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I needed a bit of goddess-y feeling in my life lately. Had a weird, mega busy week that was ample in frantic running around and silliness, but kind of lacked for quality sleep, green vegetables, me-time, and overall goodness. End result on my day off? I’m super sniffly, fiery throated, head full of grossness and just kind of cranky in general. Pizza to the rescue! Oh, and lots of ginger tea and rest. Those are important too.

Ask me today what my favourite food is and you’ll probably get a wide-eyed, dragged out, hands gesturing upwards “PIZZAAA!,” spoken like a true 10 year old. I have a lot of favourite actual-composed dishes, ingredients etc, but I eventually always come back to pizza with the widest open arms. The dough recipe here is the focus of The Food Matters Project this week (I’m a little late to the party, oops). The original recipe is mostly whole wheat flour cut with a bit of all purpose. My version is half whole wheat and half rye flour. I also allowed for a 24 hour chilled fermentation (as opposed to the recommended 6-12 hours) to ramp up the sourness and overall flavour of the dough.

The broccoli stem pesto was born out of resourcefulness. I don’t always enjoy the stems sliced and steamed up with the florets like some, but it always seems like such a large bit to throw away. Saving food from the compost for the win.

A few words on using a pizza stone: it is advantageous if you’re after crisp, but still pillowy crust i.e. you should probably get one soon. I’ve read in various publications that the ideal temperature for cooking up proper napoli-style pizza ranges from 700 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.  Like yours (probably), my oven doesn’t run that hot and I would be a touch nervous taking it over 550 anyway. So! I light up the barbecue and place the stone on the grates. It usually hits around 600 if you have the patience, which is close enough for me.

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green goddess pizza with broccoli stem pesto
serves: 2
notes: Definitely try to act quickly once you open the lid of the barbecue to slide the pizza onto the stone. The heat will escape pretty quickly.

1 recipe of Mark Bittman’s pizza dough

pesto:
2-3 thick broccoli stems, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
5-6 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, tough parts of stem removed
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

toppings, etc:
5-6 asparagus stalks, peeled into ribbons
3 stems of kale, leaves removed and finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful of finely chopped chives
1/2 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta
cornmeal for pizza stone

Heat your barbecue up to 500-600 degrees F (or put your oven to 500). Place a pizza stone on top of the grates to heat up (or on the bottom rack of the oven).

Make the pesto: place chopped broccoli stems, walnuts, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to finely chop ingredients. Add oil and continue to pulse until a smooth paste is achieved. Set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/3-1/2 inch thickness. Dust pizza peel with cornmeal and transfer rolled out dough to the peel. Spread pesto on top of crust. Top with half of the feta.

Toss together the asparagus peels, chopped kale, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, chives, salt and pepper. Set aside.

With the pizza peel, quickly transfer the pizza to the barbecue on top of the pizza stone. Close the lid and cook for about 5 minutes, until bottom is lightly browned and dry. Lift the lid and place the asparagus and kale mixture on top along with the remaining feta. Close the lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove pizza from the stone with the peel. Cut into slices and serve.

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  • Erin18/04/2012 - 7:52 pm

    I love your comment about sounding like a 10 year when it comes to pizza because that is totally me. I usually jump up and down, clapping my hands together chanting “pizza! pizza! pizza!” I also have to say, love the use of the broccoli stems!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy18/04/2012 - 11:28 pm

    I just recently made a broccoli pesto, and it was delicious. Thus I affirm your choice wholeheartedly. This pizza looks wonderful! Hope all of its green goodness brought you right back to normal!ReplyCancel

  • […] Green Goddess Pizza from Laura of The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar19/04/2012 - 9:38 am

    This is so full of goodness! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah19/04/2012 - 12:22 pm

    This looks delicious and fresh! Very beautiful. XxReplyCancel

  • Margarita19/04/2012 - 2:08 pm

    Never would have thought of using broccoli stems for pesto. I hate tossing them out, now I know better! :) Love all the healthy goodness in this pizza!ReplyCancel

  • Kate19/04/2012 - 5:37 pm

    I’ve been reading Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal, where she advocates using every last bit of vegetables and I love the idea of using the broccoli stems for a pesto. I’ve made pesto out of so much…. beet greens being my most favorite…. and recently took the stems from a whole box of rapini and sauteed them with onion to make a pilaf. It was delightful.

