The First Mess // healthy vegan recipes for every season »

Masthead header

grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter

grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messbeetspistachio_FINAL5grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first mess
Well hey there, lovely. Wanna talk beets and self love today? I kinda do, so let’s hit it.

Cherubs and chocolate treats are cute and all, but identifying and seizing opportunities to love yourself are about a thousand times more crucial in the greater scope (ahem, DUH). I used to think that even a mere reflection on self-love was a waste of time because I could be doing work and accomplishing real, tangible things that I would probably love more. As I get older, my line of thought on this has veered to the other side. If you want to go after the things you want, it seems you also have to be mindful enough to give yourself the strength to take it all on first. There are plenty of opportunities to build yourself up and now, I find these moments in all manners of ways.

Food and nourishment are pretty obvious avenues. My current mode of life allows me to choose beautiful whole foods as a regular part of my weeks, and for this I’m very grateful. It’s nice to look into your fridge after a grocery day, see the different colours and textures, and then remember that it’s all for you and the wellbeing of those you keep close. It’s equally nice to look into your fridge, see nothing but various hot sauces and lightly wrinkled scraps of vegetables, turn to your pantry and somehow make a meal out of the whole mess. In the realm of cooking at home, that’s when I love myself the most. It feels like sorcery to serve up a full plate out of nothing.

Other ways of self love? Lately they’ve taken the form of learning how/when to say no, washing my face with manuka honey (one of my favourite parts of the day for real), taking a breather from the renovation happenings (we’re getting closer though!), keeping pineapples on the counter/in my face as a giant eff you to winter, giving into vulgar humour here and there, and marathoning this unbelievably good series in my sweats when I should have been working (oops). I guess the overarching theme here is finding little bits of peace and rest, which is a natural gravitational pull in the depths of winter. If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.

And then there’s these beets with pistachio butter. I bought the bunch at my fave local grocery shop and the cashier asked me if you could eat the tops/greens. I was so pumped that she even asked me that! Of course I gave her an enthusiastic yes! and of course I was overzealous in my explanation as to how one would cook them. Anyway, those greens flopped out the top of my canvas bag and just the sight of that was enough to make my day. I knew I wanted to pair them with citrus and pistachios. Some winter brightness vibes with deep roots.

A couple years ago, Mark and I had a warm and fuzzy spring dinner at Lupa in NY. We started with this big plate that had a little bit of each vegetable-based antipasti they were serving. There was one simple heap of boiled beets with a bit of balsamic vinegar and a dollop of pistachio butter on top, and do I even need to qualify this any further? Crazy good. I had been meaning to do a little remix of that tasty bite for a while, and here we are. I roasted my beets with grapefruit juice and sherry to brighten up that earthy-ness. I lightly sauté the beet greens, finishing them with even more grapefruit juice before chopping them up and adding them to a hearty base of white beans. Then there’s that cozy blanket of pistachio butter and a sprinkle of crushed pink peppercorns to finish–they offer a gentle heat that I always enjoy with citrus and sweeter vegetables.

So yeah, tons of pinks and reds–grooooan. But it’s out of self-lovin’ so shall we embrace it? :) xo

grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messgrapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first messgrapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter // the first mess
grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter

serves: 4-6
notes: The pink peppercorns aren’t totally necessary. Just finish it with some fresh black pepper or a sprinkle of za’atar, or even a nice fat pinch of salt. Also, some kind of briny, pickled component wouldn’t be out of place on top of this–like some capers or pickled red onions if you’ve got them around.

beets:
3-4 beets with greens, peeled + greens separated
splash of sherry vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
juice from half a grapefruit
olive oil
salt + pepper

pistachio butter:
1 cup raw + shelled pistachios (+ extra for garnish)
olive oil
salt

beans etc:
2 cups white beans
olive oil
the beet greens
the juice from half a grapefruit
salt + pepper
1-2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the beets into 1 inch wedges and place them in a glass baking dish. Add the splash of sherry vinegar, grapefruit juice, a nice slick of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the beets evenly. Cover the dish with foil and roast for 30 minutes or until the beets give when pierced with a small knife. Uncover the beets, toss them around and roast them for 5-10 more minutes, just to evaporate some of the juices.

While the beets are roasting, make the pistachio butter. Place the raw pistachios in a food processor or high speed blender. Gradually pulse or blend until you have a smooth paste, scraping down the sides here and there with a spatula. I had to add some olive oil at one point to get the motor of my blender moving a bit. Once you have a smooth paste, scrape the butter into a small bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and a little extra olive oil to get it to a slightly runny consistency. Set aside.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the beet greens and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the grapefruit juice. Keep tossing them until all of the greens are lightly wilted. Remove from the pan and chop them up. Toss the chopped greens with the white beans, some extra olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the beans + greens on the base of your serving plate. Arrange the roasted beet wedges on top and finish the plate with some spoonfuls of pistachio butter. Garnish with the pink peppercorns and extra chopped pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You might also like…

warm kale, quinoa and balsamic beet salad + a fall mix!

