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grilled sweet potatoes, cherry salsa + the side dishes

I love an easy, healthy and unusual side dish for summer dinners, and this one fits the bill pretty nicely. In fact, I’ve spent a good amount of time looking forward to side dishes lately. The vegetables, the whole grains, the crusty bread, the salads; just filling out that plate like I know how (I absolutely know how). Wholesome summer sides are kind of my scene. And maybe spontaneous ice cream outings. Those are important too.

This is likely a by-product of saying nay to meat for most of my adult life or maybe I just have an insane loyalty to vegetables. It’s lovely when family or friends invite you over for a barbecue with (hopefully veggie, grain and bean-based) burgers, but what about those side dishes? I don’t think I’m alone in my curiosity/sincere appreciation/true, undying love for them.

I’m also fully aware that finding a scrap of motivation to make something other than a leafy salad, cheese and crackers, sliced fruit, a glass of water with a slice of lemon even etc. is kind of a miracle nowadays for a lot of us. Thirty plus degrees Celsius (or higher)?! Sorry, oven. You lose this round (except when a fancy cake is happening–I still love you seriously). Summer living is meant to be easy, fun and smiley; not frustrated-frizzy-haired-red-oven-glow-sorta-shiny-grrr-face awfulness. Staying cool and keeping your coiffed hairs, well…, coiffed is ideal.

I steam the wedges of sweet potato first to get them mostly cooked (like super quickly), slather them in a chili flecked marinade for a bit, make up a sweet and tangy cherry salsa, grill up the wedges, spoon the salsa on top, and add a sprinkle of toasty pecans at the end. Sweet and spicy, so easy, super flavourful and light. I don’t recommend too many heat-based cooking methods in this kind of humidity, but once the sun retreats in the evening, grilling is totally alright with me, especially with a cool drink in the non-tongs-holding hand.

Chopping up the cooked sweet potatoes and tossing them with the cherry salsa, a bit more olive oil, a good pinch of salt and a cup or so of cooked quinoa makes for an awesome picnic side or, you know, a tupperware full of goodness that you can dig your fork into every time you pass the fridge. Either way, really.

I’ve accepted that it might be a while before we get ripe, juicy summer tomatoes. In the meantime, this super fun and beautiful summer side dish is suiting me just fine.

grilled sweet potatoes with cherry salsa and quinoa
serves: 4 (6-8 with the quinoa)
notes: You kind of have to par-boil or par-steam the sweet potatoes before grilling. It’s only, like, 5 minutes of stove steaminess though. Not too bad, right? Instructions for making this into a little quinoa salad are at the bottom.

for the sweet potatoes:
3 small-medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges or rounds
1.5 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder (or to taste)
pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper

for the cherry salsa:
heaped cup of de-stemmed sweet, black cherries, pitted
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated on a rasp zester
zest and juice of 1 lime
black pepper

to serve:
a handful of pecans, roughly chopped
salt to taste

for the quinoa salad variation:
1/2 cup quinoa, soaked and rinsed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime
2 green onions, thinly sliced
big handful of pecans, chopped
lots of salt and pepper

Place a large pot with about 2 inches of water on medium heat. Bring to a simmer and place cut sweet potatoes onto a steamer basket. Lower steamer basket into the pot, put a lid on top and steam the sweet potatoes for 5-7 minutes or until just tender. Remove wedges with a pair of tongs, placing into a large tupperware container.

Cover the cooked sweet potatoes with the grapeseed oil, lime zest, lime juice, ground cumin, chipotle, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the cherry salsa: chop the pitted cherries roughly and place in a medium bowl. Add the sliced green onions, grated ginger, lime zest, lime juice and black pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.

Heat a your grill or grill pan to medium-high. Place marinated wedges, cut side down (as opposed to peel-side down) on the grill. Flip wedges after about 2-3 minutes. Cook other side for another 2 minutes and remove sweet potatoes from the grill.

To serve: Place wedges face up on a plate, season with salt if you like and cover with the cherry salsa.

For the quinoa salad variation: cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water over medium heat. Bring the quinoa to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until all of the water us absorbed. Remove from the heat and place into a large bowl. To the quinoa, add chopped sweet potatoes, the cherry salsa, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lime, the sliced green onions, chopped pecans, salt and pepper.