    But…. I’m off topic from pizza. From broccoli. And now I’m hungry for pizza, and for broccoli.ReplyCancel

  • […] there now. I´m having a spring fling with all of Lauras recipes! Like these ice cream cookies or this green goddess pizza. A true gem in the world of healthy and super inspiring […]ReplyCancel

  • kels20/04/2012 - 1:33 pm

    I used to snub the stems too until I had a chef here locally tell me to peel the outside skin and then shave the stem into ribbons, steam, and mix with pasta. Huge improvement. I’ve tried this method too with pasta, but not on pizza. Very, very cool.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey23/04/2012 - 8:00 pm

    I love my pizza stone! I feel like I can tell a significant difference when I use it to bake up pizzas. Your recipe feels so SPRING. Pizza solves so many of the world’s problems (or maybe just my own, and yours too heheh)ReplyCancel

  • Shelley24/04/2012 - 8:20 pm

    First off.. YUM! I am in a pizza kind of mood and I think this would be an amazing recipe to try. Secondly, I have never thought of putting my pizza stone on the grill, but now I want to try. Question… is it safe to let the flame touch the stone? Is it silly that I am even asking that? I would love to know if there are any special tricks to ensure the stone doesn’t crack. Let me know if there is something special that needs to be done.

    Beautiful, as always! xoReplyCancel

  • Denise | Chez Danisse25/05/2012 - 1:27 pm

    It looks wonderful. This is what you create when you are super sniffly, fiery throated, head full of grossness and just kind of cranky in general? I am impressed. Hope you are feeling much better.ReplyCancel

  • […] Broccoli Stem Pesto (vegan) […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate01/10/2013 - 11:25 am

    Can you freeze the pesto?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright01/10/2013 - 12:31 pm

      Hi Kate, you can certainly freeze the pesto as long as your pour a little layer of oil on top of it before you pop the lid on and freeze it. The oil helps to maintain the colour and integrity of it.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Green Goddess Pizza  |   Hummus & Olive Pizza  | Kale & Beet Pizza […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Green Goddess Pizza – Who ordered the green pizza? This is a monochrome pizza that brings plenty of different textures, and a host of superfoods to the table. The dough is made fresh, and there’s pesto here, plus an assortment of green foods that are going to lend their phytonutrients and flavor to make this a pizza you won’t soon forget. Asparagus and kale. ‘Nuff said. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Green Goddess Pizza – Who ordered the green pizza? This is a monochrome pizza that brings plenty of different textures, and a host of superfoods to the table. The dough is made fresh, and there’s pesto here, plus an assortment of green foods that are going to lend their phytonutrients and flavor to make this a pizza you won’t soon forget. Asparagus and kale. ‘Nuff said. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] soba: 2-3 portions of soba noodles (I like a 1:1, sometimes 1:2, noodle + veg ratio, but make as much as you prefer) 1/2-1 full bunch of broccoli, cut into florets (save the stalks for green juice or maybe some pesto?) […]ReplyCancel

  • mar 10 | meet us on monday23/04/2014 - 3:22 am

    […] Green Goddess Pizza (recipe inspiration) Cuisine: American/Italian Host: James Games: N/A […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I was ready to bust out of my boring, vegetable-starved pattern when I came across a recipe for broccoli-stem pesto from First Mess. Bingo. I decided to make a spring pasta with penne, some heirloom grape and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] from What’s Cooking Good Looking Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli Stems from Kalyn’s Kitchen Green Goddess Pizza with Broccoli Stem Pesto from The First Mess Broccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing from Simply Recipes Garlic […]ReplyCancel

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I inadvertently took a week off from this little spot, oops. But I’ve made up for it with 287438634972 words worth of text and a lovely spring salad with farro and grilled stuff. Oh yes, get ready.

I caught myself doing something really weird the other day (not like in a feel-super-awkward-after-reading kind of way, don’t worry), but ultimately I laughed at the whole thing. I do a little bit of photography for a food magazine here and there. Just little jobs, yes, but something to take a bit more seriously and work at, which I love. Anyway, I had made one of the dishes they requested, plated it up, brought it over to my lighting rig (a giant window with a tinfoil-ed sheet of bristol board–super advanced), and set everything down.

