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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.

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  • 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

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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.

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  • 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

pin it!pin it!
Put your winter woes aside, friends. Spring is arriving in slow trickles, whispers, pops and things that go whooooosh. The sun is borderline blinding me as it streams down onto my desk and I cannot be bothered to draw that shade. We’ve waited too long. The grass is shifting from yellow-green-brown muck to actual fresh, emerald-hued blades (that rustle in the wind! So great.). There’s a mighty anticipation of what is surely wonderful–it’s just around the corner, the most minuscule shred of time longer.

Still, there’s nothing definitively “spring” available at the markets currently. It will be a while before the ground fully thaws and turns those seeds and roots into something nourishing and delicious (looking at you asparagus, breakfast radishes, wild leeks and peas). Until then, some more cool-weather items and sprouted goods will appease my craving for fresh, totally crisp, high-vibe things. Are you all kind of feeling this now too? The need for crunchy, fresh, higher-water-content kind of foods? I’ve been wanting giant salads and green drinks all the time. I think my body is ready for a seasonal warm up, so I’ve been giving myself what I need to move on to the next seasonal moment. Plenty of vegetables, fresh juices, herbal tea and So. Much. Water.

One of the local grocers always has a wonderful selection of fresh sprouts. There’s daikon radish, various herbs, pea shoots, wheatgrass and my favourite: sunflower sprouts. I picked up a pot of them for a radicchio salad with some cider-pickled beets I had made and a bit of sprouted wild rice. I decided at the last second to make these into more of a portable salad thing with a sweet, chive-flecked vinaigrette to take the bitter edge off of the radicchio wrap. They ended up being exactly what I wanted. The sprouted rice is chewy, the beets are still crisp and nicely acidic, sprouts for freshness and hemp seeds for nuttiness. If you enjoy cheese, a happy sprinkling of sheep’s milk feta would be quite pleasant I think.

I offer instructions for pickling the beets in the refrigerator style here. I love doing this with winter vegetables and it couldn’t be easier to rig up. Equal parts water and vinegar of your choice, spices, herbs, little salt and sweetening, all heated up. Pour it on top of vegetables packed in a jar, put the lid on and leave it in the fridge for 5-7 days. Super low maintenance and plenty of crunchy, tangy things for salads and snacks throughout the week. Sprouting the wild rice is similarly low key. Just place the rice in a jar, cover it with plenty of water and put a lid on it. Change the water twice a day for 2-3 days until you start seeing the white of the rice coming out and some curling up in the grains. Delightfully chewy complex carbohydrates are now at your disposal (back in the high life again, guys). If you can’t wait a couple days to sprout it, you could always stir in some cooked wild rice on the more al denté side. The chew-factor is so important.

I would love to know how you all ease into the warmer weather as it slowly seeps in. Do you cook up and eat anything special? Start going to yoga more? Do you obsessively seek out green things? Are you contemplating a juice fast/feast? (I feel like everyone around me is) Do you listen to awesome throwback 80s-style jams? I’m so curious about all of yous :)

xo
Laura

Oh and! A lovely gal I know has started a thoroughly rad book blog called Algonquin Side Table. It’s wonderful for decidedly casual readers like myself because Rebecca’s voice is so approachable. This week, she asked me to take part in a bit of a bookshelf interview, all pertaining to cookbooks and works on food! If you’d like to sneak a look at my bookshelves and take in some of my favourites you can check it out here.

