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cauliflower and roasted garbanzo “rice + peas”

cauliflower + roasted garbanzo "rice and peas" with avocado, apples, radishes, herbs etc. // the first messcauliflower + roasted garbanzo "rice and peas" with avocado, apples, radishes, herbs etc. // the first messingredients // the first mess

Would you cross a moat for a meager handful of chives? I kind of did that a couple times this week. There’s only one green and edible thing out back right now and even though some heavy rain made for a solid foot of water between me and the goods (and even though there was a fridge full of totally passable fare), I had to have those little emerald green blades. They were certain proof that the world was at work once again, all despite the lump of icy grey grit-snow in the shadiest part of the yard, just uglying it all up.

So I’ve been throwing the wellies on and going out to the spot under the old apple tree to get my spring-y fill. It’s been cool and wet, the kind of cold that feels like it could turn you inside out it’s so penetrating. Sometimes I forget to put a jacket on, but it’s always worth it. This is all part of an ongoing life-betterment thing where I chase meaning and act out of intention rather than leaning into habit by seeking comfort. I’m taking extra care, going the long way around, considering actions for longer than what is probably necessary, and I’ve been shifting things around to make more room for the more creative bits, including this little space.

I mostly feel like I’m just thinking about things more, and a noticeably more active mind seems to equal a certifiably solid stream of ideas. Somewhat predictably, those ideas dabble in food a lot and that’s how I ended up with this non-rice and non-peas rice + peas.

If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is, you’ve probably heard of a) processing cauliflower so that it can ape rice/couscous and b) roasting chickpeas for a crunchy snack. I originally thought of pairing this cauliflower rice dealy with fresh peas, but they’re just so far off and that’s just as well. The warm and golden garbanzos add to the transitional feel of this dish. I use herbs in their whole leaf form with a heavy hand for brightness. Thin radishes, apples and avocado make this a bit sharp, juicy and rich. The dressing couldn’t be simpler either. I wrapped big scoops of it into little radicchio lettuce cups and it was such a perfect lunch.

Anyway, short and sweet one today, and the gentlest of nudges/a tiny reminder that you still have until midnight tonight (EST) to vote for your faves in the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. This one right here is nominated in the special diets category at the bottom of the page if you feel like supportin’. Big hugs this week, all :)

chive retrieving // the first messcauliflower blitz // the first messcauliflower + roasted garbanzo "rice and peas" with avocado, apples, rashishes, herbs etc. // the first messmixincauliflower + roasted garbanzo "rice and peas" all wrapped up // the first mess
cauliflower + roasted garbanzo “rice + peas” with avocado, apples, herbs etc.
serves: 6-8
notes: If you don’t have a food processor, some milling with a knife will get the cauliflower florets small enough, as long as you have the patience :) Also, I wrapped up some of this mix in radicchio leaves, just because. I feel like some chopped up pickled jalapeños would just be so great here, if you have them around.

1 1/2 cups fully cooked chickpeas, towel dried
zest + juice of 2 limes, divided (my limes were extra juicy-seeming)
olive oil
chili powder (chipotle, ancho, whatever you like)
salt + pepper
1  head of cauliflower, core removed
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/2 tbsp maple syrup/raw honey/agave nectar
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup flat parsley leaves
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves sliced
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 crisp apple (like fuji or pink lady), sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the chickpeas out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of lime zest, chili powder, salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the chickpeas to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast until lightly crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.

Start turning the cauliflower into rice in batches. Place a few handfuls of the florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the florets until you have small, rice-ish bits of cauliflower. Scrape the “riced” cauliflower into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.

Whisk together the remaining lime zest, juice, a little splash of water, some salt and pepper, the grainy mustard, maple syrup, and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour it over the cauliflower rice and toss to coat.

To the large bowl, add the radishes, parsley leaves, mint, scallions, chives, sliced apple, and roasted chickpeas. Toss it all lightly to combine. Top it all of with the diced avocado, sunflower seeds, and some more salt and pepper (I used lots, just sayin’)

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Skye09/04/2014 - 4:12 am

I have seen lots of recipes recently with ‘cauliflower rice’, but this one really has me wanting to make it – I love all the colours of the fresh herbs and crunchy chickpeas sound like a heavenly combination. Thanks for the recipe inspiration!