Then I started meticulously fluffing a pristine, bright white kitchen towel gathered next to the dish, as if it were a pillow on a sofa. And then I placed a serving spoon just so on top of the towel, gleaming from the vinegar polish I gave it prior to–purely for appearance. The whole thing was getting tupped (term of endearment for placing food in tupperware) immediately following this exercise. Looking at a few initial shots, the image seemed bare so I considered a casually calculated placement of some raw ingredients or knick knacks in the background. But did I  have enough perfect-specimen raw ingredients left? Do I even have knick knacks that are rustic-chic enough? I do not want to look like a try-hard with, like, anything remotely new-seeming and non-antiqued. My kitchen twine is pure white! Not even remotely burlap-y and how am I going to even fray this stuff for a picture and… WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME.

Actual life situation: None of my kitchen towels are virginal white. Nor are they ever fluffed/futzed with pre-service. Sorry in advance if you were looking forward to that. They hang haphazardly on the oven door handle, like everyone else’s. Oh, and they generally have a couple of avocado fingerprints on them, you know, the ones that start bright green and then change to gross brown in 5 minutes. My serving spoons probably all have water spots. I say probably because a soup spoon seems to work fine for serving on most nights. I’ve never made a habit of artfully arranging raw ingredients on the dinner table to fill in the white space between plates so that my peeps can get a real sense of the meal’s contents. “Can you pass the roasted potatoes, but PLEASE! DO NOT adjust those thyme sprigs and lemon slices nearby. Dude, I spent a lot of time arranging those to enhance your dining experience!!” I don’t own knick knacks. I do not aspire to own knick knacks.

Not that there is anything wrong with having clean kitchen towels, polished silverware, sprawling food-based arrangements and rustic-chic-but-slightly-modern-urban-sophisticate items in the home. There really isn’t! I honestly have a bit of envy for that dedication to ambient, gorgeous home-dwelling, but I’ve accepted that it will never work for me in a practical way. It’s not an accurate reflection of what happens in our warm, slightly disorganized and sunny kitchen, so it will never appear that way in this space, which is essentially a food-focused journal of sorts. It’s a little bit of life right here.

I like imperfections in a non-lazy way, realness if you will. After being annihilated (in the best way) by this post, I started thinking about that a lot more. I started a blog because I wanted to make-contagious my love of cooking whole food at home, however clumsy or ho-hum at times; not to make home cooks feel like shit because they couldn’t stack, drizzle and present table-side something in the exact manner that I did. I want the cooking masses to have reverence for leafy greens, ripe fruit in season, and whole grains like I do. Seriously. There’s a vibrance in spring time, when out from the cold dirt comes fresh and delicious things we can all eat together to remind us of greater systems at work. It evokes the big mystery that you can’t always explain with words but you feel completely. I know that antique cans wrapped in twine with blossoms inside, food props and perfectly clean and pressed table linens with adorably quaint non-hemmed edges (beautiful as they are) don’t bring me to that place. A garlic scape just poking out of some straw-covered dirt in the shadow of a decidedly unglamorous tractor shed is always ready for its close up around here and I hope you can appreciate the honesty in that as much as I do.

And today’s recipe? It’s pretty awesome if you’re a super-bitter greens lover. You can throw the salad portion together well in advance, then grill the endives last minute, drizzle the reduction on top and you’re golden. This makes a wonderful lunch or a side attraction to some protein, maybe a maple and hot mustard glazed piece of tempeh, a couple of poached eggs, whatever you like. It’s nice to have outside on the still slightly cool evenings, all bundled in a warm sweater, with wine or a beer or whatever. I love the chewiness of farro, but since we’re all about approachability you could use any grain that you have lying around. That principle applies to all of the other add ins as well. Go wild and go forth with realness.

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farro and white bean salad with grilled endives
serves: 6-8
notes:  I really mean it on the bitterness, the grilling brings out that strong flavour in the endives, kind of bringing it into love or hate territory. Also, I like to slightly undercook the farro to retain some of the chewiness and deep brown colour. If you like your grains softer, cook about 10 minutes longer than I’ve specified.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (doesn’t have to be baller-level quality)
1 cup farro (whole grain spelt or spelt berries), rinsed
1 cup cooked white beans
1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried currants
2.5-3 ounces arugula, chopped
1-2 belgian endives (probably 2, mine was crazy huge), trimmed of rough outer leaves and cut in half lengthwise
1 head radicchio, trimmed of rough outer leaves and cut into quarters
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper

dressing:
juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup-worth)
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or olive, sunflower etc)

Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until vinegar is reduced by half and it coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Once adequately reduced, remove from the heat, scrape into a separate container and place in the fridge to set up.

