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Kimberley’s banh mi with portobellos + pickled vegetables

KimberleyVIBRANT FOODbuilding some banh mi // the first mess

My favourite cookbooks either take me somewhere or challenge me in a new way. I think this is true for films, books, music etc. as well, but it has to be most especially true with cookbooks because frankly, I have too many. And if I’m makin’ space in my new shelf-y kitchen cabinet JUST for this sort of thing, or I’m aiming to cook with some serious intention from a new perspective, that possible new cookbook better be damn good.

This is just my point of view though. Once you’ve cooked for a while and made a serious effort to be around food in a professional setting, recipes begin to feel almost pointless. Almost. Certain books and audiences need them though. Baking is a good example here. But in a big picture-kind of sense, I’m more vested in the how of recipes and dishes, the cook’s philosphy and how they arrived at this full page photo and accompanying blurb. How many recipes for kale salad does one really need?! When an author goes beyond the recipes and makes you feel something or tells you their story in some way, it’s a whole other thing. Doors open, your vision expands and you think about new things that are possible. The book inspires you to the point where you can think a bit differently.

I’ve had Kimberley Hasselbrink’s book VIBRANT FOOD in my possession for about two weeks, and can safely say it’s one of those inspiring, thought-shifting kind of cookbooks that takes you somewhere. Maybe you read her blog The Year In Food and you already had a hunch that this could be possible? It’s organized by season and then further broken down by an almost micro-seasonal consideration by item. There’s a section on flowers for spring, herbs + greens for summer, tree fruits in fall, and hardy root vegetables in the winter segment, among many others. You get a sense of each season’s flavour and vibe through Kimberley’s photography and thoughtfully approached recipes.

I never thought to put squash blossoms in a quesadilla or to roll chocolate truffles in bee pollen, or to even approach a Japanese-style curry with kabocha squash and soba noodles. There’s some bangin’ renditions of more classic fare as well, like smoky red pepper soup and a shredded brussels sprouts salad with apples + pecans. All really good and beautiful things that could inspire anyone, at whatever level, to cook at home.

The first recipe I tried was a riff on her salmon banh mi sandwiches, with some portobello mushrooms instead. The whole time I was making it, it dawned on me how realistic it would have been for me to fix up something like this for dinner. You get your pickled veg going and the portobellos marinating a bit. You stir up a little mayo, clean some herbs and prep the bread. A minor bit of stove time and assembly leads to a most gratifying sandwich experience. There’s a sour-fresh crunch from the vegetables, the portobellos are meaty to the point of “Wait, really?!” and the mayo! It’s all fresh lemon and garlicky-ness, and it’s crucial for waterproofing (yes, that’s the term I’m using) that light baguette. I could see this as some sort of salad scenario with tons of fresh herbs in the mix with the lettuce and the portobellos all grilled and sliced on top. You could thin the mayonnaise with some of the pickling liquid for a solid dressing, and then make some baguette croutons to finish it off. See what I mean by a book showing you a new way to think?

High fives, Kimberley. It’s a beaut :)

kitchen bookshelf // the first messVIBRANT FOODVIBRANT FOODbanh mi fixindat vegeanaise // the first messportobello banh mi + pickled veg from VIBRANT FOOD // the first messportobello banh mi + pickled veg from VIBRANT FOOD // the first mess
portobello banh mi with pickled vegetables

lightly adapted (but barely) from Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink
serves: 4
notes: If you aren’t a mushroom person (WHAAAA??), tempeh or tofu would be so great here. I could even see some grilled pieces of eggplant as a decent replacement. Also, Grace has a particularly yummy looking version of vegetarian banh mi with sweet potatoes! Lastly, I used Vegenaise for the garlic aïoli, mostly out of ease (TRUTH BOMB: I would stock a case of the soy free at all times if I was a billionaire), but you could do a pine nut or cashew variation from the archives :)

pickled vegetable slaw ingredients:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup natural sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 big radishes OR 1/3 of a daikon radish, sliced paper thin
1/2 english cucumber, julienned

aïoli ingredients:
1/2 cup Vegenaise/other plant-friendly mayo
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tsp lemon zest
squeeze of lemon juice

banh mi ingredients:
4-6 portobello mushrooms caps (depending on size), cleaned
2 tbsp maple syrup OR dark agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt + pepper
1 baguette (French, Vietnamese or a GF one, depending on your need or what you can find)
big handful of cilantro leaves
equal handful of thai basil OR mint leaves
thin slices of chili (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the white vinegar, cane sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Place the julienned and sliced cucumber, radish and carrots into the bowl and toss them/submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Drain when ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the Vegenaise, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Cut the portobello mushroom caps into quarters and set aside.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the maple syrup/dark agave, tamari, sriracha, minced garlic and a hearty splash of warm water. Add some salt and pepper if you like. Place the quartered portobellos in the sriracha mix and let them sit for 15-20 minutes or so, flipping them over here and there.

