garlic pepper soba w/ chili-roasted tofu // @thefirstmesspin it!garlic pepper soba w/ chili-roasted tofu // @thefirstmesspin it!my vegetable stock process // @thefirstmesspin it!bay leaves // @thefirstmesspin it!herbs tied up // @thefirstmesspin it!my vegetable stock process // @thefirstmesspin it!

If you can believe it, this bowl was inspired by a packet of instant ramen we picked up at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago (along with some non-dairy, non-denominational holiday nog). The flavour pouch from that crinkly package with the crimp-y noodles was really good at providing a top note of salty. There’s a certain appeal to that for sure, but I knew I could do better with some noodles swimming in homemade broth. I have a couple methods for making delicious, hearty vegetable stock/broth, but the one I’m going to share here today is my most utilized for sure. It’s also the most versatile. Then, we’re going to salt that broth, pour it over soba noodles, puréed garlic and thin wisps of lacinato kale. We’ll top it all off with chili-roasted tofu, some sliced scallions, lots of black pepper, and lime juice.

I don’t want to wander into the territory of utter preciousness talking about vegetable stock, but my method is pretty exact and I stand by it. I’ve read a few things on the internet that go along the lines of: “Just save all of your vegetable scraps in a Ziploc, freeze it for now and then dump those trimmings into a pot of boiling water when you’re ready for soup. ” I would not encourage this strategy. Good stock can become the base/backbone of soups, sauces, risottos etc. You can just sip it too! I would never utilize true scraps unless I wanted my food to taste like concentrated, simmered down waste bits. Sometimes I have half an onion in the fridge, a couple rubbery carrots, and I do save leek tops for stock-making as a general rule, but these are selective additions that are only scrap-like.

My point is that there is a certain advantageous vegetable combination to aim for when you’re making stock, and I would definitely recommend sticking to it for maximum diversity in usage. This is the closest I’ll ever get to being absolutist in terms of a food. You wanna make pizza crust with cauliflower? Yes, go for it. I’m fine with calling that pizza. Tiny bits of vegetables fronting as rice? Sure. Let’s even call it pilaf if we mix it with something. Vegan mayonnaise? Without eggs?! YES TOTALLY. Stock though? I refuse to mess around with that. Building blocks, dude.

The base of mine is onions, carrots and celery. Of that base, fifty percent should be onions with the papery skin left on (mostly for colour), followed by equal parts carrots and celery to form the whole. From there, I use leeks (white + green parts), a parsnip if I have one, smashed garlic cloves, black peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, parsley stems, and maybe a fresh dill stem or two if I have them (but I mostly do this because Ina does it too). (also this) With the parsley and optional dill, you’re only adding the stems. The leaves of both have too much chlorophyll (normally the best thing ever), which will only contribute a damp, funky taste over time. A few black peppercorns and that’s the end of that. I don’t salt the stock because I know I’m going to be liberal on that front with whatever food I’m adding it to.

The onions get a good 7-8 minute browning for extra depth of flavour before the other vegetables are added. I drop everything else in one by one, sautéing for a good 20 minutes before any filtered water is added. Also, filtered water is important because consuming chlorine is never cool in my books. I simmer the whole works for an hour maximum. I know with meatier broths, the longer you can simmer it the better. But I don’t find vegetable-based broths really benefit from extra time, which is perfect because we want soup, like, yesterday. I make broths with shiitake mushrooms and ginger if I’m feeling kinda meh. Or ones with lots of different mushrooms, shallots, star anise, and a bit of tamari to season if I want something with extra heft. But this one that I’ve outlined above and below is the go-to. I hope it can be yours too.

And these noodles! Once you have the broth, you’re in business. Just an easy, slurp-y bowl of noodle soup with lots of feel-good ingredients. Quick, nourishing comfort for full days. Although these particular noodles aren’t gluten free, they’re easily my favourite ones to use. My favourite cooking method for tofu is roasting because the pieces get kind of crunchy/crisp-like, making a nice foil to the softer parts of this bowl. I slice kale thin, grate fresh garlic and grind tons of pepper into the bowls before pouring the hot, salted broth in and giving it all a stir. Deep immune power! You could make this your own in a number of ways: fine shreds of different vegetables, rice noodles, little dabs of miso dissolved in the broth, some chopped cilantro, cooked beans, or whatever you have on hand honestly. Just make sure your broth game is lined up first :)

my vegetable stock process // @thefirstmesspin it!tofu // @thefirstmesspin it!garlic pepper soba w/ chili-roasted tofu // @thefirstmesspin it!garlic pepper soba w/ chili-roasted tofu // @thefirstmesspin it!
garlic pepper soba with chili-roasted tofu + kale recipe (+ my vegetable stock method)
print the recipe (for noodles) here! // print separate vegetable stock instructions here
serves: 2 (with extra broth)
notes: As noted above, this recipe is fairly customizable just so long as you shred any additional vegetables fine enough to “cook” upon contact with the hot broth. Also, check the label of your soba noodles to ensure there is no presence of wheat if gluten is an issue. If you have a tofu press, using it prior to roasting the tofu would make for a nice, chewy texture.

stock ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium cooking onions, rough diced (with skin left on)
2 medium carrots, scrubbed and rough diced
2 stalks of celery, scrubbed and rough diced
1 large leek, cut lengthwise down the center
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed lightly
5-6 sprigs of thyme
3-4 parsley stems
3 bay leaves
6-7 whole black peppercorns
2 litres/8 cups filtered water

soba + chili-roasted tofu ingredients:
1/2 block firm-extra firm tofu, dried off with a paper towel
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
zest of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp lime juice
salt + pepper
2 servings-worth of dry soba noodles (as noted above, I use these ones–seek out a GF brand or use rice noodles for a GF alternative)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4-5 leaves of lacinato kale, thinly sliced
salt + lots of black pepper
lime wedges + extra chili flakes

For the stock: heat the oil in a large stock/soup pot over medium heat. Add the rough diced onions and sauté until you start to see deep brown marks on some of the sides, about 7-8 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté another 4-5 minutes, or until the edges seem a bit softer. Add the rough diced celery and stir.