Place farro in a medium saucepan with 2.5 cups of water over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse with cold water and dump into a large bowl. Set aside.

To the cooked farro, add the white beans, chopped almonds, currants, chopped arugula, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the dressing: whisk together the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil while quickly whisking the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Pour over farro and bean mixture and toss to combine.

Heat a grill to medium high. Brush the endive and radicchio pieces with the grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the endives on the grill on their cut sides. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until you see some charring/browning of the leaves. Flip them over and repeat cooking process. Remove from the grill when charred a bit on all sides and slightly tender to the touch.

Place dressed farro and bean mixture in a serving plate. Arrange grilled endive pieces on top. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the whole thing and serve.

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  • la domestique09/04/2012 - 1:11 pm

    I love grilled radicchio and endive (which is what I made for chicory week at la Domestique) and cannot handle how fantastic your salad is with the farro! I think keeping it real is also about having a point of view, a personality, and that’s what makes things interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey09/04/2012 - 1:11 pm

    Cheers to ALL of this.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah09/04/2012 - 1:47 pm

    Keep on keeping it real Laura! I think you can take pretty real photos. I love the photos with your hands touching the food, or fiddling around in the garden. I also have started to find the over-styled food posts meh. (Or even posts all about food overly pretty food. SOME DAYS I DON’T WANT TO COOK!) It’s pretty, but it’s not real.

    Have you read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? It’s a great writing book, and she has a chapter on perfectionism.

    “Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived.”ReplyCancel

  • Eileen09/04/2012 - 2:12 pm

    I agree completely! I waver between wanting to improve my inconsistent food photography and wanting to avoid presenting cooking as this perfect unattainable art. There must be some happy medium involving a couple of good lights and an ordinary dinner table. The photography in Nigel Slater’s cookbooks comes to mind.

    And those grilled endives look fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • sara09/04/2012 - 4:18 pm

    first off, hellooo delicious. second, and more importantly, I love you’re point. Recently creating a book with few props and like you a reflector made out of poster board, you constantly feel like you are “taking away” from someone’s impression on a dish you made. They won’t think it’s good if it’s not beautiful! That is the thing about food photography, we think the perfection seems to drive people to make these foods, but I’m not sure it is. I make things that look approachable, doable, something I can pull off without professional frosting or poaching skills etc. You create stunning work, Laura. Don’t let the expectation get in the way of your truth. You make wholesome goodness, and to see it in context of your everyday life, is ENOUGH. xoxoReplyCancel

  • adrienne10/04/2012 - 5:25 pm

    You (and Brian) read my mind. I’ve been having similar, frustrating thoughts lately that make me want to hit delete instead of publish. Who defined this world of perfectly styled food? That isn’t the kind of world that most of us live in or actually practice. I’ve become almost numb to food photography…everything looking so similar. But it’s the people like you—with real and honest writing and photos—that stand out. Keep on keeping on, my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Erin10/04/2012 - 5:43 pm

    Love all of this! I’ve learned that whatever I do, I need to be me and have it come through my photos because like you, my towels all have spots and most of my cutting boards look like they’ve been put through hell and back. I find myself simplifying how I shoot and I’ve really been into photography raw ingredients (with dirt and all) because I know it freak people out :)ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate10/04/2012 - 7:03 pm

    Yes yes yes yes yes! That’s what I was thinking as I read this post. I’ve been thinking about this subject a whole lot lately, and how it applies to the way I photograph food. I think what happens is that people want to learn to take better photos (and for good reason, a bad photo can make a delicious dish look totally unappetizing!). So they buy books and study other blogs (I’ve done a lot of both) and eventually their photos look like everyone else’s, cookie crumb placement and all.

    I was interesting in photography long before I got serious about cooking, so I do want my food photos to look artful, but in a totally approachable way. I like to think that my food prep photos help visitors visualize making the dish themselves, and it perpetually amazes me that people actually DO cook my recipes quite often, so I must be doing something right. I’m definitely in the process of changing the way I do things, though, evolving more into my own style… like recently, I looked at my tabletop and decided it looked good naked, without burlap. Who uses burlap for a tablecloth, anyway?!ReplyCancel

  • Cookie and Kate10/04/2012 - 7:05 pm

    Oh yeah, and this salad looks seriously amazing. I haven’t tried endive yet but I’m an arugula freak so I’m pretty sure I’d love it.ReplyCancel

  • Munchin with Munchkin10/04/2012 - 7:38 pm

    First, this salad looks incredible. I love endives, especially when they’re grilled. I have yet to give farro a try, it’s on my list though.

