zaatar eggplant meatballs with lemony kale pesto // thefirstmess.compin it!View full post »

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  • Julia20/08/2015 - 6:09 am

    I’m so jealous on your little vegetable garden which I don’t think is very messy ;). Curious to try the recipe!ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/08/2015 - 10:26 am

      I think I took the picture of the garden from the most flattering angle possible. It’s weed city in there! Thanks Julia :D
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jess @ alittlealice.com20/08/2015 - 6:27 am

    oh my gawd these look so good i could eat them through my screen!!!! and hehe <3 vegetable gardens <3 :DReplyCancel

  • Lisa20/08/2015 - 8:04 am

    Laura, I love all the pictures. This recipe really tells a story, pretty nice. Actually feels like being in your vegetable garden and while harvesting eggplants and baby kale. XX LisaReplyCancel

    • Laura20/08/2015 - 10:25 am

      Thanks Lisa! You’re welcome in my veggie patch any time ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jessica @jessicatom.com20/08/2015 - 9:13 am

    Yes! I love this. Sorta subverting/lightening the proportions of a falafel. Summer perfection!ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/08/2015 - 10:24 am

      Yes exactly! The eggplant kinda aerates the whole texture.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist20/08/2015 - 9:33 am

    Hi Laura,
    I started following you several weeks ago when you posted the rosemary watermelon-ade and I am so happy to have received a new post today. I have been following you on Instagram and enjoying all the beautiful food you have been eating/creating recently. I always feel a bit stalky if I follow people without properly introducing myself, so HI! I look forward to seeing more garden photos and hearing about your creations. I hadn’t heard of chickpea brine and it sounds amazing.ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/08/2015 - 10:24 am

      Thanks for saying hello, Kathryn! Your comment is so generous and lovely. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the site/Instas :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan20/08/2015 - 9:55 am

    I have to admit, I am not a fan of eggplant or kale (how am I vegan?!), but rolled into meatballs, I could probably get down with them! Your garden is gorgeous my dear and I can’t wait to see that beautiful book of yours. xoxoReplyCancel

    • Laura20/08/2015 - 10:23 am

      I still think you’re an awesome vegan, even if you don’t vibe to kale and eggplant ;) If these little ball babes were smothered in marinara, you’d never guess that they had eggplant in them, seriously!
      xo LReplyCancel

  • Eliza | Pen + Pan20/08/2015 - 11:08 am

    AQUAFABA! Its many uses were a fairly recent discovery for me. I can’t wait to see how it works out as a vegan “meat”ball binder.ReplyCancel

  • Austin20/08/2015 - 1:05 pm

    I can’t wait for your cookbook! Also my friend text me the other day about the chickpea juice and I’m pumped to try to whip up some meringue – F I N A L L Y ! As always, this recipe looks killer :)ReplyCancel

  • Allyson20/08/2015 - 1:53 pm

    I have garden envy right now- your plants look gorgeous. These “meatballs” look incredible, and I’m stealing your pesto idea to play around with tonight. I can’t wait to see your cookbook!ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/08/2015 - 8:09 am

      Thanks so much, Allyson. Hope you liked the pesto!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Abby20/08/2015 - 2:01 pm

    So lovely, Laura! xoReplyCancel

  • Hannah | The Swirling Spoon20/08/2015 - 6:58 pm

    Laura, these are the best darn looking meatless meatballs I ever did see! They look so tender and not crumbly.. mega excited to try this out!ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/08/2015 - 8:10 am

      They are totally tender/weirdly meaty (in a good way). Hope you give them a try! ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw20/08/2015 - 9:11 pm

    It all… seems… too… simple!! Chickpea brine??! Bring on all the recipes ever ever that I’ve thought *meh* to about subbing eggs with flax/chia. Thanks for the tip, Laura. Your garden is gorgeous. So are your photos. So will be your cookbook. Summer smiles from Chicago! xoReplyCancel

    • Laura21/08/2015 - 8:15 am

      I know, the chickpea brine solution seems almost TOO easy, but it’s been effective in everything I’ve tried so far! Couldn’t be happier since we eat soooo many chickpeas in this house. Sending a summer smile back too ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Claudia | The Brick Kitchen20/08/2015 - 10:49 pm

    Your photos are gorgeous! As is your vege garden – I am very jealous, can’t wait until I have enough garden space to grow my own. These meatballs are so unique – I love eggplant and chickpeas (and kale pesto) so it just looks like a stellar combination of flavours. Can’t wait to see your cookbook when it comes out! XReplyCancel

  • thefolia21/08/2015 - 7:04 am

    Viva la luscious garden!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica21/08/2015 - 7:22 am

    The recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it! To make GF, I’m thinking of replacing the bread with cold (cooked) quinoa, as I’ve used quinoa as a binder in other similar recipes. What do you think – will it work?ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/08/2015 - 8:13 am

      Hi Jessica,
      I’ve never tried cooked quinoa as a binder before, but that totally makes sense because I’ve used cooked millet to bind a veggie patty before. I’d say give it a try, but keep an eye on the moistness level. Maybe try about 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa? The mix should be kind of wet, but not too sticky. Would love it if you let me know how it works when you try it out! :)
      -LReplyCancel

      • Jessica21/08/2015 - 1:13 pm

        Ok I’ll give the recipe a try with the quinoa substitution, will let you know how it goes…hoping it’s a delicious success!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full21/08/2015 - 8:16 am

    WHAT aquafaba works as a binder too?? I’ve been having similar problems with vegan fritters holding together but I never thought to use chickpea water other than for meringues!! I AM SO EXCITED TO TRY THIS NOW!! :DReplyCancel