Run the split leek under water to remove any grit, then chop it roughly and add it to the pot along with the smashed garlic cloves. Stir the vegetables until the leeks are bright, bright green and noticeably softer, about 4 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs, parsley stems, bay leaves and black peppercorns to the pot and stir. Add a good splash of water and loosen up some of the brown bits in the pot with your spoon.

Slowly pour the filtered water over the vegetables. Raise the heat to medium-high and cover the pot. Bring the stock to a boil, remove the lid, and then simmer stock for about an hour.

Allow stock to cool slightly before straining and storing in containers. Stock will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days and in the freezer for 6 months.

For the soba with chili-roasted tofu: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a small baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Once you’ve dried off the tofu, cut it into 3/4 inch cubes and place the cubes on the parchment lined sheet. Drizzle tofu with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and top with the chili flakes, lime zest, salt, pepper and lime juice. Toss to combine and slide the tray into the oven. Roast tofu until brown edges appear and there’s a detectable crispy-ness, about 25 minutes. Flip and toss the tofu cubes about halfway through.

Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, drain noodles and set aside.

Heat the 3 cups of vegetable broth in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a fat pinch of salt to the broth and bring to a boil. Keep at a medium simmer until ready to serve.

Very finely mince or microplane the garlic cloves into two separate soup bowls. Top the garlic with the chopped white parts of scallion, and ground black pepper to taste

Divide the soba noodles, sliced kale and roasted tofu among the soup bowls. Pour the hot broth over top. Garnish the soup with remaining chopped scallions and more salt and pepper if you like. Serve with lime wedges.

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  • valentina - sweet kabocha04/12/2014 - 4:30 am

    I love soba so much, especially in broth! It is time I buy a packet of soba, oh yesReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar04/12/2014 - 4:50 am

    This looks like such a comforting meal! I just love this.ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan04/12/2014 - 7:17 am

    I love your eyes of making broth! The times I have made it with scraps it ends up tasting like dirt, gross. As always, your words and photos are hella awesome : )ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com04/12/2014 - 7:51 am

    Gorgeous photography and the soup looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • yum! looks incredible! I just started making my own veggie broths and there are so many different takes on it! I’ll have to try yoursReplyCancel

  • Aleksandra04/12/2014 - 9:08 am

    I love your in-depth approach to making broth. I think its these steps that we often forget in cooking and which can make or break the end result.I will definately be trying this very soon. I reflected recently on making Polenta and how simmering it slowly and stirring it for a long time made it all the more delicious. In the end you can feel all the love that went into it. You described it so well. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Grace04/12/2014 - 9:20 am

    This broth is liquid gold! I would love a mug full, straight-up to sip on!ReplyCancel

  • Ashlae04/12/2014 - 9:31 am

    GRRRRRL. <3 This is fucking awesome. I've only recently started making my own broth (shaaaaame on me) (but it's not from frozen scraps so THERE) and it blows the 365 stock outta the water. NO GOING BACK. We have all the ingredients for this in our kitchen, so I'm going all in for dinner tonight. But with rice noodles because soba would require a trip to the store and I'm so damn lazy these days it's pathetic.ReplyCancel

  • Maryna04/12/2014 - 10:45 am

    It looks so damn good!!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz @ Floating Kitchen04/12/2014 - 10:51 am

    This looks so warm and comforting. I’m ready to dive right in! And agree…homemade stock is a must. I just save little scraps of vegetables in freezer bags and then when I have enough stock-piled, I go for it!ReplyCancel

  • Ileana04/12/2014 - 11:07 am

    You make vegetables look so gorgeous. :)ReplyCancel

  • Vijay from NoshOn.It04/12/2014 - 11:32 am

    Love these tips for a good veg stock. Mine always come up super bland and boring!ReplyCancel

  • Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers04/12/2014 - 11:49 am

    This looks so yummy! Perfect for cold winter days. And I’m in love with your cutting board…so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kris04/12/2014 - 11:52 am

    I love your stock game!ReplyCancel

  • Julie04/12/2014 - 1:57 pm

    This looks amazing!