    Secondly, it’s so refreshing to hear that other bloggers are feeling this way too. I’ve been so frustrated lately with food photography and the trend of perfectly placed food with rustic antique props. I think it’s a style that has emerged from food porn sites. I’ve started to count how many images of mine get accepted because there is a burlap table cloth, and how many are denied because it doesn’t have that stylistic feel.

    I’m going to make a conscious effort to change things up. I feel like I’m in a food photography rut, and nothing but a good change can help me get out of it. Thanks so much for sharing! It’s comforting to know someone else feels the same way.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey10/04/2012 - 8:00 pm

    Keepin’ it real! I love this. And, I also think about this..oh…all the time! It totally stresses me out when s*** isn’t perfect on my site, and sometimes I just want to yell really loudly: “I DO NOT EAT FROM RUSTIC METAL BOWLS!” also: “MOST DAYS, I EAT NOODLES OR SAUSAGES FOR DINNER!” I think we do this because we love it, but at the end of the day, you gotta keep it real and stay true to who you are. I’ll continue to try working on my photos, and I’ll still try to make them pretty, but I won’t freak out if some of them start looking more ‘real.’ReplyCancel

  • sarah11/04/2012 - 9:51 am

    I really appreciated this post. I’ve found that while I love looking at pretty, well–styled and accessorized food photos, when I’ve tried to take photos like that it just doesn’t feel right. I love a bit of mess and realness to shine forth. My pictures only feel ‘right’ to me when I’ve used my own, personal used dishes and utensils – things I know and use and am comfortable with.

    I read that post you linked to last week, too, and have been mulling it over.

    Thanks for all your thoughtfulness.
    And your photos are lovely, as always!ReplyCancel

  • […] photo. It’s a bowl stacked on top of another bowl. Who uses two bowls when one does the job?! Laura’s latest post really drove home how silly food photography can be. I want my food to look real, like you could […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This Farro with grilled endives from Laura over at The First Mess. (Seriously, go over to her blog and say hi.  I love how real she is and one of my goals is to meet her in real life some day.) […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah12/04/2012 - 10:18 am

    Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t agree more. So often I feel like we as bloggers lose sight of what’s really important to us, and almost become selfish about it. Making readers feel good means more to me than a perfect picture. Bravo!ReplyCancel

  • Shannalee12/04/2012 - 5:22 pm

    This is my first time finding your site and can I just say, it is GORGEOUS. Love your layout, love your design, love your font choices. The photography is icing on the cake.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie13/04/2012 - 10:34 am

    First off – I am a super-bitter greens lover, so I dig cooked endive and this recipe. And, as long as your kitchen is warm and sunny, it doesn’t really matter if it’s slightly disorganized. Love your words in this post (and the pics).ReplyCancel

  • Kate15/04/2012 - 1:37 pm

    Why do people LOVE quaintly frayed, but perfectly pressed linens? Especially ones that look like they were cut from a burlap bag? My mother would look at that and snort ‘Ridiculous!’ and quite frankly, that’s what I think when I come across them. No one does that, really. Especially people with young children because we all know what bored little fingers do to frayed edges.

    And AMEN to ALL of this. AMEN to the annihilation of Brian’s post; I read that and thought ‘Ok world, get ready because this is going to ROCK it hard.’ and that’s why I don’t photograph that way, or diffuse it all with antique white light that looks like it belongs in a museum. I want to see photos of food and think “I would eat that.” and instead, I think “Nice art work!” and that’s really not the goal, at all.

    So cheers to you. And to this recipe. Both are necessary, and delightful.ReplyCancel

  • […] reading pieces from Laura, Kathryne, and many others, I’ve realized that without even knowing it, I’ve developed […]ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine17/04/2012 - 3:28 am

    I’ve only recently tried grilled endive….it is just lovely. I am yet to try faro however so am saving your recipe here to give it a go.ReplyCancel

  • Karen28/03/2013 - 9:09 am

    Grilled radicchio is one of my favorite things – something about that slight char seems to tame its bite and soften the texture, and I love the contrast of smoky brown color with the interior, still that jewel-like magenta. I love your site; I want to jump in and taste everything here!
    Cheers, KarenReplyCancel