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Sara21/06/2012 - 4:18 pm

I love that first photo–such gorgeous colors and amazing arrangement. I could never make the cherry salsa, though I think it sounds like an amazing idea–I would eat them all before they made it any further!

Jacqui21/06/2012 - 4:19 pm

I just grilled up some sweet potatoes and asparagus for dinner last night, so wish I had topped them with this cherry salsa, looks amazing! Instead we had cherries for dessert : )

Yossy | apt2bbakingco21/06/2012 - 6:03 pm

This recipe looks delicious and my, my that is a good looking cherry pitter. Now, if I could only find myself a grill…

Kathryn21/06/2012 - 6:16 pm

Sides are always one of my favourite parts of a meal too – there’s so much room for originality and inspiration like this cherry salsa which sounds wonderful with the grilled sweet potatoes.

Grishma @Zaikazabard21/06/2012 - 6:32 pm

As soon I get cherries, I am making this for sure! Glad to find ur have got a new follower! Looking forward to your vegetarian recipes :)

sara21/06/2012 - 7:11 pm

I’ve contributed to a few vegetarian thanksgiving articles lately, and I keep hearing from the editors “we want things to be main course focused, not just side dishes’. The thing is, us vegetarians live off well rounded side dishes, gladly, that is not a sacrifice! I love the way you think, and this looks incredible. All my favorite things :) beautiful work.

sarah21/06/2012 - 10:31 pm

This is perfect! Really, what a great combination of flavors. And the cherry photos! Stunning. I keep looking at them, they are so beautiful. {nice work, Ms. Laura}

[...] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa & Quinoa. [...]

Melissa Cowan22/06/2012 - 1:43 am

This dish sounds amazing and the pictures are stunning! I really like the first photo at the top of the post, it has done it’s job, I want to make this salad! Thanks for sharing.

Márcia Gonçalves22/06/2012 - 5:24 am

Cherry salsa? What an unexpected/amazing combination of flavors!
And your photos are really beautiful, congratulations

Julia22/06/2012 - 9:48 am

This sounds lovely, a great flavour combination I can already feel on my taste buds!

Sarah B.22/06/2012 - 12:02 pm

Laura- Cherry salsa is a spectacular thing, wow! I love this combination. Pairing it with grilled sweet potato wedges? Pretty genius if you ask me. Bring us more sides babe!

Rachel22/06/2012 - 12:19 pm

This is truly an unusual summer side! I might even eat this for dessert…at least a first dessert before ice cream.
Side dishes are important for non meat eaters like myself when it comes to summer barbecues. Sometimes I have to make a meal of side dishes. It’s nice to see one with quinoa for the protien too!

Mara @ Elemental Custard22/06/2012 - 5:32 pm

This looks phenomenal! I love the colours. Your photo is stunning – I definitely want to make this stat!

myfudo23/06/2012 - 1:57 am

The dark orange sweet potato looks so yummy. Can’t wait to try this recipe. It is indeed BBQ season.

Kathryne23/06/2012 - 1:21 pm

I love sweet potatoes so much and never would have thought to add cherries, or cherry salsa, no less! Also? I think I’ve always preferred side dishes, I live off them!

Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies23/06/2012 - 3:18 pm

I’m glad you commented on my blog because now I found yours. And then I found this recipe. And whoa, this recipe! This is going on my summer must-make list for sure. :)

Kathy Patalsky23/06/2012 - 8:52 pm

yummmm. Lovely pics Laura :)

Linda23/06/2012 - 10:17 pm

I assume these to be sweet cherries?

Laura24/06/2012 - 1:34 am

Yes they are sweet cherries, Linda! I’ll fix that in the recipe. Thanks :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar24/06/2012 - 5:58 pm

This salsa is so unique! Love this idea!

Amy24/06/2012 - 6:56 pm

Oh my gosh this looks so yummy! I cant wait to try this, now that I have some cherries!