PS Congratulations on the nomination – so well deserved! :)

Amy @ wrapped in newspaper09/04/2014 - 4:39 am

I love how versatile cauliflower is. It’s like, there’s nothing I can’t do you just go and try and I’ll deliver!! I made a roasted cauliflower and garbanzo salad a few weeks back but I think I’ll have to get my food processor out and try this recipe with riced cauliflower this time! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on the nomination!!! X

Katie @ Whole Nourishment09/04/2014 - 5:11 am

Wow, this is a gorgeous salad, well-worth the schlep to retrieve the chives. ;-) I love everything about it, especially the chipotle and maple additions!

Francesca09/04/2014 - 5:20 am

The maple syrup seems a little too sweet here. I just can’t imagine it with these other ingredients.

Laura Wright09/04/2014 - 7:01 am

Hi Francesca, I almost always include some sort of sweet component in any dressing/vinaigrette I make, just to balance flavours and whatnot. You could just leave it out if it’s not your thing.

Jo from yummyvege09/04/2014 - 7:44 am

Wow that is a salad I can’t wait to try. I take it the chick peas in this recipe are preboiled? I’ve seen other recipes where they are just soaked.

Laura Wright09/04/2014 - 8:22 am

Hi Jo! The chickpeas are fully cooked. Made a note in the recipe :)

Ali @ Inspiralized09/04/2014 - 8:43 am

The food looks so fresh – I love the use of chickpeas here, very creative. HI, spring!

Ashley09/04/2014 - 9:24 am

These are some of my favorite photos of yours, ever. Especially the 3rd from the top and 2nd to last. Framers! Also, your words. I feel like we are in a bit of the same place right now and while work is hectic + crazy(good) I’m trying to slow down my mind a bit. Taking more time to notice daily life happenings. Hugs, lady friend. (And…voted :))

Deena Kakaya09/04/2014 - 9:58 am

What a hearty and colourful take on a classic. I love the variety of textures in this dish. Beautiful pics too x

Ashley09/04/2014 - 10:07 am

It is 7am and I want to make this now!

Betty Jo09/04/2014 - 10:28 am

Hi Laura,

I followed your link from Ashley’s Edible Perspective, and am I ever glad I did! Your blog and photography is wonderful. So is your recipe index. I eat basically Paleo but I see scads of recipes here I can adapt. I just tried cauliflower rice for the first time last week, stir fried, and “WOW!” was it incredible. I will definitely be trying your dish from this post. I have a sensitivity to dried beans, “sob”, so will substitute chicken which should work nicely with the other ingredients. Now I’m going to explore your lovely site further.

Kristen09/04/2014 - 10:38 am

These photos are beautiful. I’ve been in such a salad rut lately, so much so that I’ve almost completely avoided them. I think this will drag me out of that. :)

Thank you. xx

Sini | my blue&white kitchen09/04/2014 - 11:15 am

This is such a perfect spring dish! I could live in these pictures (except in that puddle).

Chelsea // The Naked Fig09/04/2014 - 12:04 pm

What a delicious mix of flavors! So Fresh!

Kathryne09/04/2014 - 12:24 pm

I’m a little behind on the cauliflower couscous thing, but if it gets your stamp of approval, I’ll surely try it soon. I finally have my own yard so I think I’ll try to grow some herbs, greens and tomatoes this year. Better get on that, huh?

Eileen09/04/2014 - 1:25 pm

What a beautiful bowl of food! I love the mixture of all the different herbs. So good!

Emma09/04/2014 - 1:30 pm

Haha “If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is…” Well, cauli rice and roasted chickpeas are popular for a reason I guess! Love your creative take on them.

Hanna Woeking09/04/2014 - 3:41 pm

Ive recently re-fallen in love with cauliflower, this looks amazing :)

molly yeh09/04/2014 - 5:45 pm

aren’t fresh chives the BEST?! ok and i have never made cauliflower rice (the thought has kind of confused me until now?) but seeing your pictures, it allllll makes sense now!

Mila09/04/2014 - 6:18 pm

This looks perfect for summer- light and fresh.

Katie09/04/2014 - 6:29 pm

Where does the grainy mustard fit in the recipe? I see it as an ingredient.

Laura Wright09/04/2014 - 7:08 pm

Katie, it’s in the dressing! I think I might have been a bit snoozy when I wrote this recipe out.. :/ Sorry about that. Fixed it in the recipe.

Patti09/04/2014 - 9:01 pm

This looked so yummy to me, but I’m a raw vegan… so here’s a version I wrangled up for supper… broccoli instead of cauliflower cuz I didn’t have any cauliflower in the house. Raw sunflower seeds, soaked buckwheat groats instead of chickpeas, persimmon seeds instead of apple, coconut aminos instead of sweet… The rest basically the same…. Really, really yum… Thanks.

Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts10/04/2014 - 2:52 am

This looks delicious! I love using radicchio leaves as cups :)

Alexandra @ Made to Glow10/04/2014 - 8:08 am

Wow, this is gorgeous! Just found you from Pinterest and so glad I did. I just happen to have a cauli head ready to go and can’t wait to try. Thanks so much! Will be sharing on my social media – I know my readers will love this!

Brittany10/04/2014 - 12:21 pm

I’m loving cauliflower rice and this salad looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

[…] Speaking of good food, how amazing does this look? […]

[…] Kitchen. Alex and I have even made cauliflower crust pizza that is really amazing as well. This recipe for “rice and beans” from The First Mess is definitely next on our list of dishes to […]

Kristen14/04/2014 - 1:09 pm

Congrats on your win!!!!!!!!

P. Cruickshank-Schott14/04/2014 - 10:05 pm

1. My raw variation of this dish was totally yum… so thanks…
2. Congratulations on your Saveur award. I sure voted for you!! How great!

Anna15/04/2014 - 1:50 am

This looks absolutely amazing, I’m obsessed with cauliflower right now. Congrats on your Savuer win, you absolutely deserve it.

Phoebe Lapine @FeedMePhoebe15/04/2014 - 11:17 am

I’m always looking for new, healthy GF dinner recipes…will be keeping this in mind for the future. :)

Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet15/04/2014 - 11:51 pm

Cauliflower is the new kale. I can’t get enough!

Katie16/04/2014 - 1:07 am

Made this for dinner tonight – both the boyfriend and I loved it! I didn’t use any parsley or mint just because I didn’t have any on hand and it was still very flavorful. I’d been meaning to try cauliflower rice for awhile and now I’m so excited about the possibilities. Thanks!

Margaret17/04/2014 - 11:35 am

I made this for lunch today and it’s delicious! No radishes because Trader Joe’s didn’t have any, but still great!

[…] recipe finds from the week: Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs from Texan Erin Cauliflower and Roasted Garbanzo Beans “Rice and Peas” from The First Mess Strawberry Creme Truffles from My Whole Food Life Raw Carrot Pasta with Ginger […]

Phoebe Lapine @ Feed Me Phoebe18/04/2014 - 12:02 pm

This is such an interesting mix of ingredients! I can’t wait to try this dish out.

kanwal singh19/04/2014 - 8:05 pm

Omg this looks ever so interesting- it is going to be made tomorrow -I cannot wait

Deb21/04/2014 - 1:08 am

Made this yesterday with roast. Was delicious!

Ani {@afotogirl}22/04/2014 - 4:58 pm

This looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

[…] for creaminess.  I had seen a post by one of my favourite local vegan-ish bloggers Laura from The First Mess using riced cauliflower and was dying to try it.  I don’t think carbs are the enemy, but if […]

Easter recap | Kid and Goat02/05/2014 - 11:06 pm

[…] since I was cooking for myself basically, I would make something super healthy.  Enter this recipe for cauliflower rice I found on […]

nancy allen10/05/2014 - 12:49 am

I am in salad heaven after discovering The First Mess, can’t wait to pass this onto my son. Thank you so much!

Jenny Depa-Karl20/05/2014 - 8:47 am

OMG! Everything looks delicious… I want to make it ALL!!!! I may add a little of my farm fresh [goat muilk] feta to this recipe (:

[…] eats: Spring green risotto with peas and asparagus / Cauliflower and roasted chickpeas / Rhubarb oat quick […]

Carla21/06/2014 - 3:59 pm

Made the cauliflower salad today and it was delicious. Although I just chopped the cauliflower – and the dressing was fabulous. My two sons every every bite.

white + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons

white + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first messcacao butter // the first messrawsome vegan baking by Emily von Euwwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first messwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first mess

It’s a good week for treats–easy, no bakin’ ones smothered in homemade raw chocolate while we’re at it. We’re somewhat settled in the house, patches of new green grass are slowly becoming visible, I found a bar of cacao butter in the back corner of a cupboard, and there was sun today! All good things on the up and up. This is the kind of sweet I make most often–wholesome-to-healthy, easy ingredients, mostly mixed by hand, and a reliably delicious flavour combination. A tray of goodies like this offers some nice quiet moments with tea throughout the week. There’s also something really vibrational and connected-seeming about making your own chocolate for the good people in your life.