Acceptance. Autumn is the season where we go home.  There are blankets, hot beverages to wrap your little fingersView full post »

beet, potato + avocado salad with horseradish vinaigrette

Any one of my friends will tell you that I’m pretty enamored with the whole Momofuku collective of restaurantsView full post »

lemon rosemary vegetable stack with lentils + creamy horseradish vinaigrette

“Just go with it!” has never been an expression that I’ve enjoyed hearing. It’s most definitelyView full post »


pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
Harriet06/02/2014 - 6:59 am

This looks stupidly delicious and beautiful. Your topic today is also so heartwarming – I’m totally with you on loving yourself first so you can accomplish things – a nice reminder, especially this time of year when there’s such a focus on expressing external love (which isn’t so bad either!). I always love how genuine your posts feel – it’s always easy to connect with your words and recipes xxx

Kathryn06/02/2014 - 7:25 am

I’m all for self-love. I’ve not been very good at it recently so probably need to take a leave out of your book. This = ace.

Mimi06/02/2014 - 9:15 am

I’m sorry but I can’t stop staring at your photos.

thelittleloaf06/02/2014 - 9:18 am

These photos are just incredible. Plus pistachio butter? Favourite thing ever.

Teffy06/02/2014 - 9:34 am

That looks insanely delicious.
Never thought to add grapefruit to my beetroot. Sounds so good. I’ve got some blood oranges lying about, do you think I could use them instead?

Laura Wright06/02/2014 - 9:46 am

I think any citrus would be delicious, Teffy :)

Ileana06/02/2014 - 9:58 am

I’ve never seen pistachio butter anywhere else. What an idea! I bet it’d be great swirled into ice cream, too.

Ashley06/02/2014 - 10:39 am

you had me at pistachio butter. Oh my!

Ashley06/02/2014 - 10:43 am

THIS — “If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.”

SO true. Sometimes I feel so crazy busy and all over the place and without a moment to breathe. But then I take a break or meet up with a friend for coffee and it’s like a new world. Fab post, lady. Self love, FTW. <3 <3 <3

shanna mallon06/02/2014 - 11:42 am

“If you work in creative endeavours, some decidedly aware moments of pause seem to offer a whole lotta grace later on.” YES YES YES

Trisha06/02/2014 - 12:40 pm

Beets and Self Love are both awesome! these photos are just amazing… this is a must try recipe for me and my new health kick. thanks! x

Ashley06/02/2014 - 1:29 pm

Wow. What an inspiring and stunning recipe. I think pistachio butter may quickly become my new weakness. Gorgeous photos and marvelous writing, as always.

Daria06/02/2014 - 1:30 pm

I was just thinking about beeting myself up! Another unbelievable coinsedencd – pistachio butter was on diy wish list. Then you post this and everything comes together.
It looks too good to be true. On my way to get these goodies!

Katie @ 24 Carrot Life06/02/2014 - 1:48 pm

What a beautiful and fresh looking salad! All of my favorite things in one dish. Can’t wait to try it!

Eileen06/02/2014 - 3:38 pm

This salad needs to get on my plate ASAP! That pistachio butter is calling my name. Hooray!

Emma06/02/2014 - 6:05 pm

If eating a giant plate of this = self-love than I love myself a whole lot :D
Simply gorgeous. I am a beetroot fanatic and with all those other goodies too this dish has got to be wonderful.

Allyson06/02/2014 - 6:14 pm

Your writing is so lovely. I’ve been working like crazy recently and those words are like a balm to me- so often it’s been just a check list of things to get done and powering through the moments that could give me a little more sanity. I need to remember to pause more often.

And this looks beautiful. I’m a beet disliker who is trying very hard to like beets, and I love everything else in this recipe. I might have to give this a spin.

Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily06/02/2014 - 9:22 pm

Bam! No more necessary qualifications needed. I’m 100% sold and in l.o.v.e. Pinned and dreaming of this.

Tereza07/02/2014 - 6:28 am

Love the freshness of this salad with the grapefruit!