Heat some oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place the portobello quarters into the pan and let them brown a bit on one side. Flip them over and brown a little more. Pour half of the sriracha marinating mix into the pan and simmer until reduced by at least half. Keep turning the portobello pieces in it. Once the mushrooms are reasonably soft and browned, remove them and place on a plate.

Build the sandwiches! Cut the baguette into 4 equal pieces. Spread the aïoli on both sides of all bread. Divide pickled vegetable slaw among the 4 bottoms of bread. Divide the quarters of portobello among the 4 sandwich bottoms. Place cilantro, mint, and Thai basil leaves on top of the portobellos along with the sliced chili. Place the mayo’d tops on top and enjoy.

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Jo from yummyvege12/06/2014 - 6:43 am

Wow this looks amazing, love the colour sombinations and “meaty” portobellos are making me hungry!

Millie l Add A Little12/06/2014 - 7:09 am

Yum! These look so delicious – love the sound of the marinade on the mushrooms and I would love to grill them on the bbq!

How to Philosophize with Cake12/06/2014 - 7:27 am

That cookbook DOES sound mind-blowing. Will have to check it out sometime! Love the banh mi with homemade pickled vegetables, that sounds delicious. :)

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan12/06/2014 - 8:34 am

I’m totally not a mushroom person (I know!), but this still looks amazing, I can’t wait to pick up her book!

la domestique12/06/2014 - 8:43 am

All I can say is, “Amen, sista!” Love what you say here about cookbooks and recipes. I can’t wait to get my hands on Kimberley’s book!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen12/06/2014 - 9:26 am

You’re such a talented writer; once again, I loved to read your post. I can’t wait to get my hands on Kimberley’s book! It seems like (almost) the whole food blogging community is raving about it. It must be truly stunning. In the meantime, I might make these banh mi which look absolutely delicious! The portobellos sound wonderful; I don’t think I’m going to have a craving to add any meat. Really who need meat when there are this amazing vegetables in the game?

Kathryn12/06/2014 - 10:08 am

I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy. I’m sure, as you predict, that it’s going to be one of those game-changer cookbooks that changes the way I think about food. I love your interpretation of this recipe too and the way you’ve captured it; it does true justice to Kimberley’s book.

Rachael | Spache the Spatula12/06/2014 - 3:31 pm

I am a bahn mi junkie, but I’ve never had one with portobello. These look fantastic and I need to be eating one right this second!

shanna mallon12/06/2014 - 4:27 pm

What a beautiful tribute and a meaningful one. Also girl. YOUR PICTURES! Prettier with every post, I mean it.

[…] craving a Bahn Mi with Portobellos and Pickled Vegetables from The First […]

Sara13/06/2014 - 6:22 am

Hi Laura,
In which culinary school did you go ?

(Oh, and sorry for my poor English)


Laura Wright13/06/2014 - 7:49 am

Hi Sara! I attended the nutritional culinary program at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario.

[…] would love to get my hands on one of these portobello bahn mi’s, some of this coconut and pistachio vegan ice cream and a few beer-battered onion […]

Grace13/06/2014 - 10:33 am

Dang Laura, so fabulous! This is the ultimate summer sandwich, piled high with fresh veg and fragrant herb. Your pictures make me want to grab a sandwich, stand on your porch, chow down and chat about vibrant food!

Kimberley13/06/2014 - 12:39 pm

I love all of this so much. I cannot wait to make your version with portobellos. I love your creativity with food, it’s so inspiring. And I was kinda floored by your words. You rule!

ATasteOfMadness13/06/2014 - 11:19 pm

Oh my god. I want the book!

kristie @ birchandwild.com14/06/2014 - 8:59 pm

This looks so delicious. I might have to try to make a gluten free version. The colors of the vegetables really pop in your photos, which are beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

[…] On enchaîne avec une recette de banh mi vegan qui me fait saliver. […]

[…] Banh mi with portobellos and pickled vegetables ~ this sounds amazing. […]

Pre17/06/2014 - 4:24 pm

This looks amazing! So happy to have found your blog. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

alia18/06/2014 - 12:42 pm

This recipe is what dreams are made of. Would it be ok to pickle the veggies overnight? or are they really only meant for a short pickle period? also, how long might they keep? (i’m dreaming of making a big batch and eating them throughout the week)

Laura Wright19/06/2014 - 8:03 am

Hi Alia, I think you could pickle the veggies overnight if you cut them thicker than what I show in my photos. I only did the julienne strips so that I could have them right away. In Kimberley’s book she recommends draining the pickles once their soft enough and storing them in a covered container in the fridge. I imagine if you cut the vegetables into bigger pieces, you could get away with leaving the pickling liquid while they refrigerate overnight. Hope this helps!

