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I get overwhelmed sometimes. Not in a debilitating way, just in a mind-racing, go read 20 books and a jillion web pages on the subject-kind of way. If my curiosity is piqued, out of boredom or fear or whatever, I’m a slave to information, detail and know-how. All consuming. I have to know more and get to the bottom of it.

Lately I’ve been puzzling over a few things. Small and big stuff. Whether I should be working in the field that I’m in, should I really be taking vitamin D?, the public’s perception of “fine dining” (Is it just another place to put food in their mouths? The idea of it and some of the pretensions are troubling to me…), how totally fine I felt after taking a little social media/computer break, general iffy-ness on the celebrity chef phenomenon and its effect in kitchens, WHY do I even use pinterest?, the enormity of this post and on and on.

When it all hits that crescendo of too much at once, I kind of panic in a quiet way. Unsure of what to do, I essentially do nothing. I read about the issue(s) at hand a bit more, take in more ideas, criticisms, strategies, opinions etc. Then when it’s time to move on to the next scheduled thing in my life, I feel ridiculous. The ratio of concern to productivity doesn’t match up and now I have to go to work or meet up with a friend. Without any answers. Feeling sorta shitty. What needs to happen at that point?

I make plans to dwell in the kitchen and do something, anything. It could be constructing a layer cake, it could be carrot sticks, doesn’t matter. It re-instills that feeling of capability, confidence and adaptability in the face of adversity and confusion. It’s doing something; not to take yourself away from the concern, but to pursue it in a different way. It’s mindful moving on and it brings me back into the light. New perspective, clarity and a meal.

This dish makes for a bit of (totally mindful) prep work, but it’s still relatively easy to put together. I wouldn’t say that these are authentic empanadas (“authenticity” is another thing I could go on about). It’s a pocket meal enclosed in dough that can be eaten any time of the day for sure.  Mine have a chickpea flour-based dough and slightly spicy, sweet and citrus-y filling that’s hearty with tempeh and sweet potatoes. A more wholesome and actually tasty hot pocket perhaps? I’m okay with leaving it at that.

Oh, and just as a little experiment, I’ve started a facebook page. You can like it if you want (or if, you know, you actually like it).

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spicy tempeh and sweet potato empanadas with pepitas and spinach
serves: makes 7-8
special equipment: a rolling pin
notes: The woman who taught us pastry at culinary school told us to start our pie dough in the shape that you want to end up with. Similarly, with this dough, you should shape it into a tight circle before rolling it out. Also, other flours like whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, GF all purpose etc would work in place of the chickpea.

dough:
3 cups chickpea flour
pinch of salt
4.5 tbsp olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup water (depending on how your dough feels)

filling:
1/2 block of tempeh (125 grams)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 cup grated sweet potato
1 fat clove of garlic, minced
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1 tbsp (or less if you want!) chili flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
2 handfuls of spinach, rough chop
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup raisins
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes. Bring some water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the tempeh cubes and simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the tempeh and set aside.

While tempeh is cooking, make the dough. Place the chickpea flour and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and 1/3 cup of water. Stir to combine. Begin to knead the dough, adding more water as necessary to bring it to the right consistency. The dough should feel slightly tacky and dense. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside on the counter at room temperature.

Make the filling: Heat the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the grated sweet potatoes and saute for 1 minute. Add the drained tempeh and start mashing it up with the back of your spoon. Add the garlic, thyme, chili flakes, cumin, lemon zest (not the juice yet) and oregano. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, keep mashing/breaking down the tempeh. Remove pan from the heat. Add spinach, pumpkin seeds and raisins. Stir to combine. Season the whole mixture to taste and set aside.

Cut the dough into 7 or 8 pieces. Form one piece into a circle, trying to avoid little cracks in the dough on the sides. Dust your work area and rolling pin lightly with chickpea flour. Roll out the circle evenly to 1/4 inch thickness. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling onto the circle of dough, slightly off-center. Fold the dough over the filling, pinching the dough at the widest point of the circle. Fold all of the edges of the dough over each other to enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Place finished empanadas on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush a little olive oil on top if you like. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges and bottoms are slightly browned and dried.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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  • dana @ my little celebration13/03/2012 - 4:46 pm

    Gorgeous! I love the use of chickpea flour and tempeh in this recipe. So creative and healthy!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle13/03/2012 - 4:59 pm

    Love that I’ve finally got a way to use tempeh- a usually daunting protein!

    Could you use another flour instead of chickpea (assuming you are not gluten-free) like whole wheat?ReplyCancel

  • Sarah13/03/2012 - 5:17 pm

    Girl…I am with you on this. Same cycle: crazed pensiveness –> feel kind of bad about everything –> do something tangible in kitchen. It’s _something_, at least. Your something looks delicious at the very least…on a chickpea flour kick myself.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar13/03/2012 - 5:31 pm

    These are absolutely lovely. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Margarita13/03/2012 - 5:48 pm

    When I get too overwhelmed because I have so much to do… I put everything off and start cooking or baking instead. It takes me away from whatever stresses are going on around me without feeling like I’m just doing nothing, because I have a product at the end… an edible one! :) This is a great recipe… do you think I can use firm tofu for this instead of tempeh?ReplyCancel

    • Laura13/03/2012 - 5:52 pm

      Michelle: You could definitely sub in whole wheat or spelt for the chickpea.