    Have you ever added prunes to your stock? I’ve started to based on a “Plenty” recipe and there is no going back! It adds such a beautiful color and sweetness to the stock. I love it.ReplyCancel

  • michelle04/12/2014 - 3:02 pm

    So beautiful! You never know where inspiration will strike! I love soba but with soba I gotta have wakame and edamame…ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)04/12/2014 - 3:39 pm

    well this is perfect in every way. i love making stock at home. your recipe sounds just so delicious. and is there anything better than a steaming noodle bowl like this on a cold night? i.e. i’m gonna be making this soon. thanks for the recipe (and oh man, could those photos be any prettier?!).ReplyCancel

  • cynthia04/12/2014 - 4:16 pm

    So dreamy. This sounds like the perfect winter meal, Laura. And I second others — your stock game is on point!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth04/12/2014 - 9:41 pm

    I love me a little kitchen dogma, and your stock principles are right on. I do almost the same thing for my veg stock, but had never thought to add the onion skin. As it happens, I’m broth-ing the frozen remains of our Thanksgiving bird (totally not the same thing, but still), and your advice came at the right time –– onion skins added.ReplyCancel

  • Riley04/12/2014 - 10:17 pm

    This recipe has my mouth drooling and I just ate dinner, so that’s saying something. I can’t wait to try this broth too! It’s also nice to see another vegan out there appreciating the glory of Ina Garten. Seriously, classiest woman ever. :)ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}04/12/2014 - 11:12 pm

    If I want a stand out vegetable broth, I make a version like this. Otherwise, I use vegetable scraps (totally freeze them in a ziploc)and seaweed to make a mineral broth, which I sip in the morning. Those scraps are full of minerals! This soup looks lovely. I am always impressed at your ability to construct a dish really well with lot’s of different elements. And you take insanely good photos, too!ReplyCancel

  • Lynsey04/12/2014 - 11:29 pm

    Good stock is heaven in all it’s slurpy goodness!! Thanks for sharing yours. xoReplyCancel

  • Ana @ The Awesome Green05/12/2014 - 6:16 am

    I have a similar way of preparing the veggie stock, but I always add celeriac, parsnip and root parsley to enhance the flavors. Your way of preparing the vegetable stock reminds me of the Italian soffritto which gives that fabulous taste to minestrone soups. I bet yours tastes fantastic too!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn05/12/2014 - 7:58 am

    You’re so right – stock is such a fundamental ingredient that it makes absolutely no sense to use the crappy odds and ends from the bottom of the fridge. Onion skin = perfect.ReplyCancel

  • […] I die. 4. Christmas in a cookie. 5. This is a galette I’d like to eat at a wedding! 6. This noodle bowl looks absolutely dreamy. (It’s gluten free and vegan to […]ReplyCancel

  • Mary05/12/2014 - 9:38 am

    Such beautiful photos and such a delicious recipe – a perfect soup to cheer up this dreary cold weather – thanks!
    MaryReplyCancel

  • Kathryne05/12/2014 - 1:16 pm

    Dang girl. Fantastic post! I’ve actually NEVER made my own vegetable broth, in part because I’m lazy but also because I doubted that simmered bits of bad vegetables would produce anything tasty. Thanks for confirming my suspicion! This soup looks marvelous.ReplyCancel

  • Wow! This looks SOO good! I love that it was inspired by a packet of ramen :) Cannot wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • […] veg stock recipe/method is top notch. Plus did you see that soup?! It’s on […]ReplyCancel

  • Jessie05/12/2014 - 6:05 pm

    Tucking this recipe away for a cold snowy day when I’m feeling extra patient ;) your broth method is legit!ReplyCancel

  • […] garlic pepper soba bowl. […]ReplyCancel

  • Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy06/12/2014 - 9:06 pm

    oh my gosh this looks SO GOOD!!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah @ eating with alice07/12/2014 - 3:29 am

    I’m feeling a little bit under the weather tonight and this looks like exactly what I need!ReplyCancel

  • […] Garlic pepper soba. Yessss! […]ReplyCancel

  • Aysegul - Ice07/12/2014 - 10:07 pm

    Great information about making vegetable stock. You are so right about it. Since I started making my stock, I now know that nothing compares to the depth of flavor that it adds to the dish.
    I can only imagine how tasty this soba and tofu dish must be with your homemade stock.ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food07/12/2014 - 11:20 pm

    I need a whole pot of this stock in my life. Full of soba goodness, of course.

    Hope you’re doing well! Have a great week!!!ReplyCancel

  • Re08/12/2014 - 6:24 pm

    Your photography is so beautiful! Do you use Photoshop to edit?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright09/12/2014 - 8:25 am

      Hi Re, Thank you so much. I use a combination of Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom to edit the photos. I have several versions of VSCO film installed onto Lightroom, so I play around with that as well.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Mon amour pour la cuisine asiatique ne tarit pas. Surtout quand je vois cette recette. […]ReplyCancel

  • Ella09/12/2014 - 6:21 pm

    Every time you post a new recipe I am so grateful for you! Thank you for taking the time to stun us with your beautiful pictures and yummmyy recipes! You make my day each time I see somethin new.ReplyCancel

  • Anita10/12/2014 - 12:04 am

    Wow this recipe has changed my veg stock game for good I think! Was perfect and restorative on a snowy night.ReplyCancel

  • erin {yummy supper}10/12/2014 - 4:28 pm

    Laura, I am so feeling this. Everything about this recipe speaks to me. Yum!
    xoxo
    EReplyCancel

  • Weekend Links and Inspiration13/12/2014 - 7:45 pm

    […] ~  From now on, I am making my vegetable stock with Laura’s method. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen14/12/2014 - 7:48 am

    Love this post; your description of the process of making your vegetable broth and, obviously, this soba noodle soup recipe. Feeling so inspired now. Thanks for sharing. xxReplyCancel

  • Oh Ina–everything is so easy for her! I imagine it would be when you have a staff of 13, haha. Thanks for sharing your stock method, especially the freezer vegetables everyone swears by. I have to say, I’ve had success using close to your vegetable mix, but frozen, BUT I also always include fresh garlic, onions, and parsnips.ReplyCancel