Chloe07/02/2014 - 7:21 am

made this for dinner tonight and everybody loved it! so simple but delicious and satisfying AND good for you. I didn’t have any pistachios (much to my disgust) so thinned out a bit of tahini with juices from the braised greens and it was yummy.
delicious food is definitely the way to go on the self-love train. sending more warm and fuzzy’s your way :* xx

Ondina Maria07/02/2014 - 11:27 am

This week one of my veggie dinners was boiled “farmer” beans with boiled beets and cabbage sautée in olive oil and garlic. Simple but delicious. I can’t wait to try this recipe with the pistachio butter (I love pistachios)

amy07/02/2014 - 2:14 pm

This looks gorgeous and delicious as always! I meant to write and say that I mentioned you in an interview for Get the Gloss here’s the link.

http://www.getthegloss.com/article/blogger-of-the-week-coconut-and-quinoa

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I love the look of these!!!!! I love the grapefruit – beetroot combination!!! :)

yp08/02/2014 - 5:02 pm

Lovely! Trying this week for my meal prep ! So hearty for winter and easy to make

Megan08/02/2014 - 8:26 pm

Made this tonight, and now I never want to eat beets any other way. The variety of textures and flavours (like the pop of pink peppercorns!) was awesome. Plus I have lots of leftover pistachio butter! Life is good. Thanks for your wonderful recipes!

SouthernSpoonBelle11/02/2014 - 6:57 am

This looks divine, and just the kind of food I’m feeling at the moment. The hubs will love it too with all those glorious beets– I’m going to make up the recipe and take it down to the beach for our Valentine’s Day picnic on Friday. Thanks! And happy day of love to yourself and your Mr.

[…] portobello mushrooms / broccoli and pistachio soup / smoked salmon and herbed goat cheese tartine /grapefruit roasted beets, greens + white beans with pistachio butter /cripsy quinoa and sweet potato tacos / creamy pasta verde with garlic brown butter breadcrumbs / […]

Hannah13/02/2014 - 3:10 am

How it has never occurred to me to combine beet with grapefruit I don’t know but, man Laura, I can’t WAIT to try it. So much goodness. And love too.

Jennifer13/02/2014 - 1:02 pm

I made this last night and it was delicious! But I may have had the juiciest grapefruit ever, because my beets were swimming in it, rather than ‘coated’.

A Gluten Free Love Story14/02/2014 - 12:55 am

This dish looks really yummy and the photography is gorgeous! I wish I could eat this food right off the page. I got to try this sometime.

[…] These Grapefruit-Roasted Beets, Green, and White Beans with Pistachio Butter. Umm… yes, this is the second grapefruit and beet dish on this list. Yes, I may have a problem. But the pistachio butter, though! […]

Brian @ A Thought For Food16/02/2014 - 10:24 pm

Amen to all of this. First of all, I’m glad there’s someone else out there who is totally in love with True Detective. I don’t know many people who are watching it… which is a shame because it is incredible. That last episode. Wow.

Now, I’m totally in love with this recipe… I’m obsessed with both grapefruit and beets and will often pair the two, but never had I thought to roast the beets in the juice. Just brilliant.

[…] Grapefruit-roasted beetroot, greens & pinto beans with homemade cashew butter and pink pepper: adapted from The First Mess […]

Chelsea // The Naked Fig18/02/2014 - 10:05 am

Pistachio Butter! SWOON

[…] I took inspiration from here and squeezed half a grapefruit on my beets before roasting them. Sliced beets + high heat tolerant […]

IAmJ03/09/2014 - 12:55 pm

Laura,
Just wanted to thank you for this recipe. So delicious! I didn’t like beets until a few months ago and this might be my new favorite way to have them. And the pistachio butter is fantastic.

quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip

gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messgluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messgluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first mess
I inadvertently made you a recipe with a detectable “game day” vibe this week. How crazy is that?! Mark and I went to our first ever NFL game with these lovely people when we were in Denver last year and the atmosphere kinda threw/took me. I’m usually pretty chill at any and all sporting events, partaking in more of the social drinking/deep fried snack-related aspects, but the tendency to veer from complete elation to total effing outrage was decidedly acute in that environment. But did I mention it was also awesome? Anyway, it was amazing to see the Broncos win when we were there and we’ll be steadily summoning up the good juju for the big win this Sunday, even if it means eating a quinoa burger that tastes like a dirty old tree branch.

But obviously I won’t be doing that because I have these golden delicious little orbs of crunch to snack on. I’ve been working on this recipe since I developed a version for a magazine a while ago (which wasn’t vegan or gluten free). These are, admittedly, a shameless rip on my favourite onion rings of all time from a Toronto vegetarian restaurant (this one if you’re wondering). Their rings were very obviously fried and for that reason, very obviously delicious. I knew I could make some baked magic happen without any major sacrifice.

