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gone raw: autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”, za’atar carrots, avocado, dijon + dill

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/ celery root "rice", zathe dill out back // the first mess
Have I mentioned this? I’m going to try the raw food thing for a month! That completely immersive and beautiful dinner we had at Pure Food & Wine back in September left a pretty serious impression on me. It was so innovative, colourful, satisfying and, most importantly, life-giving. I didn’t feel like a half-drunk, belly-aching, lumbering bear clambering around in the streets afterward. Sometimes destination restaurant experiences have that sleepy after-effect, but not this time. We had three courses, cocktails, the whole bit, and just bounced right outta there afterward without missing ANY sort of beat. I’m pretty sure I observed out loud at least 7 times how awesome and vibrant I felt.

I’m not a stranger to raw foods or anything, but I wanted to give the lifestyle a very sincere effort for a lot of reasons. I feel like my creative nature might need a slight kick in the pants–just been in steady resting mode with foods and preparation methods lately. Certain constraints seem to reveal a whole new world more often than not–i.e. travel, changing careers, using twitter as a communication medium IN GENERAL etc. You can lose those everyday crutches and gain a new set of tools/capabilities once you decide that the lead-up actions are worthwhile. Any shred of personal growth is so valuable to me, so yep, I dug out the dehydrator and bought myself some lucuma.

It’s also a bit of a control readjustment thing. The house and its updates are kind of maddening/sad-party some days (but also really great in a future-thinking sense–not complaining, dudes). I’ve been reaching for what my man calls a “poor man’s mocha” more often than I’d care to admit (it’s like ordering a coffee and then asking that half of the cup be taken up by hot chocolate–I know sooooo sneaky). There’s a lot of hastily grabbed snack-y foods that are less than virtuous floating around. I figure a new mindset/mission is what I need to take the power back. I get to a point almost every day where I pause in the middle of some glamorous task like piling up smelly old floor boards outside, and I think “Aaaah, maybe I’ll just like, make sure I eat a salad before I go to work…?” That doesn’t usually pan out. It’s just an overall operating-at-75-percent kind of thing, in the efforts put forth and the results, that’s bothering me. I’ve never been a 75 percent-er, ever, so it’s time to change and work outside of my comforts a bit. Simple as that.

And the last obvious thing: it’s for my health, duh! I’m excited to feel a bit more in tune with my body and this magnificent, consistently humbling earth. It’s pretty crazy to think about the amount of energy you can just weave into the fibres of your being by simply eating. And the land provides! I’m excited to make beautiful things happen, and to feel a bit more spring in the heels. Also, no shame, a bit of this.

So yeah! Gonna try it all out, learn a few things, make some stuff. Just living and working with a bit more intention is all. This little snack came to me while I was flipping through Sarma’s amazing book. She has a version with jicama for the rice portion, which sounds really fresh and lovely. We have celery root everywhere and I love its lightly sweet, fresh, creamy celery-ish taste. I thought it would be mind-blowing all rice-d up in an autumnal nori roll (or sushi if you aren’t gonna be all crazy concerned about cuisine terminology usage) situation with some dressed carrots, dill and dijon. The combination was pretty solid–nice and crunchy, bit of chew from the nori and zing from the mustard. My dad grew some mighty fine carrots in his garden this year–so sweet and flavourful. The dill is vibrant and green out there too, despite negative temperatures at night. Thankfully, it all just grows and goes together. Nature, seriously!

See you next week with some more raw goodies, loves! xoxo

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", za
raw autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”
with vegetable-based rice guidance from Raw Food, Real World
special equipment: a sushi mat! These can be had rather inexpensively.
serves: makes about 18-24 rolls, depending on how thick you lay the rice mix in
notes: I coat the celery root chunks in lemon juice pre-processing to prevent any sort of browning. Also, it’s fun to have the leafy bits of sprouts sticking out the ends of the rolls. Pretty presentation!

celery root rice ingredients:
3 cups diced (peeled!) celery root
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
splash of rice vinegar
splash of raw agave nectar OR raw honey
fat pinch of sea salt

za’atar carrots:
1 large OR 2-3 medium carrots, peeled + cut into matchsticks
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp za’atar
little handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper

assembly:
3-4 sheets of nori (there are raw brands available, if you are concerned)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
extra dill sprigs + the little seedy flowers if you got ‘em
big handful of sprouts (sunflower is my fave)
nama shoyu/coconut aminos to serve

Toss the diced celery root with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Throw the pieces into the food processor along with the pine nuts. Pulse/run the motor until the nuts and celery root become rice-sized. Scrape all of that out into a medium bowl. Toss the “rice” with the rice vinegar, agave/honey and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, toss the carrot matchsticks with the lemon juice, za’atar, dill, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Line up your nori sheets, sliced avocado, sprouts, dill bits and pour your coconut aminos/nama shoyu in a little serving bowl.

Lay a nori sheet, rough side facing up, on your sushi mat. Make sure the lines are going horizontal. Spoon some celery root rice onto the bottom third of the nori. Spread it to all the corners, packing it down. You should have a solid layer of the rice with minimal gaps. In the middle of the rice, lay some of the carrot mixture down. Top that with dill, avocado and sprouts.

Now, grabbing the bottom edge of the sushi mat with your thumbs and simultaneously pushing the sushi filling in with your fingers, start rolling it up. After you’ve enclosed the center bits (carrots, avo etc), clamp down on the roll to firm it up a bit. Continue rolling, firming up the shape of it as you go. Moisten the last little edge of the nori with water on your finger before you completely roll it up, just to seal it a bit.

