comes their way. Sounds like lunch! And I love the story about your husband being the calming, centering, patient one. My husband is the same way and he, like yours, reminds me that I’m freaking out about nothing important and should just calm down. Thank goodness for them!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}20/11/2014 - 11:50 am

    This is one of the most creative and colorful bowls I have seen lately. I love the brussels slaw with pomegranate seeds. Beautiful :)ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures20/11/2014 - 1:17 pm

    I can relate to this post more than I’d ever like to admit! I’ve been in the same boat of overbooking myself for freelance gigs lately and totally taking out my stress / frustration on my boyfriend (“Make your own dinner – I’ve been cooking all day”) and its totally wearing on me. I did finally turn in the biggest project of them all on Monday and it felt. SO. GOOD. Just keep your eye on the prize and make sure to relish on that relief moment when it’s all done and amazing and everything you wanted it to be. Cheers!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy20/11/2014 - 2:15 pm

    I would really appreciate the recipe for the kale slaw too…thinking it may b e great for Thanksgiving.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte20/11/2014 - 2:19 pm

    this looks insane. “being a dick”…I know that all too well. Sounds like you have a lot of work on your plate, which always seems like such a blessing disguised as a burden. Hope this season also offers you rest and thanksgiving, sweet lady.ReplyCancel

  • S Lauren | Modern Granola20/11/2014 - 4:03 pm

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra20/11/2014 - 4:24 pm

    I adore this post. Sometimes we do get so wrapped up in what we are doing, in our own little world, we forget what it is like to let things slide and be a little more patient. I know I do. I was so focused on photographing a recipe that I barely noticed my boyfriend tell me he was leaving the house and I almost forgot to kiss him goodbye! Needless to say, I was feeling like you, a dick.
    This recipe is so colourful and vibrant, just what I need with the sun going down painfully early and the streets looking grey and bleak.ReplyCancel

  • Tessa | Salted Plains20/11/2014 - 4:53 pm

    These flavor combinations sound wonderfully warming and comforting. Beautiful. I’m with you on the peace and optimal health for the holidays…feels like that’s how it should be, right?ReplyCancel

  • Meredith20/11/2014 - 5:48 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Let me know how it goes with the osage orange! :) I haven’t done any dissecting on one yet myself.ReplyCancel

  • Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers20/11/2014 - 9:44 pm

    Loved the post and the slaw is being made this weekend! Amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Valentina @Hortus21/11/2014 - 8:31 am

    Reading this post was sooo much fun! Even though i am super sorry about your finger…
    I’m in a period in which i am submerging everything with turmeric, so that slaw looks super awesome! This whole dish does.
    I am also super intrigues by that wacky looking citrus. Never ever seen one in my life!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey21/11/2014 - 9:39 am

    this time of year everything is moving at a pace that i’m kind of never ok with, add work on top of it all, and it’s a touch craze-inducing. so being a dick to my man is something that happens all too often when i’m in that head space. this dish mighty mighty beautiful, and full of all the good stuff! those clementines! we haven’t gotten them here yet, but looking forward to when we do! all the best to you, miss! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kathryn21/11/2014 - 1:36 pm

    Trying to chill the eff out this holiday season? I’m so in. Life seems to have been so crazy recently and I’ve had too many of those crazy moments and spending time/energy arguing and battling against things which don’t deserve it. And yes to all the flavours you’ve got here. Super love that clementine. Stay warm friend!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits21/11/2014 - 4:49 pm

    Gorgeous salad! Love all the different colors and textures going on in it!ReplyCancel

  • Valeria - Life Love Food21/11/2014 - 6:28 pm

    I, like you, am not usually the best version of myself when slightly under pressure, let alone when very under pressure like I am now. My man is a saint and always know how to calm me down, and also how to tollerate my mood swings…I feel very fortunate for it. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, and hope work and projects and creativty will always be plentiful for you, talented lovely lady. Yet hopefully some inner peace and ease and calmer days will come sometime soon, too. Beautiful, vibrant dish, perfect to brighten these gloomy days.ReplyCancel

  • […] salty maple squash with ginger scallion rice. this […]ReplyCancel

  • Sonia22/11/2014 - 8:27 am

    Can you post the recipe for the kale slaw? That sounds delicious! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca23/11/2014 - 1:16 am

    Seriously love the vibrant colors of this dish!! Sometimes, it’s so nice to have someone that is the perfect balance to the crazy in our personalities–my husband is just the same. :)ReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little23/11/2014 - 4:24 am

    This looks so comforting but healthy and so delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen23/11/2014 - 11:15 am

    What a colorful, utterly lovely dish, Laura! Sending you good vibes all the way from Finland (sans snow so I’m kinda jealous that you get to enjoy some white beauty) to Canada. xxReplyCancel

  • Austin Bay24/11/2014 - 8:28 pm

    I love the story arc of this post & I couldn’t relate more…my boyfriend always reminds me to breath easy, especially during this time. Hope the holidays are great :) beautiful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • hannah25/11/2014 - 8:52 am

    This looks AMAZING Laura – your recipes are ALWAYS a winner :)
    The squash reminds me of one of my favourite ever salads (which i make with coconut nectar instead of honey – it’s divine with the coconut oil I’ll be trying your maple spin :)ReplyCancel

  • Pig and Potato26/11/2014 - 7:16 pm

    The colors in these photographs are delightful! The recipe looks wonderful. I’ll also be enjoying a veggie Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for sharing. Best to you and yours.


  • leslie heuer30/11/2014 - 1:17 pm

    We potlucked (a word?) thanksgiving dinner this year, my folks weren’t in the mood to cook so everyone brought along sides. I made just the squash component of this recipe and it was a big hit!! loved it!!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah from Brooklyn!27/10/2019 - 5:56 pm

    Just made this and the flavors and textures are unreal! Your recipes are always unique and fun to make :)ReplyCancel

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