To start, I went classic on the battering steps: a toss in flour, a swipe through a wet mixture, and then a final coating in some crumbs and other tasty bits. I used a GF all purpose flour for that first step. Generally eggs are employed as the glue for crumb coatings on nuggets, onion rings etc. But heavy life truth? You can make any coating stick to any food with a little unsweetened almond milk, a fat pinch of salt and some flour. I whisked some dijon into mine for extra flavour, but you could use herbs, chili sauce, lemon zest, whatever you like. The puffed quinoa makes for really light and beautiful bits of airy crunch along the outside. I mix the puffs with heavily ground up GF crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers are my fave), lots of Old Bay seasoning, some little sesames and lots of pepper. You could use smoked paprika, za’atar, curry powder… lots of options.

I’m not saying these are exactly like deep fried rings, but they are crunchy and golden and salty, which basically covers all of my pleasure points. They don’t really have that moist slick-of-oil-upon-biting thing, so a tasty sauce to smooth things over is somewhat necessary. And also, I love sauce in most applications of most food. Since I was already in deep with mustard and celery salt flavours, horseradish stirred into a creamy mayonnaise kinda scene seemed natural. I point out a few methods of achieving this in the notes–veering from simple to only slightly complex.

gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messorings_final3gluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messgluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first messgluten free + vegan quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip // the first mess

vegan + GF quinoa onion rings with horseradish dip
serves: 
a large onion’s worth of rings (like 20ish)
notes: 
It is crucial that you let these hang in the fridge for an hour once they’re coated. It helps to pre-soften the onion and it also helps to adhere the coating that extra bit more. Also, I basically used my pine nut mayonnaise recipe and added a tablespoon of fresh grated horseradish and a little squeeze of lemon, but if you vibe to Vegenaise (which I sometimes do) or regular mayo, you could certainly just stir some fresh/prepared horseradish into some of that. Even some sheep’s milk yogurt or sour cream could be nice.

rings:

1 large spanish onion, peeled + cut into 1/2 inch thick rings
1/2 cup GF all purpose flour
salt + pepper
an oil spray of some kind

wet mix:
1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
small handful of GF all purpose flour
salt + pepper

quinoa coating:
1-2 cups gluten free bread/cracker crumbs (I ground up Mary’s Crackers in the food processor)
1-2 cups puffed quinoa
handful black sesame seeds (optional)
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning (or whatever spice you like)
salt + pepper (keep in mind that Old Bay already contains hella salt)

horseradish dip:
1 cup mayonnaise/creamy base of your choosing (see notes)
squeeze of lemon juice + some zest
1 tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish (or a prepared variety)
ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Combine the cut onion rings, 1/2 cup of flour, salt and pepper in a large Ziploc bag (or bowl). Toss the rings to evenly coat them in flour and seasoning. Set aside.

In a pie plate, combine the almond milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk this together with a fork until combined. Set aside.

In another pie plate or large dish, combine the GF bread/cracker crumbs, puffed quinoa, sesame seeds, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine.

Set up an assembly line like this: flour coated rings, almond milk mixture, quinoa + crumb coating and then the lined baking sheets. Take a few rings out of the Ziploc bag and toss them into the almond milk mixture, coating them evenly and completely. Transfer the almond milk-soaked rings to the quinoa crumb mixture. Toss the rings in the quinoa crumb mixture, really pressing the coating onto the rings. Once the rings are adequately covered, place them on the parchment lined baking sheet, ensuring that there’s a bit of space around each one. Repeat with remaining onion rings.

Place the onion rings in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour (I once left a tray of these in the fridge for a full 24 hours by accident and they were totally fine).

While the onion rings are chilling, whisk the horseradish, lemon juice/zest and pepper into your dip base of choice. Keep covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

When you’re ready to bake them, spray the coated rings lightly with oil and then slide them into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm and golden brown, flipping them halfway. Serve hot with the horseradish dip.

You might also like…

frites with dip + simple food

Guys, I love french fries. When we’re at a place that takes pride in their little, crispy, golden batons of creamyView full post »

raw chard salad rolls, spicy mango sauce + regrouping

I find that getting back from New York is always a bit heavy. I have a hard time psyching myself up to leave and getView full post »

chickpea, spring onion + tuscan kale salad {a spring panzanella, revisited}

I was cleaning up one evening in the small kitchen at a community centre in the city. An after-school program held forView full post »


pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
thecitygourmand29/01/2014 - 7:54 am

A slightly quirky twist on a classic. I saw a polenta version the other day, but these look tasty!