Sara27/06/2014 - 4:23 pm

Oh hi Vibrant Table on your bookshelf :-)

[…] banh mi sounds […]

[…] green rice salad with nectarines and corn // summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing // grilled halloumi with blueberries // grilled halloumi with strawberries // vegan banh mi […]

annie tucker23/09/2014 - 3:53 pm

i just got kimberly’s book and i am loving it! her banh mi definitely stuck out so I love seeing your version of it!

your food is beautiful!

Simone06/10/2014 - 9:19 pm

I LOVE this recipe! Made these last night, but sautéed little nut burgers with the same flavors you recommended for marinating the mushrooms PLUS I baked my own Vietnamese baguettes! It was an incredible dinner (albeit 5.5 hours in the making). I feel like my victory is OUR victory. Thanks Laura! High five!

Laura Wright07/10/2014 - 3:18 pm

Hey Simone,
You made your own baguettes too?!! So great! Love that level of commitment and the sound of your version with nut-based burgers. Too cool. Glad it worked out!
xo L

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messchive blossoms // the first messingredients for charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messmarinating some tofu // the first messto be grilled // the first mess
I took a little holiday from here and I really hope you don’t mind. Two weeks away from this space in the middle of spring-to-summer felt a bit indulgent and lazy until I realized that hey, I was never aiming for an endless conveyer belt of super-pretty-health-fun-wow-tasty-vibes with this site anyway. Almost three years of creating and sharing here, and I think I finally just grasped what the point of it really is.

I’ve always firmly believed that each person, each entity, is enough as is. We’re all pretty miraculous as lives living right here. It might be our work in life to wake up and just realize that one truth, to get to that state of pure feeling and experience–no words or actions necessary, nobody remembers those anyway. Moving forward from that accepted self means not being reduced by some of the more challenging episodes of the everyday, but instead just being and becoming. You do what you can with what knowledge is available to you, and next time? You’ll do it better just by virtue of having walked in that beautiful and probably messy path.

It’s easy to admire the beauty of something that smacks of completeness, but I’ve always been more interested in growth and how we get to there as a community, even if the “there” changes and moves along. How we work together and relate to pull ourselves out of a difficult spot or a challenge, I’m into that. I love reading and watching interviews with chefs, master carpenters, explorers, makers of all stripes, and people who just DO THINGS because their stories inevitably weave a rich-as-fuck tapestry of experience and lessons from their surroundings. They took their sense of selves, realized the might, made themselves a student of their community/environment, and in turn uplifted some portion of humanity. The mind that shifts and is able to see differently is something to behold.

So we’re always growing together over here. Maybe it’s a new kale salad technique, a new spice, some all-too-human recounts of events and feelings felt. I love that we can all interact over something so simple as a possible bite to eat between hello and goodbye, and on the internet to boot. Just great. Today I grilled an avocado and my sense of time and place went a little wild. So delicious! Its natural shape is perfect for a little stuffing of sorts, so I went to work on charring a few more things for that component. Some marinated tofu, pungent broccoli and a sweet lemon and mildly curry-ish sauce for smothering. The curry part was an accident too, the little bag of it selected when I intended to reach for ground cumin. No need to cope with the error because man, it’s good. Bright, warming, and lightly sweet. I found the whole dish a little strong/rich in terms of mouthfeel, so the sauce is in there to help along with some diced apricots that weren’t quite ripe. Just a touch of pucker to make it work and go pop.

I always feel compelled to dream up some kind of wholesome, feel-good grilled main for y’all this time of year. I know full well that the inclination is just rooted in what I want to eat since we’re creeping up on summer, but it’s also a bit of a counter to the sauced meat-laden magazine covers everywhere right about now. Surely this can’t STILL be feeling like a new thing, right? Eat your vegetables and show ‘em what you’re made of :) xo

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messgrillinpre-plate (charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce) // the first messassembling charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messcharred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first messcharred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with  sweet lemon curry sauce // the first mess

charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet curry lemon sauce
serves: 6
notes: Some cooked grain in this mix would be yummy if you’ve got some around. Also, swapping tempeh for tofu could be delicious. If you don’t want to bother with making the sauce, I think some super classic/classy barbecue sauce would be so, so proper.

charred broccoli, tofu + avocados:
1/4 cup olive oil + extra
1 tbsp dijon or grainy mustard
1 clove of garlic, peeled + sliced (optional!)
2 tbsp chopped chives + blossoms if you’ve got ‘em
big pinch chili flakes
5-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves rough chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice + zest
salt + pepper to taste
ground cumin to taste
1 package of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 stalks of broccoli, stems removed
3 firm, but ripe avocados
1-2 barely ripe apricots

sweet curry lemon sauce:
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 strip of lemon zest
1/2 tbsp dijon OR grainy mustard
1-2 tbsp maple syrup OR agave nectar
1/4 cup diced red onion
fat pinch of mild curry powder
small pinch of ground cumin
splash of filtered water (more or less depending on desired consistency)
salt + pepper
1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
3 tbsp-1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, chives, chili flakes, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cumin. Set aside.