The idea for these sprang from my pal Emily‘s new book Rawsome Vegan BakingHer blog is a goldmine of genuinely healthy dessert, raw cuisine and green juice-lovin’ inspiration. She seems so jazzed on life and just offering her creativity to the world. Getting inspired by someone’s passion is always my jam, so when she asked to send a copy of her book, I was all in. I had been meaning to try my hand at some homemade chocolate with legit cacao butter for a while. Emily makes the process seem so approachable (like she does for all of her creations), so I knew that would be my starting point. From there I cobbled together a bunch of strategies from all of the cookie, crust, and bar recipes, and came up with these. It’s a raw peanut butter cookie base with melted cacao butter in the batter to give a white chocolate richness. I freeze little orbs of the dough and then smother them in the raw chocolate and a happy sprinkle of salted chopped peanuts. Simple, yes, but richly satisfying. Mark and I polished most of them off in one night :/ So yeah, Emily rules. And her tahini cups with coffee cream filling are next on my hit list.

A few things to mention before you scramble to the kitchen to make these (you really should):

My friends David + Noelle from The Rose Journals (one of my favourite blogs) worked so hard on a high-vibe treats-focused eBook of their own. It’s called Sacred Cookies and Elixirs and you can purchase it here. The photographs feel warm, the recipes well-tested and loved, and seriously? So. Much. Raw Chocolate. Perfect.

The second recipe for my Spring vegetable correspondence with BuzzFeed is up! It’s a simple greens + beans soup with ginger-y green tea broth. (link)

Sweet and lovely Emma from My Darling Lemon Thyme released her book this week! All you lucky down under dwellers get first grabs at it and I couldn’t be more envious. Emma’s work is so inventive and colourful, truly emblematic of the potential of whole foods. Plenty of information on how to get a copy here.


Lastly, this is kind of crazy and wonderful. Saveur magazine nominated The First Mess in the special diets category of their 2014 Best Food Blog Awards! If you took the time to nominate this space, then I send some really heartfelt thanks (and hugs). I do love sharing wholesome bites to eat, treats to savour, stories and just life with all of you here, so this means a lot. There’s plenty of talented and wonderful people nominated this year, so I’m just glowing at the sheer consideration. If you’ve been enjoying this space, you can vote for me here or by clicking the image above through to April 9th (at the bottom of the page). It requires a minor registration bit, but there’s no spam emails or anything, I swear :)

mixing bonbons // the first messwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first messwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first messwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first messwhite + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons // the first mess
vegan white + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bonbons recipe
adapted from a bunch of recipes in Emily von Euw’s Rawsome Vegan Baking
makes about 15
notes: You could take these into the effin’ stratosphere by garnishing with some crushed up salty pretzels. Just a thought. Also, DIY ALERT! You can make oat/raw buckwheat flour by grinding oats/buckwheat groats in a food processor, coffee grinder or blender.

peanut butter white chocolate cookie dough:
1 3/4 cups GF oat flour OR raw buckwheat groat flour
1/2 cup almond flour OR finely shredded coconut
pinch of fine sea salt
2 tbsp chopped raw cacao butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (or almond, cashew, sunflower seed etc.)
1/4 cp + 1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

raw chocolate:
1/4 cups melted raw cacao butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (Giddy Yo Yo is my fave)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

+chopped peanuts for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour/coconut flakes and salt. Lightly stir to combine. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cacao butter, coconut oil, peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir constantly until you have a smooth, homogenous mix. Take it off the heat and add to the flour mixture. Stir to combine, using your hands if necessary.

Line a sheet with parchment and set aside. Form the peanut butter cookie dough into balls and place them on the sheet. Once you’ve gone through all of the dough, place the sheet pan in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Make the raw chocolate. Put an inch or two of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a faint simmer. Place all of the raw chocolate ingredients in a medium, non-reactive, bowl that will sit over the pot without touching the water. Place it on top of the pot in a bain marie-style situation and stir until you have a smooth liquid chocolate. Remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside.

Remove the white chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bits from the fridge and start dipping them in the chocolate, returning them to the parchment lined sheet once coated. I use two forks to push them around in the chocolate and place them back on the pan. Sprinkle some chopped peanuts on top and repeat with remaining dough. Place the finished bonbons in the fridge to set the chocolate. Once set, keep bonbons in a covered container in the fridge.

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Katie @ Whole Nourishment02/04/2014 - 8:12 am

Congratulations on the nomination! And these bonbons look divine. I also am more drawn to treats that can be put together quickly and are also wholesome. These definitely fit the bill!

Aimee @ Simple Bites02/04/2014 - 8:45 am

You know you have my vote!!