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures29/01/2014 - 9:20 am

Such a wonderful idea! I’ve been making Isa Chandra’s baked onion rings for years and although the texture is different than deep fried ones, it’s still totally delicious and kicks that ‘junk food craving’ when it surfaces. I can’t wait to try your version next time – puffed quinoa + a pint nut mayo? I’m in.

Kate @ The Endless Pursuit29/01/2014 - 9:34 am

Even at 8:30 in the morning I’m drooling for some of these right NOW! Holy goodness. I’ve always stayed away from cooking foods like these at home since I rarely deep fry… but baking these looks like they come pretty damn close to tasting like deep fried! Great for game day!

Emma Galloway29/01/2014 - 10:07 am

These look and sound amazing Laura! Especially love the little puffed quinoa action. Yum.

Ashley29/01/2014 - 11:00 am

Mind blown. Love all your little tips + ideas. It’s always fun to read about more of the nitty-gritty process that is oftentimes left out. Also, I MUST HAVE that white/blue mug/cup the onion rings are in. Obsessed.

These look so, so good. I don’t really like fried onion rings, but am really digging the idea of these.

PS: Not sure I’ve ever seen puffed quinoa before. Basically toasted, right?

Laura Wright29/01/2014 - 1:25 pm

Hi! Puffed quinoa is sold in the cereal aisle with the puffed wheat, millet etc. I’ve seen it at some local general grocery stores and at health food stores. I use it for these, but also to top yogurt, salads, anything that needs a little light crunch essentially.
-L

Lydia29/01/2014 - 2:40 pm

Any way to use regular quinoa for this?

Ashley29/01/2014 - 2:41 pm

Mmm, I’m a saucy one myself. Most foods are drenched in whatever sauce I can find. These baked onion rings look incredible! I can’t wait to try and to play with the spice flavorings! Go Broncos!

Laura Wright29/01/2014 - 3:00 pm

Hi Lydia,
If you want to try using regular quinoa, I would use less of it in the coating mixture. An equal ratio of it to cracker crumbs might be TOO crunchy, like break your tooth-kinda crunchy. A little handful of it might be pleasant enough, but I will highlight that the puffed quinoa has more of an airy crunch, like puffed wheat almost. No harm in trying though :)
-L

Eileen29/01/2014 - 3:23 pm

I can just imagine the super-strong crunch that quinoa must bring to these onion rings. So good. Hooray!

Kathryn29/01/2014 - 6:12 pm

I thought for years that I didn’t like onion rings. Then I tried one and was totally smitten. These are total genius.

dishing up the dirt29/01/2014 - 6:37 pm

I need to get my hands on some puffed quinoa. These onion rings sound fantastic!

Kris29/01/2014 - 9:05 pm

Whoa! I was literally just thinking today that I wanted to make some quinoa onion rings this weekend, but I didn’t (yet!) have a recipe. Laura to the rescue!! Also, stunning photography, as per usual. xo

cheri29/01/2014 - 11:17 pm

Never heard of puffed quinoa before, sounds tasty. These onions rings look delicious!

Alysa30/01/2014 - 10:03 am

I can’t even begin to tell you how DELICIOUS these look. Whoa. Love that you’ve taken the onion ring to a whole new level.

Thanks a million times over for this recipe.

Lana30/01/2014 - 12:05 pm

GIRL! These remind me of the ones at Fresh in Toronto… Except, you know, way less greasy. Love the choice of dip.

Lana30/01/2014 - 12:10 pm

(Ha! I totally pulled a fast one and commented before reading the text. And for the record, I’m so jealous you got to hang with Kelsey!!)

Chelsea//TheNakedFig30/01/2014 - 2:53 pm

OH MY GOD, YES!! These look amazing. I love onion rings and nothing goes better with them than horseradish sauce. Can’t wait to try this out. And thanks for the tip about refrigerating them. I can never get baked onion rings soft enough!

[…]   I have a hankering for these kimchi tacos, these bok choy dumplings, this egg roll, these quinoa crusted onion rings, these black energy bars, these cucumber noodles, this black rice pudding, this vegan coconut ice […]

[…] with salty snacks, as I don’t understand football): Vegan, gluten-free and nut-free onion rings for party noshing sound delicious. And […]

[…] Tomato Avocado Tarts Sweet Potato Chili Fries Homemade Salsa Baked Black Bean Taquitos Quinoa Onion Rings with Horseradish Dip Loaded Sweet Potato Rounds Corn and Cotija Cheese Dip Quinoa Sausage Balls Avocado Goat Cheese […]

DIY Weekend, sewing projects01/02/2014 - 7:09 am

[…] these as a healthy twist on a super bowl dish, that’s not […]

Ananda Rajashekar02/02/2014 - 5:11 pm

Laura, your pictures are stunning! can’t take my eyes off….and onion rings are just AMAZING!