  • […] pepper soba with roasted tofu = […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Healthy+spicy+asian= my sweet spot […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Soba w/ chili roasted tofu […]ReplyCancel

  • Lyn29/12/2014 - 5:39 pm

    This is a great site. Totally agree with your post on making stock. And thank you for the note on the parsley stems. Can kale stems be added to the veg mixture for stock?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright04/01/2015 - 4:28 pm

      Hi Lyn, I generally avoid adding anything from the brassica family, even the watery kale stems, to stock because I find they impart a bitter flavour. I always juice or blend my kale stems into my daily smoothie if I need to use them up :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] Mushroom & Kale Grilled Cheese | Parsnip Fries Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Bowls Garlic Pepper Soba with Chili-roasted Tofu + Kale | Steamed Potstickers BLTs | Rutabaga & Potato Salad Collard Greens in Asafetida *** | Basmati […]ReplyCancel

  • […] a little sick.  I decided to make my own vegetable broth for the first time using the recipe from The First Mess, and it’s so much more flavourful than store-bought vegetable broth! Plus I love that you can […]ReplyCancel

  • […] My new vegetable stock recipe from the first mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] palatable, but this time, for once, I took the time to cook it low and slow in some simple, rich vegetable stock, renouncing all former assumptions upon the first […]ReplyCancel

  • […] french or black lentils 2 tsp olive oil 1 small cooking onion, small dice salt + pepper 3 cups vegetable stock 1 cup raw millet, ground into flour/meal handful of flat leaf parsley, rough chopped couple stalks […]ReplyCancel

  • […] another exacting recipe for a warming vegetable stock (and a simple, cozy noodle dish) from The First Mess. She poops on my vegetable scrap idea, but her points are good and the broth looks rich and […]ReplyCancel

  • dedietrich19/03/2015 - 10:54 am

    Looks delicious. I’ll try this some day :)ReplyCancel

  • […] another exacting recipe for a warming vegetable stock (and a simple, cozy noodle dish) from The First Mess. She poops on my vegetable scrap idea, but her points are good and the broth looks rich and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and flavorsome little soup to keep you warm on a rainy day. I found this recipe on The First Mess but I simplified it a little. I didn’t make the vegetable broth because I still had some in […]ReplyCancel

caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!healthy holidays // @thefirstmesspin it!healthy holidays // via @thefirstmesspin it!
I am dead-set on a holiday decor extravaganza at my house this year. I’ve got some sweet garlands, birch trunks, old hydrangea blooms sprayed with GOLD, the lights, lanterns, a boxwood wreath, lime green osage oranges, grapevines, spruce cuttings, pine cones, and some jute rope and pretty ribbon to finish it off all nice. That’s just the outside stuff. It’s kind of soothing clipping branches and jamming them into frozen boxes of dirt in the name of merry-making. It’s definitely frivolous, but in the moment it feels way too important. Also, having a hot drink in your snuggy gear after–that feels way important too.

I need the light-hearted distractions of twinkle lights, gold spray paint and bow-tying this time of year. It’s easy to make yourself feel trapped by all the things you absolutely have to accomplish within the span of one hectic month. Everyone is busy and everyone will tell you how busy they are at least 5 times in any given conversation. I am guilty of this. Yesterday I had to cook and photograph something and re-make another thing because the first thing was unusable in a previously outlined context (so specific, right?!). But I hung out with my mom, sipped some piping hot decaf (wuss-level), and strung up garlands on my porch in the morning instead. I still got all of my work done, but I went into it with a bit more warmth and energy once I got started.

I mean, I think work should be taken seriously. But busy-work is pretty much the worst and really? It’s the essence of holiday crazy-making. I never post a gift guide on here and generally advise people on just loving each other instead if they ask me about one. I feel anxious when I see things like that. I worry about the world sometimes, the direction of society, gorilla populations, and I tend to take things a bit seriously on a good day, but that pressure is real. It takes form in sometimes nonchalant ways, and I think we all feel it a little.

I said this last week, but it bears repeating: I’m really going for calm and overall wellness in this mad season of life. I’m fixing up really nourishing eats, making the house smell good, trying with might to focus my eyes away from screens, and making small improvements to my daily motions–all in good time. If I go into 2015 with a focused, intentional whisper instead of a bang, I’ll be happy.

On that nourishing eats tip, there’s this bowl of vegetables with caraway and fresh horseradish dressing. I do love a good and crunchy broccoli salad stashed away to mix with greens and a bit of avocado or something. The best ones always seem to have sweet and sour components. This one is filled out with just a bit of cooked quinoa–enough to cling to the lightly cooked florets. I quick-pickle some shallots and add some crisp sweet apples to the mix as well. The dressing is a bit spicy and sharp with the horseradish and lemon, but grounded with the earthy anise-flavour of caraway. I’ve been adding just a bit of flaxseed oil to all of my dressings lately. I like the nutty taste, but also those anti-inflammatory, polyunsaturated fatty acid vibes too.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American pals this week. Salad and hugs to you all :) xo

caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!healthy holidays // @thefirstmesspin it!
caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad recipe
print the recipe here!
serves: 6
notes: I steam the broccoli and cauliflower florets, but you could totally do this as a raw salad and bypass that extra step if you want. I use a bit of flax oil in the dressing (#foryourhealth), but straight olive oil all the way is just as well.

caraway + horseradish dressing ingredients:
2 tbsp grated fresh horseradish
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (+ extra for the salad)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flaxseed oil (or more olive oil)

salad ingredients:
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1-2 stalks of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 apple, small dice
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup marcona almonds, chopped

In a blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Check it for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.