[...] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa – Bring something a little different to grill this holiday with this sweet potato recipe! Sweet potatoes are amazing when grilled and this cherry salsa looks fantastic! [...]

kale25/06/2012 - 1:51 pm

This is something I’ve never even considered! Cherries on sweet potatoes..? But it looks so yummy! Must try…

Hannah27/06/2012 - 5:20 pm

That cherry salsa, holy wow! I am a huge fruit-salsa person, but this is a combination I have not ever seen before. Have you tried adding heat? I’m thinking a serrano or a thai bird chili might be a nice addition … hm. Can’t wait to try this one!

Javelin Warrior29/06/2012 - 12:10 am

On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of the roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created…

Katie03/07/2012 - 2:21 am

Woah, you had me at cherry salsa. I’m traveling back to Canada in a few weeks for a summer vacation and the local cherries should be in full swing then. I’ve got this recipe bookmarked to make then. Thanks so much for the recipe!

[...] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa from The First Mess [...]

[...] of dreamy summer meals simmering away over time. My love of juicy fruit in savory dishes is pretty obvious at this point and tacos are the perfect outdoor-dwelling-with-a-cool-drink-in-the-other-hand-kinda food (my heart [...]

meatballs & milkshakes25/07/2012 - 11:25 am

Really beautiful pictures! They’re inspiring me to eat something healthy today!

[...] (4) This one is so beautiful. Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa. [...]

colleen b.08/08/2012 - 4:15 pm

I made this last night and it was delicious! I kind of combined the salad idea with the side dish idea to make a main dish and served the wedges over the quinoa with the salsa on top. It looked beautiful and was so easy…made me look and feel like a bit of a master chef ;) Amazing flavors, thank you for sharing!

Kathy Patalsky11/08/2012 - 4:12 pm

Hey, found someome stealing photos – many of mine – saw yours too – recognized from finding vegan post ..

SO annoying.


[...] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa  [...]

Elizabeth07/06/2013 - 8:18 pm

Just saw this recipe and have to say it looks incredible. I have a pretty serious love for savory cherry treatments. I’ll have to start ogling our local cherry trees more intently as I hope for cherry season.

[...] Row 1: Thai Sweet Potato Stacks, Sweet Potato Almond Butter Muffins, Slow Cooker Beer Pulled Pork-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa [...]

Life Images by Jill29/07/2013 - 12:10 am

oh this looks so delicious I am going to try this out when summer comes around! thanks! ps – fabulous food photography too!

[…] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Ginger Cherry Salsa lets us channel your summer into our side dish. (via The First Mess) […]

Tina21/04/2014 - 1:27 pm

You have got to be THE most amazing, creative food creator out there!! The pictures are always stunning! And the recipes unheard-of! Thank you sooo much for sharing!

[…] via The First Mess […]

Ella23/06/2014 - 8:51 pm

I made this for a dinner party last night and it was KILLER- a direct quote from my mom who despises sweet potatoes. Thank you so much for sharing!

Five for Friday {6.27.14} -27/06/2014 - 7:04 am

[…] // Favorite meal this week: Grilled sweet potatoes with cherry salsa and quinoa. Dr. G. made this last Saturday night and holy cow! Amazing. Leftovers also made for a wonderful […]

[…] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa and Quinoa via The First Mess. […]

[…] […]

[…] to go with one of these monsters, try grilled sweet potatoes. They’re so simple and had a great […]

[…] Grilled Sweet Potatoes w/Cherry Salsa […]

Faye Seymore25/07/2014 - 10:08 pm

Your recipes look delicious, exactly some of the foods I like to eat. No meat necessary.


Nissrine28/07/2014 - 8:18 am

You’re not alone! I love side dishes too and most of the time my meals consist of 3-4 of them, as I don’t eat meat either. Your work is lovely. I’ve only recently discovered your beautiful blog, after I joined the world of blogging myself and now I see your work everywhere. What an inspiration!

Tatjana09/08/2014 - 4:00 pm

Delish! Love the combo of the cherries and sweet potatoes. I made them into fries and had some blue chees dipping with it. Love your blog. :)

[…] Recipe Via: […]

lemon poppy seed pancakes + something funny

I made these gluten free and vegan pancakes rather spontaneously for my man and I a little while ago. Originally I just wanted to make some simple lemon cornmeal pancakes with sliced strawberries on top, but decided to add poppy seeds at the last minute to evoke that familiar and much-loved combo of ours. I made a syrup out of the sliced strawberries and some coconut palm sugar because (oops!) we were out of maple syrup. All the better. This combination was a total win. There’s that familiar crunch from the poppy seeds and the bright lemon zest  that brings out the luscious and sweet berries. I’m loving the glut of them right now at the farm stands, rows of ruby red jewels in green quart containers. The cornmeal makes the pancakes gorgeously lemon-yellow too. It’s sunshine for brunch.

