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

Masthead header

roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth

roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first mess
This simple bowl reminded me of why I actually started this site in the first place. With the emails, sorta silly mismatched dish piles, multiple attempts at a palatable goji berry sauce (one day I’ll get it) etc., this sort of reminder is a surprising ray of light. It’s kind of soup-y, but also kind of not. It’s also mostly just carrots and spice served with a bit of rice and sprouts. It’s affordable as all get-out, quick to throw together and warming to the core. Most of these ingredients were pantry stock for me and I imagine if you’ve been here before, they might be for you too.

I may have overkilled it with turmeric-focused recipes here in the last while, so I hope you don’t mind another. Didn’t you know that all of the cool kids are staining their counters and wooden spoons with this stuff? I roast a couple carrots with thyme until they’re sweet and while that’s happening I make up this sharp miracle broth of sorts. It begins with minced shallot, garlic, ginger and turmeric. A little sparkle of lemon at the end keeps it from seeming flat. You could add a chili or something hot if you want too. It has all of the zing of turmeric tea, but in a more obviously savoury form. Once I had a taste of it all mingled around the sweet carrots and nutty rice, I kind of wondered where it had been all winter (and, news flash, this winter’s been hella long). I like green things so there’s a little tangle of sprouts/shoots (aaaaalways in season) on top of this as well.

When I was studying nutrition in culinary school, we had guest speakers from time to time. Some of them were reputable/interesting and some of them were clearly on the grind and grindin’ hard. One of the good ones was this older man of about 75-ish who was enamoured with sprouts. His name was Tony and he sold sprout growers for home use. Oh, and he maintained a website with up to date information on various styles of dance lessons/dance related socials in the province of Ontario (but also Florida). He absolutely glowed. His business cards promoted “LIVE GREEN FOOD FOR HEALTHY DANCERS.” He told us that he ate 3 tablespoons of sprouts every morning and dang if we didn’t all buy one of those guaranteed-for-life devices by the end of the class.

I honestly have no idea where that thing got to, but I still make a habit of eating sprouts as often as I can. For the amount of nutrition bundled in their little shoots, they’re cheap sustenance. If you think of a young child, all energy and potential, and then how that child grows into an adult, for better or for worse from a health standpoint… a sprout/small shoot is like the plant version of that youthful essence, all bouncing off the walls and full of possibility. I mostly like having them around because they add a bit of freshness to the non-stop roasted roots and lentil-y things that seem to be prevalent this time of year. I’m partial to sunflower + sweet pea shoots and Sarah even has some instructions on handling those all by yourself.

So we have roots, sprouts, brown rice, and healing spices. All the makings of some warming hippie health moments, or maybe just a quiet winter’s lunch. Hope you’re all getting some of those these days. xo

roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first mess
roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth recipe
serves: 1
notes: Any roasted root or tuber would be excellent in place of the carrots. This dish is mostly about the interaction of the caramelized, lightly sweet vegetables and the sharp broth.

2 medium carrots, scrubbed + cut into 1 inch pieces
fresh/dried thyme leaves (+ extra for the broth)
salt + pepper
sizeable knob of coconut oil/ghee
1/2 shallot, fine dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + minced
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup filtered water
juice from 1/2 a lemon
cooked brown/wild/whatever rice for serving (or another grain you like)
sprouts/shoots/small greens of some kind (I like sunflower shoots)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment.

Toss the carrots with some thyme, oil, salt + pepper. Scatter them in a single layer on the baking sheet and slide them into the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned in spots and soft.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots. Stir them about and sauté them until translucent and soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and a sprig of thyme if you like (or a sprinkle of dried thyme leaves). Stir this mix about until it’s very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turmeric to the pot and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring until the mix seems paste-like. You’re cooking the raw-ness out of the spice at this point, ideally for about 3 minutes (add more coconut oil if necessary). Slowly add the water and stir. Gently simmer the broth for 10 minutes or so. Add the lemon juice and stir at the end. Season the broth with salt and pepper.

Place the roasted carrots and rice in a bowl. Strain the turmeric broth if you like, then ladle it on top. Garnish the bowl with sprouts and sesame seeds if you like.

You might also like…

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas

Lately, I’m really into daily devotion, as opposed to yearly resolutions. Also, I didn’t make that up myselfView 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 »

the soup that heals

Happy new year to you! Sending all of my big hugs. The time for personal betterment is upon us (as always). But first,View full post »

pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
thecitygourmand06/03/2014 - 4:56 am

Yum, this looks like a real crowd pleaser!

Kathryn06/03/2014 - 5:44 am

Never apologise for tumeric recipes – that little spice is packed so full of goodness + I don’t think it’s possible to have too much of it. Love the goodness of this recipe + those little sprouting powerhouses on top.

Chelsea // The Naked Fig06/03/2014 - 8:23 am

I love adding turmeric to everything. Between the color and the health benefits how could you go wrong? This looks so delicious! Thank you, thank you.

This is so beautiful Laura. I love the simplicity of it and the way you photographed it. I need more tumeric in my life (I’ve always wanted to be one of the cool kids.)

Lisa @ Simple Pairings06/03/2014 - 8:44 am

What a great idea! Turmeric has become one of my favorite spices lately – I love its pungent flavor, and especially its healing properties. I haven’t experimented much with it in foods though, as I typically just stir it into my morning warm lemon water. This is a must-try for me! Love your recipe.

Robyn @ simply fresh dinners06/03/2014 - 9:28 am

Hi Laura,
I just saw your beautiful pic you sent with this morning’s tweet and had to come see more. Imagine my surprise when I come across some of those beautiful food photography I’ve ever seen! Your site is gorgeous and so inspirational – thanks for sharing!