Lay the tofu slices in a large dish and cut the broccoli into florets. Add the broccoli to the dish with the tofu slices. Pour the marinade mix over the tofu and broccoli. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinate for at least 1/2 and hour.

While the tofu and broccoli is marinating, make the sweet lemon curry sauce. Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, curry powder, cumin powder, water, salt, pepper, tamari, and oil in a blender and blend on high until you have a completely smooth mixture. Check the sauce for seasoning and place in the fridge while you grill

Preheat your grill to high. Cut the avocados in half, and remove all pits. brush the exposed surfaces with oil and season with salt + pepper. Set aside.

Start laying the tofu and broccoli on the grill. Cook until char marks appear on all surfaces, carefully flipping pieces of tofu and broccoli over here and there for even cooking. Remove all tofu and broccoli once it’s sufficiently cooked/charred. Place avocado halves on the grill and cook until char marks appear. Remove and place on a serving platter.

Chop up the tofu and broccoli into small pieces and toss together in a medium bowl. Dice up the apricots and add to the bowl as well. Toss with some more chopped chives or chive flowers if you want and spoon into the grilled avocado halves. Finish with drizzles of the sweet lemon curry sauce.

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Emily @ Cortado Chronicles05/06/2014 - 6:14 am

Um, yes. Yum. What a great recipe to come back with.
Being a vegetarian, BBQs in the summer months have been lingering in the back of my mind – how will others cope with my dietary requirements?!
I might throw my own ‘veggie’ BBQ party. Show non-veggies that BBQs sans meat can be exciting and fun too.

Valentina05/06/2014 - 7:10 am

Your photos make me really hungry!!! :D I’ll try this recipe, my boyfriend ate grilled avocado some years ago in Spain and sometimes it asked to make it for him – I’ve never tried it yet!

Magda05/06/2014 - 7:23 am

Indeed, if your blog was a conveyer-belt of recipes and photos, it would be a bad thing. Spontaneity and people writing after they have lived something in the real world, it’s what it’s all about.
Thanks for your words and for a great recipe.

anoushe05/06/2014 - 7:53 am

This looks amahzing!! :)

Millie l Add A Little05/06/2014 - 8:59 am

Gorgeous post as usual and those charred avocados look super tasty!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/06/2014 - 9:06 am

Grilled avocado? And if that’s not enough, filling that damn delicious looking grilled avocado? Girl, you’re a genius! Can’t wait to get into some summer grilling at our summer cottage. Will definitely make this recipe. Also, that second photo just blew my mind. Nature’s beauty which you’ve captured so perfectly.

The Naked FIg05/06/2014 - 9:21 am

This looks out of this world! I don’t even have words. Just WOW.

Monica05/06/2014 - 9:21 am

These photos are gorgeous, this recipe looks amazing, and I have those same flats! :) Therefore, this post is awesome.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth05/06/2014 - 9:35 am

Wow! Wherever you went for two weeks, can I go there?? Profound writing. Out of the box recipe. You go girl! Total awesomeness.

Kierstan05/06/2014 - 9:38 am

Well deserved time away from this beautiful blog.

Your photos and recipe are deliciously amazing. A perfect meal for a summertime BBQ, enjoyed with friends.

cynthia05/06/2014 - 10:21 am

Holy wow. This looks and sounds so phenomenal, Laura. If this isn’t super-pretty-health-fun-wow-tasty, I don’t know what is.

Also, it was so crazy awesome to meet you last week! You are every bit as chilled-out rad and fabulous that I imagined you to be.

Erica C. Barnett05/06/2014 - 12:36 pm

Wow. That photo of the tofu and garlic chives looks like a flower garden. Lovely (and I can’t wait to make this!)

Sophie05/06/2014 - 6:27 pm

Yum, this looks amazing! Thank you so much for your honest words, Laura. Sometimes I need to be remined that trying my hardest and learning along the way is the best accomplishment of all.

kristie @ birchandwild.com05/06/2014 - 8:24 pm

This looks so delicious and summer perfect! I can’t wait to try it. And beautiful photos, as usual!

Sophie05/06/2014 - 8:28 pm

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen tofu looking so beautiful! It must have been difficult to remove it from the marinade.. beautiful blog and photos.

Dick Punch05/06/2014 - 11:30 pm

I thought doze purdy purple flowers were fireworks in the dark picture. Mad decent.
Laura: Hi Nicole!

Légumes | Pearltrees06/06/2014 - 4:03 am

[…] charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

[…] Linked from: […]

This just looks SOOOOO gooood!!!!!! I’m in love with tofu and have recently started cooking a lot with this magic ingredient! I love the charred look on the broccoli and that curry sauce is like the best thing ever!!!!!!!

sarah06/06/2014 - 3:20 pm

‘but I’ve always been more interested in growth and how we get to there as a community, even if the “there” changes and moves along. How we work together and relate to pull ourselves out of a difficult spot or a challenge, I’m into that.’ Yes. Most my life I focused on end points and was always trying to arrive at some perfect place, or state. But it’s just all about the process, and one I figured that out, life became a much more beautiful place.