Seeing as I’m hitting the one year mark on this blog (crazy!), I thought I’d get a little, teeny-bit more personal. I have to confess something to all of you. Something crazy in a funny kind of way, something silly that isn’t all that earth shattering, but it’s kind of big for me. No judgment here, right? Okay. I only learned how to ride a bike about 5 years ago. I know, kind of weird. One afternoon I rode around all wobbly, had an alright time, bruised and dirtied up my legs a bit, flew into a giant bush, laughed in a way that only a young adult riding a bike for the first time can, felt a bit sore, felt amazing, might have cried once. Then I kind of forgot about it for a long time.

By that I mean I didn’t pursue it in a serious way. Here and there I would remember that it was a little fun, wish that I could navigate tight streets like all of the cyclists racing by when I lived in the city, so fast and free. I dismissed the thought of trying to take it seriously from my mind. It was more than nervousness and embarrassment getting in the way. I was genuinely scared to put the work in to make myself good at something, that people would see my lack of experience with something so basic, that I could actually hurt myself… I thought it was too late to get the whole thing on lock.

Then a few days ago Mark sent me a text with a picture of a beautiful, royal blue bike that was all mine. Despite the fear and embarrassment I had felt for most of my adult life about the whole thing, I was really excited and motivated by his confidence. We went for a little ride that night, sky grey-ing over, a storm looming. Riding around in circles in an empty parking lot, practicing turns, braking, big smile on my face the whole time, laughing at all of the little wobbles. I was hooked right away, instagram-ing it (naturally), plotting when to go riding next, all of the little improvements we could make to my sweet new ride and on and on. The sun came out and set over the water. We watched it on some big, craggy rocks, waves crashing in. I could hardly sleep that night; the excitement, the change in direction, the new light that was right here. Ever feel that? It had been a while for me.

Similarly, I started this blog and opened up a big part of my life to anyone passing through about a year ago (first post here! Oooh boy). I had wanted to for a while, ideas of it bubbling away in the back of my mind, hesitation abounding (I thought it was too late to get on the food blog thing, but oh hey: here’s something recent from Shanna proving that totally wrong). A few friendly nudges here and there from amazing people, and here we are today. I’m so happy that we are here because it lets me connect with all of you over a few words, an image, a bite to eat… I know I’m really fortunate to have encouraging and wonderful people around, to live in such an inspiring environment and to have a partner that pushes me to not be afraid of anything. I’m also so grateful for all of you who read, who drive me forward to do better, those who say such lovely things at just the right time.. you’re all so great. I love sharing my life and little food anecdotes with you here. Hopefully we can ride along together for a while longer :)

All love,

GF and vegan lemon poppy pancakes with juicy strawberries
serves: 2-3
notes: If you have a trusty GF flour blend that you love, feel free to replace my listed flours (rice and sorghum) and arrowroot here with the blend (you’ll need a total of 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour). Or, you could replace the same amount with spelt, whole wheat, all purpose or other gluten-containing flour if you like (again, 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour total).

2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
juice of half a lemon
tiny splash of vanilla extract

1 cup non-dairy milk (+ extra depending)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp rice flour (brown or white)
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil + extra for the pan/griddle
3.5 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced berries with the coconut sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Allow to sit and macerate/get juicy while you make the pancakes.

Stir the non-dairy milk and lemon juice together. Set aside and allow to curdle while you mix up the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the rice and sorghum flour, arrowroot powder, cornmeal, baking powder, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract and the non-dairy milk and lemon juice mixture. Stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined. I had to add an extra couple tablespoons of milk at this point to get it to that typical pancake batter consistency, but yours might be different depending on whether you use different flour.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush the skillet surface with melted coconut oil. Drop 1/4 cup portions of the batter onto the pan and gently spread the batter out with a small spatula. Once you see little bubbles in the batter and the edges look a bit dry and golden, flip them over, about 1/2 minute. Cook the other side until golden. Remove and set cooked pancakes on a warming plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve warm with the juicy strawberries spooned on top and a dollop of yogurt if you like.