Sarah06/03/2014 - 10:11 am

I like this sunny bowl—this is the type of thing I eat ALL the time. Thanks for the nice shout-out about the sprouts, too. I love picturing your sprout-dancer-joy man :)


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan06/03/2014 - 10:42 am

I’m loooving tumeric right now, especially trying to get out of this winter slump. Also, sprouts are my favorite, so I’m in with this!

cynthia06/03/2014 - 10:51 am

Bring on the turmeric! I don’t use it enough and vibrant recipes like these are a vital reminder that I need to incorporate it into my cooking much more frequently. :) Gorgeous recipe, Laura — thank you so much for sharing this.

Shilpa06/03/2014 - 10:56 am

This is the perfect recipe for me today. I am in the thick of fighting this weird bug. Don’t we all get sick right after we talk about how we haven’t got sick all year? This soup is perfect. I have been making a turmeric tea in the mornings so I am excited about this broth!

I met Tony at the Guelph Organic Conference a few years ago. He certainly does have a glow! And seems to always have people around him.

Thanks for the perfect timing of this recipe, Laura!

Golubka06/03/2014 - 10:57 am

Ah, zingy broth, sweet roots, chewy rice with fresh, crunchy sprouts…sounds crazy good, made me so hungry for this kind of meal!

Amy @ parsley in my teeth06/03/2014 - 11:19 am

I think the simple dishes – direct from the pantry type – tend to be the best. Sounds delicious and the photos are beautiful!

Lane | Green Spirit Adventures06/03/2014 - 11:37 am

This sounds absolutely lovely! I think it’s just the meal I’ve been in need of. The photography is so gorgeous, as usual!!

Pang06/03/2014 - 2:31 pm

This could now be one of my favorite “simple but great” recipes to make :)
Your pics are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

I’m loving both turmeric and roasted carrots right now. This post is is gorgeous and inspiring! I’ve gotta go grab some carrots and turmeric on my way home now :)

Tea06/03/2014 - 9:52 pm

This is real serious I’m making what I have in the fridge & pantry. They are always the best meals, and tumeric is good for inflammation something we all likely have in Ontario in the depths of winter. Nice one.

Meghan Faulkner07/03/2014 - 1:48 am

This looks like the kind of meal I would make, and then keep on infinite rotation until my skin was orange from beta-carotene and my spoons yellow from turmeric. But, I’m totally okay with that, because someone told me it’s the cool thing nowadays. Shoots are a bit new to me, but I’m sure they’d find a cozy place among the goodness and warmth.

Tereza07/03/2014 - 3:36 am

Beautiful recipe! Thank you for sharing

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures07/03/2014 - 9:38 am

This recipe has such a beautiful array of colors! I’ve been craving protein in this cold so I think I’m going to try this with a handful of chickpeas. Mmmm…

Fay07/03/2014 - 3:13 pm

Can’t wait to try this – going to attempt it without oil, hope it doesn’t lose too much flavour.

[…] been on a turmeric kick lately. This recipe from my friend Laura of The First Mess looks pretty damn […]

Laura Bray07/03/2014 - 6:42 pm

I love the idea of putting a gorgeous broth with a light grain and a roasted vegetable. I definitely intended to try this – perhaps as part of a variation using quinoa. Would that work, too? Beautiful photos, as well.

Katie @ Produce on Parade07/03/2014 - 9:31 pm

I’m down with anything with turmeric or sprouts. My favorite are broccoli and radish! They last so long in the fridge too. My sprouting was fueled by the fact that our stores (Alaska) will no longer carry mung bean sprouts :( But now I do my own! This looks wonderful!

SouthernSpoonBelle08/03/2014 - 12:31 am

It’s 80F today but I’m filing this away for Aussie winter– nourishing recipe, thank you!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen08/03/2014 - 10:31 am

What an amazing dish you have created. Like a bowl of sunshine. Can’t wait to have a serving of this!

Hope you have a lovely weekend,

hannah09/03/2014 - 8:38 pm

This is one of those “all-my-favourite-things-in-one-bowl” recipes that had me coo-ing immediately – sweet caramel root veg, ginger-garlic spiciness, turmeric earthiness – and OF COURSE it was absolutely delcious. I topped the bowl with some wrinkly black olives which I would HIGHLY recommend to add some salty to the earthy-citrusy-sweet flavour combo!
Thank you so so mcuh Laura ;)

h x

Kathryne24/03/2014 - 8:22 pm

Your roasted carrots dish seems tremendously appropriate for this time of year. Love those colors.

Kellen Ferkey27/03/2014 - 10:21 pm

Tonight I ran this for dinner service with some great results! Thanks for the inspiration. “Odori-Brined Pan Roasted Pheasant Breast with Herb-Roasted Rainbow Organic Carrots & Crimini Mushroom Infused Wild Rice in Spicy Turmeric Broth with Ginger & Allium”
It can be funny how we find the need to twist the words for the restaurant guest. In short, “It is good food, and we care about our ingredients and techniques. You will love it.”

Erin30/03/2014 - 3:24 pm

I made this for lunch today. Didn’t have any ginger but it was still delicious without it!

[…] This recipe looks beautiful (and so healthy!). […]

Alanna01/04/2014 - 8:22 pm

Goodness, this bowl is just stunning. I will be so happy when I make it soon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful recipes and photographs!

Vita05/04/2014 - 11:06 am

I look forward to getting your healthfulled ,
Delicious looking receipes ..

Mrs D13/04/2014 - 2:55 am

I got here from Heidi’s and I’m so pleased for the recommendation. I made this with a few adjustments, including four times the amount of ginger, lemon and turmeric plus some homemade coconut milk in with the water. Outrageously good! Thank you so much for a quick, restorative, healthful and bright addition to my repertoire.

Sunday Foodie Likes04/05/2014 - 2:34 pm

[…] Colorful and healthy, I like you so much roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth. […]

Marie-Pier16/05/2014 - 6:38 pm

I used parsnip and squash instead of carrots. And added a bit of lemongrass. :) It is a lovely idea, changes from the usual rice bowl! thanks for sharing!