Place the sliced shallots in a small bowl. Cover them with the 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the maple syrup. Let the mixture sit while you make the rest of the salad. You want the slices of shallot to be lightly softened.

In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1/2 cup of filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil over medium heat. Then lower to a simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Steam or boil the broccoli and cauliflower florets for 3-4 minutes or until slightly soft. Drain the florets and run cold water over them. Dry lightly with a paper towel and transfer to a larger serving bowl. To the bowl, add the cooked quinoa, diced apple, chopped dill, marcona almonds, and extra caraway seeds.

Drain the shallots and add them to the bowl as well. Add as much dressing as you like and a good amount of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

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  • valentina - sweet kabocha27/11/2014 - 4:29 am

    Flaxseed oil for President!! :DReplyCancel

  • Karuna27/11/2014 - 6:35 am

    Wooooh do you have a book coming out soon that you not allowed to announce just yet??? Can’t wait for it already!!

    Will have to wait till you get more specific about that:)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 7:54 am

      Hi Karuna, Those vague comments were actually about a recipe I had to make for a certain popular food site ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites27/11/2014 - 9:50 am

    A beautiful sentiment for the holiday rush. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves to play with pine boughs and branches with berries for outdoor holiday decor. Natural is best!ReplyCancel

  • Tieghan27/11/2014 - 10:13 am

    I am so with you on holiday decor and cheer. This is probably the busiest I have ever been, but I too have pines, lights and all the good stuff up this season! It’s my favorite!!

    Loving this nourishing plate, it’s the perfect thing to keep me going! :)ReplyCancel

  • Christina T27/11/2014 - 12:02 pm

    This looks great! Do you think it would pack up well? I’m thinking about making it for a potluck.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 12:38 pm

      Hi Christina, I think it would pack up just fine–you could even dress it ahead of time. I would just add the chopped dill and marcona almonds to the salad when you arrive at your destination.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Christine27/11/2014 - 1:08 pm

    Laura, I am so with you on the intentional slowing down during this season and keeping an eye towards wellness and wellbeing instead of allowing oneself to be swept up in the crazyness. I love your holiday decor photos – I cannot wait to do my house (inside and out!). Horseradish always feels like a holiday condiment (to me, I guess? haha) so it feels particularly fitting in this salad as we approach December! this may be a funny question, but I really like your linens here – where are they from?ReplyCancel

  • Lane | Green Spirit Adventures27/11/2014 - 1:27 pm

    I love everything about this post. :) I totally agree with the whole slowing down for the holidays bit – and the decorating!!
    I’ve been craving broccoli for a couple of days now, so I think this recipe will absolutely hit the spot!ReplyCancel

  • hannah27/11/2014 - 2:07 pm

    This looks lovely and I’m totally feeling the same about trying to ease into 2015 in a really calm and positive place emotionally.. start as you mean to go on.
    Serves 6? Did you have it as a side dish?
    xxxReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 5:09 pm

      Hey Hannah, I suppose it could be more of a serves 4-6 kind of thing, depending on what else is on the table etc.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Nicola27/11/2014 - 4:50 pm

    Love the thoughts! Horseradish & Caraway, two things I’ve been wanting to try lately, there not so common in Aus. Am definitely going to have to go hunting now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn28/11/2014 - 6:40 am

    In my book, there is nothing so good at relieving stress than twinkly Christmas lights, preferably with a glass/mug of something hot and/or boozy. Love the punch of flavours in this salad too. I feel better just looking at your vibrant pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie @ Veg Fiend28/11/2014 - 8:58 am

    I am totally with you on being uneasy about the over-consumerism of this time. I do not have a TV at my house, and now that I am with my family for the holiday, and surrounded by the non-stop holiday commercials, I truly notice the pressure that large retail corporations put on consumers to buy, buy, buy at this time over year over spending time with their loved ones. When I am at my own house, I do come across the occasional holiday ad online or in the newspapers, but it is nothing like the ubiquity of tv ads. Glad to see you are feeling calm and well during this season :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah28/11/2014 - 6:13 pm

    Thank you for this lovely post. This time of year it’s all too easy to get bogged down– both on a personal and big picture level– and lightness is definitely needed. This salad looks delicious. My stuffy head and weary body has been craving fresh, tangy, spicy grub like this… can’t wait to try!ReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little29/11/2014 - 4:42 am

    This looks amazing Laura and love what you’ve written!!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}29/11/2014 - 12:23 pm

    I have a hard time slowing down during the holidays. I am always trying to make all of the food and make all of the gifts, furiously knitting away and baking for at least month. This year I decided to just do some basic homemade gifts, and then buy the rest from local artisans. That way, I can take a break and breathe, and I am also supporting the local economy.
    This salad looks lovely. I looks like the kind of clean eating I crave before the excess of the Christmas holidays.ReplyCancel

  • Bec30/11/2014 - 7:21 am

    such stunning photos.. I am not drooling and salad dreaming! I hope you had a great TG xReplyCancel

  • jaime30/11/2014 - 5:26 pm

    for real, your flavor combinations are incredible. i love caraway and always welcome a fresh way to incorporate it.

    re: busy-ness, have you read this?: https://medium.com/thelist/the-cult-of-busy-bbb124caed51ReplyCancel