      Margarita: You could certainly use tofu! I would skip the initial boiling/simmering step though. Maybe just saute it in a bit of oil with salt and pepper, remove from the skillet, cook everything else (shallots, sweet potatoes etc) and add it back in at the end. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey13/03/2012 - 7:11 pm

    You’re the best. I’ve been feeling in the mud with “it all” too lately. We’re all in it together, love. And I love this space and your voice and all the beauty you contribute to this community. Just in case someone hasn’t told you that lately.. :)ReplyCancel

  • sara forte13/03/2012 - 7:14 pm

    oh my I NEED to make these for hugh, he love love empanadas but I never want to eat a bunch of pie crust. Your alternative sounds so perfect! More importantly, I really value what you said. It does end up being a lot to take in doesn’t it? So glad that you are here sharing your thinking time with readers :)ReplyCancel

  • janet @ the taste space13/03/2012 - 8:10 pm

    Cooking is definitely my way to escape… I can feel successful in the kitchen when everything else in life is less so. I totally relate. I love how you used chickpea flour here. :)ReplyCancel

  • Blaine13/03/2012 - 10:43 pm

    These look amazing, I’m a sucker for anything with tempeh or chickpea flour. Together is better!

    Just curious, what culinary school did you attend? I’m currently enrolled in one and loving it.ReplyCancel

    • Laura14/03/2012 - 8:34 am

      Hi Blaine!
      I went to George Brown College in Toronto. Lovely experience. Glad you’re enjoying your time in school :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Erin14/03/2012 - 9:29 am

    This rings all too true for me as well. I unfortunately go on overload far too often but I’ve found that two things can help that: cooking and hiking.

    Love the empanadas. This is the second recipe in a weeks time that has used tempeh that I’ve drooled over. Slight confession: never had it. So, I think it’s time to change that! Lovely post as always!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin14/03/2012 - 12:21 pm

    i absolutely adore chickpea flour for everything. i love how you used it here! i will DEFINITELY be giving these pockets a try! thank you!

    ps- i LOVE your blog. just so ya know ;)ReplyCancel

  • sarah14/03/2012 - 10:32 pm

    Yes, yes and yes. It does get overwhelming! and I’ve been feeling the same way. I don’t have much to add, just that coming to your space makes me happy and makes me want to eat healthy.ReplyCancel

  • Cookie + Kate15/03/2012 - 9:41 am

    Oh girl, I hear you loud and clear. I get all-consumed by a hunch, and other times I’m overwhelmed and fidgety and can’t get anything done while my subconscious tries to straighten something out. I’m not usually into crusty-all-over things but your empanadas look like a major exception. Did you ever get around to trying Bittman’s chickpea fries? I’d love to see how those turn out!ReplyCancel

    • Laura15/03/2012 - 10:01 am

      Aaaah perfect reminder, Kate! Gonna do that soon while I have tons of chickpea flour around.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey16/03/2012 - 7:39 pm

    I can’t even tell you how much I relate to this post (having just recently written one in a similar vein myself: http://www.turntablekitchen.com/2012/02/argentinian-beef-empanadas-a-return-to-calm/). I feel like we all struggle sometimes with the decisions that we do or don’t make. But, I, like you, turn the kitchen. It’s definitely a place that helps me find balance. It keeps me grounded. And for a short while, I stop questioning things so much.ReplyCancel

  • nancy19/03/2012 - 6:42 am

    These look great. I love the use of the chickpea flour in the dough and the portability of these.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny16/04/2012 - 7:15 pm

    I thought this was great. I used black lentils in the place of tempeh and cranberries in place of raisins. It made for a nice dinner on a very warm day.
    Thank youReplyCancel

  • Shayne20/09/2012 - 8:36 pm

    Not sure if someone asked this already, but I’m not gluten-free, so could I use all purpose flour? If so, are there any changes I would need to make via measurements?ReplyCancel

    • Laura24/09/2012 - 12:25 pm

      Hi Shayne,
      You could definitely use all purpose flour instead. Although the AP may absorb more liquid than the chickpea flour, so just gradually add the liquid ingredients until you have a pliable dough. And since AP flour contains gluten, be careful not to stir the dough up as much to avoid toughness.

      Hope that helps :)

      -LauraReplyCancel

  • Roxanne10/02/2013 - 5:49 pm

    Oh man, does this post resonate with me. I go down the same mental spiral all too often. And I hate how counterproductive it actually is, when the initial idea is to be productive in some way, perhaps too many ways. It’s nice to remind myself to return to simplicity- rice and beans, a piece of toast and banana, a good book. But time in the kitchen is also sacred and amazing for all the reasons you stated.
    I loved the concept of this recipe and decided I had to try it out. I love the health advantages of using chickpea flower especially. Mine unfortunately didn’t turn out so well. The filling is fantastic, but the dough was difficult to work with, spread out and fold. It felt dry and like it was just crumbling up. I added some water and it was slightly improved and I managed to roll out some empanadas. Out of the oven, though, they turned out kind of how they felt- dry, chalky, crumbly.
    Any ideas as to why? Was the flour maybe too old? Should I’ve added more oil?

    Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright11/02/2013 - 10:10 am

      Hi Roxanne!
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m so sorry that the empanadas didn’t work out for you! From the sounds of it, I think your dough may have needed a bit more fat/oil added in. Every batch of chickpea flour is different in terms of absorption so depending on that, the dough may need more moisture to bind it. I generally make doughs like this by feel, adding the water or oil until a I reach a point of elasticity in the dough. I’m not sure how much of a role freshness in the chickpea flour plays, since I know that mine wasn’t terribly fresh when I made these. I’m glad that you found the filling tasty though. Hopefully the dough rolls out a bit easier for you next time :)

      Thank you so much for the feedback!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] From: The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Amalia26/07/2013 - 12:10 pm

    I had the same problem as Roxanne. My chickpea flour was pretty old as well… I will definitely try these again as my boyfriend enjoyed them despite my crumbly tough empanada dough and the filling was quite yummy.