I appreciate your musings and thoughtfulness so much. And I never got to hug you goodbye! But that just means we have to see each other soon, right?xx

ps. grilled avocados? amazing.

[…] stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry. i can get behind this […]

jade08/06/2014 - 7:00 am

These photos are simply stunning – I am completely blown away.
You are a very talented lady, Laura.

la domestique08/06/2014 - 7:33 am

I love everything about this post. The sun is shining and I’m off to fire up the grill!

[…] permanent auf der Suche nach vegetarischen Grill-Rezepten – und bin fündig geworden: bei The First Mess sah ich gegrillte Avocados, mit einer Tofu-Brokkoli-Füllung, dazu gibt es eine süße […]

Jeanee09/06/2014 - 10:18 am

This loos SO GOOD! The photo of the seasoned tofu needs to be hung on the wall as a piece of framed art.

Lindsay10/06/2014 - 8:13 am

Thanks for this timely post. Love all of your images and recipes. Keep up the good work!

Grace from The Big Reveal10/06/2014 - 11:51 am

These look so delicious! I can’t wait to try it out. You have never steered me wrong, so I know it will be fabulous. And, your photography is always so stunning it makes me gasp out my desk. (I’m sure my coworkers think I’m nuts, but it’s worth it!)

Thanks for being a continued source of inspiration.

Kate10/06/2014 - 5:57 pm

This meal is absolutely stunning, improvised or not. I hear you—I’ve been feeling like a recipe factory lately and took a much-needed weekend break from my phone and my computer and cooking. I want to hang that sliced tofu photo on my wall. :)

[…] seen a recipe calling for warm or cooked avocado, I throw up in my mouth a little…until THIS. Another lovely vegan meal on The First Mess, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to […]

Danny Farrington14/06/2014 - 8:37 am

This all looks scrumptious – may I ask you where you got your lovely tableware from? I’ve been searching for weeks for bowls and plates like that!

[…] Asparagus Salad with Sweet Curry Sauce Serves 2. Adapted from The First Mess. You could cook the tofu more, or even fry it for more crispiness – same goes with the […]

Laura Wright15/06/2014 - 11:29 am

Hi Danny, I picked up the enamelware plates from a local antique shop.

Hungry? | Wilderness & Gold17/06/2014 - 1:42 pm

[…] Image of Charred Broccoli + Tofu Stuffed Avocados with Sweet Lemon Curry Sauce. […]

Links We Love | Roost Books20/06/2014 - 12:43 pm

[…] * A new take on avocados, transitioning into summer, and seeing everything as just right, as it is—effortless. […]

Laetitia24/06/2014 - 9:32 am

Wow, this looks amazingly delicious.

[…] * Charred broccoli & tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Shea26/06/2014 - 1:32 pm

This is the first of your recipes that I’ve made and I just had to comment to say it is so good! Particularly the sweet lemon curry sauce, YUM. A perfect dressing for other salads, too, if you’re like me and tired of the same old balsamic vinaigrette. I don’t have a grill, so I ended up roasting the marinated broccoli and tofu, and it came out great. I’ll definitely be trying more of your recipes!

[…] Thursday – charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Recettes | Pearltrees12/07/2014 - 11:03 am

[…] charred broccoli + tofu stuffed avocados with sweet lemon curry sauce […]

Stephanie14/07/2014 - 1:29 pm

Holy moly! This recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing – adding this to my BBQ bucket list!

[…] Charred broccoli and tofu stuffed avocado with sweet lemon curry sauce. (via The Kitchn) […]

jacqueline30/07/2014 - 10:42 pm

This was seriously good. Had to make a couple modifications as I had some treats from my CSA to use but the dressing and marinade I kept the same. The smokiness of the veg/tofu meeting the creaminess of the avocado was delicious. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

[…] ‘Charred Broccoli + Tofu Stuffed Avocados‘ — Well, anything with avocado is a given obviously. And anything […]

Catie03/08/2014 - 5:53 pm

These pictures are so gorgeous! Making food into art (and delicious! definitely going to try the next time avocados go on sale) Thanks!

Julia10/10/2014 - 12:15 am

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was incredibly delicious, and so creative!!!

But I think there’s a direction/ingredient error. Is there supposed to be avocado in the lemon curry sauce? I had assumed that was the case, looking at the photos, and noting that it lists the avocados twice in the ingredient list, but the directions don’t say to add avocado to the sauce. I added it anyway, and it was yummy …

Thanks for an amazing site – I discovered it about two weeks ago, and I’ve already made five of your recipes!