[…] – Loving turmeric at the moment, so can’t wait to make this zingy turmeric broth […]

[…] Colorful and healthy, I like you so much roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth. […]

[…] Pin || The First Mess […]

[…] read this recipe awhile ago and had it kicking around in my mind so full credit goes to The First Mess for the […]

Renee H.28/09/2014 - 2:14 pm

Hi! This is my first time coming across your blog and I love it! This recipe is fantastic, like you said, sweet and sharp. Your photos are great too. I look forward to following you more!

week 20 veggies |23/10/2014 - 7:29 pm

[…] fennel garlic onions pie pumpkin or butternut squash broccoli yellow onions potatoes carrots sweet peppers eggplant lettuce swiss chard or dinosaur kale […]

Lacy24/10/2014 - 3:03 pm

Hi Laura, thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made it this week and it was so delicious! I almost never cook with ingredients like ginger and turmeric, but I was sick this past week, and was inspired to use immunity-boosting ingredients. I mentioned you in my blog post:
Thanks again!

chocolate hazelnut torte with salty date caramel + coconut cream {vegan + GF}

chocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first messchocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first messchocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first mess
I used to subscribe to a lot of weekly emails from life coaches, wellness gurus, motivational speakers and the like. I found some of the tidbits they offered lightly inspirational on a good day, but on a bad one…ooof. the pitches that involved a $1500++ investment disgusted me when I thought of all the decent people just trying to take control of the inevitably volatile parts of life. I removed myself from those lists a while ago because I’ve realized that in terms of age and personal progression, if you’re trying hard enough and your mind is right, everything is relentless forward and upward motion. But more importantly, and in a more everyday sense, the spaces/tones of feeling, commitments, the places we go… it’s all pretty circular.

I turned 29 yesterday and it’s true that the layers of our human existence become more defined as time rolls on. Bits of the past inform us in the here + now, and we grow or lie still in the ways we push or allow ourselves to. Our minds and postures shift as we learn and do more. The spots where we stall, deliberately or by accident, help us to be here now in a more defined way too I think.

I used to have this thing where I thought it might be advantageous, in some way, to get my nails done, wear some eyeliner, or to get a professional haircut for once. There’s a whole aura around grooming and personal maintenance that screams of having one’s shit together, right? I’d get a couple days off and and just when I had psyched myself up enough to call a salon or whatever, I’d see a little patch of redness on my hand from a burn or any number of calluses, scratches, deep wrinkles and rough spots. I enjoy working my ass off and eventually realized that reminders of that, in whatever form, were more important. Having the privilege to plug away at something that was meaningful enough was every indication that I had my shit together.

So there’s that, and the billion other ways of realization and growth. And there’s also cake because what would a birthday be without it? Pretty sure I’m taking liberties with the designation of “torte” here, but whatever. I’m pretty jazzed on chocolate and hazelnut together in almost anything, so I started with an incredibly dense brownie base and layered it up from there with a hazelnut mousse-ish cream and coconut whip. The date caramel has a tiny pinch of tang from some fresh lemon and I find it really makes all the flavours work together instead of the whole thing just being this overly rich experience. A hearty pile of toasty chopped hazelnuts on top and all’s good. Really, really good.

chocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first messchocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first messmaking coconut whipped cream // the first messchocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first messchocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel {vegan + GF} // the first mess

chocolate hazelnut torte w/ salty date caramel + coconut cream
serves: makes one 9 inch torte/cake
notes: I give the mousse + brownie/cake base a full 24 hour wrap-and-chill time. I figured the longer the setting time, the less possibility of heartbreak from a runny mousse or too-warm-in-the-middle cake. Also, I know that certain brands of coconut milk tend to be better than others for forming solid layers of cream at the top–this one has been consistently good for me.

chocolate brownie/cake base ingredients:
1 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds + 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
3/4 cup hazelnut meal/flour (you could do another 3/4 cup almond meal if you don’t have hazelnut)
3/4 cup GF oat flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup maple sugar (or natural cane sugar)
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips

hazelnut mousse ingredients:
1/2 cup toasted + skinned hazelnuts
1 400 ml can of full fat coconut milk, stirred
1 (scant) cup cashew butter (raw or roasted)
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of fine sea salt
2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

salty date caramel ingredients:
7-8 soft pitted dates + boiling water to cover
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
fat pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
big splash of coconut or almond milk

to serve:
coconut whipped cream (1/2 of this recipe)
chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with coconut oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds + 1/4 cup water. Stir and set aside so that it can all gel together.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, hazelnut meal, oat flour, arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and to that add the maple sugar, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Add the chia gel to the bowl as well. Don’t stir it yet. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt the two while you stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate. Once it’s all melted and smooth, add it to the dry + wet ingredients. Stir it all together until you have a stiff and unified batter.

Press the batter evenly into the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet and slide it into the oven. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until the top is firm. Remove and allow to cool completely. At this point I wrap the cake tightly in cling film and place it in the fridge to totally set overnight.

Make the hazelnut mousse: soak the toasted + skinned hazelnuts in the coconut milk for about 20 minutes–just to soften them slightly and to perfume the milk a bit. Once they’re ready, pour the whole mess of it into your blender or food processor. Add all of the other ingredients to the blender pitcher/food processor bowl as well. Blend/process until you have a very smooth mixture. Scrape the runny mixture into a bowl and cover it with cling film, pressing the film onto the surface of the mousse/liquid. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the mousse has firmed up considerably, preferably overnight.

Make the date caramel: soak the dates in the hot water for about 15 minutes, drain them (reserving the soaking water) and place them into your blender/food processor. Add the lemon juice, salt, vanilla, and coconut milk. Blend this up a bit just to break everything up. Add reserved date soaking water as needed and blend the mixture again until you have a runny, caramel-like consistency. Scrape into a jar and seal with a lid until you’re ready to use it.

