pin it!pin it!pin it!
Despite bemoaning comfort food’s ubiquity or “upscale comfort cuisine” in predominantly shoddy-glossy establishments, I do find these foods to be rather important in a day to day sense. Misery, sickness or fatigue aren’t the only occasions that find me seeking that sort of cozy reassurance though. I work towards comfort immediately upon waking every day — and I find it in a cup of tea, a piece of fruit, a handful of granola, some avocado smushed on toast with chill flakes, whatever’s there… Perhaps my angle on this sought-after feeling is different, but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal. If there are harsh forces in the world, I won’t bring more of the same violence down onto my body. The food or drink’s abilities to soothe and revitalize must work in tandem.

With that criteria floating in the background, I generally find the most comforting foods to be elemental, aligning with the makings of our magnificent earth. In nature, that force of Goodness or God is all around. The total immersion in colour and textures is evidence of this power. I want that on the plate in front of me in as much as I can manage. The approach to nourishment carries itself out from there rather seamlessly, making its own intuitive connections along the way.

There are poached eggs adorning the top of any dish you could imagine, their gleaming whites evoke drifting clouds and life-moving/affirming breezes. A salty noodle broth splashes, cleanses and renews us from deep down like the sea. Greens and roots arrive with the earth still intact, upfront with their healing power. The deep brown bottoms of heavy sourdough loaves remind us that fire was the original cooking tool of choice, that it really is all we need for sustenance. The flavour and whole-life-satiety of such things are with me long after the food is gone. These are instances of true comfort, one’s self made better by reconnecting with the world for a moment and a meal.

It takes me in with its warmth and, more importantly, the meal brings me outside of my own mind a bit as well. There is an awareness involved that goes beyond automated fork and spoon lifting. In this particular example of simple soup, there are still-toothsome bits of greens, heavy with garlic, that require a small chew. The broth is a bit saline and can be sipped carefully while piping hot. The sweet potatoes are soft and rustic, bringing a very felt fullness. I add lentils to contribute even more hearty qualities, which I find necessary on these cool and damp early spring evenings. The chickpea flatbread has a bit of a socca vibe, but it’s more of a low maintenance affair, doing its thing in the oven while you simmer the soup and what have you.

So with that, I’ll cut it short and sweet right here — hopefully leaving you all in thoughts of comfort, vibrance and the many other good things that we have going.

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
I almost forgot to mention that I have a guest post at the wonderful Golubka blog this week. Anya’s cuisine and photographs speak of life lived well and vibrantly, so I’m more than happy to be sharing some little (gluten free and vegan) lemon tarts over there for you. You can check them out by clicking here.

simple garlic + greens soup with sweet potatoes
serves: 3-4
notes: Use regular potatoes if you like and any kind of greens that strike your fancy. This soup is rather easy going.

1 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup french/brown lentils, rinsed + picked over
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-1 inch dice (peeling is optional)
5 cups vegetable stock (or 1 veggie bouillon cube + 5 cups water)
4-5 cups of roughly cut, sturdy greens (mustard greens, kale, cabbage, collards)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are quite soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and diced sweet potato and stir them about to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring the pot here and there. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes/lentils are just soft, about 15 minutes. Add the greens and give the pot a stir. Allow them to wilt just slightly. Add the lemon juice, taste for seasoning and serve hot with chili flakes, drizzles of extra virgin olive oil and whatever else you like.

smoky chickpea flatbread
serves: 2-3
notes: You can mix this up with any spices/herbs/citrus zests etc that you like. Also I mixed this batter up, covered it, and left it in the fridge for 3 days. All worked out fine and it baked while my soup was happening.

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
salt + pepper (I was liberal with both)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used bittersweet)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups filtered water (approx)

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and olive oil. Stir that up a bit. Add the water, starting with about 1 1/4 cups. Stir the batter with a spatula until combined. The consistency should be like thin pancake batter. Add more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the batter. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it with more olive oil.

Scrape the batter onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out to 1/4 inch thickness or so, shaking the pan and banging it on the counter to do so. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden in spots and lifting off of the pan with ease. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve warm in torn pieces. Optional: drizzle with more olive oil and black pepper.

You might also like…

favourite lentil soup + just food

When I was going to culinary school, one of our instructors would frequently remind us that all of the fuss, theView full post »

roasted cauliflower + onion soup

This recipe is easy in many ways. There are 5 affordable, seasonal and accessible main ingredients. It’s just aView 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 »


share onfacebook pin topinterest email toa friend
  • Kathryn17/04/2013 - 7:48 am

    Food that nourishes the body is, I think, the very best kind of comfort food. Reassuring and life-affirming, like this bowl of goodness.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae17/04/2013 - 8:41 am

    Word, lady. Nourishing food is the only kind of comfort food – if it can’t heal or warm or soothe my soul, then it’s a far cry from comfort (for me, at least). Loving this soup and your gorgeous, gorgeous photos. You rule.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf17/04/2013 - 8:45 am