  • Pragati // Simple Medicine21/08/2015 - 8:24 am

    Your garden is my goal for next summer! Do you have any organic gardening tips for pests? All my crops were destroyed by bore worms and I’m not sure how to proceed.ReplyCancel

  • Lee21/08/2015 - 9:28 am

    za’atar
    Can you tell me what this is? I am not familiar with this at all.ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/08/2015 - 1:23 pm

      Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend. I usually pick it up at spice shops or I order it online if I find a mix I like. There’s a recipe to make it yourself here. You could also sub in the same amount of any herbs/spices that you like!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra21/08/2015 - 9:32 am

    Aquafaba for the win!
    I have yet to have a “meaty” vegetable meatball, without soy anyways, and I am so glad to see these. They *almost* have me thinking about the cooler months, tucking into a bowl of these with the stash of summer tomato sauce I keep in the freezer and lots of twirly pasta. In the meantime, I plan eat my fill of this bright green pesto.
    P.S. I think your garden is a magical place, like a writer would describe it as a place where fairies live. Just saying.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna21/08/2015 - 12:16 pm

    LOVE IT! I didn’t used to be a fan of eggplant, at all, until I started eating it in curries and now – well I’m sold. These little balls sound delightful, they look absolutely wonderful and I just cannot wait to try them out! Beautiful work!

    Also – chickpea brine is the bomb dig, I’ve been using it all over the place lately too! xxReplyCancel

  • Valentina @Hortus21/08/2015 - 4:28 pm

    Love this recipe! I’m happy I have found a recipe for eggplant meatballs that does not involve breadcrumbs. We do have a special recipe in Italy for eggplant meatballs, but it’s essentially…well, bread. Pinning! <3ReplyCancel

  • Inês22/08/2015 - 3:12 am

    Hi Laura,

    This sounds so good! :) as always.

    Do we really just need to add the chickpea liquid that comes with the canned chickpeas or does it have to be the aquafaba method?

    Thank you :)

    InêsReplyCancel

    • Laura22/08/2015 - 7:42 am

      Hi Inês, I really just added the liquid from the chickpeas to this with all the other mix-ins in the food processor. No pre-whipping with starch or anything else :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food22/08/2015 - 9:03 am

    I’m so glad your summer is going well. I’ve been following along to the book coverage over on Instagram. I can’t begin to imagine how much work is involved, but every picture I see makes me more and more excited for its release. So, you go girl!!! :-)

    These meatballs look right up my alley. I’ve done ones with mushrooms and eggplant, but didn’t think to add chickpeas and the za’atar!ReplyCancel

  • Marianne22/08/2015 - 12:00 pm

    These look totally yummy.

    If I want to make these without GF bread as the binder and still stay gluten-free, what do you recommend? Would coconut flour work? If I use eggs, will take provide enough binding?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/08/2015 - 3:49 pm

      Hi Marianne, I think if you subbed the chickpea water/aquafaba with an egg, you might be in business. Although I am concerned that the mixture might be too wet. Coconut flour tends to be super drying, so if you’re using that, I would start with 1 tablesoon, mix it up in the food processor, stop the machine, and then see if the mix is pinching together. If it still fells too soggy/totally wet, add another spoonful of coconut flour. The resulting mix should be sort of tacky (enough to hold together with minimal pressing/forming), but not really wet. Let me know if your attempt works! ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Rosie22/08/2015 - 4:17 pm

    I find this aquafaba thing amazing- who first realised you could use it in place of egg white? ‘Meatballs’ with aubergine (sorry, eggplant!) sound brilliant :)ReplyCancel

  • […] These eggplant meatballs with kale pesto: OMG. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] go with these “meat”-balls with kale pesto. A wonderful dipping situation if I’ve ever seen one. Laura blows me […]ReplyCancel

  • Jo23/08/2015 - 5:14 pm

    I love the laid-back routine of summer too..BBQs, harvests, beach picnics. I’ve been hearing so much about aquafaba lately so this is the perfect excuse to try it out! I am so excited for your book Laura! xxReplyCancel

  • Julie23/08/2015 - 7:08 pm

    Made these tonight with a traditional basil pesto and a quick tomato sauce on the side (needed to use up basil and tomatoes from our garden) and it was delicious! I cooked a spaghetti squash on the side and it was perfect. Thanks!!!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}23/08/2015 - 10:59 pm

    These photos slay me. So. Good. I have yet to play around with chickpea water, but I am very intrigued by the concept. As I am by these meatballs.Japanese eggplant looks so beautiful growing. I will have to add it to my garden next year.ReplyCancel

  • Alice24/08/2015 - 8:53 pm

    We made this tonight–utterly delicious, and a great find for my eggplant-skeptical husband.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie | The Green Life24/08/2015 - 10:13 pm

    Oh this is genius! I’ve never used chickpea water before but I think I might give it a try with this one. Everything in this recipe sounds so perfect! I love za’atar so much, I would literally put it in every single one of my meals if I could.
    And I must say that your garden is my new life goal.:) Thank you for this gorgeous post!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well25/08/2015 - 9:07 am

    Can I just say for the um-teenth time how stoked I am for your cookbook?! I may need to shut my blog down for a month when it is released so I can cook from it and only it (!!!). And now these meatballs. Ive been so scared of aquafaba, but now feel it has validity after getting your seal of approval. Imma thinking these need to happen real soon. And your garden? LOVE. <3ReplyCancel

  • Iyja26/08/2015 - 1:01 pm

    Laura, you’re the best! I look forward to every new post, and we (my meat-and-potatoes-raised partner included) unequivocally love each recipe- I can’t wait for your cookbook! Milles mercis and tonnes of good vibes from Winnipeg.ReplyCancel