Cut the roll in half. Then cut those halves into 3 evenly sized pieces each. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, carrots etc. Serve it up with the nama shoyu or whatever you like.

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Emma30/10/2013 - 6:42 am

These are stunning! I keep meaning to try raw sushi rolls but haven’t yet.
Hope the raw month goes well. I did a fully raw week and felt so good but a month might be a bit long for me to go without baking and roast veggies!

Chloe30/10/2013 - 7:02 am

he he you’re pretty great to listen to :) I love the way raw food makes me feel too – so much goodness. I’ve made raw sushi with cauliflower rice before, also pretty great. looking forward to the raw goodies ! xo

thecitygourmand30/10/2013 - 7:53 am

Some gorgeous detail in that first shot!

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures30/10/2013 - 8:24 am

These look soooo good! I am always looking to go a little more raw and am excited for you to share your raw adventure!

Grace30/10/2013 - 9:36 am

Beautiful! Props to you girl for going raw for a month! Totally raw is tough for me but if anyone can make it incredibly delicious it’s you. I’ve been feeling a similar disconnect from my body and so am doing a detox for the month of November. Raw, lots of broth, and zero sugar or allergens (well my potential ones at least). Let’s get these high vibes going!

erin30/10/2013 - 10:00 am

These are just gorgeous and I love the idea of using celery root as the rice!

Grace30/10/2013 - 10:08 am

Such beauties. I want to pop them all in my mouth and feel happy! Can’t wait to see more fresh goodies you “cook” up this month! ;)

Christine30/10/2013 - 10:32 am

These rolls look vibrantly life-giving, and your words are inspiring. Thanks for mentioning the books _Raw Food/Real World_ and _Living Raw Food_. Would you mind mentioning a few other sources that have guided and inspired you in preparing for this month? Thanks!

stacey snacks30/10/2013 - 10:45 am

Just harvested the last of my fennel and has now turned to seed, which I am happy about, now I have a big container of fennel seeds………

I just posted your beautiful Moroccan stew with chickpeas and dates, I’ve made it 3 times so far! It’s so good!
Thank you for your lovely recipes and beautiful photos.

Stacey
http://www.staceysnacksonline.com/2013/10/moroccan-style-vegetable-stew-w.html

Shanna30/10/2013 - 11:45 am

Brilliant idea and I can’t wait to hear how you feel as the month goes on!

thelittleloaf30/10/2013 - 12:48 pm

This looks incredible! Not sure if I could do a whole month of raw food but seriously impressed :-)

Michelle @ The Fresh Direction30/10/2013 - 4:17 pm

Look at you go! These looks amazing – never made sushi before but this raw version has definitely inspired me. Good luck with the raw food venture, totally down with that. Keep us posted! :)

Harriet McAtee31/10/2013 - 12:16 am

These looks so wonderfully delicious and inspiring! Like you, I seem to love a new eating challenge and the ingenious ideas that spring from them. Haha. I’m the person that’s a little bit sad when I detox is over, and I return to normal eating. Totally digging that intentional, purposeful feeling you get from eating that way. These rolls look seriously good – I can’t wait to see what else appears here while you’re raw!

jade o'donahoo31/10/2013 - 5:09 am

the photos are gorgeous! i can’t wait to give the celery root ‘rice’ a go. X

[…] Autumn Sushi with Celery Root “Rice” from The First Mess […]

sarah31/10/2013 - 3:02 pm

You are so inspiring. Although, I’m having a very hard time imagining you as a ‘lumbering bear clambering around in the streets’ regardless of what you eat, ha. Your photos are gorgeous as always! And I can’t wait to see this house of yours take shape!

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com31/10/2013 - 4:48 pm

Divine! Raw foods can be so satisfying and beautiful! Need to try this soon!

JCollins01/11/2013 - 10:19 am

I am VERY familiar with the ‘poor man’s mocha’. During my college days as a barista, we had a poor man’s version of several drinks we thought were too pricey for consumption during work (even with a discount). Poor man’s Italian soda – a can of sprite and some of the syrup flavoring (yes, a total sugar bomb).

Fresh and Foodie01/11/2013 - 11:00 am

Beyond gorgeous! I’ve been trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. If I could eat like this everyday, it’d be much easier!

Eileen02/11/2013 - 4:52 pm

This has to be some of the prettiest sushi I’ve ever seen–and most sushi is pretty beautiful, so that’s saying something. :) I love the idea of using zata’ar too!

Haley04/11/2013 - 12:52 am

Oh my gosh these look great. What a cool idea for the “rice”

Miachel (Spiced Curiosity)05/11/2013 - 10:24 pm

What an amazing raw meal, and a creative take on making sushi healthy.

Cheers! :)

[…] Autumn Sushi w/ Celery Root “Rice”, Za’atar Carrots, Avocado, Dijon + Dill ~ The First Mess. I have been obsessed with making nori rolls lately, and this take on them with spiced carrots looks amazing. […]

Sonja06/11/2013 - 11:10 pm

I read this the other day and was blown over by your creativity here (but forgot to leave you a little note to say so :) ). I’m a huge fan of celery root but never would have thought of using it as sushi rice. I’m inspired!

Joy Newton13/11/2013 - 10:54 pm

Wow! Such beautiful images! I can’t stop looking at them :).

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