Assemble the torte: place the brownie/cake base on your serving plate. Whisk the hazelnut mousse up a bit and scoop it onto the cake base, smoothing it out or fluffing it up however you like. Top the torte with coconut cream, date caramel, toasted chopped hazelnuts etc and serve immediately. Leftover torte can be covered and kept in the fridge for a couple days.

You might also like…

chocolate salty tart + candy bars

I’m not one for candy and chocolate bars usually, but I will admit that the mood strikes here and there. We justView full post »

banana split ice cream pie + a sweet surprise

This pie is so decadent and awesome, but oh, cool thing? It’s vegan, gluten, soy and sugar free. Straight up: youView full post »

chocolate hazelnut grahams + lowbrow snacks

This gluten free cookie recipe has lowbrow-inspired roots despite its sophisticated looks and healthy-happy ingredientsView full post »

pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
Stefanie27/02/2014 - 3:39 am

Oh my goodness. This looks INCREDIBLE! Happy birthday!

cristina27/02/2014 - 3:48 am

oh i do hope your birthday was nice. and this cake, is marvelous

Harriet27/02/2014 - 4:31 am

Happy Birthday Laura! Cheers to being present, and eating cake, and all of the wonderful things that a birthday brings!

Danielle Wynne27/02/2014 - 5:22 am

Wow that looks amazing! I love your idea of date caramel, I have been trying to think of a way to make a vegan/healthier dulche de leche and I think this may be the recipe. How long does it last in a sealed jar?

Jessica's Dinner Party27/02/2014 - 5:33 am

Happy Birthday!!! I turn 27 in a couple months and can totally relate to what you’re talking about. The refinement that comes with age is not always the prim, make-up perfect person everyone thinks that word reflects.

The torte is absolutely beautiful!

Melissa27/02/2014 - 6:01 am

Oh wow this looks absolutely fantastic. Can you send me a piece please :-)

autumn27/02/2014 - 7:28 am

Happy Birthday, Laura! What a stunning treat.

Laura Wright27/02/2014 - 7:42 am

Hi Danielle, I’m honestly not sure on the lifespan of the caramel because I always eat it up so fast. 3-5 days in the refrigerator I would guess.

Caitlin27/02/2014 - 8:29 am

happy 29th birthday to you! i completely understand what you mean about the false dichotomy between grooming and having your shit together. i go through periods of that, too, but i come back to the same conclusion as you. similar with never taking the time to cover the dark circles under my eyes. i’m kind of proud of them. i know that’s weird.

beautiful cake/torte and i’m excited to learn more about your experiences and feelings in the upcoming year ;)

Anon27/02/2014 - 8:39 am

Happy Birthday dear Laura!!!! That cake looks staggeringly good!!

Have you ever come across J Krishnamurti? He is none of those sorts of people you mentioned above, you might find him refreshing!

Lisa @ Simple Pairings27/02/2014 - 9:09 am

Wow. Your photographs are absolutely breathtaking! This torte looks like it is to die for! The hazelnut mousse looks incredible, too. What a fabulously indulgent cake! :)


Emma Galloway27/02/2014 - 9:52 am

Crap this looks SO good!!!!!! This is exactly how I’d like to celebrate my next birthday! Enjoy your last year in the 20’s :-)

Katie @ 24 Carrot Life27/02/2014 - 10:03 am

Not only are these pictures beautiful (as usual) but I NEED this cake. It looks so good and it won’t make my stomach hurt from lots of dairy and sugar. Happy birthday!

Lindsey27/02/2014 - 10:31 am

Wow, yeah, totally understand your disgust w/ hustle-hungry gurus; there seem to be quite a few people who prey on people’s weaknesses. Anywho, I totally thought my 20s were my trial, that I’d have figured shit out by 30. It turns out (in my case) that even at 30, life is still a continual assessment of shit-togetherness! 29 was a rad ride for me, and I hope this (and every year) brings you clarity, questions and good times! HB, Laura!

thelittleloaf27/02/2014 - 10:35 am

This looks all kinds of amazing. I could eat the hazelnut mousse stuff by the spoon. Is there a reason you use cashew butter rather than hazelnut? Hazlenut overkill perhaps? Happy belated birthday too by the way!

lynsey27/02/2014 - 10:47 am

the perfect treat for celebrating life, birthdays, and having your shit together. xo

Laura Wright27/02/2014 - 10:47 am

Kate, you nailed it! Sometimes toasty hazelnut has a bitter edge, so I thought I’d just temper it with some fatty cashew butter to help carry + enhance the hazelnut flavour and not overwhelm the whole thing with nuttiness. Thanks for your kindness too :)

cynthia27/02/2014 - 11:01 am

Happy birthday!!!! I’m so in love with this cake (so many flavors that I love, all in one!) and your phenomenal photos — beautiful.

Ashley27/02/2014 - 11:02 am

Happy Birthday! Love your photos and way with words, as always. They always make me think. Plus, I’m positively drooling over this cake and am seriously debating how soon I can get some arrowroot powder to make this….then NOT tell my husband it’s not from a box (his fave).

molly yeh27/02/2014 - 11:11 am

gahh this is GORGEOUS! and i hope you had a very very happy birthday!!!!!

Mandy27/02/2014 - 11:37 am

This sounds AMAZING!

Question- Do you HAVE to use a springform pan? Or would it turn out okay in any other sort of pan?

Stacy27/02/2014 - 11:44 am

Such smart thoughts on life, getting older and being okay with the reflections of that. I know exactly what you mean about being tempted to question yourself (and the scars and lines, etc.) and then realizing that these are good reflections of life well lived, things to be proud of. And: what a cake! I hope it was the happiest of birthdays! You deserve only the best, and I hope this new year is a beautiful one for you.