Brian @ A Thought For Food02/02/2014 - 5:38 pm

You don’t know how excited I am to see this recipe… my mom’s best friend is vegan and gluten-free and I know they’re always struggling to find fun recipes to try. This looks like so much fun. Just passed it along to her and I’ll let you know when they make it.

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl03/02/2014 - 3:50 pm

These look so delicious,and love the twist with the quinoa, major yum. Your photos are pretty to add!

sara forte03/02/2014 - 5:05 pm

sweet heavens you are so damn creative. and pine nut mayo? What? Girl, you are too good. These look incredible.

Peter VandenBerg03/02/2014 - 10:00 pm

I’ve been a Vegetarian for over two years now and it has already had a distinct effect on me being willing to cook. Before I was vegetarian eating somewhat healthy was very easy without really doing any work. There are lots of frozen options out there that although not really great for you do in the end have what you need to maintain.

Right now I’m at the stage where just putting a bunch of stuff into a skillet is cooking for me, but I’m hoping to progress towards something a little more eloquent and rewarding. I definitely like the idea of being able to cook for my friends that eat meat and them enjoy it. It shows them that it’s possible to enjoy food while not destroying valuable life on this planet.

Nat @ the Apple Diaries04/02/2014 - 6:41 am

I literally have not had onion rings since my teenage years of eating fast food! I never even thought to make a healthy version! Awesome idea :)

Lauren Anne04/02/2014 - 3:54 pm

I love your site! Subscribing asap (:

Kasey06/02/2014 - 12:08 am

You consistently wow me with your creativity, lady. I loooove onion rings (usually, the fried kind) but I am so pumped to try this. I am one of those Americans who could care less about the Superbowl, but I’m all for the food. :) x

[…] photographers. I’m thinking of it as a win-win since I’ll be munching on Laura’s Quinoa Onion Rings if The First Mess wins and this Orange Chocolate Tart if Happyyolks is sent to […]

[…] vegan recipe, this horseradish dip has some spice. Pair it with quinoa onion rings for protein! (via The First […]

Judee@ Gluten Free A-Z Blog07/07/2014 - 3:00 pm

Looks like a wonderful recipe that I am sure everyone in my family would absolutely love, but I am most impressed with your bowl. Is it from Turkey?

Laura Wright07/07/2014 - 5:35 pm

Hi Judee! It was made in Portugal
-L

[…] This is one of those dishes with quinoa that proves nearly anything can be made healthily! Get the recipe here. […]

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messsweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messsweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first mess
Let me start by telling you that in extreme weather and more relaxed periods of time, I always turn to really pared down food. Meals and bowls that have a borderline ascetic kind of vibe. Steamed vegetables with olive oil, roasted squash with a squeeze of lime and pepper, avocado eaten out of its peel with a bit of salt etc. Sharpening of temperatures and some much-appreciated slack times always seem like good opportunities to re-focus on my body and what it’s trying to communicate. Essentially, I know in my heart of hearts that my personal food program needs a bit of cleaning up. Most of the major renovation stuff is over and done with at the house (there’s a kitchen floor now!), I’m in a very relaxed pocket of time with work, and yep. All those desperation/hangry pizzas ate in paint-splattered clothing on the living room floor have taken their toll.

So a bit of a meditation on paring it all down, food and otherwise, is an ongoing thing right now. I’ve been really inspired by 5-7ish ingredient preparations and just trying to find the best way to coax flavour out of various foodstuffs. I’ve been making notes with all of the ideas and successes and I can’t wait to share more of this kind of thing with you here. I find it’s really easy to make food/meal time/life in general rather complex. So finding a wellspring of inspiration in the pursuit of simpler (but still very full) living has been really welcome. So yeah. More of that kinda stuff ’round here for sure. Hope you’re all game.

So the soup! I find soup/stew is a nice go-to when you’re cleaning things up, so to speak. It’s nice to calmly hover around the pot, it’s an economical meal strategy, and soup is also really easy to make healthy and totally delicious. With this one, it’s hard to believe that so few ingredients could be luxurious and satisfying in that deep-warming kinda way, but seriously. So silky and rich. I slowly cook the onions, garlic and aromatics in a hefty slick of oil to bring out the sweetness and to remove any speck of raw spice. I always employ this strategy with soup–kind of stewing the onions + flavour-y bits in oil before I add the larger components. When you see that slick of oil mingled with herbs, spice etc. on the top of the pot, you know you’re doing it right.

