amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!Sarapin it!sunflower sprouts in dirtpin it!

We sit down to bowls of food most often in our house. On the porch with beers, in front of the TV in sweats, at the dining table, or leaning up on the kitchen counter while also hunched over an iPad or some other non-ideal dining companion (probs looking at this). We have these wide, shallow bowls that I purchased a few years ago that are just spot on. They seem to help every ingredient nestle into the other with perfect ease–every tangle of salad, every grain of rice, every slump-y spoonful of ice cream, the forkfuls of pasta, the clumpy granola, the slippery noodles in broth. One of them is chipped, both are cracked, and I’m still reluctant to replace them.

That vessel, its potential for nourishment, and the million ways it can bring us all together is the subject of a particularly wonderful new cookbook from the Sprouted Kitchen crew. I’ve admired Sara’s approach to nourishment for as long as I’ve had conscious associations with the term “food blog.” Her food feels at once special, approachable, and wholesome in a way that won’t have you running to a little hippie health shop for non-dairy probiotic to start a 3 day fermentation spectacular. It’s honest food transmitted by way of her thoughtful reflections and Hugh’s eye-widening photographs. Saying I loved the heck out of their first book would be a huge understatement.

When I was first approached by an editor to think about a cookbook of my own, I emailed Sara pretty much within the week. Even though she was totally removed from the process of making her first book at that point, I knew any advice she had to offer up would be helpful. And boy, it really was. I can’t remember exactly what she told me, but I do remember going back to the email a bunch of times and saying to myself “Not yet.” Her tone didn’t discourage at all. She was forthcoming, positive, and gracious to the point where I began to see little (but actually huge) points of consideration underneath that glossy shell of “Ohmygosh someone likes me and wants to slap my grinning mug on a book jacket GUUUUYYYS!”

My point is that her encouraging, but simultaneously #realtalk, message gave me the tools I needed to assess my situation a bit more seriously. Because of it, I waited and I’m in a way better position to take on this kind of project now. Sara had mentioned in that email that she had been working on a proposal for book 2 and now, all these seasons later it’s here. Those very positive intentions wrapped up in grace and warmth embody what it’s like to cook from her culinary point of view. There’s never an instance of a recipe in Sara’s repertoire that can be explained with: “Because kale!” You know what I mean? It’s not healthy food for the sake of health alone. You’re still eating for pleasure first. The recipes have their wholesome virtues along with their comfort, style, and brilliant flavour/textural combinations.

This tahini dressing of hers with citrus and miso really is amazing–probably the best I’ve had. It leans towards slightly sweet with just the right amount of brightness and umami-ish interest from the miso. It tastes delicious on everything and I know this because I’ve actually been eating it on everything. I also loved that it was mostly just a measure + whisk number. No mincing or fine grating or additional mess-making. For today’s post, I poured it on top of a very relaxed interpretation of her Hippie Bowl, which spoke to me for obvious reasons. There’s sprouts, avocado, whole grains, delicate little carrot ribbons and plant protein by way of chickpeas. Sara’s version in the book calls for some roast-y marinated tofu, which sounds pretty great.

Some other recipes I have bookmarked for the future: coconut sorbet with strawberry rhubarb sauce, kale caesar with cornbread bits, curried sweet potato soup with crispy lentils, strawberry tabbouleh, and did you see these mustardy croutons? Lots of gorgeous and delicious things to make anyone, at any level, feel great. I have a decently stocked fridge and pantry, no more than the average person that prioritizes eating fairly well. I love it when a book like this one turns a bunch of ingredients on hand into a cohesive and satisfying whole without too much heavy lifting. It’s a winner, pals.

Oh, and a little click if you’re interested. I was interviewed on Nutrition Stripped, one of my favourite sites, this week. You can check it out here :)

amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl // www.thefirstmess.compin it!

Sara’s amazing tahini dressing + a healthy bowl recipe
from The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon
print recipe here!
serves: 2
notes: I’ve printed Sara’s instructions here pretty much as is where applicable, with my own adjustments in parentheses. I use raw tahini almost exclusively now and I can’t tell you what a difference this has made for my dressings, sauces, and other savoury applications. It’s just so much creamier without that bitter edge. I buy this brand.

tahini dressing ingredients (makes extra):
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp mellow miso
2 tbsp honey (I used brown rice syrup to keep it vegan)
1 tbsp sesame oil (I was out and used olive oil)
2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 1 large orange, about 1/3 cup (I only had blood oranges around)
salt + pepper
lemon juice, to taste
water, as needed

spiced sunflower seeds ingredients (also makes extra):
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt, to taste

healthy bowl ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of kale, stemmed + chopped
lemon juice, to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice
1-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2-3 carrots, peeled into ribbons
2 big handfuls sunflower sprouts (or other sprouts/shoots you like)
1 ripe avocado, peeled + quartered

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, miso, honey, oil, and hot sauce to combine. Then, whisk in the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary. Thin the dressing with water or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Dressing will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

For the sunflower seeds, heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sunflower seeds to the pan and toast them, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the maple sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir the seeds to combine and keep stirring them until spices/sugar lightly coat/stick to each kernel, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and set aside.