  • […] Eggplant “Meatballs” with Za’atar and Kale Pesto […]ReplyCancel

  • Noknok28/08/2015 - 1:39 am

    These look amazing – can’t wait to try. As we head into busy school months, I’m wondering if any of this could be frozen? Is acquafava affected by temperature? Would you bake the eggplant balls part way to keep them stuck together? Thx!ReplyCancel

    • Laura28/08/2015 - 8:11 am

      I’m honestly not sure if freezing changes the texture of these! I did make an extra batch myself and froze them just to see how they would perform. I think pre-cooking them at least a little bit is be the way to go. That way they won’t soak up excessive moisture as they thaw. Plus it makes things go a bit quicker at meal time too. Hope you try them out!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Eggplant Meatballs with Za’atar & Kale Pesto Via The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • mardi28/08/2015 - 8:31 am

    i cook my chickpeas from dried…the water that they cook in, will it suffice for what you call for from the canned ones?ReplyCancel

    • Laura29/08/2015 - 3:37 pm

      I think aquafaba refers to the chickpea soaking liquid, so if you store your chickpeas with that cooking water, I’d go for it. There’s something about what the cooked chickpeas emit into the soaking water that creates the binding/volumizing potential.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Bowhaus29/08/2015 - 10:15 am

    I’ve just made the aubergine balls, and in order to get the consistency right, I think I should have processed things separately. Mine was really runny, and the toast didn’t break up until the whole thing was really, really soft. Was okay after being in the oven, but after putting soooo many lovely things in it, I was a bit disappointed with the flavour – couldn’t distinguish aubergine, or chick peas, or almonds or z’atar. Will make the pesto later and see if that improves things. I love the blog, though, and your beautiful photos.ReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas30/08/2015 - 10:25 am

    These look incredible!! Is there nothing aquafaba can’t do? So glad you posted a new recipe here, I’ve missed looking at your gorgeous photos in non-instagram form. Can’t WAIT for your book! xoReplyCancel

frozen rosemary watermelon-ade // the firstmess.compin it!View full post »

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  • Alexa [fooduzzi.com]22/07/2015 - 8:21 am

    Wow – if this isn’t the most perfect summer refreshment, I don’t know what is! I love playing with my blender, adding in whatever ingredients I have on hand to create a kick-butt drink. I love that you added fresh herbs to this – I’ll have to try that next!ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:21 am

      I have a serious abundance of herbs this time of year because of the garden, so they’ve been going into every shake. Mint + basil in a green shake is so heavenly ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sophie22/07/2015 - 9:05 am

    Holy moly, this looks perfect! I’ve been on a watermelon juice kick lately (mixed with gin and seltzer, it’s amazing!), but I’m kind of digging the healthiness of this version. Also, tossing an avo is always so heartbreaking. I’m sorry for your loss!ReplyCancel

  • Cady | Wild Heart of Life22/07/2015 - 11:05 am

    What a beautiful smoothie! I love the jalapeño idea so much! During summer I crave the foods of my SoCal upbringing and peppers + watermelon = a big ol’ YES. On the need for routine- I feel ya girl. I cannot function without knowing what’s ahead most of the time. Spontaneity is wonderful, but should be used as a seasoning, not a base in the recipe of my life. That was a gross analogy k bye.ReplyCancel

  • GraffitiGrammarian22/07/2015 - 12:10 pm

    What about protein? Think it would be work to add a quarter cup of soaked cashews? Would a different nut be better?

    thxReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:15 am

      If I were to add a protein source to this one, I’d probably go with a tablespoon or two of hemp seeds, just because their mild flavour/texture won’t take away from the freshness of the smoothie.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola22/07/2015 - 1:06 pm

    This looks so refreshing, my goodness! I’m a total fan of herbs and watermelon, especially in drink form. Going to make this and stand by the AC (heaven on earth!)
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

  • Abby22/07/2015 - 3:12 pm

    These photos are utter perfection, Laura! I adore them. Summer is an icky time of year (at least in my opinion ;) ), but these refreshing drinks make it worth it. :DReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:16 am

      It can definitely get sticky out there ;) Thanks so much, Abby! xo
      -LReplyCancel

  • Felicia@Ingredient122/07/2015 - 4:03 pm

    We love Tess Masters and all of the healthy and innovative ingredients she uses. We’ll have to try this recipe!ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:17 am

      It’s true–she is such a whiz with the combining of flavours and health benefits!
      -LReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com23/07/2015 - 7:09 am

    I love the rosemary in these!! Photos are lovely. And big love to you and your pup… what a ways to start the day. xoReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:19 am

      The rosemary is so unexpected! But that little hit of “pine-y-ness” is so nice with the citrus. And pup is back to normal these days, so all good :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full23/07/2015 - 8:19 am

    Oh no!! I hope your pup feels better. My baby is a little under the weather too, she has kennel cough :( Hopefully they both feel better soon!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn23/07/2015 - 8:41 am

    I’ve had a lot of those ‘Crap, it’s 9pm and we haven’t even thought about dinner’ moment recently (+ almost as soon as I have them, I realise that I’m starving). Love the combo of watermelon + rosemary here, just a perfect blend of sweet/tart/savoury/floral/everything.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well23/07/2015 - 5:16 pm

    Its too funny, I was thinking about how I had wrote in a previous comment that I would be your adventure cheerleader, and was about to send you a little message encouraging you – and then your camping pic popped up on my Insta feed! I was so so so happy for you when I saw it :) glad you got some r&r time out of town (and on that gorgeous beach, jeez!). I wish I had a Vitamix to blend up everything in site, especially on hot days like today. This watermelon-aid sounds amazing! <3ReplyCancel

  • Golda23/07/2015 - 7:42 pm

    There’s heaps of great summer ingredients in this drink! I’m planning on throwing some flax seeds in there for an added boost. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food24/07/2015 - 8:13 am

    Yes… summer has a way of doing this to us. And going by WAY TOO QUICKLY! Poor pups, too. I know how rough those times can be. Hope he’s recovered.