    I love the photo of that garlic. And I love your definition of comfort food – so much more than what we’ve come to categorise as comfort in the form of bland, pappy carbs, sugar and sweets.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley17/04/2013 - 9:25 am

    Gorgeous photos, colors, and recipe! And, ohhhh your words. Always so meaningful and honest. LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Great recipe, so healthy. And pictures are amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne17/04/2013 - 11:53 am

    Love your concept of comfort food, Laura. Funny how comfort food seems to connote unhealthy cheesy/salty/fatty things more so than warming, nourishing soups like this one. Looks lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar17/04/2013 - 2:02 pm

    This looks fabulous!!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny @ BAKE17/04/2013 - 3:50 pm

    This soup looks absolutely perfect, I am going to have to make it as it has so many of my favourite ingredients in it!ReplyCancel

  • Christina17/04/2013 - 8:49 pm

    There’s something about the earthiness of this soup that makes it seem so inviting. I can almost taste it already…ReplyCancel

  • Kris17/04/2013 - 10:42 pm

    You know, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with food a lot lately, feeling really positive shifts happening (both subtle and major) regularly… or perhaps I’m just more aware of them now. You speak my language, girl! My approach to comfort food has only started to shift in the last few years of my life, but this captures the change in its essence. As always your words, photographs, and culinary developments are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah17/04/2013 - 10:54 pm

    Laura I love your thoughts about food and what can make it comforting. It is an elemental comfort, a basic human need, and when we make it nurturing, we are actually getting at the real root of why it is comforting … Thanks for making me think about that, in this week when we all can use some comfort. xoReplyCancel

  • Caitlin18/04/2013 - 10:37 am

    the only comfort food for me is the kind that warms and nourishes my body. if i feel awful, i make a huge bowl of veggie soup, salad, or stir fry. the more veggies, the better. i can’t wait to make this delicious and simple soup paired with socca, which happens to be one of my favorite things in the world ;)ReplyCancel

  • Annie18/04/2013 - 1:24 pm

    Simply beautiful and nourishing. This is exactly what I want today. It’s raining and partially snowing in Minnesota and I’m wishing for spring. This is going on my “to make” list.ReplyCancel

  • Julia18/04/2013 - 3:14 pm

    Wow this soup looks and sounds delicious. I’m a huge fan of garlic so I’ll definitely be making this.ReplyCancel

  • Loren18/04/2013 - 6:08 pm

    If you wanted to make a big pot of this and eat it throughout the week should you hold off on the greens until you are ready to eat it?Thanks for the recipe looks delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright19/04/2013 - 8:12 am

      Hi Loren!
      I’ve been eating leftovers from this just very simply heated up with scoops of brown rice + other add-ins. The greens won’t be AS vibrant green and a touch softer afterwards, but it’s still really tasty. As long as you use thicker/tougher greens, you should be all good :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Cheri Litchfield20/04/2013 - 5:54 pm

    Just found your blog yesterday and I am so excited about every single beautiful picture and recipe. I want to try each and every one! Thank you thank you!ReplyCancel

  • sarah22/04/2013 - 11:44 am

    ‘but when I think of comfort and an optimal self, I aim for renewal.’ Everyone of your posts has one sentence that completely cuts to my core, and challenges me. I don’t aim for renewal, and I need to work on that, asap. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate your voice so much.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen23/04/2013 - 6:54 am

    Oh my, this just makes me want to eat all the amazing comfort food there is. Also, I like that the chickpea batter can sit around for a bit, in case I’m slightly organised on one day and slightly organised on the second day, but not super organised on one whole day, y’know?ReplyCancel

  • Riley23/04/2013 - 12:09 pm

    Made this last night– just brilliant, and a great way to be introduced to kale– plus, your photography is GORGEOUS. Thank you, just. Wow.ReplyCancel

  • Sara24/04/2013 - 9:28 am

    I’ve been wanting to try socca for so long–I love chickpeas and I know I’ll love it. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Zach28/04/2013 - 11:12 am

    Your photos are stunning and your recipes sound delectable. We would love for you to share them at thefeastingeye.com. The Feasting Eye is still a bit new, but I think you will like what you see :-).ReplyCancel

  • Frances13/05/2013 - 8:39 pm

    Eating this soup as we speak and it truly is amazing, yet so simple!!! I used lacinato kale and topped with some avocado. This is the first recipe I made off your blog and I look forward to exploring more. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Ariadna23/05/2013 - 2:56 am

    What you just made there is faina. You can order some at any self-respecting pizzeria in Argentina.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel07/08/2013 - 5:28 am

    YOU ARE AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • Soup Style | Sous Style14/10/2013 - 10:30 am

    […] Recipe credits: 1. Williams Sonoma,  Asparagus Soup with Poached Egg & Crispy Prosciutto 2. Whole Living, Creamy Broccoli White Bean Soup 3. Bayaderka, Red Lentil & Carrot Soup with Cinnamon, Tumeric & Chilli  4. Kellies Food to Glow, Creamy Zucchini, Walnut & Thyme Soup  5. Doriannn, Spiced Spinach & Lentil soup 6. My New Roots, Coconut soup 7. The First Mess, Simple Asparagus & Ramp soup  8. The First Mess, Simple Garlic & Greens Soup […]ReplyCancel