Lightly wipe out the sauté pan that you used for the seeds and return it to the heat with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the chopped kale and stir immediately. Season kale with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the kale until it’s all evenly wilted. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice and stir to distribute. Remove pan from the heat.

In two big, shallow bowls, evenly divide the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, carrot ribbons, sunflower sprouts, avocado, and cooked kale. Top bowls with tahini dressing and spiced sunflower seeds.

  • Anna30/04/2015 - 4:04 am

    this looks insane!! yumm thanks for sharing :)

  • Kathryn30/04/2015 - 4:25 am

    We have two very similar bowls (my OH refers to them as our ‘doggy bowls’ which doesn’t sound great…) and, like you guys, the vast majority of our meals are consumed from them to the stage where I quite often chop up whatever we’re eating for dinner into small enough pieces that I can legitimately serve it in a bowl rather than use a plate. For obvious reasons, therefore, Sara’s book appeals to me a lot. I keep going back to it and looking at the recipes + Hugh’s photos again and again, just to soak in all of the goodness and inspiration. I’m making this asap.ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 8:03 am

      I do the small chopping thing too, which is hilarious. It’s bowl life living! And yes, the photos are bonkers. Inspiration for days. xoReplyCancel

  • valentina | sweet kabocha30/04/2015 - 4:31 am

    This book seems really good for a – almost – vegan too. It seems I have to buy it :P
    Btw, I’ll try raw tahini soon, I hope :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar30/04/2015 - 6:27 am

    Such a delicious bowl! I love the sound of that dressing especially. NEED this book!!ReplyCancel

  • Shilpa30/04/2015 - 6:32 am

    This looks amazing indeed! Can’t wait to try that dressing. What brand of raw tahini do you use?ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 6:35 am

      I use one by Artisana! I have a link to it in the notes section of the recipe if you want to check it out. Their coconut butter is really delicious too.

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com30/04/2015 - 7:45 am

    I am a nut for miso tahini dressing. I love the orange addition… I have always been a lemon/apple cider vinegar kind of girl, but i can see how this would add that sweetness you mentioned. I love that photo of the sprouts too!! xoReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 7:50 am

      Apple cider vinegar used to be my go to for tahini dressing too, but now I think I’m converted. That sweetness just works so well. Thanks Lynsey!
      xo LReplyCancel

  • This sounds like our typical dinner scenes too :) I’m looking forward to getting Sara’s new book, it sounds wonderful. Miso isn’t at the top of my list (probably because I’m not really sure what to do with it) but this dressing sounds like a nice way of adding it in. I love that all these ingredients are on-hand staples!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 7:52 am

      Oh miso is the best (especially the mellow/light varieties). It adds such a depth of flavour to vegetarian/vegan recipes, and I love using it for a little miso soup for breakfast some mornings. Even if you don’t use it crazy often, a container of it will last a reeeeaaaalllly long time in the fridge. Hope you might be inspired to try it out :)

  • Sonia30/04/2015 - 7:58 am

    Just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. The photos, the writing, the recipes… It is all so well done and I love when I get an email that you have something new posted.ReplyCancel

  • Chloe30/04/2015 - 9:22 am

    AH I love when the planets align. Imma bowl gal too and I made this on Monday, including the roasted tofu (which you have to try because it was deeelish), buy dayum that dressing !! It is out-of-this-world good.
    Such lovely words for Sara, she totally deserves them :) and I love that you’re as enthusiastic as I felt about making the bowl!
    – Chloe (from Australia)ReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra30/04/2015 - 9:30 am

    I just recently purchased this book as a treat to myself for finishing my exam. Instead of partying with my classmates, I found myself sitting at home flipping through the colourful pages and bookmarking recipes to try. I know how to live it up.ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 11:49 am

      I would totally want an invitation to that kind of party though ;) And congrats on powering through the exam!