    This ade/smoothie creation looks like something I’d totally go crazy over. Mind you, I immediately thought about how great some vodka or tequila would be in it. So, there’s that.ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw25/07/2015 - 11:53 am

    Every time I see you’ve posted something new, I no joke set aside some time during the week to sit down, slow down and pour through your post/a couple recipes. I’m only 3 days behind on this one! ;) I love the addition of rosemary. It makes a quick, simple blend seem a little more… artisanal? Definitely fun. Beautiful photos, Laura. I wish there was a way I could take some of that garden-fresh kale off of your hands!ReplyCancel

  • GraffitiGrammarian25/07/2015 - 10:50 pm

    wow thanks for the hemp seed suggestion. I didn’t even know hemp seeds have a lot of protein — as much as nuts!ReplyCancel

  • Laura & Nora@Our Food Stories26/07/2015 - 4:28 am

    absolutely love it! looks so refreshing and the color is great! hope your dog feels better soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristie {birch and wild}28/07/2015 - 10:11 pm

    Oh, my. Rosemary and watermelon? That sounds amazing. I am lucky if i have time to brush my teeth these days, let alone make dinner,but I think I could manage making this lovely recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas30/07/2015 - 10:30 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! I make a green smoothie every morning, but sometimes I find myself wanting something a little pinker. Can’t WAIT to try this!ReplyCancel

  • […] This can be the perfect poolside drink: Frozen rosemary watermelon-ade. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This may be the ideal poolside drink: Frozen rosemary watermelon-ade. […]ReplyCancel

  • meghan31/07/2015 - 7:36 pm

    I love adding watermelon to smoothies for sweetness and increasing the liquid without watering them down. I also find blending some frozen berries with watermelon, coconut water, and a splash of non dairy milk is the MOST refreshing hydration smoothie. :)ReplyCancel

  • Zuzia02/08/2015 - 4:44 pm

    Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Meg | Bread+Barrow13/08/2015 - 9:51 am

    I totally sympathize with your feeling of summer throwing you off. Every winter I get so psyched for the sticky heat and the abundance of produce – but once I am in it, I remember that I am exhausted by the sun, my allergies are killing me, and the tomatoes are taking over my kitchen. I am ready for fall. Great recipe, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • […] This may be the ideal poolside drink: Frozen rosemary watermelon-ade. […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate18/08/2015 - 12:12 pm

    Well, I’m pretty late to the game here, but I’m feeling you on this post now! Cookie nabbed at least four slices of bread from the counter when I wasn’t looking (must have been a very stealth move, as the bag appeared undisturbed after the fact) and made herself sick the other day. :( Hope you’re having a stellar summer, lady. Looks like you have been busy!ReplyCancel

  • George SSF19/08/2015 - 1:23 am

    This is my first time visit to your blog! I love watermelon! This is so refreshing! Thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Mitch22/08/2015 - 11:29 am

    I need to go buy a watermelon pronto and make some for myself! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Wednesdays | 926/08/2015 - 2:45 pm

    […] This frozen rosemary watermelon-ade […]ReplyCancel

moroccan-ish sweet potato sunshine salad // thefirstmess.compin it!View full post »

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  • Kathryn01/07/2015 - 8:29 am

    I totally admit to not being a huge dog person (mainly because I’m absolutely terrified of them) but even I have to admit that Cleo is one cute pup and you guys have done a great thing in giving her such a loving and stable home. Like Cleo, I have a soft spot for sweet potatoes although I tend to neglect them in the warmer months. Loving the summer vibes of this dish and can’t wait to make it.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well01/07/2015 - 8:36 am

    Your words were so touching in this post, Laura <3. I love your connection to your pup and this organization. Totally voted for you, girl! And this salad? How do you do it. Always, AMAZING. <3ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey01/07/2015 - 8:47 am

    Yes, the sweet pups in this world could definitely teach us humans a thing or two! I totally feel you on getting choked up thinking about where Cleo came from and all the hardship she had to endure; our pup came from the streets of LA and ended up in NY by way of an animal rescue org, but that’s about all we know about him. That’s so awesome that you guys were able to know more of her backstory, and how she came to be in your sweet home :) Loving this salad big time – date vinaigrette!? Too good! xoReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com01/07/2015 - 9:04 am

    Gorgeous salad and I love the ish in the title, so awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Anna01/07/2015 - 9:10 am
  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan01/07/2015 - 9:21 am

    Gah. The animal stories KILL me. Our kitty came from a shelter and whenever I think about all those animals I just want to rescue ALL of them! Let’s start a farm and rescue all the animals, ok?ReplyCancel

  • Alexa [fooduzzi.com]01/07/2015 - 10:01 am

    OMG! I could eat this every day! What a beautiful summer salad!ReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola01/07/2015 - 11:55 am

    This salad is so beautiful! What a heavenly mix of flavors! I can’t wait to try this!
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

  • reeve01/07/2015 - 1:17 pm

    Hey There! This looks amazing. I will be trying it asap. Can you suggest something to use instead of ginger. I love ginger but I’m allergic to it…ugh, so sad.ReplyCancel

    • Laura01/07/2015 - 2:22 pm

      Hey reeve, If you can find it, I would recommend subbing about the same amount of lemongrass. And if lemongrass isn’t available, I’d use just a little extra lemon juice and some of the zest as well, about 1 teaspoon. You could also use a garlic clove instead and take it a different direction entirely!
      -LReplyCancel