  • […] anyway, it is a soup for not-quite-but-maybe-soon-hopefully fall. it’s my own version of the garlic + greens soup on the first mess, with some changes in process, different ingredients, etc., leading to something i find more […]ReplyCancel

  • Claudia04/12/2014 - 4:31 pm

    I just made a big pot of this soup and it tastes A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! Had to swap the brown lentils for red ones though because I didn’t have them at hand. Already looking forward to my dinner tomorrow – it’s just about the right dose of cozyness for a cold winter night! :)

    Greetings from Germany!ReplyCancel

  • […] cocktail, and some cute kitchenware is inspiring me to do some springtime entertaining… 1. Simple Garlic & Greens Soup with Smoky ChickPea Flatbread, via The First Mess 2. Dr. Bird Juicer from imm Living, image via Honestly Yum 3. Dragon Fruit Limeade Cocktail, via A […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!

I was cleaning up one evening in the small kitchen at a community centre in the city. An after-school program held for teenage girls had just wrapped up. In the previous 3 hours, we had talked about the benefits of produce and whole grains for growing bodies, made hummus, wholewheat pita from scratch and a huge tabbouleh salad together. We had also discussed the disappointing aspects of school lunch programs and some simpler things on how their day had gone. I was wiping the counters down, filing away the knives and cutting boards, digging the crud out of the dishwasher strainer as the sun disappeared outside–just trying to finish up so that I could hop on the bus and have a quiet night at home.

As I was wiping the main island countertop, with its stacked pots, bowls and bins of donated wooden spoons + other necessaries stowed away underneath, the two women who ran the program were in discussion. One was holding a can of chickpeas. She led another program at the centre for women who had recently immigrated, where they would cook and discuss the transitions taking place in their lives. Leaning on the counter, she said something to this effect: “The women in my group, they tell me that they don’t know what to do with these. *gestures to can of chickpeas* They get them all the time from the food bank, and because they don’t know them, they throw them away.” This was a strange dilemma (and further proof that food banks are often a bandaid solution to issues of hunger and good health). The wholesome food was made accesible in a very physical and easy way, but the barriers to wellness and prosperity still shot up.

What followed was her strategy of trying to incorporate legumes into more of her sessions, to use encouragement and to approach the many-sided issue, as always, with respect. Something as simple-seeming as teaching individuals to cook and incorporate certain foods into family meals led to the conclusion that more support was needed from the community at large. It’s never enough to simply provide the food, wish the individual good day and move on with your life. That disappointingly frequent support paradigm is an exercise in isolation. The second that dignity is compromised, the road to health and vibrance becomes rougher and frustratingly longer for the individual. There is a disconnect between their life and the community that they are trying to thrive in. By asking questions and thinking on her feet, this woman was paving a way forward, for her program participants and their families.

This moment of realization and moving ahead is on my mind often and remains a motivation when I develop a recipe. It’s the reason why I would never, ever say that refined flour is inherently bad, that sugar/agave/any sweetener should be banned from your cupboard without question, that all of your stone fruit must be organic because the pesticide level deems a conventional version too toxic etc. It is wonderful to work with whole grain flour, natural sweeteners and organic produce, sure, and sometimes those things can be quite affordable (this depends on your priorities too). But you have to know what to do with them first. Food has the power to heal and nurture, but it is first and most importantly necessary for life. It gives you strength for everything else.

As humbly and deliciously as I can offer, I made you a salad primarily composed from chickpeas and stale bread this week. The vegetable component is 3 distinct alliums (just onions y’all). The grassy chives, the pungent red bulb onion and sweet charred leeks. These flavours epitomize early spring for me. We stuck a chive plant into an old pot many years ago, basically neglected it and have since been rewarded with emerald green, fresh blades every year when April rolls around. Low maintenance, supremely cost-effective flavour right outside my door. I am trying to work more towards dishes with this kind of feel–ones that anyone can make in whatever capacity so that they can go into other aspects of their lives with vibrance and capability, whether because of nourishment or a small shred of empowerment.

Hope you’re all seeing beautiful green, spring-y things in your little nooks of the world. Big hugs. xo

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
chickpea + spring onion panzanella recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: If you have ramps or green onions popping up where you are, I would definitely slice up the greens of either and add them in. Also, I grilled some of the vegetables, but have included instructions for oven-roasting here, since that seems to be more of an option for people. If you have a grill, just brush the veg with some oil, salt + pepper and place them on a medium-high grill until charred a bit and soft.

salad ingredients:
2-3 cups roughly cubed stale bread
2 tbsp oil of your choice, divided
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 bunch of leeks, tough greens + roots trimmed away
1 small red onion, peeled + quartered
4-5 stalks of lacinato/tuscan kale
2-3 radishes, thinly slices
chopped chives for garnish
salt + pepper

dressing ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped chives
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
splash of water
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper
1 tbsp raw honey/agave nectar/brown rice syrup/maple syrup
1/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral tasting oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On one sheet, toss the cubed bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season to your liking. Once all of the bread is coated, slide the sheet into the oven. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until bread pieces are deep golden brown. Set aside.