  • Emily30/04/2015 - 9:33 am

    Your interpretation looks delightful! And you’ve inspired me to finally try Sara’s magical tahini dressing that I keep reading all about. Beautiful work.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway30/04/2015 - 10:13 am

    I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Sarah’s new book! I’ve been a bowl food queen forever, adore Sarah’s combos and could oogle at Hugh’s photos forever!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 11:46 am

      Bowl food queens, yes! You will loooove it, Emma. xoReplyCancel

  • Eliza30/04/2015 - 10:44 am

    I make spiced nut blends all the time, but never spiced sunflower seeds. I can’t wait to give this a go – looks delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 11:46 am

      These ones are addictive. I had half of them ate before they went on the bowl! ;)

  • Grace30/04/2015 - 11:51 am

    eeee! Laura, every time you mention your cookbook I get all excited! And how amazing is this little community network of food bloggers, so much love, support, friendship – so awesome that you and Sara bond over so much AND this amazing tahini dressing! So good!ReplyCancel

  • Karen30/04/2015 - 11:55 am

    I often sit down with a bowl, for lunch especially when I gather odds and ends from the fridge.
    I made Sara’s tahini dressing yesterday and enjoying it right now over some golden quinoa, chickpea and spinach salad – hard to put it down to type :)
    Your book will be just as inspiring! All the best…ReplyCancel

  • Marie30/04/2015 - 12:48 pm

    Wow, can’t go wrong with does healthy ingredients. Do you grow your own sprouts? I would love to know more.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie30/04/2015 - 3:01 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! (p.s. your blog rocks my socks, and that interview is pretty great too – hear hear, for a healthy whole food philosophy!) I have to ask – I saw a ziplocked bag of chickepeas in your photo, does that mean you cook up a whole batch and then freeze them? Perhaps I am late to the game, but I’ve never thought of doing that. And then I find I am, almost daily, soaking and cooking beans – and as fun as that sounds, I would most certainly welcome a new tip or trick.ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/04/2015 - 3:19 pm

      Hi Sophie! Thanks for your lovely comment. And yes! I cook big batches of beans, save the broth, and then just put portions of the drained beans in ziploc bags and freeze them. They thaw real quick, and if you can’t wait, tumbling them into a sauté pan from the freezer bag gets them warmed through pretty quick. It’s a huge time saver! :)

      • Sophie30/04/2015 - 4:19 pm

        Thank you so much for this great trick Laura! Can’t believe I never thought of that – I feel like you have just made my time in the kitchen so. much. easier. Thanks again!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures30/04/2015 - 4:10 pm

    That is so great that you were able to chat with Sarah for support on figuring out your cookbook (which is going to be amazing, btw. Why can’t it be ready already???)! PS and this recipe looks amazing, of course!ReplyCancel

  • I love tahini sauce, but I’ve never tried using orange juice in mine – I always do lemon juice. Looking forward to trying this one out and buying Sara’s cookbook of course. I just made her honey mustard broccoli salad from her first cookbook last night and loved it!ReplyCancel

    • Laura01/05/2015 - 12:11 pm

      That broccoli salad is so killer. I love the orange in this tahini dressing so much that I’m not sure I’ll ever make it another way!

  • Abby01/05/2015 - 12:05 am

    What a delicious looking bowl, Laura! Stunning photos, as always. I adore this. <3ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly/TheLittlePlantation01/05/2015 - 5:00 am

    I can’t wait to get this book! I went to the bookstore yesterday but they didn’t have it yet :( (I’m in London).

    This bowl of goodness looks so inviting and your picture are amazing. Thanks for sharing anf I’m looking forward to the completion of YOUR book ;)ReplyCancel

    • Laura01/05/2015 - 12:09 pm

      Haha I’m looking forward to the book’s completion too ;) Hoping you can get your hands on the new SK one soon!

  • kristie {birch and wild}01/05/2015 - 11:10 pm

    This is what I like to eat like everyday. That dressing sounds amazing. I have made a citrus tahini dressing many times, but I never thought of putting miso in it. I look forward to owning both “bowl and spoon,” and you book too.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte02/05/2015 - 10:55 am

    I’m happy to find another bowl fan! Food is just more appealing in a bowl… a comforting mess, as you’ve described. I try to serve as much as I can in bowls.ReplyCancel

  • Linzy02/05/2015 - 1:52 pm

    Although this bowl sounds fantastic (in fact, I might make it tonight for dinner) what I really want is the coconut sorbet with the strawberry rhubarb sauce. Why don’t I have that right now?ReplyCancel