  • […] Enn-dive? On-deev? Who cares, let’s eat. Recipe here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Farro & White Bean Salad with Grilled Endives via the first mess […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!
I would love for you guys to think that I churn out some pretty fabulous meals with just a sharp knife, some pots and pans, wooden spoons, a heat source and a baking sheet here and there. Doing more with less. Staying rustic and true to tradition, exercising and improving abilities over time, really working for the meal etc. I would say a majority of our food goes down in that sort of way. Treating ingredients simply often yields the most wonderful possible result. Minimal fuss and good seasoning = delicious eats. I do enjoy problem solving and contemplation, but when I get a bunch of fresh radishes I’d rather act out of instinct so as to enjoy immediate gratification. Buttered bread, the radishes thickly sliced, coarse salt all on top. Sit back and aaah. Didn’t really have to think about it, minimal dishes to wash up, happy days for sure.

Having said all of that, I own a few single-use/make-complex kitchen wares: a dehydrator, 2+ HP blender, food processor, rice cooker, immersion blender, mandolin slicer, cherry pitter, ice cream maker and most importantly, a waffle iron. A good chunk of these were gifts, but I do use them, and with great joy and gratitude I will add. Modern conveniences are well… convenient and can ramp up the game of any home cook at any level. Instead of using a mortar and pestle for hours, one can make a large batch of pesto in minutes by dumping everything in a food processor, instantly improving a bowl of pasta, a crust of bread, a salad dressing, a plate of roasted veggies etc. Similarly, instead of making pancakes (which almost any home cook can do), one can slap a similar batter into a waffle iron and whoa. Deluxe breakfast at home is ours at last and you don’t even have to flip them over.

That brings me to today’s recipe.  There’s so much coconut in these and with the sweet maple syrup in the batter, it really reminded me of a macaroon, with the crisp chewiness and everything. The almond meal really helps with that crisp exterior… just so surprisingly good. And while these waffles are super delicious, vegan, gluten free, wholesome etc, they were actually quite challenging to develop. I will say that making them isn’t a total cake walk. While a waffle iron is a very cool, modern convenience, some of the most crushing defeats I’ve had in the kitchen were at the hands (irons?) of this thing. The anticipation is just so great, you only use this appliance for one delicious purpose, the whole thing is shrouded in mystery, then you open it up and the batter is sticking everywhere, separating, the machine doesn’t stop beeping, the steam! smell of burning and on and on. Once I figured out that I had to use exactly a 1/2 cup of batter and grease the irons every time, it was all good. Deluxe brunch heaven was here for the day, I wiped off the machine, lovingly wrapped it up and put it away for another couple months.

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banana coconut waffles (or pancakes)
serves: makes 6 waffles
notes: As stated above, the precise 1/2 cup measure of batter and in-between iron greasing is very important here. When lifting the finished waffles out of the machine, be gentle. A simple fork helps quite a bit with this. Also, I think you could work these as pancakes without any adjustments.

2 tbsp ground chia or flax seeds
1 large banana, mashed well
1 1/4 cups non dairy milk
1/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil + more for greasing
2 tbsp maple syrup + more for serving
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal/flour
1 cup gluten free oat flour (grind gluten free rolled oats in a food processor/coffee grinder)
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour (rice flour or a GF blend would work too)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
pinch of salt

Plug in your waffle iron and preheat to desired doneness setting. I like these more on the dark side. Line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat your oven to 225 degrees F (to keep waffles warm as they finish).

Whisk together the ground chia/flax, mashed banana, non dairy milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oat flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, arrowroot, cinnamon, coconut and salt. Stir together until thoroughly mixed together.

Give the banana mixture a stir before adding it to the flour mixture. Fold it into the flour until you have a homogenous stiff batter-like mixture.

Open up the waffle iron and grease the irons lightly with coconut oil. I usually just dip a wadded up paper towel into the oil and rub it onto the irons quickly. Pour a 1/2 cup of batter into the middle of the bottom iron. Don’t spread it out. Close the lid on top and wait. All waffle irons differ on cooking times. Mine took about 4 minutes each.

Remove the  waffle carefully and place it onto the parchment lined sheet. Place sheet into the preheated oven to keep warm. Grease the iron again and repeat until all batter is used. Enjoy with maple syrup, more shredded coconut, fruit etc.