Cut the trimmed leeks in half down the middle, lengthwise. Rinse them thoroughly to remove any grit between the layers. Place them on the other lined baking sheet. Place the quarters of red onion on the sheet as well. Toss the vegetables on the sheet with the remaining tablespoon of oil and some more salt + pepper. Slide the sheet into the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are browning and getting tender. Toss the kale leaves onto the sheet in the last 5 minutes if you like, or leave them raw. Allow vegetables to cool slightly.

While vegetables are roasting/cooling, make the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix or pulse everything until a pale green and creamy mix is achieved. Taste it for seasoning, adjust if necessary and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas and toasted bread. Chop up the leeks, red onions and kale into bite size pieces and toss them into the bowl as well. Season the whole mix with salt + pepper if you like. Pour the dressing on top (you might have a bit extra). Toss everything together to combine. garnish the salad with chopped chives and sliced radishes. Serve immediately.

You might also like…

a summer panzanella + a video!

Remember when I made a fresh and spring-y panzanella and I told you about my sheer and ridiculous-silly love for theView full post »

warm kale, quinoa and balsamic beet salad

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

delicata squash + lime tabbouleh

What is it about seasonal change that is so emotional? This hunch seems especially true for fall,View full post »

share onfacebook pin topinterest email toa friend
  • Kathryn10/04/2013 - 5:24 am

    As ever, Laura, you are a total inspiration. I love the sincerity and accessibility of this post – it’s one of the reasons that I come back here again and again because you are so genuine. Plus you make pretty amazingly delicious sounding salads like this!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola @ Homegrown Kitchen10/04/2013 - 5:54 am

    Thanks Laura, another beautiful post. And yes sometimes it is the simple foods that nourish us. I like the idea of simple meals using what you have on hand. A lovely looking spring salad as we on the bottom of the world head towards winter.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny @ BAKE10/04/2013 - 6:15 am

    This is such a wonderful post to read! I must admit up until a few years ago I wouldn’t have known what to to do with a tin of chickpeas! this salad looks absolutely amazing and your photography is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf10/04/2013 - 8:38 am

    This is a beautiful post in so many ways. Food is so important – you make it special and everyday in a completely unique way.ReplyCancel

  • michele10/04/2013 - 9:29 am

    So much love for this post- this kind of dish is why your blog is so wonderful. Simple, delicious looking, super accessible. I always leave with an “I could do that!” kind of feeling. This is the kind of food I like to cook every day. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Ashley10/04/2013 - 9:35 am

    Beautiful, beautiful, all the way around. From your words, to the food, to the photos. Your sincerity, kindness, and thought always shine through these posts!ReplyCancel

  • Betsy10/04/2013 - 9:40 am

    Beautiful salad and great post! A friend was recently telling me how the food bank gives her so many dried beans she ends up throwing some away. Its now my mission to give her more recipes to make with dried beans. Very thoughtfulReplyCancel

  • Alex10/04/2013 - 9:41 am

    Beautiful post Laura! All around.ReplyCancel

  • Amy10/04/2013 - 10:04 am

    What a wonderful post and gorgeous salad to accompany it. This post resonated with me a lot as I am a nutrition educator at a food bank and empower people with basic cooking skills and nutrition education each and every day. In fact, we just covered chickpeas in two of my classes this week! Such education is so necessary, especially here in CA as two thirds of what we distribute is fresh produce. Thanks for your post an for being an awesome culinary inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Heidi @foodiecrush10/04/2013 - 10:12 am

    Your commentary about educating others on how to prepare these healthy, but sometimes formidable foods, is right on the money. While organic and whole foods are a benefit to all, creating simple foods with accessible ingredients is what will help cure the hunger plight we face. Love this whole notion and tasty, healthy greens.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough10/04/2013 - 10:56 am

    Oh my goodness, beautiful, beautiful photos and words as always. This recipe sounds like the perfect thing to welcome in the springtime.ReplyCancel

  • Chandra10/04/2013 - 11:01 am

    This has to be one of the most, if not the most stunningly beautiful blog posts I have encountered in many years searching the internet…and then, the added bonus is your thoughtful, thought-provoking commentary. Your example is the one to emulate!ReplyCancel

  • Golubka10/04/2013 - 11:11 am

    It is such a beautifully written post Laura, and I agree with you on every word! I too came from far away and wasn’t familiar with the majority of the ingredients that I now use on a regular basis. And this panzanella – my favorite, just gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Sonja10/04/2013 - 11:36 am

    Wow. Stunning words and photographs, along with a humble, beautiful way of looking at the world and a passion for making the joy of food available to all. Kudos to you, Laura — this post is touching and lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany10/04/2013 - 1:21 pm

    What a great post. Something we don’t even really think about — HOW to use what we have. Education is so important, and you are doing a great thing.