Wishing I had a few of these to snack on today as I bemoan the absence of spring once again.

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan02/04/2014 - 8:54 am

Congrats on the nomination, you so deserve it!! Also, these bonbons are calling to me like WHOA.

ashley - baker by nature02/04/2014 - 9:01 am

Congrats on the nom! And wowzers!!! These bonbons have my heart! Happy I found my way to your lovely blog this morning :)

Hari Chandana02/04/2014 - 9:15 am

Looks so beautiful and tempting.. great photography!

Erika02/04/2014 - 9:32 am

Super congrats to you! annnddd I could use a few of these bonbons this morning.. Love this!

Deena Kakaya02/04/2014 - 9:47 am

Congratulations on the nomination! I’m drawn to these multi-impact gorgeous little bites particularly as no baking is involved! I will be trying these out x

Meredith02/04/2014 - 10:04 am

This is amazing, because not only am I obsessed with chocolate + PB, but i literally bought raw cacao butter two days ago. SO excited to try these. You never fail to speak to my heart, Laura! <3

Sini | my blue&white kitchen02/04/2014 - 10:09 am

Congrats on the nomination! I’ve enjoyed your blog so much and was truly excited to see you being a finalist. You’re such an inspiration, Laura. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and your thoughts with us.

Alysa02/04/2014 - 10:13 am

These sound fantastic. That book looks super interesting too.

congratulations!!!! i could eat the dough by itself and chocolate definitely makes everything better,

Ashley02/04/2014 - 10:48 am

Congrats! Vote coming your way, well done lady!

Meike ° eat in my kitchen02/04/2014 - 11:07 am

Congrats on the nomination! I love peanut butter cookies, I will try yours! Thanks for sharing!

Grace02/04/2014 - 11:08 am

Congratulations Laura! So exciting!! You’ve been such an inspiration to me, I just love your style and recipes. These bonbons are to die for delicious looking!

The Rose Journals02/04/2014 - 11:15 am

So fricken proud of you! EEEEEE!!! Sending our absolute love and support! <3

dana02/04/2014 - 1:40 pm

These look absolutely incredible. I want like 15. Also, congrats on the nom! You totally deserve it. Keep up the beautiful work, friend!

Kathryn02/04/2014 - 3:31 pm

Hurrah for the nomination! SO pleased for your Laura + definitely ready to celebrate with you and one of these delights!

Teffy02/04/2014 - 4:29 pm

Oh wow those look so so incredible!!! Perfect snack to indulge on with no guilt.

{Teffy’s Perks} X

Ashlae02/04/2014 - 5:50 pm

You inspire me big time, girlfriend. Best special diets blog, fo sho! <3

Katie @ Produce on Parade02/04/2014 - 7:28 pm

Dang, these look insane. All whole foods too, which is always good. Congratulations on the nomination! That’s incredible!

Erin02/04/2014 - 8:55 pm

These look incredibly yummy – I could eat the pictures they are so amazing too! :)

Tieghan02/04/2014 - 11:32 pm

Congrats!! So exciting and you know I will be voting! :)

Jacqui03/04/2014 - 12:14 am

Of coarse I’m reading this on a late Wednesday night, with a major craving for chocolate, and (somehow) there’s none in the house… and these bonbons are pushing that craving over the edge! A huge congrats on the nom. it’s well deserved!

Emma Galloway03/04/2014 - 1:56 am

Thanks so much for the sweet shout out love! I’m so thrilled for your Saveur nomination too! All the best xx

Lindsey03/04/2014 - 7:59 am

I’m seriously digging the sound of these and how wholesome/easy to make they seem. And you seriously cannot go wrong with homemade raw chocolate + peanut butter!
Super congrats on your nom, Laura; you + your blog are most deserving!

Jeanine03/04/2014 - 1:54 pm

Congrats Laura!!! So excited to see you there. (oh, and yum!)

Beauty beauty beauty. I’ve never seen a stick of cocoa butter look more lovely. I’m in love with the way you shot this post and I’m in love with the recipe! I love finding truffle recipes that act more as energy health power bombs. I try to reduce the sugar in my life as much as possible and these are a perfect example of how you can live a healthier life and eat wholesomely while still enjoying delicious treats. <3

Allison03/04/2014 - 4:50 pm

Your photos are beautiful- I really like how you incorporated the newspaper! It is different and unexpected, but adds so much! Thank you for all that you do!

Kimberley04/04/2014 - 8:28 pm

I was so happy to see you nominated – every single recipe you make inspires me! And these. I’m all over them. xo.