      • Reeve01/07/2015 - 4:15 pm

        Thanks SO much! I love lemongrass…yea! And garlic, sadly that’s a no-no for me as well. But that keeps me trying new herbs and spices all the time;)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full01/07/2015 - 1:23 pm

    Laura, I can’t tell you how much I admire and respect you for rescuing your little pup, Cleo! I rescued my own baby in September 2013, after she was found abandoned and starving in Arkansas. She was in such bad shape when I got her that she still suffers from minor medical issues to this day. But she is the sweetest little ray of sunshine, and I can’t imagine my life without her. She really is my baby! I wish I could give every abandoned, neglected dog a happy home. In a perfect world, right? But I can’t commend you enough for advocating such an amazing cause. Much love to you and Cleo, from Ivy and me!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily | Gather & Dine01/07/2015 - 1:56 pm

    Oh these colors! I want this for lunch now. :) I always love seeing what you come up with. Just voted for you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Paula01/07/2015 - 2:00 pm

    Again, a colorful and delicious salad. It looks great. It’s so inviting to taste and enjoy..ReplyCancel

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats01/07/2015 - 4:09 pm

    Hehe me and my sister are the queen of baby animal Instagrams. She cried when one of the bunnymama’s rabbits died. I hope you follow the baby hedgehog and baby goat instagrams.

    P.S. rescue pets are the only way to go, Cleo is adorable :DReplyCancel

  • Abby01/07/2015 - 4:46 pm

    Oh, Laura, you are so talented! I adore this. <3ReplyCancel

  • Amanda | Pickles & Honey01/07/2015 - 6:54 pm

    I loved reading this post. Anything with animals is so close to my heart. <3 Just voted and it looks like you're in the lead! This salad is beautiful, as always. My dogs will be pumped when I make it because like Cleo, they adore sweet potatoes (and chickpeas!).ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui02/07/2015 - 12:19 am

    Love it! Just voted and this salad has so many of my favorite things!ReplyCancel

  • Danika Maia02/07/2015 - 7:49 am

    Gorgeous! I love Morrocan food with dates in it, this is definitely going on my to do list!

    ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com02/07/2015 - 9:11 am

    your story of cleo is heartbreaking. i am so glad she found you guys… but who would leave her and her siblings like that? My heart. Fingers crossed and votes cast for your smoothie. Also that dressing….yes. yes. yes! xoReplyCancel

  • Bridget02/07/2015 - 12:14 pm

    Such a lovely recipe. And you’re right, it is like a salad version of a Moroccan stew. I’m always looking for more ways to use sweet potato so will give this a try. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Emily02/07/2015 - 12:33 pm

    I think salads are where you really shine through. This is such a cretive mix of flavors and textures. Also, not fussy at all! Easy peasy. A lot like your last post, which was equally fabulous. I look forward to making it!ReplyCancel

  • Grace02/07/2015 - 3:40 pm

    Cleo is the cutest! I love seeing pics of her, you should totally submit her pics to cuteoverload.com And I voted for your smoothie! Hope you win!ReplyCancel

  • […] weekend could do with some sunshine in a bowl with this sweet potato […]ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw02/07/2015 - 11:29 pm

    Agh that date vinaigrette sounds insane! I can’t wait to make it. Gave your treat a good solid vote because DUH great cause, great lady, great smoothie (win-win-win)ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie03/07/2015 - 4:22 pm

    Aww little Cleo is the cutest, I can tell from the way you talk about her and her photos that she has such a soft, sweet soul. This post is wonderful Laura, and that salad is pretty magical. I love how saturated the colors and flavors are, so good, xo!ReplyCancel

  • Clementine04/07/2015 - 2:55 pm

    Laura this salad looks so glorious, I can’t wait to give it try and such beautiful photos – as always. Little Cleo is so sweet xReplyCancel

  • Sus @ roughmeasures.com05/07/2015 - 9:28 am

    Cleo is adorable! She’s lucky to have you guys giving her the best possible life after a traumatic start. A great cause too, you got my vote!
    This salad looks sensational. All my fave ingredients and love that date dressing!ReplyCancel

  • […] sweet potato salad – seriously, what could be more […]ReplyCancel

  • katy05/07/2015 - 5:46 pm

    i love this vinaigrette. will make extra next time!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food05/07/2015 - 10:33 pm

    So proud of everything you’re doing with So Delicious! Wishing you lots of luck. You definitely got my vote!

    This salad is my idea of the perfect vegetarian meal. Healthy, satisfying, loaded with flavor. So, I’m right there with Cleo. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Brother Bear07/07/2015 - 4:01 am

    This salad has everything Mediterranean about it. I’m gonna mix up the sweet potato variety when I make this. Thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Tamanique @ The Maximalist!07/07/2015 - 9:07 am

    So beautiful and tasty looking – this, and your cold vegan noodle salad just made my menu for next week! Whenever I’m not sure what to make, I check your blog first :)ReplyCancel

  • Reduceri online07/07/2015 - 1:18 pm

    It looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Anita08/07/2015 - 1:20 pm

    Made this salad last night and it was so delicious! Tweaked the sauce a bit according to personal preference, added some ground cumin, a tablespoon each of tahini and keffir. Leftovers even better then next day as all potato salads are (I am eating them as I write this comment).ReplyCancel

  • Hannah09/07/2015 - 6:23 am

    Amazing combination of herbs and zestyness. Everything good comes out of this salad including satiated smiles!ReplyCancel

  • […] Moroccan Sweet Potato Sunshine Salad via The First Mess – Happiness in a bowl. […]ReplyCancel