    Plus, this sounds amazing. I think I will need to make me some.ReplyCancel

  • Kate10/04/2013 - 1:32 pm

    Gorgeous words. Gorgeous salad. I crave Spring tastes in phenomenal ways and this gives me hope, even as a mid-April snowstorm is bearing down on us. Panzanella salads are a favorite around here, and this one needs a green light in our kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Very good, strong post. Food is so important. Since we don’t have problems with getting it, we forget how important it is.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen10/04/2013 - 2:56 pm

    What a great combination of vegetables! I love the idea of reimagining panzanella for the first vegetables of spring. :)ReplyCancel

  • sarah10/04/2013 - 4:06 pm

    Lovely, Laura. This struck such a chord. I so appreciate your honesty, and the way you are always looking both inward and outward. Your humble way of sharing always (always!) stirs something in me, makes me want to take care of not just myself, but of others. You are a gem, truly. xoReplyCancel

  • Nicole | Eat This Poem10/04/2013 - 5:30 pm

    First, my mouth is watering right now! Second, I love this story you shared. Just beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • […]     Love that Italian bread salad thing, panzanella. Here’s a different take: chickpea + spring onion panzanella from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Beth | {local milk}10/04/2013 - 8:28 pm

    This might be my most favoritest riff on panzanella I’ve seen thus far. I’m kind of married to my admittedly staid and kind of traditional one. This is the first i’ve run across that has me shoving my old paramour out of the way in favor of mixing things up. I can’t wait to make this. Tomorrow. For dinner. Mixing up my starter right now. There is nothing about this I don’t love. Nothing.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar11/04/2013 - 10:01 am

    So gorgeous!! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Claire Suellentrop11/04/2013 - 3:28 pm

    You hit the nail on the head in your discussion of the accessibility of food vs. knowledge about how to use it. Beautifully said.

    I’m currently back at home visiting family (who aren’t exactly clean-food-conscious) and am trying to incorporate more simple, whole foods into my parents’/siblings’ diets where possible–their ideas of “healthy” include chemical-filled protein bars and 45-calories-per-slice bread with ingredient lists a mile long. My mom is eager to learn about new and “foreign”-sounding ingredients, but is intimidated by the prospect of testing out new recipes on her own. We’re setting a mother/daughter hummus making date, for example, and I can tell how excited she is to no longer rely on purchasing the prepackaged stuff every week.

    It’s all about the baby steps, isn’t it? Phasing in new types of beans here, phasing out the boxed mac n’ cheese there. Baby steps to better food, baby steps to better health.ReplyCancel

  • […] PESTO, My New Roots; ROASTED GARLIC AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH PESTO, A House In The Hills; TUSCAN KALE SALAD  WITH CHICKPEAS AND SPRING ONIONS, The First Mess; A LESSON IN ALL THINGS ASPARAGUS, Manger; SMOKY BEET BURGERS, Sprouted […]ReplyCancel

  • tara13/04/2013 - 10:18 am

    Beautifully said, Laura, and beautifully actualized in your recipe. Inspired, as always.

    Now here’s hoping that spring decides to arrive soon. Cheers.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui13/04/2013 - 2:46 pm

    Your words are so dead-on. And your many versions of panzanella always leave me with cravings!ReplyCancel

  • Michael Falso15/04/2013 - 3:13 am

    The content was as wonderfully composed as the salad. What a very powerful experience, and thank you for sharing. I’m very impressed, and I loved how simple yet refined the panzanella salad is. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne16/04/2013 - 1:22 am

    Love your message here, Laura. So important to keep in mind. This panzanella looks spectacular—your recipes always are.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah16/04/2013 - 5:11 pm

    I agree–this post is beautiful in many, many ways.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen16/04/2013 - 6:34 pm

    This post was just gorgeous. I always appreciate when people are striving for good but can see the bigger picture! And also this salad is just the sort of recipe I need for when it feels like there’s absolutely no food in the house, but I still want something kinda nourishing and comforting.ReplyCancel

  • Dana17/04/2013 - 8:18 pm

    Laura! This recipe was so timely because I started a whole foods cleanse this week and I can have (pretty much) everything in it! I actually made it for a dinner party I attended and everyone RAVED about it! They kept asking me what was in it and how I made it. I gave you all the praise! Making it again now, sans croutons. Next time I think I’ll add beets! Thanks again – muah!ReplyCancel

  • Shira20/04/2013 - 8:00 pm

    So beautiful Laura, thank you! Reading this post made me feel as though I was reading my own thoughts – you expressed so beautifully precisely the dilemma we as a larger community are facing in terms of accessibility, know-how, and at the end of the day, dignity & respect.I work closely with programs that offer food & support to families that need it and it is amazing to hear the stories of food not being used simply because people do not know how to use it. Thank you, for this. I cannot believe I did not read this until now. xxReplyCancel