Grace27/02/2014 - 12:10 pm

Happy birthday! This torte looks and sounds incredible. I’m hoping someone close to me has a reason to celebrate soon so I can bust out this decadent dessert. After college I went through the same thought thinking if I regularly got my nails done, got “real professional lady” haircuts and the right clothes I’d feel like a real adult. Some years later now I rush to work after sweaty yoga with no time for makeup and feel more put together than ever. It’s good to find the things that drive us and give us the irreplaceable sense of self-worth and ultimately make us happier than any superficial sense of self ever could. Cheers to you!!

sandra27/02/2014 - 1:05 pm

this cake looks delectable. so rich and creamy AND vegan. Love it.

Laura Wright27/02/2014 - 1:23 pm

Hi Mandy, You don’t have to use a springform pan at all, I would just recommend greasing your pan up real proper and maybe using some parchment so that the cake de-pans cleanly once it’s totally cooled.

Alanna27/02/2014 - 2:29 pm

Oh wow. This is an amazing work of art, and just look at that beautiful ingredient list. A dream come true. Thank you for sharing, and happy happy birthday. :)

Chelsea//TheNakedFig27/02/2014 - 4:04 pm

Whoa, girl. You just took it to a new level! This looks INCREDIBLE. Sending birthday wishes your way. So grateful that your birthday means me getting my hands on this recipe. So generous of you!

sarah27/02/2014 - 5:18 pm

Happy Birthday Laura! And, thanks for this post. I have so many days of feeling like the worlds biggest mom-slob, glancing around at well-groomed souls that seem to hold perfection in their grasp. But I feel the same – I like my scars and unpolished nails, laughter wrinkles and long un-fancy hair. It’s how I’m most comfortable, anyway. But sometimes I forget. xo

Emma27/02/2014 - 5:24 pm

Holy cow!! This looks incredible! That hazelnut mousse looks so pillowy I want to dive into it.
Happy happy birthday. I love your attitude.

Katie @ Produce on Parade27/02/2014 - 6:28 pm

Oh my dear lord. This is incredible. Period. Hazelnut and chocolate are the best together!

cheri27/02/2014 - 8:10 pm

Happy Birthday to you. Beautiful cake. Love your pics.

jade27/02/2014 - 8:20 pm

Happiest of birthdays to you Laura!
Can I just say, you have absolutely floored me with this one. I have a very good (vegan) friend’s birthday coming up, and as usual I am chief birthday cake maker. I had already planned exactly what I was making – UNTIL I SAW THIS! Whoa!
And your photographs! Jeepers!
Gold stars everywhere.
Thanks for the amazingness.
Jade. X

hannah27/02/2014 - 9:20 pm

Happy Happy Birthday Laura!

I hope this year brings you as much joy as your recipes bring me :)

Lisa | Je suis alimentageuse27/02/2014 - 10:02 pm

Happy Birthday! I love hazelnut and chocolate together, and that coconut whipped cream on top? Jackpot.

It’s true, even people who look well-groomed don’t necessarily have their shit together. Screw looking refined, just continue being awesome =P

Sonja27/02/2014 - 10:02 pm

All I can say is WOW.

[…] vegan chocolate hazelnut torte with salted caramel from another excellent vegan food blog, The First Mess, looks incredibly […]

Kasey28/02/2014 - 2:25 am

Happy birthday, beautiful lady! Those marks are worth being proud of, I agree. 29 is a big year!! Bring on the cake! xo

[…] Not one for a sweet tooth, but man, this hazelnut torte looks so inviting. Bonus, it’s […]

Kathryn28/02/2014 - 6:02 am

I really think the last couple of years of your twenties/beginning of your thirties are the best years filled with moments when you realise that you know who you are better than you ever have before. Happy belated birthday lady, this cake looks like the best (and only) way to celebrate.

Michelle28/02/2014 - 6:22 pm

I have GOT to share this with my GF friends, this looks incredible. Oh he!! I’ll share it with all my friends!

Irina @ wandercrush28/02/2014 - 7:45 pm

Stunning textures, as per usual. Happy belated 29th and thank God for rough spots, deep wrinkles, and date caramel.

Hannah28/02/2014 - 7:48 pm

Oh my, this looks insanely good!!!!!!!!
Just a question before I rush out to make it — is there anything that can be used instead of the oat flour? I know oats can be gf but they contain a similar substance that a good percentage of coeliacs react to, my boyfriend included.
Can you think of any replacements??

Laura Wright01/03/2014 - 8:19 am

Hi Hannah, you could certainly use brown or white rice flour instead of the oat. I’ve made the brownie base before using both and it was great. Also, I think any GF all purpose flour mix would be suitable in this too. Hope this helps!

Harvest and Honey01/03/2014 - 12:48 pm

My goodness. This looks wonderful. So happy to have found your site, btw. The flavor combo of Hazelnuts and Chocolate makes me sort of crazy, like in a good way. Always looking for fun new ways to put them together, and I’m itching to try this one! Thanks for this :)

Heather01/03/2014 - 3:21 pm

Happy Happy Birthday Laura! This cake is a real stunner. I love how you have captured the beauty in these photos – the colors and stunning light. Fancy-face personal grooming is so overrated. Once in a while, my sisters or friends will convince me to get my nails done, and the next day bits of nail polish begins to chip away, possibly in my dinner. Who knows? Three weeks ago I had the worst haircut ever, so that was a real waste of time. And whenever I put on a bit of mascara for fancy occasions, it seems to stay put for weeks even with a diligent scrubbing. It all seems a bit unnecessary. This cake is absolutely necessary though, and a perfect way to celebrate a birthday. Cheers to you!

Jacqui02/03/2014 - 6:31 pm

Hey, happy belated birthday Laura!! This torte looks incredible! I’m starting my list of b-day dessert ideas early for my 30th this year and this one’s made the list for sure!

Sarah03/03/2014 - 2:52 am

This is seriously the most delicious looking thing I have ever seen! I dont own a springform pan though… Can I use a pie dish??