[…] white + dark chocolate peanut butter cookie dough bon bons. i want a mouthful of […]

Deepa @onesmallpot05/04/2014 - 4:53 pm

I’m new to your blog and I think it’s beautiful. Congratulations on your saveur nomination. Will be trying out these gorgeous treats as soon as I get my hands on some cacao butter.

[…] the other day I saw this post and felt inspired to make some truffles. They’re not raw, and I most certainly did not make […]

[…] otro día vi este post y entonces decidí hacer unas trufas. No son crudos y desde luego no hice mi proprio chocolate, […]

ATasteOfMadness07/04/2014 - 1:25 am

It’s almost unreal how good this looks! Anything containing chocolate, and I come running.

Hazel07/04/2014 - 5:05 pm

Should I use the coconut oil that tastes like coconut, or the refined kind? These look amaze balls!

Laura Wright07/04/2014 - 5:07 pm

Either one would be great, Hazel. I kinda prefer the coconut-ish tasting version personally :)

Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme08/04/2014 - 10:00 pm

Congrats on the Saveur nomination!!!! You totally deserve it. Your photos are always phenomenal. And these bon bons–they look totally amazing.

Kathryne09/04/2014 - 12:19 pm

Ok, first of all, these bonbons look amazing. Second, I was so happy to see your blog’s name on the Saveur list. Your posts are the best of the best! Brava! Good things to come. :)

Trisha10/04/2014 - 5:43 am

these looks so tasty. Great photos – i really need to get this book! x

Meredith14/04/2014 - 2:17 pm

Quick question: Will this recipe for raw chocolate work on its own in bar form, or is it specifically designed to be a chocolate coating? Thank you!

green curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh

green curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh // the first messgreen curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh // the first messgreen curry kale prep // the first mess
My phone number has a Toronto area code. Still. This general handyman sorta guy that’s been working on my house pointed it out to me the other day. I left the city over three years ago and I’ve been saying that I’ll change the number forever, but this might have to be the week that I actually do it. I used to have this underlying idea that some day I would go back, and for no real reason other than the possibility of it. After an emphatic conversation with a friend last weekend, I know that over time I’ve been embracing the quieter aspects of my home here. Way beyond being just okay with it.

I used to take the bus between there and home with frequency. It’s a 2 hour ride on a bad day. The start of the trip would be all herky-jerky stop + go lurches and glaring headlights if you sat on the wrong side. Somebody would have inevitably brought street meat on board and, yes inevitably, that unmistakable aroma of boiled off cuts with mustard would just hang. Headphones on, shoulders hunched toward the window, phone and a book within reach, chamomile with honey in a paper cup firmly grasped, and always a long scarf in my lap just in case the next passenger over blasted the A/C. I could never just fall asleep.

Half an hour into the trip, the stop and go fades and you see the tight tetris-like bedroom communities from the highway. A defunct auto plant, at least 3 Costco stores with jammed parking lots, a shallow river, fuel-efficient cars with one person in them in all the lanes over, commuter trains, mega-churches, these things flapping in the wind outside of storage units. The chatter on board begins to fade and my tea cup is almost empty.

A generous hour goes by and the ditches that pass below, even faster now, are deep with tall grass and weeds. You can see the lake, vineyards, greenhouses, the made-to-look-folksy-but-they’re-actually-brand-new road stops, the giant glowing cross that tells us we’re almost home, the shades of green and depth of space. It’s a sense of relief that creeps up slow, but is felt hard when it arrives. I hadn’t taken this trip in a good long while, but found myself on that bus last week, going through all of the same postures after a day about town. I have my home and tiny new roots that are starting to take, but that relief came through just as strong.

Our kitchen is renovated to the point of serviceable now and this is the first thing I made in it. Kale, go figure. (except we totally had pizza + Ashlae’s sea salt chocolate chip cookies too) I massaged it with lime juice and olive oil (this one–so good) to soften and then added cilantro leaves to the point where they became part of the salad itself. The dressing is coconut milk based, so, very fatty on the palate and completely satisfying in all of the obvious ways. I bash up lemongrass, green onions, ginger, lime peels, coriander and green chili in a mortar + pestle until I get a bit of a paste going. This gets stirred into the coconut milk with an extra hit of lime and even more cilantro (cilantro haters, this salad ain’t for you). The leaves are bathed in that spicy, sharp, and luxe mix. The last touch is small dices of tempeh crisped up in coconut oil. Mark said they were kind of like meaty croutons and I’m inclined to agree. This is a really easy and  tasty way to prepare tempeh if you’ve been feeling hesitant (which I totally understand because it’s a fermented soy cake that looks like brains). I’m going to try it crisped with garlic and smoked paprika for a kale/hearty greens caesar-ish salad topper next time.