    Great blog!ReplyCancel

  • Sandranista27/08/2014 - 11:51 am

    excited to try this with ingredients I have around the house! The kitchen is a refuge for me too; it’s our art!ReplyCancel

  • Juliette Ober19/10/2014 - 11:06 am

    Thank you for this – the recipes and the thoughts. I try my best to use my own insight and bloodhound nose/palette to keep our veg/vegan life simple with few ingredients but when I’m stuck I grab the computer and run to you. Thank you for sharing your time.
    This post was most inspiring as I wrestle daily with what the social media aspect means and offers to my own path. Rescuing and retraining Thoroughbreds is so rewarding daily and so without any need for documentation – or is it? Can I, in good conscience not share what I know? I tell myself I have to write, explain, photograph for the horses but then I get tied in the tight web of icky computer time and feel trapped.
    It was nice to read that I am not alone!ReplyCancel

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Guys, I love french fries. When we’re at a place that takes pride in their little, crispy, golden batons of creamy potato goodness, I’m pretty eager to order them, knowing that I’m in for a delicious, salty treat. It’s a simple dish, yes, but a lot of cooks manage to screw them up. They might use icky oil. The potatoes could be cut too thick, rendering the fry impossibly hot in the middle and not very crisp overall. The cook doesn’t apply enough salt when the potatoes come out of the frier. They aren’t cooked long enough resulting in a heap of slightly soggy and pale fries. Or the worst offense: they resort to frozen, par-cooked french fries. So many things wrong with that. Simple does not equal easy. Or quick. Or thoughtless.

I would call my overall cooking style simple in that I love to bring out the best in any particular ingredient I’m loving at the time. It speaks to eating with the seasons, which seems natural to me. I’ll roast a whole, sweet squash with hearty herbs at high heat for at least an hour. Similar to the long and hot cooking time, the squash takes a whole, humid summer to fully develop and the herbs I pair it with can grow right alongside the whole time. Gorgeous ripe tomatoes appear after about 7 weeks and taste perfect just sliced with salt and quick-growing fresh basil torn on top. They both love sandy soil and hot summer days. These preparations are simple in that they just make sense. There’s a thought process behind them that comes from experience. The approach is one of care, reverence, awareness and love. That is the heart of simple food.

So with that I give you these delicious and reasonably healthy frites made in the oven (less than a tablespoon of oil per serving! I know, right?). 2 potatoes, a bit of oil and a good pinch of salt gives you some pretty crispy and convincing little potato sticks of joy. I’ve learned a few basic principles of perfect french fry-making over the years. When I started working for a Canadian chef that was known for his version of my favourite dish, you have no idea how stoked I was to take in some of that knowledge. In brief, I’ve learned that cooking the potatoes in two stages, one to soften the interior and one to crisp the outsides, is key. Soaking the potatoes to get the starch out, a thorough in-between drying and tossing the finished product with salt while still crazy hot are all important components of french fry success. I figured the same wisdom would translate from fryer to oven and surprise, it kinda did.

And the mayonnaise! Originally the idea of dipping something so perfectly crunchy in the stuff grossed me out. I was eventually shown the way through (repeat) consumption of a clean tasting apple cider mayonnaise. Mine has a pine nut base, some garlic and smoky paprika thrown in for good measure. It’s a tangy and delicious compliment. But feel free to stick with classic ketchup or malt vinegar if you want to take refuge in crispy, golden and beautiful simplicity.

Oh, and thank you for all of your lovely birthday wishes last week. Big hugs!

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oven frites with smoky paprika & garlic mayonnaise
serves: 2
special equipment: a blender for the mayonnaise
notes: This is an exercise in knife skills! Getting those potatoes into little matchsticks is so key.

frites:
2 large potatoes (russett or yukon gold are great)
1.5 tbsp neutral oil (grape seed, sunflower etc)
5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
salt (lots)

mayonnaise:
1/2 cup pine nuts, soaked at least 4 hours (or cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds etc)
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment. Fill a large bowl with water and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and wash them. Slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Julienne the slices lengthwise, placing the matchsticks into the water as you finish. Allow the potatoes to soak for at least 15 minutes.

Make the mayonnaise: combine the pine nuts, dijon, water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and paprika (if using) in a blender pitcher. Gradually bring the speed of the blender up to high. Mix on high until thoroughly pureed. Scrape sides of pitcher down if necessary. Once smooth, scrape mayonnaise into a container and place in the fridge to set up a bit.

Drain the potatoes and dump matchsticks onto a clean kitchen towel. Fold excess towel over the potatoes and dry them thoroughly. Toss the potatoes in a large bowl with the 1.5 tbsp oil and a fat pinch of salt (you’ll be salting them once finished so exercise moderation). Place the coated potatoes on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring that they aren’t too close together. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft and just starting to brown on the edges. Remove tray from the oven.

Bring the oven temperature up to 425 degrees F. Place tray back in the oven once up to temperature. Cook for another 15 minutes, flipping the frites at least once. Remove from oven when potatoes are golden brown and crispy.

Using the same bowl (with a thin coating of oil remaining on it), toss the hot frites with another fat pinch of salt and the minced thyme. Serve immediately with the mayonnaise.

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  • Brittany04/03/2012 - 5:36 pm

    1. Oh baby. Pine nuts invade the realm of mayonnaise. Wicked.
    2. You just get me crazy excited to work with all of the new flavours that will soon be all up in my face in the Parisian farmers markets. Merci. Merci beaucoup.ReplyCancel

  • Dana04/03/2012 - 6:27 pm

    I have such a weakness for fries! Thin, thick, I am there! These look incredible…thanks for sharing!