Laura Wright03/03/2014 - 11:21 am

Hi Sarah, you could use and 8 or 9 inch cake pan if you want. Just make sure you grease it real good and allow the cake to cool totally completely before de-panning it.

dervla (the curator)03/03/2014 - 12:24 pm

happy birthday, Laura! I’m on a new non dairy quest, so this cake looks perfect :))

ATasteOfMadness04/03/2014 - 3:15 am

Holy moly, this is gorgeous!! I have a whole bunch of hazelnuts ready to me used, and I would love to use them on something this beautiful ;)

Tamara04/03/2014 - 8:15 am

Ohhh, I am so making this for my birthday on Monday! Was opting for a classic orange-chocolate raw cake until I saw this gorgeousness. Thank you for sharing. And belated happy birthday from almost-springlike Slovenia! :)


Tamara04/03/2014 - 10:47 pm

Oh, another thing. Can I use honey or agave (not my favourite) instead of maple syrup? I usually replace it, but you never know… and I want this “torta” to be just right. Thanks.

Laura Wright05/03/2014 - 12:59 pm

Hi Tamara, any liquid sweetener (except for stevia drops) you like would be fine! So brown rice syrup, agave, honey etc. are all fair game.

Kathryne05/03/2014 - 6:13 pm

Laura, your posts kill me. In the best way possible. Love your reflections on growing older. I doubt that you have calluses on your fingers from your camera shutter button or keyboard, but it’s abundantly evident that you work your ass off in this space, too. This dessert looks stellar. I’m on a homemade brownie high right now but my brownies aren’t so redeeming. Here come the jitters.

phi05/03/2014 - 7:36 pm

some time ago after some convincing from others, i went in for a “real” haircut that came out looking like the worst shoulder pads since the 80’s. since then, i’ve been growing my mane to the floor just for fucks – i’m going to be that old woman on the porch one day and if i get grumpy, i am going to cut it all off and use it as a weapon. don’t let them take away your weapon!

happy birthday dear.

[…] finally, I can’t wait to try out this recipe. Scary, scary […]

Sophia09/03/2014 - 5:41 am

This torte looks and sounds so so so wonderful. Love the flavours you combined here and the texture looks out of this world!

Tamara11/03/2014 - 2:53 am

Ok so I made this for my birthday yesterday and was simply the best cake ever. Honestly. I ate it for breakfast today without feeling un-healthy (as a nursing mom), even gave my thumb dipped in the caramel to my wide-eyed five month-old, and even my family who are humungus sceptics when it comes to health foods… adored it. Thank you, will be on a cake priority list from now on. ;)

[…] Wright from The First Mess has pretty much ruled Pinterest since uploading the photos from her Chocolate Hazelnut Torte […]

Catherine McCord24/03/2014 - 1:13 am

Be still my heart! This looks unbelievable. I can’t believe it’s gluten free and vegan. Must try! I wonder how it would be with almonds?!

[…] (inspired by this recipe from TheFirstMess) Ingredients: 9 big pitted medjool  dates (soaked 15min in boiling water […]

Margaret Burnett11/05/2014 - 6:40 am

Could I use flax seed instead of chia seed? I live in India and haven’t seen chia seed locally. We don’t have hazelnuts either, but a friend just brought me back some from Australia.

Laura Wright12/05/2014 - 7:26 am

Hi Margaret, I believe flax seeds would sub in just fine for the chia. They might make for a nuttier taste as well, which would be great here.

Penny20/05/2014 - 5:15 pm

Wow I made this for my husbands birthday party in the weekend and everyone went crazy for it! Everyone thought it was the best cake they had ever tried and they demolished it! Thanks so much, your awesome!

Borough 22 Brownies09/10/2014 - 9:06 am

You had me at Chocolate Hazelnut. Really keen to try the base, ,love the idea of using chia seeds. The hazelnut mousse is so simple its genius!

Lily10/10/2014 - 9:34 am

Looks so good! Was just wondering how you made the coconut whipped cream as i dont see it in your recipe. Thanks!

Laura Wright10/10/2014 - 3:09 pm

Hi Lily,
If you scroll down the ingredients list to the segment that says “to serve,” right beside the specification of coconut cream there’s a link to my recipe where it says “1/2 of this recipe” in parentheses.

Anna10/11/2014 - 4:16 am

Hey Laura – this torte looks incred. Want to make it for a big dinner party but there will be a big hazelnut hater there – do you think pecans or another nut would work? Obviously pecans aren’t so easy to skin so I don’t know if that would be a problem…

Thank you!!

Laura Wright10/11/2014 - 8:56 am

Hey Anna, I don’t know if the pecans will whip into the mousse part all creamy like the hazelnuts, but it’s certainly worth a try. You might have to add more coconut milk when you’re blending it all up. I wouldn’t bother skinning the pecans if you use them either! Also, I know people have made this recipe with almonds or macadamia nuts in place of the hazelnuts, and had success.

[…] DESSERTS Delicata Squash Donuts | Will Frolic For Food Ginger Apple Crumble Pie | Dolly & Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel & Coconut Whip Cream | The First Mess […]

[…] DESSERTS Delicata Squash Donuts | Will Frolic For Food Ginger Apple Crumble Pie | Dolly & Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel & Coconut Whip Cream | The First Mess […]

some snacks for winter brightness

cumin roasted chickpea + eggplant lettuce wraps with mango jicama shreds + mint // the first messcara cara orange with yogurt, zaroasted pineapple spice shake // the first mess
vanilla coconut whipped chia mousse w/ tart raspberries + bee pollen // the first mess