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janet @ the taste space13/06/2012 - 3:30 pm

Hey Laura, Here’s to a another great year! I learned to ride a bike as a child but dropped it for 15 years. Picked it back up again 3 years ago, with the same bike I had in grade 4 at that, and practiced in the cemetery by my house. I started to commute to work and bought a new bike after a summer of commuting. A year later, I cycled 320km in a weekend. The following spring a hilly 356km over 2 days. Cycling with a great bike can change your life. :) I am signed up for another 320km ride this weekend but woefully undertrained this year so it will just be 180km, maybe a bit more. Anyways, keep at it. I love hearing about biking, so keep it up! :)

Amanda13/06/2012 - 3:33 pm

I only somewhat recently found your blog, but it’s one of my favorites. Congrats on your one year! Also, I can totally sympathize on the bike riding thing. I learned as a kid, but pretty much didn’t ride between the ages of 12 and 26. I finally bought a road bike last summer and definitely had those wobbly moments. Also, the whole switching gears thing threw me for a loop. I nearly rolled back down my first hill. haha

I can’t wait to make these pancakes! They’re so pretty!

Melissa // thefauxmartha13/06/2012 - 3:57 pm

Happy blogoversary! I can’t believe it’s only one year. You are an ole pro at this! Love seeing what you come up with, especially these lemon poppyseed pancakes. Yuuum! Cheers to many more blogoversaries!

Lisa | With Style and Grace13/06/2012 - 4:14 pm

I’m not sure how I’m JUST now discovering your site – it’s beautiful!! love these gluten-free pancakes, they’re going on my must make list!

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn13/06/2012 - 4:17 pm

Congrats on hitting the one year mark! I gotta say that your first ever blog post was none too shabby – so, clearly, you hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since!
Your pics are fab – those poppy seeds dotted throughout the pancakes gave me an afternoon smile. The strawberries look like they came from a cartoon – they are so perfect. {Oh, and I am borderline scared of bike riding and therefore always avoid it – but your story is encouraging. Chances are I’ll make these pancakes before I go bike riding, though….}

Katie13/06/2012 - 4:31 pm

Those pancakes look amazing! And I just so happen to have some poppy seeds in my cupboard right now, which is pretty unusual. I love the bike riding story! I’m a bike commuter year round and have been for a few years, and I just love the adventures my bike can take me on.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar13/06/2012 - 5:01 pm

These are so pretty! Awesome idea!

Shanna13/06/2012 - 5:42 pm

These pictures are so crazy gorgeous I can’t handle it!

Heidi @foodiecrush13/06/2012 - 7:54 pm

Woo hoo to a fellow one-year-old! Congratulations on your many talents and accomplishments, not to mention learning to ride that blue bike. The blog is awesome, love it and your photography. I think the addition of poppy seeds to the pancakes is BRILLIANT and will be stealing the idea this weekend for breakfast.

Meister, Running While Smiling13/06/2012 - 8:54 pm

1) Lemon + poppyseeds + pancakes? I. Totally. Can’t. Handle. All. The. Delicious.

2) I am terrified of bikes, and so jealous of people who aren’t. Congratulations on your shiny new bike! Take an extra spin around the block for me? (Maybe one day I’ll get over this fear…)

3) I’m so glad you blog, and I’m even gladder (is that a word?) that I found you on this crazy big blogosphere. Yours quickly became one of my favorites, and I am so thrilled to share part of my day with you, reading your stories and looking at your beautiful photos. So thank you, and keep it up, por favor.

Kathryne13/06/2012 - 10:57 pm

Hooray, Laura! Way to ride that bike. My bike is my favorite form of transportation, short of airplanes. I’ve never seen such fluffy, beautiful vegan, gluten-free pancakes. They really are sunshine on a plate. Lastly, so glad you joined the food blog scene. It’s never too late, huh? Thanks for the reminder.

