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raw carrot cake slice w/ tangy citrus frosting

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first mess
I had this whole thing typed up about all these life-y bits and frustrations. Then Mark and I took a trip to the dump on Monday. It was rainy, cold and the wind would pelt you in the face when you just got around to forgetting about it. I was chucking gnarly old tree roots and heaps of lath into a giant, depressing garbage bin, next to 5 equally depressing garbage bins, when I realized that my glance needed re-adjustment. I was steady-bummed for a while because the whole renovation situation felt a bit unfamiliar and outside of my immediate grasp. There were a lot of comments tossed around that went to the tune of “WHY did we buy this piece-of-shit house?!”

Except… it totally isn’t a piece of shit. I keep forgetting that there is an entire universe of vivid and ecstatic energy bundled up within the vicinity of my cardiovascular system/chest cavity. I’ve been thinking small, that I’m small, that we’re small, that everything else is too big. Then, on that miserable day at the dump, I realized it’s kind of amazing to be uncomfortable, to be far flung outside of your cozy, blanket-wrapped elements. I’m learning heaped handfuls of life-y things every day. We’re gaining strength, understanding and stretching a little bit deeper all the time. The frequency of it just takes a little getting used to. Anyway we’re still here, I’m embracing my inner “big-ness” and now there’s a little bit of cake too.

This is a raw and vegan affair that comes together pretty simply once the cashews are soaked and the carrots are grated. I reserve the walnuts for the top, rather than mixing them up into the already unique texture of this raw “cake.” My favourite carrot cake ever has plenty of orange zest in the frosting, so I went in that direction for mine. Lots of warm spice, vanilla and smooth coconut oil too. Also, the ratio of cashew-based frosting to cake is 1:1 and I don’t even feel the need to qualify that one. Go have some cake for breakfast, friends. xo

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first mess

raw + vegan carrot cake slice w/ tangy citrus frosting
serves: makes an 8 inch square cake
notes: I make the cashew icing in my Vitamixbecause the high speed makes for a really dreamy frosting. I imagine this would work out alright in a food processor though, maybe a few more textural bits, but still tasty. Also, you want the icing to set in the fridge to a point where it becomes spread-able, not rock solid. You could probably speed this up in the freezer if you need to.

frosting ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup raw honey/raw agave nectar/maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract/liquid vanilla
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
zest of 1/2 an orange

cake ingredients:
1 cup pitted dates
splash of water/orange juice
1 cup almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour (or more almond if you like)
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extrtact/liquid vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch fine sea salt
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 cup finely grated carrots

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, with some overhang, and set aside.

In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, almond milk, raw honey/agave/maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Blend on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. With the motor running slowly, lift off the top of the blender and drizzle the melted coconut oil in slowly. Once you have a homogenous mixture, shut the machine off. Scrape the frosting into a bowl and fold the orange zest into the frosting. Cover the frosting with cling film, pressing it onto the surface. Allow the frosting to firm up in the refrigerator for about an hour.

In a food processor, pulse the dates with the splash of water/orange juice until you have a chunky paste (you could also just chop the dates up fine to make a paste). Scrape the date paste into a large bowl. To the date paste, add the almond flour, hazelnut flour, coconut oil, spices, salt, orange zest and grated carrots. Mix it up with a spatula or your hands until everything is evenly mixed. Press this cake mixture into the parchment lined pan until you’ve achieved an even thickness and you’ve filled out the pan. Cover it up and place in the fridge until you’re ready to frost it.

Spread the tangy citrus frosting on top of the cake and garnish it with chopped walnuts, more orange zest, currants, whatever you like. At this point, I like to let the whole thing set up all nice in the fridge, but you don’t have to. Lift the cake by grabbing the parchment overhang. Place it on a cutting board and slice into squares. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for about 5 days or so.

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Good for you :) I had the same feelings lately and during the weekend I reminded myself how much I love my life :)

Skye14/11/2013 - 5:30 am

I made a carrot, ginger and almond cake recently with a cream cheese frosting. It was sublime, but I was riddled with guilt for days afterwards, as I ate far too much… This looks like a very healthy and completely guilt-free alternative. Hurrah! Do you think that it would work if I used blanched almonds instead of cashews?