  • Anna11/07/2015 - 12:01 pm

    Dear Laura, I’ve exploded with happiness! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Ines12/07/2015 - 2:09 pm

    I tried your recipe this week (with more sweet potato and less other vegetables) and it was amazing! I had to stop myself from “testing the seasoning” =P I cut up the sweet potatoes in bite sized pieces and then steamed them and stirred them into the dish while slightly warm, which was great!
    Thank you for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Zofia13/07/2015 - 6:46 am

    Cleo looks so cute! It’s good to know she found a loving owner. And the recipe looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • IAmJ15/07/2015 - 10:42 am

    This was delicious! I ended up roasting the carrots and sweet potatoes, no changes otherwise. The dressing was divine. It makes great leftovers, too.ReplyCancel

  • […] And finally, summer on a plate. […]ReplyCancel

  • Velvet & Vinegar18/07/2015 - 5:19 pm

    I don`t even know which recipe I want to check out first everything looks just so yummy. Love it, got a new reader :)

    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Chloe19/07/2015 - 12:45 pm

    YUM! I have no other words except for “yum.”
    this seriously looks too delicious and i will mot definitely be testing out this recipe myself sometime soon :)
    xox
    chloe
    http://popcosmo.comReplyCancel

  • Chris22/07/2015 - 2:46 pm

    Being the owner of a rescue dog myself I love the story. The colors in this salad are fantastic as is the photography.
    Can you use turmeric instead of ginger?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/07/2015 - 8:14 am

      Hey Chris! I think you could use turmeric instead, but the flavour of the vinaigrette will me much milder if you do.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] when healthy food inspires me to eat it and be […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Vous retrouverez la recette ICI. […]ReplyCancel

  • Marry08/08/2015 - 12:23 am

    Love this salad! Why I never thought to use sweet potatoes I don’t know. And dates instead of honey, yum. Every bite was delicious. I love all the different flavors. Thank you so much.ReplyCancel

  • emily12/08/2015 - 1:31 pm

    this looks amazing — perfect for my farmer’s market goodies :)
    question: what’s the best way to store left overs ? i’d love to make a big batch and eat throughout the week. should i store dressed or store separately ?ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/08/2015 - 4:08 pm

      I store leftovers lightly coated with about half of the dressing and then re-up my dressing as I eat it :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Margo Page24/08/2015 - 7:19 pm

    Your pictures a so lovely! and this salad is blowing my mind right now! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.ReplyCancel

cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.compin it!View full post »

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  • Michelle @ Hummingbird High25/06/2015 - 5:45 am

    Yum!!! This is all sorts of delicious and gorgeous looking! Good luck in the competition; you have my vote!ReplyCancel

  • Anna25/06/2015 - 7:43 am

    this looks devine!!! Can’t wait to try it at home :D yumm

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com25/06/2015 - 8:16 am

    This looks divine and your photos are, as always, gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Becker25/06/2015 - 10:34 am

    Why is tofu a once-in-a-while treat for you? Is there something unhealthy about it?ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 10:44 am

      Hi Sarah,
      If I eat too much soy–typically in the form of tofu, soy milk or some of the more refined soy foods, I tend to break out. So I definitely take steps to limit my consumption. For a lot of people it’s totally fine to eat on a regular basis though.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth25/06/2015 - 10:48 am

    Yep. I feel like I’ve had that exact pie crust experience already the summer. I’m taking notes (on your notes?) here – and taking to heart your smart words about staying organized and slowing down. I try to stop and remind myself to enjoy things, but the lure of whatever’s next is hard to push aside. Happy anniversary! And here’s to a summer of productive times and good times, or working hard and then not working at all. I’m so excited to see that book you’re creating and am positive it’s going to be amazing. Cheers, friend.ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:08 pm

      Pie-related failures are some of the most crushing.I think we both deserve some chill and enjoyment time ;) xoReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola25/06/2015 - 11:36 am

    This is gorgeous! When summer kicks in, everything must be chilly or room temperature. It’s the kitchen code! Congrats on all of your success. Fingers crossed on that delicious-sounding smoothie!
    Happy belated blogging birthday!
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Sydney! I totally agree with that kitchen code, except for maybe the odd cookie ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Amanda | Pickles & Honey25/06/2015 - 12:39 pm

    That second photo with all of the ingredients laid out is so dreamy! I’m digging all of the flavors and textures you’ve got going on here, especially the peaches!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full25/06/2015 - 1:55 pm

    I love how you use natural lighting in your photos and don’t try to edit it away. It really makes your food photography stand out :)
    Also – good luck on the So Delicious competition! I voted for you :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:01 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words on my photography, Sarah! And thanks for that vote, too ;)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough25/06/2015 - 2:04 pm

    Gorgeous salad! But it doesn’t stand a chance of making it to any potluck or picnic this summer, as I’d put the whole thing in my belly right away. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/06/2015 - 2:09 pm

      You’ve got your priorities straight ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Stephanie25/06/2015 - 2:26 pm

    I have yet to put seared tofu on a salad, but this recipe might push me into doing it. The peaches look like an unexpected, but beautiful, burst of sweetness. Can’t wait to try it this weekend for a friend’s potluck. That is, if I don’t eat all of it first… :)ReplyCancel

  • Nina25/06/2015 - 7:44 pm

    Wonderful! This sounds perfect in every sense, I need to make your almond butter sauce with lime (heart symnol :D) !!ReplyCancel

  • Abby25/06/2015 - 9:38 pm

    What a lovely post, Laura! This noodle salad looks delicious; so perfect for a summer lunch. And your photos are GORGEOUS! <3ReplyCancel