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
sprout + crunch radicchio cups w/ honey chive vinaigrette and avocado recipe
serves: makes 8-12 cups
notes: If you don’t love the bitter quality of radicchio, you could sub a head of boston/butter lettuce in.

cider-pickled beets ingredients:
1 medium golden beet, peeled
1 bay leaf
black peppercorns
1 white from a green onion (I only used this because I had a few)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp raw honey or agave nectar

honey chive vinaigrette ingredients:
2 tbsp white balsamic or wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
salt + pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped chives + extra for garnish

radicchio cups ingredients:
1 large head of radicchio, core removed
1 heaped cup of sprouted or cooked wild rice
3/4 cup chopped cider-pickled beets
big handful sunflower sprouts
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
1 batch honey chive vinaigrette
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
salt + pepper

Make the cider-pickled beets: cut the beet in half lengthwise and then cut each half into thin slices. Pack them into a clean 2-cup+ capacity jar, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space at the top. Tuck the bay leaf, black peppercorns and green onion bulb into the jar too. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, salt + agave/honey. Bring it to a boil and pour the mixture into the jar with the beets until all of the slices are covered. Put a lid on the jar, place it in the fridge and let it do its thing for 5-7 days.

Once you’ve removed the core from the radicchio, carefully pull off whole leaves. Once you have 8-12 or so, wrap them in damp paper towel until you’re ready to fill them.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey/agave, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk the vinaigrette together. Add the chives and whisk once more. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sprouted wild rice, chopped pickled beets, sunflower sprouts, hemp seeds, all of the honey-chive vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Toss until everything is evenly mixed.

Place the radicchio leaves on a platter and spoon the wild rice + beet mixture into the cups. Dice the avocado and garnish the cups with it. Sprinkle some extra chopped chives on top and serve.

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  • Anouk27/03/2013 - 5:23 am

    Spring! Oh how I look forward to the flowers & trees showing of their colors again… For now, we’re still enduring frost here in Belgium. But: sun is shining today! Still enjoying soups though :) But also some salad of course (lamb’s lettuce – yum!). Juice fast not really my thing – smelly breath alert! – I prefer some crunch so would rather go on a salad feast & a juice/smoothie to start the day (you should really try the mango-mint smoothie from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook!).
    //warm hug//ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin27/03/2013 - 6:43 am

    what a perfect meal to ring in the beginning of spring. i love eating more salads during this time, too. unfortunately, it hasn’t felt like spring around here much, as it just snowed again on monday! i’m so ready to start gardening in the warm sun and eating delicious raw wraps like this one ;)ReplyCancel

  • erin27/03/2013 - 8:55 am

    BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, these look just perfect and make me even more excited for spring (even though there is still now where I’m at!)ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf27/03/2013 - 9:35 am

    I am SO ready for Spring. Sadly it’s 2 degrees centigrade in the UK and absolutely frosty as anything! Once Spring arrives though I’ll be feasting on beautiful salads like this!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan27/03/2013 - 10:17 am

    Absolutely gorgeous, as usual!ReplyCancel

  • Angela27/03/2013 - 12:18 pm

    Creative,healthy and beautiful = perfect;)It’s snowing outside my window so a bowl of warm soup is what I need now. But I’m waiting impatiently for young spring vegetables and greens.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen27/03/2013 - 2:03 pm

    These little cups sound so refreshing and springy! I even have my own pickled beets all ready to use, hanging out in my kitchen cupboard–and golden ones, no less. :) Love it!ReplyCancel

  • teri c27/03/2013 - 3:25 pm

    So when you made the pickled beets, they were raw correct? look great but only have had them cooked…ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/03/2013 - 5:41 pm

      Hi Teri! Yes, the beets are raw when you pour the pickling liquid onto them. They stay nice and crunchy. I find the earthy flavour isn’t as pronounced.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jacqui27/03/2013 - 5:38 pm

    These are so gorgeous Laura! I ease into warm weather by opening up every window in my house any chance I get! 60 degrees and sunny, yep! Nothing beats fresh air, but I definitely have been getting my salads on!ReplyCancel

  • Shira27/03/2013 - 10:20 pm

    Oh heavens me! This post has so many things I love….firstly I am with you and can’t wait for those first shoots to break through back home (yup we are still here on holiday!) – and sprouts are the most perfect solution for the waiting! I made something similar recently with radicchio as bowls – they are so, so beautiful. Currently planning the list of things I want to pickle…starting with those amazing looking beets. What a fantastic tip. thanks Laura!ReplyCancel