So yeah, kind of a quick and easy one today with equally breezy photos. But! A few little notes before I go.

This feels so silly to say, but BuzzFeed asked me to be their “Spring Vegetable Correspondent” for the next few months and I happily obliged. I’ll be sharing really easy, vegan recipes that let the vegetables do the talking. The first post is here. Respond with YAAASS or a GIF if you’re a bit freaky.

I lean on chickpeas a lot here, so when the The Guardian asked to use one of my recipes in their “10 Best” column, I was delighted. Lots of good (omnivorous + veg) recipes here.

An interview and some very kind words over at Modern Thought (link).

My friend Kasey, along with her partner Matt, runs the incredible site and subscription service Turntable Kitchen (as I’m sure you’re all aware of at this point–pretty legendary!). They pair music and food in a way that’s thoughtful, accessible and fun. And cool thing? They’re releasing a cookbook of sorts! It’s a selection of 80 recipes from their Parings Box subscription service in, yep, a beautiful wooden box that allows you to add new bits and physically separate your faves–something that a traditional book doesn’t necessarily make room for. You can check it out here.

Happy weekend to you all. I’ll be back with some (raaaw!) dessert next week :)

kale // the first messgreen curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh // the first messgreen curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh // the first messgreen curry kale + crispy coconut tempeh // the first mess
green curry kale w/ crispy coconut tempeh
serves: 4-6
notes: For the dressing component, I got real physical and just bashed everything up in a mortar and pestle. This may be sufficient for some, but depending on the intensity/freshness of your ginger and lemongrass, you may want to blend all of the dressing components instead, or do the whole thing up in a mini food processor and do yourself a little strain afterwards. Taste as you go and judge from there.

1 bunch of kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
3 green onions, sliced + divided
3 big handfuls of cilantro leaves, divided
2 limes
olive oil
salt + pepper
2 inch piece of lemongrass (the bulb-ish part at the bottom of the stalk)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2-1 thai green chili (depending on your tolerance)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2-1 tsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, stirred
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
1 standard package of tempeh, cut into small pieces
sesame + hemp seeds

In a large bowl, toss the kale leaves, green parts of the sliced green onions (you’ll be reserving the white parts for the tempeh + dressing) and two handfuls of cilantro leaves. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the salad, add a bit of olive oil, some salt, and pepper. Toss everything together to combine, massaging the oil/lime juice into the kale leaves in order to soften them. Set this portion of the salad aside.

Cut 3 little strips of zest off of the remaining lime and cut them up rough. Throw them into a mortar and pestle. Add in about half of the leftover green onion whites. Slice the piece of lemongrass, ginger, and chili and add those too. Finally, add the coriander and a bit of salt. Start bashing the ingredients together until you have a chunky paste. I like to squeeze a bit of lime into the mortar to help aid this process along. Once you have a decent paste, scrape it into a measuring cup and stir in the coconut milk along with the tamari. Chop up the remaining cilantro and and stir it into the mix as well. Check the dressing for salt, pepper and acidity level at this point. Adjust to your liking and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add the remaining green onions and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pieces of tempeh + some salt and pepper. Toss/stir the pieces of tempeh around here and there until all sides are browned and lightly crisp, about 8 minutes. It should sizzle and pop. Add a squeeze of lime at the end and toss them to coat.

Spoon the coconut dressing over the salad and finish with the crispy tempeh pieces. Garnish the salad with sesame/hemp seeds and serve.

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan28/03/2014 - 8:40 am

Your words are always so lovely (along with your photos!). Congrats on the Buzz Feed gig!

molly yeh28/03/2014 - 10:33 am

these photos are gorgeous! yay for new kitchens :) i’ve also had that area code thought, it’s quite scary… but isn’t the quiet life SO NICE AND WORTH IT?!

happy weekend to you, miss laura!

mich28/03/2014 - 10:33 am

First photos in the new house! I recognize that porch :)

Here’s to many more meals and celebrations there. I can’t wait to share one with you!

Kathryn28/03/2014 - 10:48 am

Spring vegetable correspondent = best title ever.

Ashlae28/03/2014 - 11:24 am

We moved out of Ohio six years ago, but I have yet to change my Ohio phone number – and I’m not sure I ever will. Like my last name that I won’t be changing when Thom and I officially seal the deal, I have a weird attachment to it that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.