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar14/11/2013 - 8:06 am

I love the sound of this. The crust looks absolutely perfect!

Laura Wright14/11/2013 - 8:22 am

Hello Skye, I think you could use blanched almonds, but the texture/mouthfeel might be a bit different. This frosting gets its creaminess from the fattiness of the cashews, but it’s certainly worth a try :)
-L

Stephanie Tucci14/11/2013 - 9:40 am

I love you blend the coconut oil into the frosting! I work at a Raw restaurant in NYC and thats what we do for icing/ice cream ect. Glad to see other people are using the same awesome technique! Really glad I found your blog :)

Aimee @ Simple Bites14/11/2013 - 9:57 am

Renovating is gruelling, no matter the scale of the job. Hang in there. In the meantime, it looks like this cake soothes a lot. Beautiful flavor profile!

Ali @ Inspiralized14/11/2013 - 10:01 am

I mean, that frosting!! I love this recipe, I”m definitely making it this Thanksgiving!

Kate @ The Endless Pursuit14/11/2013 - 10:11 am

Amen sista!
Laura, seriously this post hit home, as we are trying to renovate our early 1900′s kitchen. With dust everywhere, cookware scattered throughout the house, and just the overall monstrosity of this project has had me feeling the exact same way… small and overwhelmed. Great way to put this all in perspective, I needed that. :) And I also NEED to make this carrot cake now! Wowza!

Good luck with the reno!

Emma Galloway14/11/2013 - 10:33 am

God I need a high powdered blender, then maybe, just maybe I could get into cashew icing. Mine looks nothing like your lovely smooth and creamy goodness right there! Yum.

Chelsea thenakedfig14/11/2013 - 10:36 am

This looks so yummy! I tried making raw carrot cake once before and was a little disappointed (although I skipped the icing so I set myself up for failure). But this looks perfect and I think will turn me back on to raw carrot cakes. Thanks for sharing!

Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)14/11/2013 - 12:11 pm

I want to put that frosting on all the things. Also, this sounds like a brilliant breakfast! I think I’ll make this tomorrow morning.

Heather14/11/2013 - 2:05 pm

Gurl, you have done it again. The most beautiful carrot cake I have ever seen.

Katy14/11/2013 - 5:01 pm

So gorgeous. I love raw desserts, I find them much easier to make since you can’t mess up the baking part!

Nicola Galloway14/11/2013 - 5:34 pm

Buying a house that needs work is huge but so rewarding. I know the first years of Renos, garden excavating etc. were often challenging for us but now we can sit back and enjoy our little Eden (and plan our next reno, it never really ends :) ).
And have a built a thing of beauty in this cake will add this to my ‘must make’ list now I have a high sleep blender.

Dearna @tohercore14/11/2013 - 5:53 pm

Its hard sometime when big tasks like this are so overwhelming. On the upside, its always great to challenge yourself and learn form experiences and opportunities, good and bad. Glad that you are felling more positive about it all now – and good luck with the renovations :)
Oh, and this cake looks amazing too by the way!

Grace14/11/2013 - 6:31 pm

Ugh, renovating is intense – but so rewarding! When you’re all done you’ll have a home that you love and your confidence will be through the roof! This cake sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful. Love!

hannah14/11/2013 - 10:11 pm

I made this almost as soon as I saw it! And it’s delicious! Thanks for all that you share Laura!

Katie @ 24 Carrot Life15/11/2013 - 12:37 am

These look killer good and I can’t wait to make them asap!!

Laura Dillon15/11/2013 - 5:42 am

Hey Laura, I really love the look of this raw cake, carrot cake is my favourite and i love making it with lot of good spices like you have here, and coconut flakes too! Your food blog is an utter inspiration for me (not only because we have the same awesome name), but because everything you post here is so delicious and healthy and just beautiful. I hope one day I can develop my knowledge with food even close to as good as you are now!
Keep posting the lovely recipes ;)
from Laura

Rebecca Jane15/11/2013 - 7:18 am

Holy moly i am making this this weekend. Go rock the bigness you are surrounded with xx

molly yeh15/11/2013 - 11:40 am

book marking this. my man’s birthday is at the end of the month and he is gluten free, dairy free, and *mostly* sugar free. it’s a bitch when it comes to birthday cakes! i was thinking of making a steak cake. BUT THIS IS WAY BETTER. you are the bestest.