  • sarah27/03/2013 - 10:56 pm

    Lovely photos. I *love* sprouts.
    As for spring, I tend to eat more greens, and walk walk walk. I love walking, and we’ve been stuck inside all winter! Ugh. Also, I don’t pull out 80’s music, but I have been listening to a lot of Sarah McLachlin’s ‘Fumbling Toward Ecstasy’ (one of my most favorite albums, and terribly 90’s and nostalgic.) I spent lots of spring evenings driving around with that cranked, looking for cute boys…ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Galloway28/03/2013 - 3:30 am

    What a gorgeous idea, and your photos are stunning. We are at the other end of the planet so heading into autumn but still salad weather… just. Thanks, NicolaReplyCancel

  • carey28/03/2013 - 10:11 am

    The sun is doing the same, blinding thing through my desk window, and I am totally into it. And there are tiny tufts of grass on the lawn and the beginnings of tulips in the garden — hurray! About GD time.

    There are these little bags of sugar snap peas showing up on the shelves of our natural foods market, and they are SO tempting. But I resist, because I don’t know where they’re coming from, and I know they’ll only disappoint me. Right now, all I want are lots of fresh herbs and little baby greens. Sprouts are where it’s at. I’ve been a pea shot girl for a while now, but I’ll have to give those sunflower sprouts a try! Definitely no juice fasts for me. (I drink a juice and it just leaves me feeling annoyed because I’m still hungry, and I spent $8 on liquid instead getting a salad and a muffin, which is really what I wanted.) Lots of smoothies and walking. And pep talks to mentally prepare myself for the first bike ride of the season, which will make it painfully clear to me what a total lazeball I was all winter.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey28/03/2013 - 10:56 pm

    This was exactly what my body wanted today on this gorgeous 65′ day. You are the queen of veggies, my love. I bow down. To your reader inquiry… I am SO craving GREEN. Green everything. I can’t even look at a loaf of bread right now, which is odd. Smoothies consist of fresh turmeric, banana, and kale… can’t stop won’t stop. I’m not sure if this is quite 80’s throw-back, but I have had an unusual affinity to this song since returning from Chile. http://snd.sc/YjDMJ2 … I’m usually more for the moody acoustic stuff, but… SPRING. I tell ya. It shakes it all up.

    abrazos y besosReplyCancel

  • Lisa the Gourmet Wog29/03/2013 - 3:17 am

    What a beautiful colourful salad. I absolutely love golden beet, and this makes the vegetable shine.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen30/03/2013 - 1:05 am

    Funnily enough, even though this recipe suits you for heralding spring, I think it’s just what I want to eat now that autumn’s nearly through and we’re coming into winter – just because I love all those bitter, sour, spicy flavours and I think they’ll be just what I need to counteract all the million stews and soups and so on that I’ll be eating this season. Just hope I can find some of those beauteous golden beets…ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne31/03/2013 - 12:26 pm

    YES! This is exactly what I want to eat this time of year. Spring is finally, finally here in Kansas City—Cookie and I just went on an epic walk in 60 degree weather, clear skies—and I’m ready to fill up on salads and green things. Be gone, winter fluff!ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae01/04/2013 - 1:46 pm

    I half-ass made these for lunch today and they were delicious. Just what the doctor ordered, in fact. As the warmer weather creeps in, I long for vegetable loaded eats and long morning runs. I eat a lot of big ass salads in the summer, but I think I could get used to fancy little wraps like these.ReplyCancel

  • Sonja03/04/2013 - 9:48 pm

    These look amazing! I’ve never tried a radicchio cup but it’s a perfect idea. Wonderful for pre-spring — before all the spring produce comes forth!ReplyCancel

  • Julia05/04/2013 - 10:52 am

    this recipe looks so fresh and delicious, i love working with radicchio!
    i have to admit that i love all your recipes, I have you on the inspiration page of my blog.ReplyCancel