  • Erica25/06/2015 - 9:48 pm

    Your photos are some of my favorites, I love the lighting and the beautiful colors. This noodle salad is definitely something I shall be bringing to this summer’s potlucks. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel MacKay25/06/2015 - 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the shout out Laura :) the salad looks DELISH!ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com25/06/2015 - 10:25 pm

    this is such a crazy beautiful salad and could agree more with other comments about the lighting! killed it!! Also so much love on all those links. xoReplyCancel

  • Kathryn26/06/2015 - 4:30 am

    I think sometimes we/society/the internet puts so much pressure on us to make the most of every single moment of summer and tick off our bucket list items which is all well and good until you’re trying to balance that with working and blogging and all the other general stuff that people need to do in life and you can just end up in this crazy cycle of stress. All of which is to say, I’m all for slowing down and just enjoying the hell out of the season. Summer hugs to you Laura + thank you for providing a salad recipe that I know I’m going to enjoy all season long.ReplyCancel

  • […] First Mess shared a Cool Vegan Noodle Salad with Seared Tofu and Zingy Almond Butter Sauce that looks perfect for a hot summer […]ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}26/06/2015 - 4:52 pm

    This is for sure the perfect potluck food for a summer day. Love the almond butter dressing. I have yet to experiment much with nut butters for dressings, but I am going to have to get on that.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well26/06/2015 - 6:00 pm

    I feel like I was right there in your mess with you while reading this! I hope you can get some time away to reset through the crazy cookbook process and soak up some rejuvenating summer vibes soon. Adventures have a way of bringing us back into the world as better people, don’t you think so?! I’m excited to see what your summer has in store and am gonna be your little adventure cheerleader mmmk!? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Ami@NaiveCookCooks27/06/2015 - 4:40 pm

    Laura so many good happy things happening in your life!! Best of luck and yes ENJOY LIFE! This salad is on my to make list asap!ReplyCancel

  • Emilie M.28/06/2015 - 2:28 pm

    Eating this at the moment. MIND : BLOWN.ReplyCancel

  • steph29/06/2015 - 12:32 pm

    happy blog birthday! what an awesome way to celebrate! cold noodle salads are exactly what i want to be eating when the weather is all hot and soupy…i can just imagine the flavors of this one with the thai basil and tofu. YUM
    xoxo

    ps – totes voted for you lady!ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw29/06/2015 - 8:44 pm

    What a great post, Laura. This recipe is the best (I love easily adapted yet endlessly delicious summer foods!) and the photographs are SO. fricken. lovely. When your career matches your passion, aka it’s what you also have done for enjoyment most of your life, it’s important (yet feels so hard) to sit down and make just for the hell of it. Here’s to practicing patience with passion.ReplyCancel

  • Kate29/06/2015 - 10:16 pm

    Hi, this looks delicious! Do you think I could substitute peanut butter for the almond butter? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/06/2015 - 1:33 pm

      Hey Kate, I think you could definitely sub peanut butter for almond–with delicious results too :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Corey Cananza30/06/2015 - 5:46 am

    I’ve tried all three diets- veganism, vegetarianism, and a meat diet and I’ve always felt the healthiest with a vegan diet. Eating meat always made my energy levels decline and milk and eggs did the same but to a lesser degree. Plenty of protein can be found in so many natural vegan sources so the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is wrong too. Keep up your good work.ReplyCancel

  • […] just want to be Laura Wright‘s roommate so I can eat like this all the […]ReplyCancel

  • Claudia17/07/2015 - 8:14 pm

    I’m going to cook this for a potluck tonight. But what I wanted to say was that you have ads popping up that cover half the screen (iPad) and there is no way to get rid of them, thankfully I was able to print it because otherwise I couldn’t have made it.ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/07/2015 - 1:40 pm

      Hi Claudia, I’m so sorry about this. I will email my ad providers about these pop-up ads right away. (I hate those so much) Thanks for your patience.
      -LReplyCancel

  • sara forte31/07/2015 - 6:15 pm

    this is exactly what I have been feeling like as of late – cold noodles, a nutty sauce and some salty tofu chunkies. Your pictures are motivating me :) I hope that you find that recipe or have the memory to recreate it – sounds wonderful! Proud of how hard you are working! I know it will pay off – still awhile from now, but it WILL!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Wischmann03/08/2015 - 1:12 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious. I mean, almond butter sauce? I’m in!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Wyse20/08/2015 - 11:09 am

    I made this salad last night and it was absolutely delightful. The sauce is amazing, and the veggie and peach combination works really really well. I’ll be adding this to my recipe rotation for sure. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world. What a gift! I’ll definitely be trying more recipes in the very near future.ReplyCancel

vegan strawberry milk // thefirstmess.compin it!View full post »

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  • […] Why Drink It? – Chelsea CrockettPodcast: Hemp juice, the new contender to coconut water?on dealing with fresh coconuts + strawberry milk9 Insanely Refreshing Popsicles {that you and your kids will love!} — Traditional Cooking School […]ReplyCancel

  • valentina | sweet kabocha10/06/2015 - 4:56 am

    I love so much young coconut! I used to eat it when I lived in France, I could find it at the supermarket there! Here in Italy unfortunately is pretty unknown, therefore stores doesn’t sell it. So sad. And if you think “hey, you live in Italy, you have wonderful veggies and weather, would you change that for young coconuts?” I would say “yes!”. (I live in the northern Italy, where the weather is cold in winter and hot in summer, but always moist and best veggies are cultivated and sold only in the south!) You make me want a coconut right now so badly!! :(ReplyCancel

  • Libby10/06/2015 - 10:08 am

    This looks completely incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Alissa | The Solstice Table10/06/2015 - 10:17 am

    You’ve instilled me with confidence! I’m going to go buy a young coconut on my lunch break and get after it. I’ve done mature coconuts before but never a young one so wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Anna10/06/2015 - 10:31 am

    loove this!! thanks for sharing :)