Michelle13/06/2012 - 11:46 pm

I feel like we’ve watched a child grow up! So happy that the year or so of nagging you to start this thing worked out:) You have inspired so much in me, and brought so much deliciousness to my life!


la domestique14/06/2012 - 10:27 am

What a great story! As a kid I was constantly on my bike. It was the key to freedom from a troubled home, and I would ride all day during the summer until the sun set and I had to go home. It’s so interesting for me to think of you just discovering the bike as an adult- how wonderful! Thanks for sharing that, and those fantastic pancakes. Congrats on a year blogging!

Jacqui14/06/2012 - 11:18 am

Congrats on learning how to ride a bike, I think that’s awesome! And pretty bike you have there too ; ) I had the same exact rush of feelings when I learned how to surf for the first time, it’s an incredible feeling. Looking forward to more of your recipes and words.

sara14/06/2012 - 4:33 pm

so lovely. nothing as gorgeous as a hearty stack of pancakes. I love your space here, keep at it, little lady ;) for you and me both, it has it’s days, but you are full of great stories and recipes!

Ashlae14/06/2012 - 11:34 pm

I like you a little better now that I know you just learned how to ride a bike ;) I, however, know how to ride a bike.. but don’t own one. HOW PATHETIC IS THAT?

Gorgeous photos, as always. The pancakes look delicious! Perfect for a one year anniversary.

Reb15/06/2012 - 6:57 am

Congrats on the 1-year mark and your new mad bike skills! Absolutely love your blog and am constantly inspired by it to incorporate more raw/seasonal/vegan-ish into my own diet and blog : )

Kristy15/06/2012 - 11:19 am

Happy blog-birthday! Gorgeous pancakes! I often make lemon cornmeal pancakes, but I’ve never thought to put poppy seeds in them! This is wonderful! Thank you, and I’m so happy to have found your blog! :-)

Jeanine15/06/2012 - 11:48 am

Congrats on 1 year! and the bike riding!

I love cornmeal, these look delicious!

Kasey15/06/2012 - 12:34 pm

We all have to start somewhere! I think it’s fun to learn something like riding a bike later in life, and prove to yourself that you can totally get the hang of things, even when you’re not a kid. I started my blog in much the same way…I don’t think there’s ever a right time to start anything, just when you’re good and ready…the world will be ready for it, too. Gorg pancakes, btw. Happy 1 year anniversary to this beautiful space you’ve created!

Rachel15/06/2012 - 6:30 pm

Wow, only a year old? That’s more surprising than learning to ride a bike 5 years ago! Your blog is so gorgeous, put together and wonderful for being so young.
I can imagine your excitement over your new blue bike. There’s nothing like connecting to something that opens up a whole world you never knew about before. Enjoy your ride : )

myfudo16/06/2012 - 12:17 am

Love the pictures. This is a real healthy breakfast option. You inspire me…Keep posting =)

Breakfast | Meizac16/06/2012 - 9:46 am

[...] original recipe is here, and doesn’t it look beautiful/delicious? Plus, she’s local to my area of the province, [...]

Becs @ Lay the table17/06/2012 - 1:43 pm

The pancakes looks divine! I too am loving the strawberries – the British ones in season taste so much better than their European counterparts which are just huge and have no flavour!

I wouldn’t be embarrassed about the bike riding – I’m still not very proficient and I’ve been riding for years!

sarah18/06/2012 - 10:48 am

Oh, Laura, you are so lovely. I am so proud of you, for getting back on that bike! And so happy you have someone in your life who will nudge you to keep at it, and who encourages you.

Congrats on one year! I love coming to this space, to visit you and read about your musings and beautiful creations. Love.

art and lemons19/06/2012 - 7:06 pm

Laura, So happy for all your accomplishments, for getting on the bike again and again until look at you, you’re riding and for creating this wonderful space that is always inviting and a real treat to enter. These pancakes are exactly the sort of thing I crave, as ever, so so lovely.

Yes Please | Let's Get Happy!22/06/2012 - 5:51 pm

[...] and recipe found on TheFirstMess. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in food. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

Mere17/11/2012 - 3:05 pm

Hi Laura!