Laura Wright10/10/2014 - 3:07 pm

Hi Julia, I triple checked the recipe, and I’m pretty certain I only specified avocados once in the ingredients list. Although on a first pass, I saw “apricots” and mistook that for the avocados, so maybe that was it? Regardless, the lemon curry sauce doesn’t require avocado blended in it, but I can imagine that would be delicious. Glad you enjoyed it!

chickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers w/ vegan cashew lemon mayo

chickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers // the first messchickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burger ingredients // the first messdrying chickpeas // the first messchickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers // the first mess
My little neighbourhood is small and chatty. I was pulling out dandelions in my front yard when an older man that lives a few houses down came right over in his bare feet and joked that I was wasting my time before he introduced himself. It is pretty hard to keep up with those little suckers, but! John reminded me that they are edible, because he’s seen some of the “little old Italian ladies” cooking them up with garlic and whatnot. “What do they call it again…?” he asked. “Cicoria!” I said, recalling the waxed boxes of bitter greens that sometimes popped up at my dad’s store

So I finished up the little weeding session and poured myself an ice cold glass of water with a squeeze of lime, perched at my living room window for a minute. And what did I see next? John was digging the dandelions out of his front yard too. Didn’t he just say I was wasting my time?

I think makin’ it better is almost always contagious if approached with warmth and casual grace. Whether it’s the front lawn, the state of your home in general, the everyday food and drink choices, considerations of the whole world when you buy shampoo. That’s why people love healthy living-focused Instagram accounts, DIY blogs, them Oprah quote-graced cup sleeves at Starbucks, and the natural beauty products section of any given Target store.

It’s those shiny bits of the everyday that make some of the more elusive, heavy-with-life things seem within reach. Will those tiny actions stop the west Antarctic ice sheet from collapsing? Well no, and I don’t think I’ll be bringing that topic up with the neighbours anytime soon either. They always tell you to think big when you’re coming up, but focusing small has shown plenty of merit in my time here.

So as usual, plant-heavy meal preparation is the small focus strategy that reigns supreme. It keeps us feeling stronger in our immediate space, with a simultaneous awareness of how that choice can make an impact out there. Small and mighty. Except this burger is kinda huge. We enjoyed these one night with big piles of greens, and then I scarfed one in the more traditional way on some sourdough bread for breakfast the next morning. I had been thinking about Old Bay as the dominant flavour in a veggie burger. It’s generally more of a seafood kind of spice, but I knew that it would mingle nicely with a chickpea-based patty and a creamy, lemony mayo-like accompaniment. I was rather satisfied with how these came together. They punch all of the flavour and texture buttons for me, especially with a few slices of avocado in the mix. Maybe my neighbours will start asking for veggie burger recipes soon?

mix // the first messchickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers // the first messchickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers // the first messchickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers // the first mess
chickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers w/ cashew lemon mayo
serves: 4
notes: If you don’t vibe to oats/can’t be bothered making oat flour, feel free to use all chickpea flour for the total amount (1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons). I just did a mix because I was finding the chickpea flavour a bit strong. Also, I just make chickpea flour by grinding dry/non-cooked chickpeas in my blender. I feel like this could be possible in a food processor or coffee grinder as well. If you don’t have Old Bay in your nook of the world, you can make it yourself (link)!

burger mix ingredients:
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt + pepper (be mindful that Old Bay has hella salt already)
1/4 cup chickpea flour
3 tbsp oat flour
1/3 cup chopped chives

cashew lemon mayo ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 tbsp lemon juice
splash of white wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp-1/3 cup filtered water
salt to taste

assembly etc.!
buns, bread, boston/butter lettuce wraps, whatever you’re feeling
oil for sautéeing the burgers
avocado slices
red onion slices

Set a large pot with an inch or two of water over medium heat. Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket. Once the water in the pot is simmering, place the steamer basket in and put a lid on top. Steam the cauliflower until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower and run some cold water over it to prevent further cooking. Towel the florets lightly and then place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.

To the food processor, add the chickpeas, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, olive oil, lemon juice, salt + pepper. Pulse the mixture until you have a meal that clumps together when you squeeze it. You should still see little bits of chickpeas. Dump the chickpea and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flours and chopped chives until your mix is fully combined and the flour is absorbed. Taste the mixture for seasoning (hooray for no raw egg scares!) and adjust accordingly.

Divide the mix into 4 equal portions and form patties with your hands. Place the patties on a plate and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let these set up in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Make the cashew lemon mayo. In a blender pitcher, combine the cashews, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water to start. Blend the mixture on high, adding more water and scraping the sides as necessary. Keep going until you have a creamy/smooth mayo-like consistency. Scrape the mayo into a container, cover, and place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Heat a good slick  of oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Place the burgers in the pan, maybe two at a time maximum. Fry until one side is golden and then gently flip them over. Keep moving them around the pan to acvhieve maximal browning on the sides. Remove from the pan when the other side is golden. Keep warm on a parchment lined baking sheet in a low oven. Repeat with remaining burgers. Serve hot with lettuce wraps/buns, cashew lemon mayo, avocado, red onion etc.!

