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This pie is so decadent and awesome, but oh, cool thing? It’s vegan, gluten, soy and sugar free. Straight up: you can’t just throw it together in 10 minutes and also put dinner on the table, squeeze in a 5k run, call your grandma to catch up, read a chapter in your summer book of choice (PS: here’s mine–it’s wonderful so far), maybe make up a small snack to tide yourself over and do a bunch of other things while the pie just happens.

This dessert takes planning, forethought and a bit of careful tending. You have to very delicately press the crust into the pan and remember to chill it once it cools. There is precise drizzling of chocolate sauce into the churning ice cream at the very end (no sooner, I mean it). Did you remember to chill the bowl of your ice cream maker overnight? And one of the cans of coconut milk? You gotta do that too. The coconut cream must be whipped right before you serve it because it has a tendency to run a bit. Also, remember to remove the pie from the freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve it so that a possible run to the toolshed for a chainsaw doesn’t become a whole thing. Yes. This pie demands your mindfulness and attention. Is that so much to ask? It’s pie! Totally worth it.

Why the fuss? Once in a while, I like to roll up my sleeves and make something ridiculous and challenging, really absorb myself in the task of making food. Cuisine doesn’t have to be easy or quick or on the table in 30 minutes or less all the time. It’s good to get lost in the potential of it all, the improvements, the variations; aiming higher in the every day. This is important.

There is one resource I rely on rather heavily to challenge my cooking and how I approach food/cuisine. It reminds me that I shouldn’t ever get cocky about something I’ve created, that calling anything “authentic” is up for heated debate, that referring to yourself as a chef is probably guaranteed inappropriate at any time and that thinking a bit more deeply about what I’m making or serving is necessary, always. The images are unusual and sometimes harsh; not just pretty for the sake of it. I revisit its issues often, the ideas and frank opinions on the current plusses and minuses of food culture. The recipes range from seaweed burgers to multi-layered arnold palmer cakes to gnocchi made with instant ramen noodles. Every issue is at once a revelation and a slap in the face; a call to talk less, do more and make it better.

Have you guessed it yet? It’s Lucky Peach from the awesome people at McSweeney’s. A wonderful and close friend gifted me a 1 year subscription when it came out just because he knew I would love it. Since I’ve been feeling some extra goodness around here lately from all of you, I thought I would do the same. I will add that this little giveaway isn’t endorsed or sponsored by any external party. I’m just doing it because I love it and know that one of you will be just as inspired (and put in line in the best of ways) by its pages delivered quarterly to your doorstep.

How do you enter? I wanted to make it easy, so I’ll give you two completely non-strenuous methods: 1) just cruise over to my facebook page and “like” the photo I’ve posted of this fancy pie (so easy!). Yep, one little thumbs up could get you a one year subscription to the coolest food quarterly ever. 2) Going with the theme of generosity, leaving a comment here will get you an additional entry–why not, right? I’ll run this for one week (until July 5th) and will be choosing the winner from a hat. Whoop! (Now closed!)

Big love,

pin it!pin it!pin it!

roasted banana split ice cream pie
serves: makes one 9 inch pie
special equipment: an ice cream maker
notes: The recipe for the ice cream makes a bit more than what is needed for the pie. Oops :) Cool thing: I had some caramel from these brownies and drizzled some onto the crust before I laid the ice cream in. Highly recommended!

crust (adapted from Roost):
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave nectar/maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

roasted banana ice cream:
2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced (roughly)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 (400 ml) cans of full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup agave nectar/maple syrup/raw honey + extra for roasting bananas
1 tbsp vanilla extract
small pinch of salt

chocolate sauce (this makes AMAZING chocolate shell-like coating for ice cream any old time):
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp melted coconut oil

coconut whipped cream:
2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
3 tbsp agave nectar/maple syrup/raw honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (you’ll have to raise it to 400 degrees F for the bananas).

Make the crust: Combine the almond flour and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add the agave nectar, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture holds together like wet sand. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate, trying to make the thickness even all along the sides and the bottom. Bake in a 350 oven for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly darker and dry/solid seeming. Cool crust thoroughly at room temperature and place in the fridge until ready for use.

Roast the bananas:  Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Place the sliced bananas on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the slices with the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Roast for about 20 minutes or until bananas are very soft and caramelization is apparent (see photo). Cool bananas on the tray and set aside.

Make the chocolate sauce: Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small stainless steel or glass bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water (double boiler method). Stir the chocolate chips until melted and a uniform mixture is achieved. Remove from the heat and set aside (NOT in the fridge!)