Lillian @ Sugar and Cinnamon15/11/2013 - 10:01 pm

Such a healthy and unique take on carrot cake! Carrot cake is one of my favourites and I’m always looking for ways to make it a little lighter and better for you. This raw version looks so delicious and light. Can’t wait to give it a try! And your photos are just inspiring.

amy16/11/2013 - 12:35 pm

looks great, going to try this today! can i use coconut flour instead of hazelnut flour?

[…] like to please introduce you to a sweet and savory Raw Carrot Cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting. How wonderful and indulgent does this beautiful cake look? I am always thrilled to read, recreate, […]

Jessica (bakecetera)17/11/2013 - 8:17 am

this is the most beautiful and original method for making a carrot cake! i love all of the natural ingredients. it looks incredible, i can’t wait to try this out!

Laura Wright17/11/2013 - 9:39 am

Hi Amy,
Coconut flour tends to be super-drying. So maybe start with half the amount of hazelnut flour, mix it up, see how it feels and go from there. I think the texture might be quite different if you go this way though.
-L

Golubka17/11/2013 - 11:36 am

Amazing you can go through such intense renovations and still make, photograph and write about your beautiful food. Just read your interview with Food and Wine, congratulations!

Kathryn17/11/2013 - 6:28 pm

I totally get you. The number of times I wondered why we were even moving, let along trying to project manage a renovation was insane. It was all just so overwhelming but I know you’re going to be so happy in your new home. In the meanwhile, I think you deserve lots and lots of cake.

Victoria18/11/2013 - 8:35 am

Laura, I’ve been reading this blog (which I love! thank you for not being pretentious) for a year or so now.

I’m curious about how your body feels going raw when it’s about to be winter. Although, I am in KCMO, so it’s probably already winter where you are! I’ve always felt horrible and off-season when I tried to eat raw or juice cleanse when it’s wintertime. Thoughts?

Laura Wright18/11/2013 - 9:05 am

Hi Victoria! I’ll be talking about this next week a little bit. Sneak peek: I couldn’t do it for the full month. I didn’t feel absolutely horrible, but I knew some things were off and had to take some action. Thank you for commenting (and for reading)! :)
-L

Healing Tomato19/11/2013 - 9:29 pm

Those are some awesome pictures and I love your cooking style. It is truly unique!

Maya20/11/2013 - 1:48 am

I made this as soon as I saw the recipe, it is sooooo yummy! I can’t believe how much it is just like cake in terms of the frosting and texture. Have shared the recipe with lots of friends already and gave them a sample, they are all hooked! Thank you! XX

hungryandfrozen20/11/2013 - 1:55 pm

Hooray for learning as you go and for a recipe with 1:1 ratio of cake and icing! This recipe sounds super fun, I think I will definitely give it a go sometime. xx

[…] + Raw carrot cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting from The First Mess […]

Vic24/11/2013 - 3:59 pm

Can I use 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup brown rice flour!?
Can’t wait to try this!

Laura Wright24/11/2013 - 5:43 pm

Hi Vic, since this is a raw preparation, I’m not sure how good the brown rice flour would taste. I would go all almond flour if possible.
-L

vic24/11/2013 - 10:05 pm

I JUST TRIED IT AND ITS FREAKING AMAZING! how believe no sugar added :)

Maren25/11/2013 - 12:12 am

I made this for a Thanksgiving party today and everyone loved it! Thanks so much for this! Do you think it would work with oat flour?

Laura Wright26/11/2013 - 9:39 am

Hey Maren, I think you would still have to insure that half of the flour used is nut or seed based for texture maintenance. 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of oat flour sounds heavenly for this cake though :)
-L

tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:37 pm

very much laughing at “why did we buy this piece of shit!”

oh how during many, most.. all projects my husband might have said this very thing (while i am saying why did we move our whole lives and how did we possibly pick here?) but then i quickly defend against all reason, i love this house! don’t dare talk bad about it NOW, after we’re IN it, doing it, committed to the point of no return, don’t you dare! haha! (; and then all is good, until the next project. (;

Pop Chef09/12/2013 - 12:48 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your story. Good read.