  • Grace @ The Big Reveal01/12/2014 - 12:26 pm

    This looks so delicious! And, as usual, your photography blows me away! Love, love, love. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food01/12/2014 - 10:14 pm

    I’ve tried to balance out all the heavy, unhealthy dishes with flavorful and satisfying salads. This one is blowing my mind. Love all the textures and the use of horseradish (why don’t more people include it in recipes?)ReplyCancel

  • […] Il n’y a pas que les soupes dans la vie en hiver, et cette salade de saison a l’air dél… […]ReplyCancel

  • la domestique02/12/2014 - 6:12 am

    Oh boy I feel you. Been struggling with the same stuff and it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one. Love the sound of a healthy holiday and YES to horseradish dressing!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne02/12/2014 - 12:39 pm

    Just made this. Ate the entire blow. This is probably one of the best things I have ever eaten! fresh horseradish on this is genius!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Schimmel03/12/2014 - 6:38 pm

    Wow. Your photography is amazing. I love reading food blogs and this has got to be the best photography I’ve seen in one.ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie04/12/2014 - 1:46 pm

    Beautiful words, from one world concerner to another, I couldn’t agree more. So moving is happening!! And we’ll be packing straight through the holidays and I said I wouldn’t bring out the decorations this year, that might make things a little crazy. BUT you’ve inspired me to get my twinkling lights on, they always have a warm and comforting way to soothe my soul.

    so much love girl,
    xo sherrieReplyCancel

  • […] Laura has some beautiful words {+ a healthy bowl of goodness} on embracing the holiday season, you should read it. […]ReplyCancel

  • DebbieG04/12/2014 - 9:31 pm

    I made this salad tonight. My only change was to lightly roast the cauliflower and broccoli. It was gorgeous. Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] 4. Full disclosure: I’m afraid of horseradish.  The story involves being fed a spoonful of horseradish as a child and me subsequently DYING.  Okay, feeling like I was dying.  But this recipe looks like a safe new beginning for horseradish broccoli quinoa salad. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah03/01/2015 - 8:16 pm

    2 stalks = 2 crowns?ReplyCancel

salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!clementines // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash // @thefirstmesspin it!
I know the season’s only just started, but man. I think it’s already got me trapped in its neon, crazy-making claws. This was a particularly harry week with some deadlines, projects on the up and up, people outright saying no to me, an ever-growing pile of Christmas garland in my living room, plus a scary wind storm/so much snow. And then, in the thick of it, the man I really truly love asked me to get up early one morning and make him a vat of kale slaw for a work function. He brought it up last week, I had forgot about it already, and was–admittedly–a huge dick about it.

He called me from work when I was in the middle of photographing a time sensitive thing (it was a stir fry sorta thing and it was fading fast). Lots of impatient “Uuuuugh” sounds and swears and sighs. I finally said: “You’re gonna have to pick up the ingredients tonight because I DON’T have time this week.” I’ve been making this kale and cabbage slaw with a creamy mustard dressing, some apples, scallions, sesame seeds, and a few other things. It’s so delicious that we’ve already ate it a bunch of times ourselves, plus we brought it to a potluck brunch a little while back too. Devoured every time. So I knew the ingredients off by heart and impatiently rattled them off. “The flat kale! Not the curly, blue-ish one.” + “The cashew butter’s going to be so expensive at that store, but ugh whatever.” and on and on.

I had made up my mind that I would just get up early the day of and make the whole thing instead of doing some prep the night before. Of course I barely slept that night and was miserable, even after two coffees. Just chopping away and not talking much. Using the mandolin slicer lightning fast to get it over with, even though it makes Mark so paranoid because I won’t use the hand guard (and, turns out he’s totally right to be paranoid). Anyway, he thanked me so many times, gave me a kiss goodbye, took the slaw to the work function, and made a point of texting me to say that everyone loved it so much. He’s a lot more patient, forgiving, and easygoing than I am. That calm energy always brings me back to the center when I’m taking things a bit seriously, being just a touch selfish or, more often, just irrationally freaking out.

I’m hoping he can help me embrace and become more of that calm life force over the next month or so. I really want a laser beam focus on good health and wellness through this holiday season. It’s so easy to slip and toss some principle aside, and then feel fed up by New Year’s eve because of all the sugar/pressure. There’s a lot of guides to help with not over-indulging in cookies and booze at parties this time of year (drink a ton of water and eat a vegetable-heavy meal at home first blah blah blah), but I want this effort to go deeper. A bit of a health and mind cleanse, but not in a creepy mind control kinda way. Just aiming for some peace, chill time and optimal health. Join me? ;)

This is another easy, weeknight main course kind of thing with hardy vegetables. Just a nicer version of an everyday supper at our house. I’m in the middle of some freelance food-related projects so there are scraps and halves of all kinds of vegetables/herbs in the fridge right now. The dinnertime move lately is a roasted vegetable + some grain + a slaw-ish-salad with seasonal accoutrements. The glazed squash is so delicious and sticky and awesome on its own though. I dress the whole thing with a fresh turmeric and clementine dressing. Nice and light, sweet, and pretty yellow. My first little crate of the citrus is deliciously sweet, so I’m hoping that’s indicative across the board.