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Rosie @The Porridge Pot15/05/2014 - 5:43 am

I love old neighbors sharing their wisdom!

Lauren15/05/2014 - 5:48 am

these burgers look so yummy, i will definitely be making these !
Lauren x

Deena kakaya15/05/2014 - 5:56 am

Whenever I think of making bean or pulse burgers I always wonder if they will feel too dense. Your recipe looks light and crisp and your pictures are beautiful. X

Jo from yummyvege15/05/2014 - 6:41 am

These look great and I’ll definitely be trying the cashew mayo as I don’t like soya mayo.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar15/05/2014 - 7:35 am

This sounds so yummy!! Love that burger recipe – it looks so easy!

lynsey //lynseylovesfood15/05/2014 - 7:46 am

I love this story and I love the sounds of this burger. Makin’ it better! xo

Anne @AVeganAdventure15/05/2014 - 8:27 am

Old Bay seasoning is a great idea! The burgers look delish!

I love trying new veggie burger recipes! Pinning this to make it later. :)

Kate15/05/2014 - 9:02 am

Amen, Laura. I’d rather focus on small, tangible, good-for-us pleasures like cauliflower veggie burgers than the inevitable collapse of the ice sheet (yikes!). These burgers sound fantastic.

Lisa @ Simple Pairings15/05/2014 - 9:07 am

This looks like such a flavorful veggie burger, especially with that cashew lemon mayo. I think this is something that would be even better than a standard burger – more complex and dynamic! Pinned.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth15/05/2014 - 9:50 am

These sound fantastic. I love the punch you give it with the Old Bay spice!

Mila15/05/2014 - 2:47 pm

Great recipe and beautiful pics as usual!

Grace15/05/2014 - 4:27 pm

Beautiful outlook on life and a beautiful burger to go with it!

Tieghan15/05/2014 - 11:04 pm

These look so amazing. Love that cashew mayo!

links for you | jenneng16/05/2014 - 8:53 am

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Ellen16/05/2014 - 10:04 am

Love your recipes and photography! I’m wondering what kind of blender is shown there and how long does the mayo last?

Laura Wright16/05/2014 - 12:59 pm

Hi Ellen! Thanks for your comments. The blender is a 5+ year old Vitamix, which I will add has been worth the investment and then some for myself. And the mayo should be good in the fridge for 5 days if you cover it up. I would recommend a little stir each time you get it out. Side bar: this mayo is really delicious with sweet potato fries if you want to use some up :)

Ellen @ The Perennial Style16/05/2014 - 5:06 pm

Yum! This looks delicious – Cannot wait to try it!

abby - little city adventures16/05/2014 - 5:48 pm

Well this looks amazing! Wish I had seen this recipe before I did my grocery shopping!

Brian @ A Thought For Food17/05/2014 - 8:45 am

So… yeah, I’ve been thinking about these burgers all week. Thank you for that. Seriously, thank you. :-) I think they’re going to have to happen over Memorial Day, since everyone will be eating and dogs and I’ll just be left with pasta salad.

Aren’t neighbors the best? We actually talk to ours now (unlike the meatheads who we lived next to in our apartment). It’s pretty wonderful.

Valerie17/05/2014 - 9:43 am

These absolutely look amazing! I’m definitely giving these a try!

Suzanne17/05/2014 - 11:15 am

Wow, this looks amazing! Did you include a link to the Old Bay recipe? If so, I’m not finding it/able to click on it. Thanks!!

Suzanne17/05/2014 - 11:17 am

gahh! of course, the link worked AFTER my last comment. :) Sorry! and thanks so much for sharing!

Heather | Heather Christo17/05/2014 - 8:11 pm

I love the flavors in this recipe! Your pictures are making my mouth water! Pinned

Kahlin18/05/2014 - 12:58 am

You’re not alone in the weeding. My brother forages dandelions to make dandelion honey (syrup). I’m not too fussed on it but he really likes it. Maybe worth exploring?

[…] Chickpea, Cauliflower, and Old Bay Veggie Burgers with Lemon Mayo. (♥) […]

Colleen18/05/2014 - 6:21 pm

I love the sound of this burger, but like with most veggie burgers, instructions are to saute. I am curious if you would recommend baking this veggie burger as an alternative way to cook it? Or have a suggestion for a baked veggie burger recipe…?

ATasteOfMadness18/05/2014 - 11:14 pm

I seriously JUST ate dinner, and this made my stomach rumble. I have recently become OBSESSED with chickpeas, so this came at the perfect time.

Amy19/05/2014 - 1:23 pm

Anything made with Old Bay is worth trying in my book!

michelle19/05/2014 - 1:47 pm

can i use reg. flour in place of the oat and chickpea flour?