I literally JUST discovered your blog (via Love + Lemons) today and do not know how i haven’t come across it sooner. Your recipes and photos are absolutely stunning. I really appreciated reading this post because I am actually right in the midst of starting my own food blog–after being an avid reader of many for almost a year and having all too many reservations about doing it myself. It is so reassuring to be reminded that the bloggers I look up to and gain such inspiration from, like you, all started somewhere. So I just wanted to say hi and thank you for that. x

Inés13/07/2013 - 12:02 pm

Hi Laura,
I made these yesterday and they tasted very summery – I like your combination!
I used wheat flour and cornmeal and a bit less honey than the amount of agave nectar you used.
They tasted very good and are perfect for summer, thank you :-)

Laura Wright15/07/2013 - 9:32 pm

Loving your feedback on using honey, Inés! Glad you liked them :)

[…] 2. Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes (gluten-free) from The First Mess […]

Cynthia24/08/2014 - 12:56 pm

Wow! My new favorite pancake recipe! I used blackberries instead of strawberries, because they were on sale. Delicious!

[…] delicious pancake recipes to try… Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes from The First Mess Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes from Life Tastes Life Food Banana Bread Almond […]

raw chard salad rolls, spicy mango sauce + regrouping

I find that getting back from New York is always a bit heavy. I have a hard time psyching myself up to leave and get back home (aside from reveling in the thought of sleeping in my own bed). Packing up some new acquisitions into our bags was a little fun (especially the stuffed paper bag of Milk Bar treats and this incredibly awesome little innovation). Walking to the subway from the hotel is always a little sad, seeing all the buildings and shops waking up and buzzing in the morning, knowing you’ll be away from it so soon. We went in and out of sleepiness on the long subway ride to the airport, heads resting on our bags. We sipped coffee together in the bustling airport pretty quietly, watching the travelers hurry by. Rain droplets streamed horizontally across the window during takeoff, grey and rainy city falling away behind us. Home feels a bit different. There’s more purpose and inspiration in the every day, ultimately great things.

One thing I really looked forward to while we were making our way back home (cozy comfy bed aside) was a giant heap of vegetables. We ate pretty amazingly on this trip. We went to all of our favourites, had a really special dinner here, tried the brand new NY outpost of this restaurant, so many treats, delicious coffee from Mud Truck, INSANE cocktails at Booker & Dax and completely fabulous potluck contributions from so many inspirational women at Veronica‘s rooftop oasis. In sum: we ate great food. Probably too much of it. Like probably-definitely.

I originally developed this recipe for the Toronto Vegetarian Association (their website here), a pretty rad volunteer-driven organization. I look forward to their Veg Fest on the waterfront in September every year. Lots of goodness and wonderful people, gorgeous scenery, it’s perfect. If you would like to read some accompanying nutrition facts about chard, you can read my little contribution right over here. I love using greens as a wrap for all kinds of things. In this version, I give you a few ideas for fillings and a BOMB mango dipping sauce for dunking. It’s like dipping a tidy salad into fresh, sweet, lightly spiced mango goodness, something totally called for after 5 days of indulgence for me.

raw chard salad rolls with spicy mango dipping sauce
Serves: 2
notes: If you don’t have access to chard, collard or boston lettuce leaves work wonders in the same application. In the event that you are transporting these (say for a summer picnic), I would recommend stabbing each one with a little toothpick to keep them together since chard lacks the natural “glue” of rice paper rolls.

6-8 leaves of chard (depending on how big they are)
3 cups finely julienned/sliced fruits and vegetables such as:
-bell peppers
-shaved asparagus
-sliced avocado
3-4 sprigs-worth of mild fresh herb leaves such as:
-basil (regular or thai)

spicy mango sauce:
1 cup diced, ripe mango (or nectarine! or peach!)
juice from 1 lime
1 small jalapeno, veins and seeds removed
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tsp nama shoyu or tamari soy sauce
¼ cup filtered water

Cut the stems out of the chard leaves: With a paring knife, carefully cut around the stem, on both sides, up to about the halfway point in the leaf. Repeat with other leaves.

Lay the cut leaf on a cutting board. It should look like the top half of the leaf has two little legs sticking out from under it. Cross one of the “legs” over the other one to form a unified oval-shaped “wrap.”