Make the ice cream: Combine the roasted bananas, coconut milk, agave nectar, vanilla extract and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend/pulse until bananas are dissolved into the mixture/not chunky. Pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and follow through with the manufacturer’s directions. Mine took about 25 minutes to achieve slightly firmer soft serve-like texture. In the last minute of churning, slowly pour the chocolate sauce in. It will harden immediately and form little pockets of chocolaty goodness.

Scrape the ice cream into the reserved pie crust. Smooth the top and freeze for a good 20 minutes to firm up the ice cream.

Make the whipped coconut cream: Remove the top layer of solid cream from the cans of coconut milk. Place into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the agave/honey/sweetener of choice and vanilla bean seeds. Mix on medium-high speed, stopping and scraping down here and there. Mix until stiff, whipped cream-like consistency is achieved.

Assemble: Remove the pie from the freezer and top with the whipped coconut cream. Top with a few cherries for garnish if you like (I only do this to really drive home the banana split theme). Serve immediately.

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  • Stunning pictures. Mouth-watering recipe. (as usual!). And what a generous and awesome giveaway! Thank you for all of it! : )ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae28/06/2012 - 10:31 pm

    Roasted banana split ice cream pie – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: you. friggin’. rule.

    Now, if only we lived closer so I could snag a piece of that pie.ReplyCancel

  • Kris28/06/2012 - 10:38 pm

    This looks delicious! I’m going to make it this summer!ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Specht28/06/2012 - 11:09 pm

    Looks delish! I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Susannah28/06/2012 - 11:43 pm

    Swoon – looks perfect for summer. At the very least, i’ll be making this ice cream very soon. I love McSweeney’s too! Fingers crossed I’m the *lucky peach*!ReplyCancel

  • Amani29/06/2012 - 12:57 am

    This looks amazing! I’m loving roasted fruit in desserts right now. I made a roasted rhubarb coconut ice cream that had me over the moon!ReplyCancel

  • Anouk29/06/2012 - 3:41 am

    *Daydreaming* About a summer BBQ, with some lovely friends, out on our terrace (/still under construction/) and then getting this baby out of the freezer: instant happiness!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar29/06/2012 - 6:35 am

    This looks just awesome! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Jessy29/06/2012 - 8:20 am

    This looks delicious, especially the combinationof grilled bananas and coconut milk.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf29/06/2012 - 10:17 am

    I love love love that photo of the sticky roasted bananas – makes me want to dive into my screen with a spoon. Then all that cream adds a cool blanket of tranquility over the top of the whole thing – what a gorgeous dessert.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey29/06/2012 - 12:12 pm

    Like a boss, Laura. YUM. Oh, and, everyone could use a little McSweeny in their life. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Justine29/06/2012 - 12:38 pm

    Never mind the giveaway — whoever gets to eat this pie is a lucky, lucky peach.ReplyCancel

  • Jessie29/06/2012 - 3:30 pm

    So wishing I had a piece of that right now! Delish!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline29/06/2012 - 6:24 pm

    Love this! Gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • emily von euw30/06/2012 - 12:34 am

    beautiful! i love the photos, recipe and blog. keep it up.ReplyCancel

  • Angie W30/06/2012 - 2:10 am

    The roasted bananas look divine. I may have to make them by their lonesome.ReplyCancel

  • autumn30/06/2012 - 6:16 am

    Those roasted bananas look incredible. I’ve been wanting to try the coconut “whipped cream” method forever. It looks so light a fluffy atop this pie. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Basil30/06/2012 - 7:21 am

    Oh. My. Gosh. This look incredible! I don’t know why, but I have been wanting to make a pie sometime soon. This looks so perfect – I’ll just have to get some coconut!ReplyCancel

  • Christina30/06/2012 - 10:17 am

    I would love to win a subscription to Lucky Peach. Such a cool and quirky piece of art!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda30/06/2012 - 8:33 pm

    This dessert looks incredible. I cannot wait to make this. Also, I absolutely love Lucky Peach, I discovered it one lazy Sunday enjoying a Dirty Chai at Barnes and Noble- it is the most addicting magazine. I am incredibly jealous of your year subscription and of your amazing friend who go that for you, lucky you.ReplyCancel

  • Laura01/07/2012 - 5:16 pm

    Beautiful pie! Looks decadent and so delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Kate01/07/2012 - 7:13 pm

    I’ve thought a lot lately about roasting bananas, looking for that rich, deep flavor, warmed and gooey. I think this post is pushing me in that direction.