And a note on that slick of oil: I was a grapeseed kinda gal through and through until I read Winnie Abramson‘s book One Simple Change, which is a completely excellent, no-nonsense companion to living a brighter + healthier life.  I reserved my olive oils for salads and general drizzlin’ because everyone was saying that it wasn’t fit for heated contact. So grapeseed oil became my thing because of its neutral taste and ability to handle high heat, but in her segment on fats and oils, Winnie mentions its tendency to originate from genetically modified crops, so I’m slowly moving away from it/seeking out a more trusted source (holler if you got one). In the meantime, I’m using standard, organic olive oil (not extra virgin), which can be had for a reasonable price at almost any establishment that sells food. Winnie notes that bringing up the temperature slowly is crucial, so I’m taking her advice and loving it big time. It’s been nice to bring olive oil back into the circle a bit more. Anyway, hope all of youse in the midst of polar vortex round II (electric bugaloo!) are snuggled up this week. Make soup! :)

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messsweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messsqueezed // the first messsweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messsweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first mess

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange
Barely adapted from GP’s It’s All Good (Yes, I get to call her GP).
serves: makes 2 litres
notes: Juice from a regular orange or a splash or sherry vinegar would be just as nice as the blood orange. Also, I garnish this with some little quickie sweet potato chips: just sauté some thin slices in olive oil over medium heat, remove when lightly browned, and then dust them with a bit of salt or spice (I used Old Bay seasoning).

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili flakes
juice of a blood orange
2 sweet potatoes, peeled + diced
5 cups vegetable stock
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, coriander, and chili flakes to the pot. Lower the heat until the sizzling sounds a bit lighter. Stir and sauté this mixture until the onions are stew-y and soft, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add more oil if necessary.

Add the blood orange juice to the pot and stir. Add the sweet potatoes and stir again. Season everything with lots of salt and pepper. Add the stock to the pot and increase the heat. Once everything’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer. Cook the soup until the sweet potatoes are really tender, about 12-15 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup hot with little sweet potato chips and a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you like.

You might also like…

simple garlic + greens soup with smoky chickpea flatbread

Despite bemoaning comfort food’s ubiquity or “upscale comfort cuisine” in predominantly shoddy-glossyView full post »

leek, fennel, apple + walnut soup with turmeric

I found out that our new house was a done deal when I was at work. In the moment, I was thrilled and hugging basicallyView full post »

mushroom + stout pot pies with sweet potato crusts

I decided that I wanted this year to be challenging and adventurous. Those are the only concepts/freeform goals that I&#View full post »

pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
Kathryn23/01/2014 - 7:43 am

Oh yes, I remember those hangry pizzas so well especially during the month or so that we didn’t have any kind of kitchen and had a weird messed up crazy diet. It was so good to get back on an even keel. And I’m all for simplicity and paring down. There’s nothing like a gigantic list of ingredients to put me off a recipe; it just seems like you’re trying to hide something. This soup = perfect.

Supal {chevrons and éclairs}23/01/2014 - 9:10 am

The addition of the blood orange juice right after browning the onions a bit is a brilliant idea! Will have to try this for future soup and perhaps other fruits too :) x

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan23/01/2014 - 9:39 am

I’m with you sister! Sometimes it’s easy to make things/recipes too complicated and miss out on the simple flavors. I have everything I need for this, so be gone polar vortex! Also, can these vortexes pleaseee be over??

Tessa | Balancing Active23/01/2014 - 9:40 am

I was wondering what to do with the two sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge that are about to go bad. Then I realized I also have all the other ingredients for this soup in my house (minus the blood orange, but I’ll take your word on the substitutions)–problem solved! Thanks for the simple recipe. Your photos are stunning–especially that last one.

Amanda23/01/2014 - 9:42 am

This is a favourite in our house; I love how much body this soup has considering it is made up of so few ingredients. Last weekend I made a double batch to freeze so we’ve got sweet potato soup for days! I love the idea of adding orange juice!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:05 am

Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. It’s like having sunshine in your bowl. Can’t wait to make this.

Belinda@themoonblushbaker23/01/2014 - 10:20 am

I praise you that you only get hangry pizza during kitchen renovations; I get them even when I am re doing any part pf the house. I am a fan of grape seed oil too; I have never relaly been in to olive oil as the flavor is way too strong for me.

it is wonderful you are being inspired by short list recipes; they are naked recipes were the best produce makes the best meals and you can focus on your cooking skills. Love this soup; and the colour is so bright and cheerful for the blue cloudy days.