  • Arleigh22/04/2013 - 11:22 am

    A friend made this for a dinner party and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to recreate it, but it was so simple and tasted just as good in my kitchen. Wonderful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] 1. Chickpea, spring onion + tuscan kale salad – by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] started learning about whole foods blogs that boasted amazing recipes like Blueberry oat cobblers, Tuscan kale salads, and superfood nut butter cups (just to name a few). Such a blog is A Couple Cooks, run by […]ReplyCancel

  • […] ♚ I love recipe that effortlessly combine healthy and delicious – Chickpea, Spring Onion, Kale and Panzanella Salad […]ReplyCancel

  • […] – Salada de Za’atar com grão-de-bico beringela e tomate, do Green Kitchen Stories (em Inglês) – Panzanella com grão-de-bico, couve e rabanetes, do The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Chickpea and Mixed Onion Panzanella (inspired by this recipe) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 5. Chickpea, Spring Onion and Tuscan Kale Panzanella from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Lee Anne22/01/2014 - 10:26 am

    Just made a slightly tweaked (more wintery/crazy warm January) version of this for lunch, and man was it good!! Your blog is always such an inspiration, for food as well as thought. Thanks for what you have to say, Laura! XReplyCancel

  • Pat12/02/2014 - 8:49 pm

    Hi,
    This is one of the best hardy salads I’ve ever tasted. Every morsel satisfied the hunger for a hardy and heart-filled meal. It was easy, accessible and just down-right homey! Delicious not only in flavor but in texture. It satisfied my hunger into the next day and took an edge off of my wishing-winter-was-over mind. And on top of all that, my husband kept saying how great it was and he’s a pretty tough character when it comes to voicing his appreciation.

    I have been behind in writing a friend of about 45 years after we were finally able to exchange letters at Christmas. This recipe and your refurbishing brought back many memories of her generosity, creativity and love of good, healthy food. So tonight I’m sending her this recipe as a special thank you for years gone by.

    Thanks
    PatReplyCancel

  • […] Chickpea, Spring Onion + Kale salad 2. Lemon Chia Coffee Cake 3. Sesame Asparagus Salad 4. New Potato Hash with […]ReplyCancel

  • […] list. I mean how amazing does this Roasted Potato and Asparagus Lentil Salad look? And this Chickpea, Spring Onion + Tuscan Kale Salad… yup — it has to be made. Oh, and the Avocado Citrus Crunch Salad with Oat Croutons. Oat […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Chickpea, Spring Onion and Tuscan Kale Salad from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Chickpea, Spring Onion, and Tuscan Kale Panzanella Salad: I could eat this salad by Laura of The First Mess every day for the rest of my life and be one […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Chickpea, Spring Onion + Tuscan Kale Salad via The First Mess: “As humbly and deliciously as I can offer, I made you a salad primarily composed from chickpeas and stale bread this week. The vegetable component is 3 distinct alliums (just onions y’all). The grassy chives, the pungent red bulb onion and sweet charred leeks. These flavours epitomize early spring for me.” […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!

A few temporary deficiencies in the home-base kitchen means some more fresh, raw and vibrant salad goods are in store for us here (and lots of smoothies and bowls of granola seem to keep reappearing for myself especially). The stove is kind of a nonentity at the moment, so in the spirit of rolling with it I threw this together super quick like it was no thang (and photographed it before the electrical/plumbing dudes got here and thought I was a weirdo). Also, it secretly/not so secretly was a thang. The threat of frequent stove meals/snacks being taken away threw me into a bit of a cooking rager of sorts (very mature, right?). Let’s call it an adventure.

So now there’s a tupperware of quite lovely salad on the top shelf of the fridge. I’m feeling well and good about that being within reach. We’re getting pummelled with unseasonable cold and winds in my little ‘hood at the moment, but I still crave crunchy veg as much as ever so this is all fine by me as long as a full tea cup is nearby. Also, the sun is still bright and making itself known through the bitter winds. It’s a nice reminder of the good graces in store for us.

Whatever the season, whatever the weather, carrots are always lurking in our crisper–waiting for a simple steam, a little slice + hummus dip or a plunge into some stock. This humble and dependable root is cut into elegant and thin matchsticks here. I thawed some shelled edamames and tossed them into the mix for some protein tasty times. The dressing is completely bright with fresh orange and lime juice, a healthy dose of ginger and a couple drops of sesame oil. The salad tangles all up in that and a heavy hand of black sesame seeds. I love how they coat and fleck every little matchstick piece of carrot, veering away from garnish towards key textural component territory. The cilantro comes in all perfumed and light while creamy avocado bits offer a touch more heft and body.