Laura Wright19/05/2014 - 2:28 pm

Hi Colleen, I’ve never baked a veggie burger patty in my life! But I’ll try to help. I think if you bake them on a rack set into a cookie sheet, it would be do-able. Maybe set the oven to 375 degrees F and brush a bit of oil on the tops of the patties before putting them in. I’m guessing these would take 25 minutes or so with a little flip halfway through. If you try it, let me know any feedback. Curious!

Laura Wright19/05/2014 - 2:29 pm

Hi Michelle, I think regular, all purpose flour would be fine. You might even be able to get away with using less of it too.

[…] chickpea old bay veggies burgers. um… […]

elizabeth19/05/2014 - 4:01 pm

If my neighbors asked for a veggie burger recipe, I think I’d faint. But then any little thing can happen. These burgers look delicious. I love the idea of wrapping them up in big lettuce leaves.

[…] chickpea, cauliflower + Old Bay veggie burgers w/ vegan cashew lemon mayo […]

abigail20/05/2014 - 8:23 am

o.m.g i’m making these tonight

Adrienne23/05/2014 - 11:53 am

Yes!!! You read my mind lady. I’ve been wanting a new bean burger recipe to try. Thank you!

katie24/05/2014 - 2:27 pm

I just want to thank you for this recipe. My 18 month old son has been diagnosed with many allergies and cant’ eat a whole lot on his elimination diet. I made these into “nugets” and he can not get enough! He just keeps saying “more, more”. We’re enjoying them too.

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Kasey28/05/2014 - 1:12 am

Can I come live with you? Because your little neighborhood (John, included) sounds dreamy. Beautiful storytelling (as always) lady. xo

Jordan @ The Blonde Vegan01/06/2014 - 12:28 pm

YUM… these look ridiculously amazing. And your food photography is seriously impressive. I am so glad that I stumbled across your blog today. You most definitely have a new reader!! I think I am even going to add you directly to my blog roll– I am so impressed!! Xox

Allison02/06/2014 - 9:57 am

What a fantastic recipe! And the neighbour story is so cute! I need to locate some old bay seasoning immediately. I’m a newbie to your blog and am loving it! Gorgeous photos, recipes, and stories. :)

Elena02/06/2014 - 4:50 pm

I love this post. We pull out our dandelions too. But, our neighbor story isn’t as great, once our neighbors took it upon themselves to spread fertilizer/weed killer on our lawn, thinking they were doing us a favor. Super. Awkward. And very upsetting! Saving the world, one dandelion at a time. - 8:35 pm

Hi Laura, I found your blog on Saveurs and what a lovely surprise. I started following you on pinterest and facebook. I can not wait for the next recipes!

Isadora @ she likes food03/06/2014 - 2:18 pm

I LOVE your cashew mayo!! I always use veganaise, but I much prefer the idea of making some myself! I am definitely going to be making it this weekend. I’ve also been on the hunt for a good veggie burger recipe and this one looks great!

Kristen06/06/2014 - 10:30 am

These patties on a bed of sturdy greens seem like an excellent airport/travel meal. :)

The Knotty Dog Walker20/06/2014 - 10:07 am

Going to try these on the grill this weekend! Yummy and healthy :)

[…] 2. Chickpea, Cauliflower + Old Bay Veggie Burgers With Cashew Lemon Mayo from The First Mess […]

sil @ entre jardins03/07/2014 - 10:48 am

Hi Laura, just wanted to thank you for this recipe, we made these burgers, with a couple of modifications, for lunch and they were delicious! I also used whole rolled oats and a bit of almond meal for crunch. Also, we thought dividing the dough in 4 made extremely large patties, so we opted for 6. Cheers *silvia

Claire19/07/2014 - 6:36 pm

Hi, Laura! I am interested if you have ever tried substituting the cauliflower for another vegetable… broccoli, spinach, etc. I impulsively get the LARGE bags of broccoli at Costco every time (once a week!) and so am always looking for ways to use it up!!! Also, cauliflower never seems to make it past the hummus platter in our house ;) Thanks!

Claire19/07/2014 - 6:42 pm

P.S. – Or how about mashed potato?

Laura Wright21/07/2014 - 2:20 pm

Hey Claire, I think between broccoli or mashed potato, the potato would fare better in this recipe. The broccoli kinda lacks the creamy-ness that really helps with this recipe. Of course, you can always try it and report back! ;)

[…] Veggie Patties with Vegan Cashew Lemon Spread. I made some personalizations to the original recipe by adding cayenne and turmeric for added flavor and a healthful […]

Valeria15/09/2014 - 8:17 am

I miss having neighbour exchanges like these sometimes, it was definitely easier to do in the small Italian town I grew up in rather than here in London! Anyhow, I at least have someone in the house with whom I share wisdom and meals, and these burgers look like they would make for the most amazing meal, and somehow I feel they need to be shared. Thanks for posting always such genius recipes! x