Some other bits: I have a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chunk ginger cake on BAKED this week and a Thanksgiving-appropriate recipe for pot pie in The Washington Post too (hey ‘merica!). Also, I’m making the recipes here print-able now by linking to a Google document below the recipe title. Hope this is helpful for some of you! Big hearts this week xo

salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw // @thefirstmesspin it!
salty maple squash w/ ginger scallion rice + turmeric brussels slaw recipe
print the recipe here!
serves: 2
notes: It might be helpful to pre-peel the squash before you roast, just for easier eating. I didn’t really do this and the experience was a touch more rustic, if you will (and I hope you will). Also, if you can’t find fresh turmeric for the dressing, just substitute 1 tsp of turmeric powder. I use a Benriner mandolin for shredding here.

squash ingredients:
1 small butternut or acorn squash, seeded + cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper

turmeric brussels slaw ingredients:
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed
1-2 scallions, sliced reserving white parts
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp cashew butter (preferably raw)
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 clementine (like 1/4 cup)
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds

rice etc:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled + minced
2 scallions, sliced
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds/arils

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lay the squash pieces on the parchment, peel side down. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, tamari, olive oil, salt + pepper. Brush this mixture on the squash (flesh parts; not the peel). Slide the tray into the oven and roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the brussels sprouts very thin into shreds. Toss them into a medium bowl with the sliced scallion, and chopped dill. In a blender, combine the cashew butter, dijon mustard, clementine juice, fresh turmeric, and olive oil. Season the mix with salt and pepper and blend on high until the mixture is totally smooth and incorporated, adding splashes of water if necessary. Pour 1/3-1/2 the dressing onto the brussels sprouts mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and gently toss again. Set aside.

Heat the 2 tsp olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and sliced scallions and stir until ginger has softened a bit, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir to coat in the ginger scallion oil. Keep stirring and sautéing until the rice is warm, about 3 minutes. Season mix with salt and pepper.

Lay the squash slices in two shallow bowls/plates. Top the squash with the ginger scallion rice. Divide the brussels slaw among the two plates and garnish with extra turmeric dressing and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm.

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  • valentina - sweet kabocha20/11/2014 - 4:40 am

    The colors of this plate are awesome. It seems perfect : the softness in rice and squash, the crunchy side of raw brussels sprouts, the creaminess of the cashew butter and the sourness of pomegranates.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie20/11/2014 - 4:46 am

    This dish looks so delicious! The colours look so pretty together. You’ve got talent :)ReplyCancel

  • silja20/11/2014 - 5:05 am

    sounds & looks delicious! however, after reading this mouthwatering description of that kale salad I’m very curious where to find the recipe for that one :)ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com20/11/2014 - 7:27 am

    So delicious looking and so fresh and healthy too! As always, you are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • The VegHog20/11/2014 - 7:45 am

    What a colourful dish and wonderful photos! I’m so happy it’s squash season right now.

    the-veghog.blogspot.co.ukReplyCancel

  • Stephanie20/11/2014 - 9:50 am

    IT IS JUST AMAZING WHAT YOU COOK! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING! YOU CHANGED MY LIFE!!!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith20/11/2014 - 10:23 am

    More gorgeous pics! Anything with turmeric is gold in my book! I was kinda hoping to see you incorporate those osage oranges/monkey balls I spotted in a couple of those photos. I’ve seen them around my area (northern VA), and know the seeds are edible but wouldn’t have the first clue what to do with them. What are your plans for them? Just decorative? They are pretty cool looking.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/11/2014 - 10:31 am

      Hey Meredith, my plans are purely decorative–that is, until now. I had no idea you could eat the seeds! I’m going to cut one today and take a look ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan20/11/2014 - 10:50 am

    Agreed, sometimes it’s hard not to give into that sugar/boozy temptation. I just don’t want to come out on the other side of January and be all ‘what the eff happened?!’ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2014 - 10:58 am

    I am SO pumped to try this slaw!!!! Also, love your honesty in this post. I’ve had similar things happen with needing a potluck dish for the husband’s work functions. :)ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon20/11/2014 - 11:00 am

    Totally relate.ReplyCancel

  • All the colours – the flavours … sounds incredible!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2014 - 11:49 am

    I’m loving this recipe, as it sounds like my piecemeal fridge right now – leftover rice, some roasted squash, and some Brussels awaiting whatever fate comes their way. Sounds like lunch! And I love the story about your husband being the calming, centering, patient one. My husband is the same way and he, like yours, reminds me that I’m freaking out about nothing important and should just calm down. Thank goodness for them!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}20/11/2014 - 11:50 am

    This is one of the most creative and colorful bowls I have seen lately. I love the brussels slaw with pomegranate seeds. Beautiful :)ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures20/11/2014 - 1:17 pm

    I can relate to this post more than I’d ever like to admit! I’ve been in the same boat of overbooking myself for freelance gigs lately and totally taking out my stress / frustration on my boyfriend (“Make your own dinner – I’ve been cooking all day”) and its totally wearing on me. I did finally turn in the biggest project of them all on Monday and it felt. SO. GOOD. Just keep your eye on the prize and make sure to relish on that relief moment when it’s all done and amazing and everything you wanted it to be. Cheers!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy20/11/2014 - 2:15 pm

    I would really appreciate the recipe for the kale slaw too…thinking it may b e great for Thanksgiving.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte20/11/2014 - 2:19 pm

    this looks insane. “being a dick”…I know that all too well. Sounds like you have a lot of work on your plate, which always seems like such a blessing disguised as a burden. Hope this season also offers you rest and thanksgiving, sweet lady.ReplyCancel

  • S Lauren | Modern Granola20/11/2014 - 4:03 pm

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica DeMarra20/11/2014 - 4:24 pm