    P.S. have I told you how obsessed I am with your blog? Because I am!

    http://woodstockwardrobe.com/ReplyCancel

  • Erin04/03/2012 - 11:54 pm

    Gosh, fries are such a weakness of mine and honestly, the crispier the better! Next time I make fries, though, I’m really going to have to try this mayonnaise- sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda05/03/2012 - 4:04 am

    I absolutely love these! they look wonderfully crisp and the mayonnaise would really make them shine. Must give then a try soon.ReplyCancel

  • Margarita05/03/2012 - 5:15 am

    Oh my! Pine nut mayo is so new to me but I already know it is good! The shoestring slices look amazing… yum, yum, yum!ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate05/03/2012 - 10:10 am

    I rarely eat fries but I indulged several times this weekend while traveling. Yours look way better than any that I encountered. I love mine with an obscene amount of ketchup; I’m not a fan of real may, but pine nut mayo? I could get into that.ReplyCancel

  • Cadry05/03/2012 - 3:56 pm

    Whoa, this sounds and looks unbelievable! I love the idea of bringing pine nuts to the mayo party. Great idea! Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Richa@HobbyandMore05/03/2012 - 11:17 pm

    These loook soooooo gooood! so simple and i am sure amazingly delicious!ReplyCancel

  • sarah06/03/2012 - 12:08 am

    Um, yum. My last attempt at fries was a complete disaster [my kids wouldn’t even eat them, ha], so I’m going to have to try these out. I love your crossword puzzle cones!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique06/03/2012 - 12:45 pm

    The fries look delicious and I love that they are baked in the oven. I recently made my own potato chips for the first time and they were so good, really putting bagged chips to shame.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf07/03/2012 - 9:42 am

    I never really eat fries (chips in the UK!) at home, but when I’m out they’re such a delicious indulgence and I want them to be spot on! Your shoestring version looks gorgeous and that dip sounds amazing.ReplyCancel

  • art and lemons07/03/2012 - 7:26 pm

    I like the thin shoestring nature of these frites and the ingenuity of your sauce to go with them, pine nuts, paprika, and garlic. I’m a french fry fiend of all kinds and appreciate ample amounts of mayo too, thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • kat08/03/2012 - 1:15 am

    Mmmm those looks so good!ReplyCancel

  • Koko08/03/2012 - 3:05 pm

    Amazing…I love the mayo recipe- so much better than regular mayonnaise, and it fits the caliber of the frites!ReplyCancel

  • hannh31/07/2013 - 9:01 am

    Mmmm that mayo looks like it would be amazing with a sweet potato version of these chips! Do sweet potatoes need soaking in the same way?ReplyCancel

  • […] the onion and it also helps to adhere the coating that extra bit more. Also, I basically used my pine nut mayonnaise recipe and added a tablespoon of fresh grated horseradish and a little squeeze of lemon, but if you vibe […]ReplyCancel

  • Leah22/04/2014 - 4:51 pm

    I could not admire you or your beautiful recipes more I don’t think! They truly brighten my day. Thank you xoxReplyCancel

  • […] BOMB: I would stock a case of the soy free at all times if I was a billionaire), but you could do a pine nut or cashew variation from the archives […]ReplyCancel

  • carolyn08/07/2014 - 6:47 am

    Just made these and they are amazing! I love the trick of soaking them in water. It made a huge difference!ReplyCancel

  • Deryn @ Running on Real Food14/01/2015 - 4:46 pm

    That pine nut mayo sounds amazing!! Or with any of the other suggestions. And those fries..no words, obviously. They’re fries! YESS!!ReplyCancel

  • […] pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it! curry garlic fries w/ vegan miso gravy recipe print the recipe here! serves: 2 notes: If you’re using the spelt flour as your gravy-thickening agent, you can make up the gravy ahead of time and reheat it at your leisure (yay!). If you’re using the arrowroot powder, I recommend eating the gravy right away. The thickening powers of the arrowroot don’t hold up when reheated and, conversely, thin out the liquid they’ve been added to. I’ve also read that King Arthur’s gluten-free all purpose flour mix is excellent for making gravy/thickened sauces. Also, I served mine with a chili variation on this vegan mayonnaise recipe. […]ReplyCancel

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It was my birthday this past weekend! We ran to the city for a couple of days and had a really wonderful time. A cozy and delicious dinner here, some craft cocktails, lots of coffee, my favourite pizza in the world here, picked up a really great new magazine and popped into some favourite shops. The air is getting a bit warmer all around, I just started a new job (complete with a crazy-hectic opening week) and I’m another year older. Change is all about. It feels sunny and welcome.

I don’t usually aim for a fancy to-do on the big day. Several years have seen a snow storm on the exact day or right around it anyway, ruining much anticipated childhood birthday parties (and much anticipated birthday cakes for that matter). A good meal, time spent with people I like and some sort of treat with a candle in it makes me pretty happy. And so my adult birthday celebrations have gone, fairly quiet with minimal fanfare. Generally some cozy brunch is involved too. There’s a certain warmth and intimacy to that kind of celebrating, just a little elevation above the norm. I find life is pretty amazing on any given day, so I’m grateful for every little bit within and around the ordinary.

And in the vein of being grateful, I’m bringing you a recipe inspired by the best raw dessert cookbook ever. Cafe Gratitude’s book is my go-to for healthy and mind-blowing desserts. I’ve made countless variations of their treats to rave reviews and total bedazzlement every time. Everything is gluten, sugar, refined flour and animal product free and so, so luxurious. I will offer a little tidbit straight up: this cake isn’t cheap to make. About 5 cups of raw nuts total, virgin coconut oil, dried sour cherries, raw cacao, lots of vanilla… I know, I know. Considering the occasion, I opted to wallow in a bit of abundance.

Thinking about this cake as an investment in your health wouldn’t be too much of a stretch though. It’s a much more wholesome alternative to traditional cheesecake. Rich in healthy fat, protein from the nuts, natural sweeteners, plenty of fruit (fresh and dried) and some antioxidant action. Instead of feeling lethargic, you can relish in the surprising amount of energy and clarity you feel post-dessert. That is truly something to celebrate.

pin it!pin it!
raw chocolate cherry mousse cake
serves: makes one 8.5-9 inch round cake
special equipment: a 8.5-9 inch spring form pan, food processor and a blender (you might be able to do the filling in the food processor too)
notes:  I think the cashews could get pulverized enough in a food processor. I haven’t tried it, but it seems likely. Omit the diced beet if you’re using the processor for the filling though (it’s mostly for colour anyway).

crust:
2.5 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
8-10 pitted medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

mousse:
2.5 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 2/3 cups almond milk
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/2 cup raw honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar etc.)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup frozen pitted cherries, thawed
1 small beet, scrubbed and small diced

Lay overlapping sheets of plastic wrap inside the ring of a spring form pan. Place the bottom disc on top of the wrap and snap the ring into place. Set aside.