“Everyone I know is looking for solace, hope and a tasty snack.”
-Maira Kalman

prep for snacks // the first mess
Just the quickest of hellos today. It’s very true, as it may be for many of you, that this winter is beginning to drag and gnaw a bit. Life is somehow still faster and fuller than ever, so inventive snacks have been popping up more often than the well-planned meals with creative side dishes and desserts that require a speck of forethought. So it goes. I find splurging on some of the more exotic bits of produce helps to brighten up the sometimes too vast-seeming bleakness of the chill in the fields ’round here. A pesky cold finally managed to grab me this season (after I spent a whole week bragging to almost anyone how miraculous my immunity had been–womp womp), so these snacks have vitamins, spice, sharpness and other superpowers lurking within. There’s a roasted pineapple shake with turmeric, nutmeg and cinnamon, simply filled out with almond milk and ice. Another sweet is the coconut vanilla whipped chia mousse with smushed raspberries at the base and a happy sprinkle of bee pollen on top. There’s a butter lettuce wrap with cumin-y roasted chickpeas and eggplant, all livened up with a mango jicama tangle and some cool mint. Lastly there’s a segmented orange that feels savoury once plated with a swipe of yogurt, some toasted pine nuts, olive oil and za’atar. Sending warmth and a little extra hope for spring this week :) xo

some snacks for winter brightness // the first mess
1. roasted pineapple + warm spice shake
serves: 2
notes: I add ice to mine, but if you have the patience to freeze the roasted pineapple first, it probably wouldn’t be necessary.

2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1 tsp neutral oil
1 tsp + 1 tbsp maple syrup, divided
grated nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
splash of vanilla extract
big handful of ice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheetpan with parchment paper. Toss the pineapple with the oil, 1 tsp of the maple syrup, a tiny bit of salt and nutmeg. Roast the fruit until slightly caramelized and soft, about 20 minutes. Allow pineapple to cool.

Once cool, blend the pineapple on high with the almond milk, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla and ice. Pour into two glasses and enjoy immediately.

2. coconut vanilla whipped chia mousse w/ smashed raspberries
serves: 4
notes: I just thaw frozen raspberries from the summertime and use them as a tart foil to the lusciousness of the mousse. I imagine plenty of things would be nice with this though, like cacao nibs, chopped almonds, slices of mango, spice roasted apples etc.

1 can full fat coconut milk, stirred
1/4 cup chia seeds (white or black)
2 tbsp maple syrup
seeds scraped from half a vanilla bean (or a hearty splash of extract)
2 tbsp coconut butter
salt to taste
splash of almond or other milk (optional)
thawed frozen raspberries
bee pollen (optional)

Whisk together the coconut milk and chia seeds and let them sit for about 15 minutes or until they’ve noticeably thickened. Once thickened, scrape the coconut milk and chia seeds into a blender and add all of the other ingredients except for the raspberries and bee pollen. Blend on high until you have a creamy and smooth consistency, adding splashes of almond milk to thin out if necessary. Scrape mousse into a bowl and cover with cling film, pressing the film onto the surface of the mousse. Chill the mousse thoroughly.

Once ready to serve, smash up some thawed frozen raspberries in the bottom of your serving vessels. Divide the coconut vanilla chia mousse amongst the servings. Sprinkle the tops with bee pollen if you like and serve.

3. cumin-roasted chickpea + eggplant lettuce wraps with minted mango jicama slaw
serves: 2-4
notes: Any lettuce for wrapping is fine here, I just like the sturdy richness of butter/Boston/bibb lettuce. Also, if you can’t find jicama, shred up any other crunchy and lightly sweet fruit/vegetable you like. Carrots, apples, celery root, radishes etc.

1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 small eggplant, small dice
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
salt + pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
1 mango, peeled + finely shredded
1/2 small jicama, peeled + finely shredded
juice of 1 lime
fresh mint leaves
chipotle powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the chickpeas, eggplant, oil, cumin, salt and pepper together and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Roast the mixture until the chickpeas are crispy and the eggplant is browned, flipping them about here and there, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the shredded mango and jicama in a medium bowl with the juice of the lime. Season the mix with salt, pepper, and chipotle powder if you like. Serve the slaw with butter lettuce leaves, roasted chickpeas + eggplant, mint leaves and more chipotle powder. Assemble all components together within butter lettuce leaves. Eat immediately.

4. a simple sorta savoury orange w/ yogurt, olive oil, za’atar + pine nuts
notes: I used a cara cara orange here, but any kind of orange would be fine–maybe even a segmented grapefruit could be nice.

1 orange, peeled + segmented
3 tbsp – 1/4 cup plain yogurt of your choosing (goat, sheep, cow, almond, coconut etc)
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp za’atar
little handful fully toasted pine nuts

Place the orange segments on a plate. Spoon the yogurt onto the side of the plate and drizzle the olive oil on top of it. Sprinkle the yogurt with za’atar and top the whole thing with the toasted pine nuts and a little pinch of salt. Eat immediately.

You might also like…

sprout + crunch radicchio cups w/ honey chive vinaigrette and avocado {for spring!}

Put your winter woes aside, friends. Spring is arriving in slow trickles, whispers, pops and things that go whooooosh.View full post »

things I like to eat after a workout (for your health)

I’ve started to get back into a steady running, yoga + a workout routine lately. Spring/new warmth just bringsView full post »

the green drink

The first time I went camping, in my whole life, was only two short years ago. Our family holidays always saw us on aView full post »

pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
Kathryn20/02/2014 - 6:20 am

A much needed blast of sunshine + life this morning, thank you Laura. This gives me hope that there is an end in sight to the unrelenting gloom of this time of year.

molly yeh20/02/2014 - 9:29 am

can i come over to your house for snack time?

Emma20/02/2014 - 9:41 am

Wow, gorgeous! I will be trying the pineapple shake this weekend for sure.

Lindsey20/02/2014 - 9:42 am

Read mah mind! These winter snacks totally kill it. I love the vibrant and flavorful combo of ingredients. Each snack is super thoughtful and super fresh! And I totally hear you on the cold-front, I thought I was immune from colds after not having one for over a year, and then BAM! I got hit the most epic of colds. Glad you’re on the mend, friend!

kw20/02/2014 - 10:49 am

You are truly gifted with your recipe creations and the beautiful photography…still my favorite food blog hands down.