I think you can buy carrots pre-cut all fancy like this in stores? No matter though because it’s super easy to do all by your fine self. After I peel the carrots, I take one and cut it into 3 even lengths. From here, I cut off one of the sides. Roll the carrot piece so that that flat side is facing down. Then I cut off another rounded side. I repeat this until I have a rectangular prism of carrot so to speak (it’s all geometry, guys). From here, I cut the carrot into slices so that I can cut those slices into matchsticks altogether in one move. After that, I slice up those previous round parts of the carrot too. Cutting the carrots into thin coins is an option if you’re more into that. You could even ribbon the carrots with your peeler–just make sure that the salad doesn’t sit too long in the dressing if you’re going that route.

pin it!pin it!
ginger, citrus + black sesame carrots w/ edamame and avocado recipe
serves: 6-8 as a side
notes: If you want to make this more of a main event sort of thing, you could serve it with some grilled tempeh/tofu and toss a couple handfuls of greens and cooked grains into the mix. Also, you bet this mix would be tasty rolled up into a rice paper wrap or a sheet of nori.

salad ingredients:
5-6 carrots (this was a bunch for me), peeled + cut into matchsticks
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
big handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (mint or thai basil would also be delicious)
salt + pepper
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + chopped

ginger citrus dressing:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
juice of 1 lime
salt + pepper
1.5 tbsp agave nectar/raw honey
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated finely on a rasp/microplane
couple drops of toasted sesame oil
1/4-1/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral-tasting oil (I tend to like vinaigrettes on the more acidic side so I go with less)

Combine the carrot matchsticks, thawed edamame, sesame seeds and chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Season the whole mixture with salt + pepper and toss lightly with your hands. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, combine the orange juice, lime juice, salt + pepper, agave nectar, ginger and sesame oil. Whisk it all together until incorporated. While whisking with one hand, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil until you have a homogenous and unified dressing.

Pour the dressing over the carrot + edamame mixture. Toss to combine. Top with the chopped avocado pieces. Garnish the dish with more sesame seeds and cilantro if you like.

You might also like…

za’atar roasted carrot salad with cashew labneh, avocado + frisée

It felt like it had been a while, so I made you a salad. With fragrant za’atar roasted carrots, curly + gorgeousView 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 »

spaghetti squash noodle bowl + lime peanut sauce

Defaulting to kindness is this very simple idea that I try, rather mightily, to uphold in my day-to-day endeavours.View full post »


share onfacebook pin topinterest email toa friend
  • Ai03/04/2013 - 5:29 am

    Yum!! I love sesame seeds, both in savory and sweet :)ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf03/04/2013 - 8:35 am

    Carrot and black sesame is one of my favourite salad combinations – love the sweetness, crunch and nuttiness combined. I love that you rushed to take photos before the plumbing guys arrived – I’ve taken food photos on my front porch before and got some very odd looks from neighbours!ReplyCancel

  • Betsy03/04/2013 - 8:45 am

    This is beautiful and delicious! New your blog….loving it!ReplyCancel

  • Christina03/04/2013 - 9:08 am

    This sounds wonderful! Just need to buy some cilantro to make this evening.ReplyCancel

  • Golubka03/04/2013 - 10:10 am

    So bright and fresh, and I have all of the ingredients needed for the salad! It will be delicious for lunch today, thank you Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley03/04/2013 - 10:51 am

    Your photos are just so crisp and vibrant. Stunning! I love the simplicity of this and am always looking for new ways to eat carrots and salads! I bet the textures are perfection. This will be lunch.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen03/04/2013 - 1:11 pm

    This salad looks so good! Super fresh and springy and tasty. I especially love how the edamame and avocado makes it a full meal.ReplyCancel

  • Yohann03/04/2013 - 7:03 pm

    Your pictures are so sharp and colorful! Love it. I have never tried black sesame before, looks good!ReplyCancel

  • janet @ the taste space03/04/2013 - 8:29 pm

    Gah! Simply stunning. Gorgeous, healthy and tasty. Need to find me some edamame, avocados and cilantro. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah03/04/2013 - 11:58 pm

    Those colors are so bright and pretty. Like tulips and springtime. My kids love carrots, edamame, and avocado – I’m wondering if I can turn them on to sesame with this one. So far tahini has not won any fans, but maybe the milder flavor combined with the pop and crunch would get them on board. Thanks for more gorgeous ideas sweet Laura. happy almost-spring (and here’s hoping you have a stove top again soon?)ReplyCancel

  • sara forte04/04/2013 - 1:13 am

    oh yes yes. I like this carrot situation. I find them dry when you buy them at the store cut like this. Better off to do it your way. Hope your kitchen is back in working order! But high five to year long salads on hand. Need those babies.ReplyCancel

  • carey04/04/2013 - 9:21 am

    This salad looks and sounds so awesome, and I would be totally OK with my oven not working if I had a tupperware full of it in my fridge. We’ve been dealing with the same worst.spring.ever chilly weather (and even had snow on Monday — harumph), but it’s not stopping me from craving fresh, veggie-laden things. And I’m marveling at how dang perfect and delicious that avocado looks, since they’re so hit-or-miss ’round these parts!