Make the crust: place the almonds in the bowl of the food processor. Flip machine to high to break the nuts a bit. Stop the machine. Add the cacao powder, salt, sour cherries, dates, vanilla and coconut oil. Pulse the mixture a bit to begin the mixing. Flip the machine to high until the almond pieces look quite small and the dried fruit is evenly chopped up/distributed throughout the mix. Stop the machine and pinch some of the mixture together with your fingers. If it holds, you’re set.

Dump the crust mix into the prepared spring form pan. Spread it around evenly and start applying pressure to firm it into the pan. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to make the crust a bit smoother. Set aside.

Make the filling: Combine the cashews, almond milk, coconut oil, honey (or maple syrup), lemon juice and salt. Bring blender to high slowly. Blend the mixture on high until smooth and liquified. Pour all but 2 cups of the mixture into the prepared spring form pan. To the remaining filling, add the pitted cherries and diced beet. Blend on high until smooth. Pour remaining mixture quickly and confidently into the centre of the cake. Then, with about 1 cup of filling left, start to lightly drizzle the hot pink filling around, creating a marble effect within the cake.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap (it will be quite liquid at this point) and gently slide it into the freezer. Let it firm up for about 2 hours. Transfer to the fridge once solid so that it’s ready to serve whenever the craving strikes.

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  • la domestique28/02/2012 - 12:33 pm

    Just discovered your site via Adrienne Eats blog, and the cake looks so pretty! Happy birthday to you.ReplyCancel

  • Zita28/02/2012 - 12:34 pm

    I have a similar cake on my blog (raw raspberry cashew cake) but this looks oh so yummie! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey28/02/2012 - 1:34 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday, love! This is breathtaking and a perfect way to celebrate. :)ReplyCancel

  • jeni28/02/2012 - 1:47 pm

    happy birthday! i wish that this recipe had gone up a smidge sooner so that i could make it for my boyfriend’s mom. it was her bday this weekend too!ReplyCancel

  • Erin28/02/2012 - 2:56 pm

    Happy (belated) Birthday Laura! This is an absolutely gorgeous way to celebrate your birthday (and I have to imagine, I wouldn’t miss the real cheesecake! This sounds delicious!)ReplyCancel

  • Margarita28/02/2012 - 3:16 pm

    Happy late birthday! This cake looks like heaven… P.S. That pretty plate with the green edges, I almost bought it at TJ Maxx… but I didn’t. I’m officially regretting that decision after seeing how pretty it really is.ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne28/02/2012 - 5:05 pm

    Happy Birthday, Laura! This looks + sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • raechel28/02/2012 - 5:51 pm

    Happy birthday! What a gorgeous cake!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui28/02/2012 - 8:24 pm

    Oh man, that is definitely a “cheesecake” I could really get into! Yum! And happy birthday to you too!ReplyCancel

  • sarah28/02/2012 - 11:12 pm

    Gorgeous! I love these pictures.
    And happy birthday! I hope this year brings you a lot of beauty and goodness.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa // thefauxmartha29/02/2012 - 1:03 am

    Wowzers! This is beautiful. And raw. I’m impressed! Happy Birthday and cheers to a lovely year ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer29/02/2012 - 1:39 am

    Happy Birthday!!! That mousse cake looks amazing, you wouldn’t know it was raw and that the mousse didn’t contain dairy!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar29/02/2012 - 7:47 am

    This is absolutely lovely! So pretty!ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf29/02/2012 - 9:11 am

    I’m so excited to have discovered your blog – it’s incredibly beautiful! And although this cake may have cost a bit to make it looks absolutely worth it – simply stunning :-)ReplyCancel

  • Laura29/02/2012 - 11:20 am

    I just found your blog via Happyolks via Green Kitchen Stories and I just love your site! I love your food philosophy and that you have a real connection to the earth and seasonal eating. You’re photos and recipes are beautiful and inspiring and I look forward to stopping by your site more often. Happy belated birthday!
    Laura V.
    BG, GermanyReplyCancel

  • Erin29/02/2012 - 12:32 pm

    This looks delicious! I was excited to see that it was vegan, but because it has honey in it, it’s technically not :/ReplyCancel

    • Laura29/02/2012 - 12:44 pm

      Hi Erin,
      You could use maple syrup or agave nectar (as noted) if you wish. The flavour will be virtually the same.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sofia29/02/2012 - 2:30 pm

    I don’t normally go out of my way to eat a raw or vegan diet, but this mousse looks better than any baked cream version I’ve seen in a while! Will have to try it sometime, thanks for sharing =)
    Just discovered your blog, love it, can’t wait to explore more!ReplyCancel

  • Koko01/03/2012 - 7:33 pm

    Wonderful ingredients and beautiful product! Happy birthday!ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine02/03/2012 - 12:11 am

    That pink colour swirling through the cake is so pretty. I LOVE the ingredients you’ve used here!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea02/03/2012 - 12:59 pm

    Wow, Laura, you’ve really outdone yourself this time! I’m so impressed!ReplyCancel

  • art and lemons02/03/2012 - 10:42 pm

    Happy Birthday to you, Laura! Sounds like a fabulous birthday and this mousse cake is as sunny and delightful as the change you speak of. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey03/03/2012 - 11:45 pm

    I have yet to try a recipe for Cafe Gratitude’s book, but for years, I lived just around the corner from the restaurant! I have to admit that some of their dishes were hit or miss. I’ve been fascinated by these types of cakes (I saw a similar version of My New Roots) and your photos certainly make it look to die for. Hope you had a fabulous birthday!ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate05/03/2012 - 10:12 am