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  • Caitlin29/03/2012 - 12:50 pm

    these waffles look DELICIOUS! and healthy AND gluten-free! now i just need a waffle iron… ;)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar29/03/2012 - 1:21 pm

    What a fabulous idea! I could eat this any time of day.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique29/03/2012 - 1:22 pm

    Waffles are such a treat, and I’m really feeling the coconut/banana flavor combination going on here.ReplyCancel

  • Margarita29/03/2012 - 2:18 pm

    I don’t have any fancy gadgets at all… :( so, I just have to make do. These delicious waffles will have to become pancakes. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine29/03/2012 - 11:41 pm

    I got my waffle iron about 5 years ago and used it exactly once… but this makes me want to break it out again :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey30/03/2012 - 11:10 am

    Recently Nicole at Eat This Poem mentioned how there are some things she’s come to terms with that she’ll leave to the pros. I think Waffles are one of them. What’s even worse though, is that going out to breakfast, I never can find a waffle as healthy and bangin’ as this sort. It’s a problem. When we’re neighbors and garden together and the like (wink wink) I’ll trade you a hug for waffles. :)ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Jung30/03/2012 - 12:27 pm

    Oh, almond meal flour! I use that in cakes, but using it in waffles is a genius idea. I bet the texture is wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • sarah01/04/2012 - 1:13 pm

    These are lovely! I love the last photo especially. I recently pulled out my waffle iron – my kids had been begging me for some, and I hadn’t used it in years. They are a bit tricky, but worth it.ReplyCancel

  • Nimi03/04/2012 - 1:56 pm

    Saw your post this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about how good these looked until nothing would do but having these for breakfast. Needless to say that will not be the last time I make these, they are super delicious!! Thank you for the great recipe and it is much appreciated having a gluten and dairy free recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren04/04/2012 - 3:17 pm

    I had my boyfriend make these waffles for my birthday breakfast yesterday and they were the best waffles I’ve ever had. The texture and flavor were perfect. Thanks for sharing your kitchen – I make and adore all of your recipes. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley06/04/2012 - 1:29 am

    I am in love! Lately I’ve had quite a hankering to invest in one of these. I had no idea it would be so tricky either! I’ll definitely be back to follow your sage advice when I set out to make some.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie13/04/2012 - 10:36 am

    You are a braver cook than I for tackling gluten-free, vegan waffles. Inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • Elisa18/04/2012 - 2:40 am

    I just found your blog, and I’m feeling very out of the loop, because surely I should have come across such an amazing blog sooner? Love it.

    And the waffles sound amazing! What a great flavor combination, yum.ReplyCancel

  • Marae20/04/2012 - 9:24 pm

    just made these for dinner–absolutely perfect! didn’t have any problems with sticking. i only had 2 tbs coconut oil left so i used peanut butter for the remaining 2 tbs and the combination with banana made them delicious even without topping. thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess’s Banana Coconut Waffles (or pancakes) recipe stood out for a few reasons. First, I like that it emphasizes oiling the grids between each waffle—I’ve seen a few people get turned off by vegan waffles right off the bat because they often do require more frequent oiling than non-vegan waffles. That, of course, doesn’t make the vegan waffles inferior; it’s just a simple fact. The other interesting point is the use of either ground chia or flax seeds. I’ve talked to a few runners over the years who swear by chia pancakes as a great energy source (per the discussion of chia in Born to Run), but haven’t yet tried it as a waffle binder. […]ReplyCancel

  • Satheian21/09/2012 - 12:31 pm

    Does anyone have advice for replacing the rolled oats and sorghum flour?
    The recipe sounds amazing but I don’t eat any grains, not just gluten free.ReplyCancel

    • Laura24/09/2012 - 9:57 am

      Hi Satheian,

      Can you consume bean-based flours? A garbanzo flour might be able to fill in for the oats and sorghum. I would sweeten up the batter a bit and add some more vanilla to cover up any possible bean-y quality. Alternatively, if you do eat eggs, Caitlyn from Roost Blog has a great recipe that also incorporates yogurt (you could use dairy or coconut or soy-based yogurt I’m guessing). Here’s the link for that: http://www.roostblog.com/roost/almond-yogurt-waffles-with-orange-honey-syrup.html

      Best,
      LauraReplyCancel

  • Afrina11/02/2013 - 1:21 pm

    Hi !
    Can the oat flour be replaced by buckwheat flour ? Also I have brown rice flour so would that work as the rice flour ? Thanks !ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright11/02/2013 - 2:31 pm