    I adore this post. Sometimes we do get so wrapped up in what we are doing, in our own little world, we forget what it is like to let things slide and be a little more patient. I know I do. I was so focused on photographing a recipe that I barely noticed my boyfriend tell me he was leaving the house and I almost forgot to kiss him goodbye! Needless to say, I was feeling like you, a dick.
    This recipe is so colourful and vibrant, just what I need with the sun going down painfully early and the streets looking grey and bleak.ReplyCancel

  • Tessa | Salted Plains20/11/2014 - 4:53 pm

    These flavor combinations sound wonderfully warming and comforting. Beautiful. I’m with you on the peace and optimal health for the holidays…feels like that’s how it should be, right?ReplyCancel

  • Meredith20/11/2014 - 5:48 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Let me know how it goes with the osage orange! :) I haven’t done any dissecting on one yet myself.ReplyCancel

  • Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers20/11/2014 - 9:44 pm

    Loved the post and the slaw is being made this weekend! Amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Valentina @Hortus21/11/2014 - 8:31 am

    Reading this post was sooo much fun! Even though i am super sorry about your finger…
    I’m in a period in which i am submerging everything with turmeric, so that slaw looks super awesome! This whole dish does.
    I am also super intrigues by that wacky looking citrus. Never ever seen one in my life!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey21/11/2014 - 9:39 am

    this time of year everything is moving at a pace that i’m kind of never ok with, add work on top of it all, and it’s a touch craze-inducing. so being a dick to my man is something that happens all too often when i’m in that head space. this dish mighty mighty beautiful, and full of all the good stuff! those clementines! we haven’t gotten them here yet, but looking forward to when we do! all the best to you, miss! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kathryn21/11/2014 - 1:36 pm

    Trying to chill the eff out this holiday season? I’m so in. Life seems to have been so crazy recently and I’ve had too many of those crazy moments and spending time/energy arguing and battling against things which don’t deserve it. And yes to all the flavours you’ve got here. Super love that clementine. Stay warm friend!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits21/11/2014 - 4:49 pm

    Gorgeous salad! Love all the different colors and textures going on in it!ReplyCancel

  • Valeria - Life Love Food21/11/2014 - 6:28 pm

    I, like you, am not usually the best version of myself when slightly under pressure, let alone when very under pressure like I am now. My man is a saint and always know how to calm me down, and also how to tollerate my mood swings…I feel very fortunate for it. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, and hope work and projects and creativty will always be plentiful for you, talented lovely lady. Yet hopefully some inner peace and ease and calmer days will come sometime soon, too. Beautiful, vibrant dish, perfect to brighten these gloomy days.ReplyCancel

  • […] salty maple squash with ginger scallion rice. this […]ReplyCancel

  • Sonia22/11/2014 - 8:27 am

    Can you post the recipe for the kale slaw? That sounds delicious! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca23/11/2014 - 1:16 am

    Seriously love the vibrant colors of this dish!! Sometimes, it’s so nice to have someone that is the perfect balance to the crazy in our personalities–my husband is just the same. :)ReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little23/11/2014 - 4:24 am

    This looks so comforting but healthy and so delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen23/11/2014 - 11:15 am

    What a colorful, utterly lovely dish, Laura! Sending you good vibes all the way from Finland (sans snow so I’m kinda jealous that you get to enjoy some white beauty) to Canada. xxReplyCancel

  • Austin Bay24/11/2014 - 8:28 pm

    I love the story arc of this post & I couldn’t relate more…my boyfriend always reminds me to breath easy, especially during this time. Hope the holidays are great :) beautiful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • hannah25/11/2014 - 8:52 am

    This looks AMAZING Laura – your recipes are ALWAYS a winner :)
    The squash reminds me of one of my favourite ever salads (which i make with coconut nectar instead of honey – it’s divine with the coconut oil
    http://ascensionkitchen.com/pumpkin-chickpea-and-rocket-salad-with-raw-cashew-coriander-cream/) I’ll be trying your maple spin :)ReplyCancel

  • Pig and Potato26/11/2014 - 7:16 pm

    The colors in these photographs are delightful! The recipe looks wonderful. I’ll also be enjoying a veggie Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for sharing. Best to you and yours.

    xoReplyCancel

  • leslie heuer30/11/2014 - 1:17 pm

    We potlucked (a word?) thanksgiving dinner this year, my folks weren’t in the mood to cook so everyone brought along sides. I made just the squash component of this recipe and it was a big hit!! loved it!!ReplyCancel

  • […] – Tried and loved Salty Maple Squash, Ginger Scallion Rice and Turmeric Brussel Slaw. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] overindulging on vacation this week, I am craving salad. This looks like a nice, hearty dinner salad, and this one looks like a good savory salad (have you ever […]ReplyCancel

  • […]   If you love ginger as much as I do, take a peek at some of these great recipes… Ginger Lemon Tea Cranberry and Orange Zest Pop Tarts with Ginger Glaze from Dolly and Oatmeal Salty Maple Squash with Ginger Scallion Rice and Turmeric Brussels Slaw from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Salty maple squash with ginger scallion rice and turmeric Brussels slaw. (via The Kitchn) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] myself to a third, fourth serving…). My original recipe only contains kale, but inspired by this Brussel Slaw I thought I’d add some brussel sprouts to this one too to create a little variation in […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I’m loving the salty, sweet, crunchy, comforting mix of squash, rice and brussels sprouts here. […]ReplyCancel

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