  • Sara forte02/05/2015 - 8:33 pm

    Laura! Coming from you, a gal whose recipes I am constantly inspired and impressed by, this means so much. So grateful for your kind words and that you like the dressing. It’s running in our veins – We put it on everything.
    To say I can’t wait for your would be a major understatement. Major excitement. Thinking of you and hope the process is going well. Thank you again sweet lady!!!ReplyCancel

  • […] This healthy bowl with tahini dressing looks like my ideal lunch! […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate05/05/2015 - 12:27 am

    How have I not gotten my hands on a copy of Sara’s book yet?! I love the concept and those sweet and spicy sunflower seeds, oh man. That’s one beautiful bowl, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw05/05/2015 - 12:50 am

    Bowls of goodness, what can’t they do?! Gorgeous photos. I love the way you (and Sara) honor the integrity of taste that is not solely bent on health fads. <3ReplyCancel

  • francesca05/05/2015 - 11:52 am

    tahini really is the best dressing base <3ReplyCancel

  • Sarah from Soymilk + Honey05/05/2015 - 4:32 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m super excited about this book. And your photos are lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn07/05/2015 - 10:35 am

    Just discovered you…. everything you’re doing is AMAZING! Good for you :) :) Photography is awesome, recipes are DIVINE, and you have a great soul. You’re in Niagara region? I’m in Toronto! Saw your little post at Libretto here in TO – yum yum yum, couldn’t agree more! :)ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food09/05/2015 - 8:07 am

    It’s one of my new favorites (and there have been so many wonderful cookbooks released this year). Everything in it is inspiring. Can’t wait to make this bowl, tahini dressing and all!ReplyCancel

  • Lily | Kale & Caramel10/05/2015 - 1:58 pm

    Can we get t-shirts or trucker hats that say Bowl Life, please? Or maybe sweatshirts—hoodies, even! I’d wear mine constantly. This looks gorgeous, Laura, and as someone who feels about your food and blog just as you describe feeling about Sara’s, this post was mega inspiring. YAY for tahini dressing and food as beauty and medicine.ReplyCancel

  • LATELY |11/05/2015 - 10:20 am

    […] delicious, but I am quite certain it won’t happen. In her recent post, she shares a tahini dressing recipe that is sure to make anything taste […]ReplyCancel

  • Heather14/05/2015 - 4:50 pm

    I do love The Sprouted Kitchen. I’ll have to look for that cookbook. This recipe looks amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Harrie30/05/2015 - 6:17 am

    I love the look of this recipe! Shows that eating healthy isn’t boring! fromfussytofoodie.comReplyCancel

  • […] – The Hippie Bowl […]ReplyCancel

  • […] our kitchen almost everyday! I adapted the recipe for the dressing from one of my favorite bloggers here. I’ve also used another some ingredients from another famous Indian dish, the bhel puri. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] our kitchen almost everyday! I adapted the recipe for the dressing from one of my favorite bloggers here. I’ve used ingredients from a famous Indian dish, the bhelpuri. You could say this is a […]ReplyCancel

  • […] a miso newb, start with these sweet potato and broccoli bowls. From there step it up with this bowl and try it in dressings, soups, and sauces galore. Never […]ReplyCancel

  • […] want to use peanut butter, you can use your go-to nut/seed butter (almond butter is delicious) (Sara’s amazing tahini dressing would be good, too). I prefer to serve the sauce straight from the refrigerator, but if you’d […]ReplyCancel

  • […] they had even reached out to me about a cookbook deal at all. But then I immediately remembered a post by Laura of The First Mess from almost a year ago (yeah, I’m that much of a fangirl), where […]ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Sjaarda21/04/2017 - 11:09 am

    Love Love Love this tahini sauce. I’m using it on a dressing for everything. I made some quinoa and lentils on the weekend for the week and I am many more steps towards eating vegetarian! (now–to get my family on board!) Thank you! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.ReplyCancel

  • […] PHOTO: The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Torbeck31/10/2017 - 10:53 am

    LOVED THIS RECIPE. Best healthy bowl we have ever made. I did add leftover roasted curry cauliflower, which actually added a lot! Will absolutely be making againReplyCancel

  • Susan Sobon20/03/2020 - 7:41 pm

    Can you sub any other juice? Love your recipesReplyCancel

    • Laura21/03/2020 - 10:28 am

      Hi Susan! lemon or lime juice would also be appropriate here. I’d start with 2 tablespoons and adjust to taste.

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