      Hi Afrina! I think the brown rice flour might be a better substitute. Buckwheat’s flavour might be too strong for this combo. Hope that helps :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Marywithgarden12/04/2013 - 2:45 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the hours I know you spent on developing this recipe! I have tried and failed at gluten-free waffles over and over. I was in a holding pattern between looking for another recipe to try and suffer possibly another defeat or giving up entirely. Your comments about the difficultly you experienced convinces me to give this a try.ReplyCancel

  • marywithgarden13/04/2013 - 12:19 pm

    Wanted to share that I did try these today. I have a Belgian waffle maker which I realized offers another level of challenge to gluten-free waffles.

    However, with this recipe I had success! Here are some additional tips that I learned. Cook in the center of the waffle iron and take out as soon as the waffle iron tells you that the waffle is done. Overcooking the waffle made it very hard to remove from the iron. I used a bamboo chopstick to release the waffle as well as a fork.

    Couldn’t be happier with the result! Thanks again for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Palmer06/05/2013 - 4:09 pm

    I made these w/ the chia instead of flax and the flavor is great – but I had a super hard time with them sticking to the waffle iron… I only have a Belgian iron so maybe that was it :( But the pieces I ripped off the iron were super yummy haha. I tried 3 times and then made pancakes. I would love to try them again with a regular iron and see if that works. Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] a weekday are rough, even for me. Lots of gluten-free ingredients I didn’t want to mess up in this recipe. So I substituted regular all-purpose flour which probably wasn’t the best idea. They were […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and finally made it to my table (adapted to be gluten-free of course). Also on the table were these banana coconut waffles from The First […]ReplyCancel

  • swava pearl28/02/2014 - 6:27 pm

    Could I make the batter the day before and refrigerate it until the next morning or is it best to whip together just before cooking?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright02/03/2014 - 1:35 pm

      Hi Swava,
      I’ve never made the batter for these in advance, but I don’t see how that would be a problem. The batter might thicken up a bit in the fridge overnight, so a little thinning out with almond/coconut milk wouldn’t hurt the next morning. Let me know how it goes if you try it.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Satpreet K.28/05/2014 - 2:38 am

    Oh my gosh.

    As a former passionate lover of breakfast foods who found out a year ago that I am severely allergic to gluten, I had basically given up on finding a good, relatively healthy pancake recipe.

    When I made these tonight, I didn’t even have very high hopes. Not only was this a waffle recipe, but with no eggs, gluten, or dairy, and chock full of good fats and calories, I thought there was no chance they would turn out well.

    But I was absolutely wrong. These are delicious. Just sweet enough, hearty, filling, and with a great texture. I always say that the sign of a good pancake (or waffle) is the fact that you don’t need any maple syrup on top, and this was totally the case with these. Not a drop of additional syrup, and they were delicious.

    Thank you so, so much for developing and sharing this recipe. I have enough battle leftover for breakfast tomorrow, and I am super psyched.

    TO ANYONE MAKING THESE AS PANCAKES:
    They pretty much just fall apart and don’t flip well, but you end up not caring, because they’re so damn good. So… pancake mush all the way!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Busck03/07/2014 - 6:25 am

    Hi, so excited as I’m asking for a waffle iron for my birthday. Do you have any recommendations please? I’ve never used one before. Thankyou! Jo xReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright03/07/2014 - 8:04 am

      Hi Jo, I have a basic model from Cuisinart that I’ve had for years. It’s never let me down :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jo Busck04/07/2014 - 11:27 am

    Thanks Laura. I’ll check them out. Cheers, Jo :)ReplyCancel

  • Luisa05/11/2014 - 7:26 pm

    These waffles were absolutely delicious. They were wonderfully crisp on the outside and not too wet on the inside, but every time I lifted the waffle maker top, no matter how well I oiled it, they almost always split in half! Not sure if it’s because the banana was quite big. Regardless of how they looks, they really were delicious and will be making them again! I never even told my family they were gluten-free and they loved them as well!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright10/11/2014 - 8:51 am

      Hi Luisa, Thanks for this comment. I’m sorry the waffles stuck and didn’t turn out as great! It’s taken years of using my own waffle iron to get it to that highly seasoned point where nothing sticks, but I understand your frustration. Another reader who made this suggested cooking the batter only in the center of the waffle iron and to cook them lightly for easier removal. I hope this helps!
      -LReplyCancel