In other news, I can’t think of anyone better to be a Spring Vegetable Correspondent than the Queen of Cruciferous Veg, herself. Fist bumps to you, lady! And you broke in your kitchen with the sea salt chippas? *blushing* Wanna see more of that kitchen.

Jo from yummyvege28/03/2014 - 11:54 am

This is just what I was looking for! I have a packet of tempeh in the fridge and was trying to think of ways to jazz it up!

[…] still my vegan heart … This green curry kale salad looks […]

[…] green curry kale and crispy coconut tempeh. […]

Sini | my blue&white kitchen29/03/2014 - 9:23 am

This salad calls my name. It looks so unbelievably good! Can’t wait to have a bowl of it…Maybe next week? And congrats for all the accomplishments: a new kitchen, BuzzFeed, the Guardian, etc. Wow!!

Have a lovely weekend,

Ami@naivecookcooks29/03/2014 - 10:43 pm

Lovely salad and I liked the way you described your journey!

SouthernSpoon30/03/2014 - 7:03 am

This looks incredible– green curry salad, love it. Congrats on all the press opportunities, and a working kitchen!

Hilary30/03/2014 - 6:27 pm

I read your interview with modern thought – just thought I would point out that if you ever find some large property to put your kitchen/barn/farm area – SIGN ME UP! I’m in the area and would be all in. :)

Kiran30/03/2014 - 7:50 pm

I’m so happy I ran across your website!! I’ve tried three recipes so far and they were hugely successful with my whole family. Thank you!!

Katie @ Produce on Parade31/03/2014 - 1:00 pm

“Spring Vegetable Correspondent”?! Whoa, that’s pretty freaking awesome for a title. I think you should make a name tag and wear it about. I would. ;) Congratulations!

ATasteOfMadness31/03/2014 - 3:59 pm

YuM! I’ve got to start buying more kale. This looks SO good!

Hannah31/03/2014 - 6:44 pm

This was delicious! I love everything coconut and this was no exception :) can’t wait for the Caesar salad. Love you Laura!

Heather01/04/2014 - 3:00 pm

I made this over the weekend and it was a hit! Crunchy and warm. It did all sorts of good things for me.

Michelle01/04/2014 - 5:16 pm

This was timely! I’m looking for delicious kale recipes!

phi01/04/2014 - 8:24 pm

i love the green on blue! and tempeh on kale! sooo good.


[…] EAT. Trying out my cooking skills with this delicious looking curry kale recipe […]

Kimberley04/04/2014 - 8:59 pm

Hi, also this. I have this thing where I want to love tempeh but it has to be made just so. And bringing the words coconut and crispy into the mix will surely take it there.

Dee04/06/2014 - 11:40 pm

I’m a huge fan of The First Mess and have successfully made many of your recipes, but I have to question the use of raw lemongrass and ginger in this dressing? Even after pounding and running through the food processor, I was left with tough, fibrous and aggressive pieces of lemongrass as well as the overwhelming spice of raw ginger!

I ended up straining the dressing through cheesecloth, though, and this dish was scarfed up just like the others!

Laura Wright05/06/2014 - 7:54 am

Hi Dee! Bummer that your first interaction with this recipe was kind of on the underwhelming/weird side. I find ginger and lemongrass have varying degrees of intensity every time I go to use them. Maybe yours were super hot and mine were a bit tired? Either way, I found really pounding the living crap out of both in the mortar and pestle was sufficient, but I like your straining idea. I’m going to make a note in the recipe because I think some people might run into the same problem. Thanks for your helpful feedback!

Kasey09/06/2014 - 11:41 pm

How did I miss this beautiful post?! Thank you so much for the kind words about the Cookbook in a Box my friend. We so appreciate it, and I apologize for not seeing it sooner (ah, life). This place you’ve created is beyond inspiring. Whenever I visit, I want to just spend days and days here. xoxo

Larissa22/06/2014 - 10:47 pm

This is the first recipe I’ve made from The First Mess and I had to restrain myself from devouring the entire bowl!

Thanks for the fabulous recipe, looking forward to many more!

[…] Water Toner Decor: Tulum Print by Max Wagner Recipe: Green Curry Kale + Crispy Coconut Tempeh via The First Mess Design/Photography: Julia Kostreva’s Notebooks DIY: DIY Patterned Flatware Pouches via […]

[…] Green Curry Kale and Crispy Coconut Tempeh from The First Mess […]