Aleksandra20/02/2014 - 11:31 am

Just lovely! I have been craving something as vibrant and delicious as these snacks. How do you do it? Everything seems so effortless and inspired. Congratulations!

maja20/02/2014 - 11:42 am

Bright, gorgeous photos as always. That whipped chia mousse is on my to-do list for the weekend – amazingly creative!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen20/02/2014 - 12:05 pm

The coconut vanilla whipped chia mousse – WOW! I think we all really need these colorful snacks during the last winter months when we long for spring to come already. A beautiful, highly inspiring post.

Amy (parsley in my teeth)20/02/2014 - 12:09 pm

So sorry to hear you were bitten by a bug! I, too, thought I had super immunity, just to get hit over the head with a triple combo virus — while on vacation no less! Will definitely be trying your snacks. They all look delicious!

Caitlin20/02/2014 - 12:14 pm

what a fun post! i love all of these snack ideas. i have the same sentiments about this weather and the fullness of life. i really appreciate all of these delicious options, particularly the whipped chia pudding!

shilpa20/02/2014 - 12:56 pm

This seriously brightened my day! Oh what a winter it has been! I love the addition of nigella seeds on top of the warm spiced shake. I can’t wait to try them all!

Leigh T Wetzel20/02/2014 - 1:20 pm


Ashley20/02/2014 - 1:51 pm

Gorgeous + delicious enough for all four to snap me out of a winter funk. Amazing photography and writing, as always.

Elizabeth20/02/2014 - 2:55 pm

Yes! This was the week I think everyone was like, WTF winter (or maybe the past six)? And I so agree about searching the corners of the produce aisle for wintertime cheer. It’s warm somewhere, right? Can’t wait to dig into all three of these great snacks.

mardi20/02/2014 - 3:42 pm

what if i don’t have coconut butter…is there a good substitute?

Laura Wright20/02/2014 - 4:41 pm

Hi Mardi, you can substitute some dried, shredded coconut or a dab of extra virgin coconut oil.

cheri20/02/2014 - 7:03 pm

Hope your feeling better. Thanks for sharing these snacks, they are the best!

Grace20/02/2014 - 9:51 pm

So much beauty and brightness in this one post – I can hardly deal.

Harriet20/02/2014 - 9:56 pm

Dude – these look like vibrant and magical snacks. All of the flavours seem to sparkle. Especially that roasted pineapple – delish x

Mimi21/02/2014 - 9:39 am

I’m sorry but I can’t get past the photos. Incredible.

Sam22/02/2014 - 4:27 pm

I was wondering where all of these photos were coming from on Pinterest. Sure enough, they’re from your blog! You have a wonderful imagination!

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)22/02/2014 - 6:25 pm

Such beautiful photos. That pineapple and warm spice shake sounds sublime.

Hilary23/02/2014 - 12:42 am

All these yummy looking snacks just *brightened* my day ;)

Question: You live in Ontario, correct? Where the heck did you get za’atar? I’ve looked just about everywhere I can think of!

Thanks for your inspiring food :)

Laura Wright23/02/2014 - 9:06 am

Hi Hilary! I prefer the za’atar from a shop in Toronto called The Spice Trader. Here’s their site: However, I did purchase the one from the PC Black Label line at Loblaws recently and was fairly impressed with it–if you have a Loblaws/Superstore/Zehrs etc in your area. If all else fails, Heidi has a recipe for making your own as well:

Brian @ A Thought For Food24/02/2014 - 1:54 pm

I often like to eat dishes that are refreshing this time of year. Citrus is always something we keep around (for cocktails, but for other recipes… but mostly for cocktails). That savory orange dish with the za’atar and the yogurt. Yeah, I need that in my life.

Chelsea // The Naked Fig24/02/2014 - 6:03 pm

How amazing to get so many recipes in one! Citrus has been the main thing brightening up winter for me this year. Thanks for all the other suggestions! Nutmeg with pineapple is ingenious! Why didn’t I think of that!?

Millie26/02/2014 - 6:39 pm

These all look delicious! You’re definitely right about a few more exotic things brightening up the season – I’ve been throwing mangoes in my smoothies this week to try and do just that. I’m really keen to try a recipe with chia seeds soon so this might just be the one :)

Jessica's Dinner Party26/02/2014 - 9:58 pm

Been needing a little pump up to get me through the last bit of winter! Inspired by all the recipes up here.

Marion28/02/2014 - 5:35 pm

MY GOD ! I would be so so puzzled if I was in front of those de-li-cious snacks… Its so beautiful that It would be a shame to eat them…. but not to eat them would be a shame too ! AAAAHHH DILEMMA :D

Anyway, I clap my hand for this beautiful recipe :)

Come by one day :) bye !

Jo (yummyvege)14/03/2014 - 11:38 am

Why don’t I ever have such original snacks? I’ve been meaning to experiment with chia seeds for a while now- lets see if this is the push I need!

[…] 1 Tarocco-Orange schälen und filetieren. Orangenfilets auf einem Teller anrichten. 2 EL Labneh oder gekauftes Griechisches Joghurt dazugeben. Mit 0.5 TL Za’atar bestreuen, 1 EL Olivenöl darüber träufeln. 1 gehäufter EL geröstete Pinienkerne darüber geben. Servieren. Quelle: The First Mess […]

[…] Roasted pineapple has been ruining everything I thought I knew about pineapple. How could something so delicious take it to the next level? Its natural sugars caramelize, deeply intensifying the flavour, while the hint of salt and pepper act to balance out the sweetness. It is not even fair that nature grows something so ridiculous and then allows you to make it crazy ridiculous with barely any effort. […]

[…] Roasted pineapple has been ruining everything I thought I knew about pineapple. How could something so delicious take it to the next level? Its natural sugars caramelize, deeply intensifying the flavour, while the hint of salt and pepper act to balance out the sweetness. It is not even fair that nature grows something so ridiculous and then allows you to make it crazy ridiculous with barely any effort. […]