Emma Galloway23/01/2014 - 10:27 am

I too have moved away from grapeseed (and rice bran oil) in the last year or so, after reading about the process it takes to make the stuff (using chemicals!) Ekk. I now only ever use olive oil, ghee and coconut oil.
ps-love that you call her GP you rockstar. Lovely soup!

shanna mallon23/01/2014 - 10:37 am

goooooorgeous. and ps Winnie’s book! I love it, too.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth23/01/2014 - 10:55 am

I thought the blood orange juice would turn this a shade of pink, but the yellow color is gorgeous! Definitely the kind of hearty soup we need in the Frozen North right now!

Michelle23/01/2014 - 12:45 pm

This looks amazing, I really wish I liked sweet potatoes!! The pictures make me want to be brave and try it again in a new way.

Golubka23/01/2014 - 1:18 pm

It’s my favorite soup in that book. Can’t wait to try it with blood orange juice next time.

Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward23/01/2014 - 1:23 pm

This soup looks so balanced, fresh and flavorful! And the color – wow. Any vegetarian or meat eater would enjoy it. Thank you for sharing! Best, Shanna

Eileen23/01/2014 - 2:06 pm

That soup is the most beautiful color. I love the idea of punching up sweet potato with citrus!

Kankana23/01/2014 - 2:31 pm

I am in love with the color of the soup, so warm, like sunshine in a bowl. Perfect for the season.

Lindsey23/01/2014 - 3:02 pm

YES! I am so with you on the simple ingredient thing! I’ve been making a veggie stew with little more than 6 ingredients, it leaves me super full and warm, totally essential during these months. I am so intrigued by the blood orange juice, I am totally adding it next time I make sweet potato soup! GP for the win!

Chelsea//TheNakedFig23/01/2014 - 3:30 pm

This looks so delicious! Nothing beats a creamy soup on a cold day. And I love the addition of blood orange. Can’t wait to try!

Amy23/01/2014 - 3:41 pm

I love when something that looks so beautiful is made with all the stuff hanging out in the bottom of my fridge at this very moment. Perhaps a swirl of cilantro oil for party purposes?

Laura Wright23/01/2014 - 3:45 pm

That sounds pretty bang-on, Amy! :)

Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:15 pm

Try macadamia nut oil, it has a pleasing buttery taste. I use it for shallow frying and in baked goods. Or sesame oil.

Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:16 pm

I don’t use the sesame oil in baking, just for frying.

Medha23/01/2014 - 4:36 pm

Your gorgeous pictures brighten up my day in this chilly weather. I moved away from olive oil little bit and start using ghee and coconut oil in cooking, I love the taste and smell of these oils.

Kate23/01/2014 - 5:36 pm

This soup looks beautiful and the flavors sound like exactly what I need to unclench my shoulders on these subzero days we’ve been having in New York City. Thanks for the idea!

Nicola | Homegrown Kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:01 pm

Regarding using olive oil in cooking: I am of the belief to use food how we have for centuries. Olive oil has in fact been used for ‘gentle’ sauteing in Mediterranean style food for as long as the olive groves have existed. However, and here is a tip I learned while studying natural nutrition, always add chopped onion and/or garlic when cooking with olive oil over a low/ medium heat. The sulfur in onions and garlic is a powerful antioxidant that protects the oil for oxidising. If you think about it we generally always add chopped onion and/or garlic when we make soup or sauce or a casserole, right?
Happy cooking with olive oil Laura, love your recipes :)

kw24/01/2014 - 4:19 pm

I made this today. It was really good. It hit the spot during this cold snap we are having. Instead of the sweet potatoes I fried Yukon potatoes in with oil, rosemary and sage that I added at the end.

Really good stuff. Thanks for the recipe

Sandy24/01/2014 - 5:43 pm

You take such beautiful pictures. How does someone take red onion peels and make them look like flowers? Well done! Also I love sweet potato so I need to make this soup.

[…] 2. Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander + Blood Orange  from The First Mess […]

Helen @ Scrummy Lane28/01/2014 - 11:33 am

This is such an interesting and tasty-sounding twist on a simple soup. Still seems like it would be easy to make though. Delicious!

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures02/02/2014 - 9:43 pm

I always struggle with what oil to use as well – there are so many contradictions out there! Lately, I’ve been using ghee (per my yoga / hippie reading: http://www.yogajournal.com/health/56) as my choice but who knows if it’s just another trend oil or could be the answer.

[…] van zoete patat met koriander en bloedappelsien! Ik kan er niet aan weerstaan. Ik zag het op The First Mess en die dame maakt echt heerlijke […]

Ileana19/02/2014 - 6:50 pm

Such spectacular photos! I’ll have to keep your soup tips in mind next time I’m cooking up a batch.

[…] Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander and Blood Orange / The First Mess […]