Place a good handful of julienned vegetables/sprouts onto the center of the oval-shaped leaf. Garnish with a few herb leaves. Carefully wrap the chard around the vegetables, starting with the crossed over/overlapped leaves end and working your way up. Once you’ve reached the end, place the roll seam side down onto your serving plate. repeat with remaining chard and vegetables/herbs.

Make the sauce: Combine all of the mango sauce ingredients in a blender. Turn the blender on to medium-high and puree the mixture. Once smooth and slightly watery, stop the blender. Taste for seasoning. Place sauce into a bowl and serve with the chard spring rolls.

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sarah05/06/2012 - 2:46 pm

These photos are gorgeous Laura!! The third one is making me want to come over to your house and eat some of this goodness.

I am going to New York for the first time next week! We’ll be there for 4 days, and I can’t wait to experience the city. Glad your trip was so great!

Marissa | Pinch and Swirl05/06/2012 - 3:35 pm

I relate to ‘looking forward to the giant heap of vegetables.’ I often feel that way at end of a trip. These rolls look just fantastic! Thank you for sharing…

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar05/06/2012 - 3:41 pm

I seriously love everything about these! They sound so awesome!

Kristy05/06/2012 - 4:27 pm

Simply gorgeous! Beautiful colors and the photography is breathtaking! The recipe for the mango dipping sauce looks mighty tasty- can’t wait to give it a try!

Cookie and Kate06/06/2012 - 12:55 am

Oo girl, I am with you. After all those Milk Bar treats (I have a paper bag in my pantry containing the last few bites of a couple of cookies), I’m ready for produce-packed, vegan recipes like this one. I had the best time hanging out with you at Veronica’s—what a night! Here’s to hoping we can find another excuse to hang out again soon.

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn06/06/2012 - 8:21 am

I can just imagine how the mango sauce and sliced fruit offer just enough sweetness to make you think that you are eating something far more naughty than raw veggies. So colorful and inviting – and it’s an added bonus that you don’t have to cook anything!

Ally06/06/2012 - 12:16 pm

Wow this looks like the perfect summer dinner to me!

Katie06/06/2012 - 2:45 pm

I love that you’ve used greens for the wrapper here, what a great idea! I’d love to try these out with marinated tofu or tempeh inside them in addition to the veggies, and even possibly throwing the entire wrap on the grill. Does that sound totally crazy? Thanks for the recipe!

[...] raw chard salad rolls, spicy mango sauce + regrouping [] [...]

Rachel07/06/2012 - 12:53 pm

These rolls are so beautiful – like little vegetable bouquets! What a great way to pack “salad” in a lunch. I’m totally making these with my next batch of csa greens.

sara07/06/2012 - 5:09 pm

yum! so beautiful. I am really hoping we can make it to NY this fall. I miss it and your trip sounds fabulous!

Yossy | apt2bbakingco08/06/2012 - 9:21 am

Aw man, I have wanted to go to Blue Hill for a long time. I am so glad you enjoyed your trip to NYC and it was so nice to meet you in the flesh. And these salad rolls, they are on the top of my list of things to make. I could use a bit of a detox myself…

Katie08/06/2012 - 6:04 pm

Your photos are stunning Laura! I’ll have to check out Blue Hill when I’m in NYC in a few weeks. Thanks for the recommendation :)

kelsey24/06/2012 - 10:43 pm

I missed this one in the hullaballoo of traveling/moving. so beautiful! my chard rolls always look absurd…

[...] eat raw, but I’m excited to use them in a spicy sauce for salad wraps! The First Mess’ recipe calls for raw chard, but you can use a lettuce leaf instead, or even a gently-boiled collard green [...]

[…] later in the day these little Raw Chard Salad Rolls from The First Mess, look so colourful and fresh! What yummy way to begin a healthy Christmas meal, […]

Marianne17/07/2014 - 10:41 pm

Discovered you and am I happy!!!
Made the Rolls this evening as a part of the appertiv and was so delighted. Enjoyed the rolls with avocado, pepper, strawberries, carrots, beets. And….the mango dipping sauce. Just delish!!!
Looking forward to trying your recipe with Zucchini noodles & pesto.
Thank you