    And that cake??? My gosh. What a beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah02/07/2012 - 12:21 pm

    What I love best about this recipe is that I predict I will be using each magnificent sounding component individually as well. (Coconut whipped cream? Are you kidding me? How did I not realize this could be done?!).

    Also, I love this: “I like to roll up my sleeves and make something ridiculous and challenging, really absorb myself in the task of making food. Cuisine doesn’t have to be easy or quick or on the table in 30 minutes or less all the time. It’s good to get lost in the potential of it all, the improvements, the variations; aiming higher in the every day. This is important.” So important.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney02/07/2012 - 3:29 pm

    This looks freakin’ awesome and I am cursing myself right now for not having bought the ice cream maker attachment for my kitchenaid yet. You had me at roasted bananas.ReplyCancel

  • Nina04/07/2012 - 4:57 am

    Thank you for this amazing recipe and post. Even though simple and quick meals can be very satisfying, I also think that more time consuming dishes are (already in the process of making them) the most rewarding and I would love to get inspired by the magazine just like you.ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate06/07/2012 - 10:26 am

    Just returned from the tropics and I’m still drooling at the sight of creamy coconutty goodness. Teleport a big forkful of this pie to Oklahoma, will you please?ReplyCancel

  • Happy Birthday to Me! |11/07/2012 - 2:44 am

    […] being in nature and hopefully blowing out 27 candles on something that is as delicious as this banana split ice cream pie from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Ken21/06/2013 - 4:06 pm

    Making ice cream come out right is usually the hardest part of the recipe, and this recipe makes this step look so easy. Also, the pictures are phenomenal.


  • Nathalie25/03/2014 - 1:02 pm

    What if you don’t own an ice cream maker ? Will it work just to freeze tje banana/coconut mixture ?ReplyCancel

  • […] No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and […]ReplyCancel

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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.

pin it!pin it!pin it!
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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raw chocolate cherry mousse cake + birthdays

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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!ReplyCancel

  • 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 : )ReplyCancel

  • 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…ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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 :)ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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}ReplyCancel

  • […] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa & Quinoa. […]ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • Márcia Gonçalves22/06/2012 - 5:24 am

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

  • Julia22/06/2012 - 9:48 am

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

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Patalsky23/06/2012 - 8:52 pm

    yummmm. Lovely pics Laura :)ReplyCancel

  • Linda23/06/2012 - 10:17 pm

    I assume these to be sweet cherries?ReplyCancel

    • Laura24/06/2012 - 1:34 am

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

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

    This salsa is so unique! Love this idea!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • […] 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! […]ReplyCancel

  • 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…ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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…ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • […] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 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 […]ReplyCancel

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

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

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

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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  […]ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • […] 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 […]ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

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

  • 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!ReplyCancel

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

  • 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 […]ReplyCancel

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

  • […] […]ReplyCancel

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

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

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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. :)ReplyCancel

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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,

pin it!pin it!pin it!
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! :)ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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….}ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

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

    These are so pretty! Awesome idea!ReplyCancel

  • Shanna13/06/2012 - 5:42 pm

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

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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 : )ReplyCancel

  • 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! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine15/06/2012 - 11:48 am

    Congrats on 1 year! and the bike riding!

    I love cornmeal, these look delicious!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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 : )ReplyCancel

  • myfudo16/06/2012 - 12:17 am

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

  • 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, […]ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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.ReplyCancel

  • 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. […]ReplyCancel

  • 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. xReplyCancel

  • 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 :-)ReplyCancel

    • 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 […]ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia24/08/2014 - 12:56 pm

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

  • […] 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 […]ReplyCancel

  • Raymah Satterly01/01/2015 - 11:20 am

    Could this recipe be used as waffles and made in the waffle maker? If not, I’m still making pancakes! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright04/01/2015 - 4:25 pm

      Hi Raymah, I’ve never tried this one as a waffle before, but generally speaking waffle batter tends to be thicker than pancake batter. I’m sure if you reduced the liquid in this recipe by about a third, you could get away with making these into waffles.

  • […] think I’m getting the best deal. I was inspired by the blog The First Mess and her post about Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, which I combined with my favourite basic vegan pancake recipe from to create […]ReplyCancel

  • Ruth12/05/2015 - 10:47 am

    These pancakes did not work for me! They just crumbled. I used almond milk and brown rice flour and everything else was the same. I probably won’t make these again.ReplyCancel