    Also, those carrots make me want to work on my julienning technique. Whenever I’m trying to meticulously cut anything, it feels like there’s a mental battle going on between my internal perfectionist and the part of me that has no patience for anything. (:ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen04/04/2013 - 3:04 pm

    Oh, if I had a dollar for every time a plumber or a flatmate’s friend or just SOMEONE quietly and unnerved watched me very seriously taking photos of my food. Thanks for this gorgeous recipe, I am always buying carrots because they’re so cheap but occasionally let them die in the fridge, unloved…so, glad to spy another excellent way to eat them!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique04/04/2013 - 5:55 pm

    I love how bright and fresh this raw salad looks. We are in Ireland now at a B&B till we find a home, and sick of eating out. Maybe a salad like this is something I can whip up without any mod cons!ReplyCancel

  • This salad looks PERFECT to me! Love the avocado and edamame – and the citrus/ginger dressing. . . SWOOOOON. So delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Clare05/04/2013 - 10:49 am

    This looks SO good! I don’t usually like carrots, but I love them in slaws and chopped up thin in salads – this looks great for spring!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth05/04/2013 - 12:16 pm

    Things with our oven are rather precarious right now, so I can totally relate. Judging from this amazing salad, you seem to be coming through it pretty well though! I love the sound of these flavors and textures – crunchy, warming, and fresh all at once. Exactly what I want to be eating on this cold/warm/cold again spring day.ReplyCancel

  • […] most beautiful salad […]ReplyCancel

  • Beck05/04/2013 - 9:22 pm

    This is goddamn gorgeous. All of my salads lately have had edamame and chia seeds in, but I really want to start adding fresh herbs to the mix. Def using this dressing!ReplyCancel

  • marla08/04/2013 - 8:55 am

    Such a beautiful & vibrant bowl of veggies!ReplyCancel

  • Beth | {local milk}08/04/2013 - 3:23 pm

    I’m feeling your fresh & vibrant food… kitchen deficiency motivated or no… I’ve been testing cake, bread, and cookie recipes as of late. So…um…vicariously healthy? I seriously feel like I need this right now before my body mutinies.ReplyCancel

  • Julianna11/04/2013 - 4:46 pm

    Laura, I am new to your site, but have already pinned loads of recipes! Many, many recipes pinned later, I realized I should just pin your site page (and subscribe), which is exactly what I did!

    I just finished making this salad ^ (seriously, just 10 minutes ago), I can’t believe how beautifully simple and bright it is! I added some grapefruit mint that I had on my patio. Simply divine.

    Thank you for being so amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Carla12/04/2013 - 9:24 pm

    Amazing picture! This looks beautiful. Have you been to http://eatseed.com ? I get all my black sesame seeds there. They roast them fresh and grind them into a powder. They are amazing! Great recipe, I need to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ figgyandsprout13/04/2013 - 2:04 pm

    Absolutely stunning recipe and photos, Laura! I have been searching town high and low to find edamame, but I haven’t had any luck. Its moments like this I really miss home for Trader Joes.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne16/04/2013 - 1:27 am

    Ha, I’ve felt so rushed to take photos before the maintenance guy shows up. Once my landlord knocked on my door when I was experimenting with coconut oil as a hair moisturizer… I looked like a total greaseball. This salad is precisely the kind of food I’ve been craving lately. Lastly, super impressed by your carrot cutting skills.ReplyCancel

  • […] Carrot-Edamame-Sesame Seed Salad, via the first mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […]  *Inspired by Laura from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Andrea22/04/2013 - 5:05 pm

    Can’t wait to make this at home with our beautiful local avocado varieties! So simple, and yet so lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Miscellany |24/04/2013 - 3:28 pm

    […] Ginger, citrus and black sesame carrots with avocado and edamame by The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess via Sapphire on […]ReplyCancel

  • […] From thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • Golubka Kitchen21/09/2013 - 3:20 pm

    […] with her blog, head over and prepare to be amazed. You will be drawn into the world of vibrant colours, fresh and seasonal food, unique and simple recipes and engaging writing. The First Mess makes me […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess – Ginger, Citrus & Black Sesame Carrots with Edamame […]ReplyCancel

  • Glenda Sutherland14/01/2014 - 3:28 pm

    I cannot wait to try this…. looks incredible!ReplyCancel

  • […] – Ginger Citrus Black Sesame Carrot Edamame Salad – we agreed that this dish was the favorite. Instead of using edamame we used broad beans (make sure you shell them first). If you don’t already have a mandoline, I’d recommend getting one. You can grab inexpensive ones from a number of shops in China Town. Another tip is to prepare this dish first so the dressing has time to marinate. […]ReplyCancel

  • Asian Salad | Typhoon Kitchen18/10/2014 - 9:25 am

    […]  Credit Where Credit is Due: Original Recipe […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 16th, (Vegetarian, optional Vegan) Portobello and Zucchini Tacos, recipe from Martha Stewart Carrot Slaw with Edamame and Avocado, recipe from The First Mess Tuesday, December 17th, Vegan Tuscan Bean Soup, recipe from Saveur […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Protein-packed Black Sesame and Edamame Salad […]ReplyCancel