    Happy belated birthday, Laura! Your cake is a real stunner.ReplyCancel

  • celia07/03/2012 - 8:57 pm

    This is a beautiful dessert! I especially love that you added chocolate and cherries to this cake, makes it sound and look even more delicious!ReplyCancel

  • […] I will leave you with something truly beautiful: a raw cherry and cacao mousse cake! The First Mess is one of my new favorite blogs (found via The Rebel Grrl Kitchen) and I am so […]ReplyCancel

  • […] don’t think there’s anything more I could want from a man… or from this cake, which I made to celebrate four years of […]ReplyCancel

  • […] off and I was searching the Internet for a nice vegan, fairly quick dessert with cherries. Came by this recipe and absolutely loved it. We didn’t have all the ingredients in the house, but hey, when was the […]ReplyCancel

  • Loren27/02/2015 - 4:56 pm

    I just put the most beautifully marbled masterpiece in my freezer and can’t wait to show it off to my friends tomorrow. I used cocoa nibs instead of powder because I like the crunchy energy burst. ***I think you forgot to mention adding the 2 T of vanilla extract in the directions, but I remembered to add it. Happy Bday wknd – eat lots and lots of cake!!!ReplyCancel

  • Vegan Cherry Cheesecake06/06/2015 - 2:38 pm

    […] off and I was searching the Internet for a nice vegan, fairly quick dessert with cherries. Came by this recipe and absolutely loved it. We didn’t have all the ingredients in the house, but hey, when was the […]ReplyCancel

  • Riina07/08/2015 - 4:59 pm

    I too made a modification of this cake for my birthday, thank you for the recipe, it became one of my favourite recipes right away! I used raspberries instead of cherries, we have them growing in our yard. I’ve also never seen dried or frozen cherries here in Finland…ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!
I went to a music festival in the south a few years ago and one of my main takeaways (actually) was how good the food was. I mean I had a really good time running around, dancing to whatever, not washing my hair, sharing an RV with 6 other people etc (actually!). But the food… it was surprising. I had packed a good amount of fruit and Larabars thinking the situation would be nutritionally inadequate. I’ve since learned that you should just bring a snack for the ride down and worry about food at the destination. Spontaneity! Making do! That’s travel. And it’s certainly a very healthy approach in its own right.

Anyway, so we were in Tennessee on this farm. It was crazy hot, dusty and muddy at the same time, people on all sides, music, drum circles, spontaneous yoga sessions, dancing, fountains, glow sticks, the whole thing. And there’s food trucks/stands everywhere just ready to serve up really awesome stuff–some of them locals, some travellers, some with the festival officially, just a potent mix of yums for real. Within 5 minutes of our little campsite, there was delicious, vegan french toast with bananas and maple syrup, fruit smoothies and fair trade espresso. On one bright morning, having just fetched my plate of morning awesomeness, I went in search of some pals. I caught up with one, also on a breakfast mission, and I um… got a bit grossed out.

He had a plate of biscuits with sausage gravy. Like white, meaty, greasy-ish gravy. In ridiculous, sweltering heat. Steaming hot, meaty, shortening-laden chunkiness on a biscuit. Seeing as I was in a high-and-mighty-on-health phase, I wasn’t feeling it (slash was totally appalled). My friend, however, was crazy about it. With a little space, I couldn’t help but think that the dish had a lot of potential as a concept though. Slightly sweet and rich biscuits with a hearty, herbed gravy on top, all piping hot with lots of fresh black pepper. I could (actually) be into that.

So here’s a plant-based version without gluten! These almond-based biscuits don’t rise terribly much so they’re ideal for smothering with hot gravy and herb-y mushrooms. They’re herbal, sweet and moist with a nice crust on the outside. Leftover biscuits? Cube them up, toss with a bit of oil and pepper and bake in the oven for 10 minutes and you have heavenly croutons for garnishing soups, mixing up with roasted root vegetables etc.

pin it!pin it!
gluten free sweet potato biscuits with mushroom gravy
Adapted from Roost here and here
serves: 6 -8
special equipment: a blender is helpful but mashing with a fork/heavy stirring is an option
notes: If you’re buying stock, make sure you go for a no sodium variety. Ditto if you use canned beans. The miso adds so much (delicious) saltiness.

biscuits:
2.5 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp fine salt (I used Himalayan pink salt for fun)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 sprigs hearty herb (sage, rosemary, thyme), leaves removed and chopped
1/2 cup fully cooked sweet potato, mashed up
1/2 tsp ground chia or flax seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp neutral oil (I used grape seed)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup

gravy + mushrooms:
3/4 cup cooked white beans
1.5 cups vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp miso
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp grape seed oil
5 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the biscuits: combine the almond flour, salt, pepper, baking soda, baking powder and chopped herb in a large bowl. Combine the mashed sweet potato, ground chia seeds, oil, vinegar and maple syrup in the container of a blender. Puree the mixture completely and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until a dough forms/everything clumps together without being too sticky.

Lay a piece of parchment paper down on the counter and dust it with a finer gluten free flour (rice or chickpea flour). Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the parchment and flatten out slightly. Lay another piece of parchment on top and roll out the dough to about 1 inch thickness. Cut 3-4 inch rounds out of the dough with a biscuit cutter or rocks glass dipped in flour. Lay the rounds on the baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart (they don’t spread). Bake for 15 minutes or until well browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Start the gravy: combine the beans, vegetable stock, lemon juice, miso and almond butter in the blender pitcher. Turn the motor onto high until mixture is pureed. Set aside.

Saute the mushrooms: heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and minced thyme with a few twists of black pepper. Flip/stir until mushrooms are soft and quite brown (do not add salt). Pour the bean and stock mixture into the pan. Give everything a stir. It should seem to reduce right away. Once hot, remove from the heat.

Place a warm biscuit on a plate and ladle about a cup of the mushroom/gravy mixture on top. Garnish with a few minced thyme leaves or black pepper.