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/ReplyCancel

  • Erin10/06/2015 - 11:46 am

    Your step by step illustration is super helpful! Gorgeous photos :)ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well10/06/2015 - 2:20 pm

    YES – this has always terrified me but its one of those things I’ve been itching to do. Love your words on overcoming your fears – you gots to believe! Going to try this one day when Scott’s not home to spare him the freak out. As much as he loves me I know he likes me best with fingers still attached ;). Extra awesome points for the Leslie Knope fist pump, and strawberry milk for the WIN! I was all about that horrible syrup growing up too – yikes!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra10/06/2015 - 6:12 pm

    I definitely lack the confidence, wimp out and make my boyfriend do it with his giant cleaver. On a resort, there was a man with a machete opening coconuts everyday for the guests. It was paradise! Loving these instructions and confidence boasters, I CAN do this!ReplyCancel

  • Tamanique10/06/2015 - 8:27 pm

    Thanks! This is really helpful. I’ve always wondered what a fresh coconut would taste like, versus all the canned stuff. And that strawberry milk looks and probably tasted so much better than the grocery store stuff!ReplyCancel

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com11/06/2015 - 6:42 am

    oh i have never attempted this, but i feel like i need to get a belly full of confidence (like you said real or not- maybe some liquid courage?) and just go for it! love your step by step photos!! xoReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas11/06/2015 - 7:59 am

    Thank you SO much for these instructions. I’ve always been so intimated by fresh coconuts, but you’ve given me the confidence (and the step-by-step photos) to just go for it..and then make some strawberry milk for a victory sip!ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth11/06/2015 - 9:47 am

    Fear of the coconut has kept me away from tackling it head on, so thanks very much for these instructions! Summer is looking much brighter now!ReplyCancel

  • Abby11/06/2015 - 11:49 am

    I love, LOVE this post, Laura! What stunning photos. And I agree… there’s just something about strawberry drinks. That color! <3ReplyCancel

  • Nicole11/06/2015 - 12:42 pm

    Is Munchies the best or what!?!!? Every time I watch an episode, I’m always mad that all food tv isn’t that good.ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw11/06/2015 - 10:14 pm

    Agh, the self-manifested eff-up – a little too familiar with that one! Love all the positive vibes here, and the photos are gorgeous as always. I feel ready to tackle some wild culinary goals with confidence :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full12/06/2015 - 12:27 pm

    Your photos are so consistently stunning. And now I’m really craving strawberry mylk :) :)ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)13/06/2015 - 4:25 pm

    there are no words to describe my obsession with young coconuts. the water, the meat. it’s in my top 5 favorite foods. my man and i are going to be selling fresh coconuts and coconut water at Floydfest here in Virginia and we’re really excited! there are almost 20k attendees. so you know i love this tutorial! and i just KNOW this recipe is bomb! fun fact, you can also open coconuts by puncturing the top with a sharp paring knife in just the right spot. in unshaved green coconuts you puncture one of the “eyes” at the top of the coconut. it’s a lot easier than shaving it down, surprisingly! then you just chop it in half with a machete. haha. and trust me i have dreams of blood spatter, but thankfully we know what we’re doing. xoReplyCancel

  • Stephanie15/06/2015 - 5:12 pm

    Do you think this would freeze well into a popsicle?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/06/2015 - 3:23 pm

      I think that would actually be amazing :DReplyCancel

  • Paula16/06/2015 - 4:53 am

    It took you some time to prepare everything! But they all look amazing, especially in the final photos on the grass, amazing. I find it difficult to prepare, I don’t know if I have the patience.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne16/06/2015 - 4:26 pm

    That must taste a-ma-zing. I ‘ve never tried opening a coconut but I might just after seeing these pictures :)ReplyCancel

  • Diana19/06/2015 - 4:57 pm

    Hi Laura,
    I have tackled young cocnuts many times, motivated the first time by the desire to feed my dairy-intolerant son something akin to yogurt (add some probiotics, and it really is yogurt! :).
    But I still have one question, and maybe you know this: how can you tell a good one from one that has gone bad? Some say if the water is pinkish in hue, the coconut is spoiled. Other say brown spots on the outer husk are bad news. Or moldy spots on the husk. Any insight on this?ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/06/2015 - 3:27 pm

      I’ve heard that thing about the pink water/flesh as well. But I’ve also read that the pink hue just indicates a much younger coconut, which makes sense because the flesh always seems to be thinner when it’s pink. I’ve never discarded coconut water/flesh for being pink and I’ve never been sick outright. A company that I buy fresh coconut water from sometimes (Harmless Harvest) has pink-ish hued bottles in the mix, so I’m assuming this is perfectly fine.

      In terms of picking a good one though? I’m not sure. I’ve had good luck with coconuts when I try to pick the heavier ones in the mix, but that’s about all I can say for sure :)ReplyCancel

  • Heghineh21/06/2015 - 12:54 am

    Love your food photography and details, really helps,
    thank you so much for sharingReplyCancel

  • Crista26/06/2015 - 12:51 pm

    This post takes me back to a time when I sat on a beach in Costa Rica trying to open coconuts with a pocket knife, blood dripping down our fingers but quickly washed away by the ocean water…. In other news, I haven’t had strawberry milk in forever, forever – I see a coconutty weekend project in my future…ReplyCancel

  • […] The prettiest photos ever! […]ReplyCancel

  • […] ways, including using a chef’s knife (genius), or roasting in the oven. Also, Laura opened a young Thai coconut and made some delicious strawberry milk. I’m opening a “mature coconut” – those brown hairy […]ReplyCancel