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  • janet @ the taste space19/02/2012 - 11:44 am

    This looks super scrumptious! I love your idea of turning them into croutons as leftovers. :)ReplyCancel

  • Zita19/02/2012 - 1:26 pm

    This is a wonderful dish! I love the flavours. I’m going to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah19/02/2012 - 1:50 pm

    Amazing. Brilliant. Beautiful.

    I want this right now.ReplyCancel

  • Emma19/02/2012 - 3:06 pm

    Yu-hum! Those pics are calling to me…great that you managed to veganize a dish so successfully too.
    I’ve only had good experiences with festival food, despite being in the UK which is considerably less vegan-friendly on the whole than the US. Perhaps it depends on the music..I’m partial to the slightly alternative, hippie type festival :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah19/02/2012 - 10:45 pm

    Laura! These are the majority of my favorite ingredients, all in one recipe. Gorgeous, too. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Margarita20/02/2012 - 2:18 am

    This is my kind of gravy!ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine20/02/2012 - 6:41 am

    Those mushrooms look beautiful….will look forward to trying this dsh!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar20/02/2012 - 8:28 am

    I could eat an entire pot of those mushrooms. Awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Dana20/02/2012 - 3:36 pm

    These look amazing! I’ve always wanted to try biscuits and gravy but they usually seem disgusting…not these, though!

    Just found your blog and it is wonderful!

    http://woodstockwardrobe.com/ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)21/02/2012 - 3:16 am

    Oh my, this looks so inviting and comforting. We call biscuits something different here in Australia (we call cookies biscuits) but your sweet potato biscuits look so delicious. I’m bookmarking this to try. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • sarah23/02/2012 - 4:57 pm

    I used to be terrified of biscuits and gravy, but now love them! These look great – your pictures are so pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Maria @ Scandifoodie24/02/2012 - 1:24 pm

    Such a lovely vegan dish! I’ll have to try this, it’ll be perfect for our autumn in a couple of months’ time!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany25/02/2012 - 10:05 am

    I will never. never. get tired of sweet potato. thank you for coming up with this new way for me to devour it. now wishing it was easier to get ahold of ground flax in Paris… *sigh*ReplyCancel

  • Kasey28/02/2012 - 2:18 am

    I’m so happy I stumbled across your blog for so many reasons! First, I know what you mean about food and music going hand in hand. My husband and I write a site devoted to just that! Second, this dish sounds downright awesome. I can never say no to a good biscuit.ReplyCancel

  • shannon09/03/2012 - 7:24 pm

    Your description of Bonnaroo is spot on.ReplyCancel

  • Jeff25/04/2012 - 7:55 pm

    I made this tonight. It used sage. It was amazing. Very unique flavors. It was so rich that I only ate half a biscuit, but that a good thing. Good job with this one.ReplyCancel

  • […] from tip right: Sweet Potato Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy / Flourless Fudge Brownies / Blueberry Cereal Bars / Toasted Marshmallow Coconut Milk Ice Cream / […]ReplyCancel

  • […] given you a miso-ish gravy recipe before (with mushrooms, white beans and SWEET POTATO BISCUITS, guh I know), but this version is a million […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess Sweet Potato Biscuits – an adaptation from Roost, looks great as one of those rare vegan paleo baked goods! Vegan […]ReplyCancel

  • caitie18/01/2013 - 10:41 pm

    I don’t usually write reviews but I just made the biscuits for dinner and used spelt flour instead since i was out of almond meal…but the end result- they are to die for!! I recommend this recipe to everyone. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney22/03/2013 - 12:36 am

    Ohh bonnaroo <3ReplyCancel

  • Risa10/04/2013 - 10:17 pm

    Hello!

    Beyond the fact that your blog feels and looks like beautiful real perfection (every recipe is a creative homegrown saint!), I am head over heels for the plate shown in this post… might you know where it came from/if there are others to be had?

    I would be forever in your debt!

    best.

    RisaReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright11/04/2013 - 9:21 am

      Hi Risa! Thank you for your generous and lovely comment. I picked up the plate at a Canadian chain store called HomeSense. They have a constantly rotating and changing stock of items because they get ends and discontinued bits from major stores. It doesn’t even have a brand name or anything on the bottom of the plate! So sorry I couldn’t help you more on that.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Anna25/07/2013 - 9:59 am

    mmm these look sooo delicious, and i love how you’ve made the mushroom sauce with beans!! i always think cooked vegetables are the best way to thicken a sauce. i think i might try these with pumpkin instead of sweet potato lots of cinnamon instead of herbs… something sweet for breakfast? love this recipe, thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Olivia02/08/2013 - 12:17 pm

    I know I’m late to comment, but I have to say this has become one of my favorite meals. So good.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright05/08/2013 - 8:25 pm

      That’s great, Olivia. Love hearing about peeps cooking from the archives. Actually the best feeling :) Thanks!
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] up from The First Mess: Sweet Potato Almond Biscuits and Gravy. That will make it to our dinner table later this week. Her mushroom gravy sounds divine, but […]ReplyCancel

  • Brunch | Pearltrees13/05/2014 - 9:53 am

    […] almond sweet potato biscuits + mushroom gravy […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Recipe Source […]ReplyCancel

  • Nada Al Alawi29/08/2014 - 3:12 pm

    This looks so good! I was wondering if i can replace the almond butter with anything else?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright30/08/2014 - 8:32 am

      Hi Nada, you could replace the almond butter with tahini if you have it. Otherwise, I would just leave it out entirely.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Karen06/09/2014 - 6:44 am

    Your recipes look awesome.ReplyCancel

  • […] Almond sweet potato biscuits + mushroom gravy by The First Mess – this looks *so* delicious that I have to bite my first to get my jaw from spasming! Totally something to make to impress guests, methinks :D […]ReplyCancel

  • vanessa22/10/2014 - 10:44 pm

    Hi! How do you cook the sweet potato? Boiled or oven? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright25/10/2014 - 8:18 am

      Hi Vanessa, I cook the sweet potato in the oven–mostly so I can dry it out a bit more.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Linda07/02/2015 - 9:49 am

    As a southern girl originally from Tennessee, wheat and dairy free…I would like to make this recipe for my NY husband who loves biscuits and gravy…I will let you know how it goes …LReplyCancel

  • yassie03/03/2015 - 3:59 pm

    Thanks for this recipe.. I didn’t make the patty, I didn’t have time, instead I roasted cubed sweet potatoes and mushroom, and I made the gravy to go on top. i didn’t have miso so I had to improvise. I used 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove, and minced those and sautéed them in butter, then added 1.5 table spoon all purpose flour (to thicken the gravy a little) and once that got a little brown, added vegetable broth. As far as the spices, I added thyme, and since I am Iranian and we love saffron, I added some as well, along with salt and pepper, as well as crunchy almond butter and a bit of honey.

    I know it’s different than your recipe, but it was your recipe that gave me the idea, try this version and see if you like it! It came out really good. You wouldn’t think almond butter and saffron but it was actually really good, specially with a bit of honey. I like the crunchy almond butter because it adds a crunchy element to the dish!ReplyCancel

  • John-Mark13/05/2015 - 6:07 pm

    What type of miso did you use here? There are so many flavours; from dark and salty Winter misos (like Red and Chickpea) to light and sweet Summer misos (like Mellow White).

    Thanks for a beautiful recipe!

    John-MarkReplyCancel

    • Laura15/05/2015 - 3:41 pm

      This is true! I tend to mostly lean on mellow miso for my recipes. I’ll make a note of it for this one! Thanks.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Smoothies }  1. French Toast Sandwich With Coconut Cream from Me (video above!!)  2. Sweet Potato Biscuits With Mushroom Gravy from The First Mess 3. Dark Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl from Minimalist Baker 4. Breakfast […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!
I’ve gotten into the same conversation a bunch of times about my preference for locally procured food. It goes in the predictable, but still challenging, direction every time. So what do you do in the Winter? This query is usually delivered in a “Ha! Gotcha.” kind of tone. Well… I always source the best hoop-housed, hydroponic or stored/cellared option I can find for the cooler months in my region. I preserve the bounty of summer, freeze what I can and rely on grains, beans, split peas etc a little more once the woolies are on. I start to miss broccoli though. And citrus, little spheres of sunshine from Florida and California that remind us of the spring to come. It’s just really hard to resist in its peak months. I also have an undying addiction to avocado. So what to do? I mix some imported items into my daily eats without any guilt whatsoever.

When the Ontario produce is on, I’m in there snatching up every last piece, leaf and trimming I can get. Whether from my own garden, the local grocer or  the farmer’s market, I choose locally-sourced items whenever possible. For nutritional completeness and overall culinary satisfaction, I mix in some imported goods while the snow falls. If I’m making a stew with stored Ontario onions, carrots, garlic,potatoes, heirloom beans, and canned summer tomatoes, I’m not going to feel terrible about stirring some American chard and minced thyme into the pot. Balance, consideration and flexibility is delicious in food, but also in life.

So with that, I give you one of my favourite snacks. Rustic, simple and highly adaptable to whatever greens are available/what you have leftover from last night’s supper. I make an olive tapenade with herbs and almonds to give it some body and a roast-y heartiness, slather it on crusty bread and top all of that with some super garlicky cooked greens and a little sprinkle of toasted almonds. Satisfying, salty, crunchy, mushy; only good things can come of this. You don’t have to actually make a tapenade either. A smear of ricotta or some dijon mustard is nice too.

pin it!pin it!
garlicky greens bruschetta with olive & almond tapenade
serves: 2
notes: The bread is a pretty central ingredient here, so make sure your loaf comes from a bakery of good repute. Leftover cooked greens work wonderfully for this. Just give them a quick heat-up in the saute pan with a splash of water.

tapenade:
1 cup pitted olives (I went for kalamata)
1 clove of garlic, chopped a bit
1/3 cup almonds, toasted + extra chopped for garnish
5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
zest of 1 lemon (optional but fantastic)
ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

bruschetta:
4 slices of crusty bread
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 small cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
5-6 ounces spinach, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper
lemon wedges

Make the tapenade: combine all tapenade ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse ingredients about 10 times to get everything chopped up. Put it on high and drizzle the oil in through the feed tube. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides and flip to high again. Mix until you have a smooth, uniform paste. Set aside.

Start toasting your bread. Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and saute until slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach. Saute until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes and season the mix with salt and pepper.Stir and toss around until spinach is wilted but still quite green. Remove from the heat.

Slather slices of toast with about 2 tbsp of tapenade each. Place a mound of cooked greens on top. Serve with lemon wedges either hot or at room temperature.

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  • Jen14/02/2012 - 12:10 am

    I’m with ya. To bide my time, I’m ordering seeds and thinking summery thoughts!ReplyCancel

  • Margarita14/02/2012 - 1:10 am

    I try to be seasonal as much as possible, but sometimes there are things that are too good to pass on… Bananas, avocados, pineapple, mangoes, mushrooms, I buy them all without feeling guilty. Somewhere out there it is still business for other small time farmers. That’s how I like to think of it.ReplyCancel

  • Meaghan15/02/2012 - 4:28 pm

    I love your recipes! I am a big fan on food gawker. Do you have a google +? I run a google + that distributes food articles and recipes. I would love to start sharing your stuff right from google +!!ReplyCancel

  • kels16/02/2012 - 1:20 am

    love olive tapenade. oh yes. only GREAT things can come of this :)ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine16/02/2012 - 7:08 am

    What a perfect lunch this would be….anything with olives has me won over!ReplyCancel

  • adrienne22/02/2012 - 9:47 pm

    I follow along the same philosophy when it comes to local food in the winter months. I love this snack!ReplyCancel

  • […] Garlicky Greens Bruschetta with Olive Tapenade by The First Mess  […]ReplyCancel