Donna23/12/2013 - 10:42 pm

Discovered this recipe via Buzzfeed and made it today. It is freaking awesome! And the icing is fine in the food processor, just slightly gritty. But OMG this is so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

[…] that had me make a double-size cake with her three days later! That speaks for itself how good The First Mess’s recipe […]

Åsa29/03/2014 - 1:44 pm

Hi Laura,
This cake is just fantastic! And, surprisingly, the taste is even nicer after a couple of days.
My cake is quite wet, though, so I next time I’ll try and weigh the flour instead of using volume measure. I grate my almond and hazel nuts and suspect the result is much airier than the bought flour/meal would be. Brilliant either way, and I can see many other uses for the vegan + no refined sugar icing. Thanks again.

[…] Raw Carrot Cake Bites  […]

shredded brussels sprouts + fall vegetable salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing

shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messshredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first mess
This is an easy one, completely by my own choice. Eating raw foods with regularity, while simultaneously trying to make it varied, is HARD. (Feels way awesome though, trust.) My brain is always in a future-thinking mode where food is concerned. I need to soak almonds because I’m almost out of almond milk! That granola needs to dehydrate for 8 hours, which means I should be around to check it later on, probably… I should pick some greens and celery now and put them in the fridge so that I don’t get lazy about juicing tomorrow morning. Salad is the one thing I’m eating everyday that allows for spontaneity (oh, and raw chocolate + banana shakes, I’m having those everyday too).

I wanted to make one that would be suitable to gathering ’round though, a little more baller-time. If I’m in a potluck situation, I always volunteer the salad portion. Mostly because I don’t want to eat a crummy salad, but also because I want my peeps to get real jazzed about vegetables. I know I can fix them up pretty well, so the token salad offering becomes this sort of greater mission thing. I was thinking about holiday time and all of that indulgent heft, the need for a fresh counterbalance that still felt rich in certain ways.

I love a tangy and creamy tahini-based dressing. It seems like a bit of a hippie-dip staple, but for good reason. It has a luscious texture that really fills out a salad/slaw. Its undeniably fatty feel on the tongue carries flavour really beautifully too. Citrus, cumin and garlic tag along, all with a quick blitz in the blender. Then I just did some small shreds/cuts on a bunch of my fall faves. The beets and sweet potato stay crunchy. The apple is lightly tart and juicy. The brussels sprouts fill this out and the celery was kind of a last minute addition, super fresh though.

I ate this with a big helping of greens and half an avocado, you know, just for fun. Pretty refreshing and perfect as far as Fall lunches go. Anyway, gonna keep it short today. This gal’s got seeds/nuts to sprout, buckwheat to soak, cherry tomatoes to dry, lathing to tear out in a future kitchen (!!!), trim to paint, and other fun things :)

Big hugs,
Laura

shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first messtahini // the first messshredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing // the first mess
shredded brussels sprouts + fall veg salad w/ garlicky orange tahini dressing
with tahini dressing guidance from Tara
serves: 4-6
notes: You could easily mix up the veg here. I went with beets and sweet potatoes (because yay! Just found they’re kind of awesome in their raw state), but kohl rabi, celery root, little turnips and fennel would all be so tasty. I use a very basic Benriner Japanese Mandolin to make quick work of the shreds. I’ve had it for years and it’s still so sharp–highly recommended small investment.

salad ingredients:
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed + finely shredded/sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 small-medium beets, peeled + cut into thin matchsticks
1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled + cut into thin matchsticks
1 apple, cored + thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced into little slivers
salt + pepper

dressing ingredients:
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp grainy mustard (or dijon, whatevs)
1/3 cup raw tahini (or regular, NBD)
juice of 1 orange (a generous 1/4 cup)
raw honey/maple syrup/agave nectar to taste
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
splashes of apple cider vinegar/water for thinning out (if necessary)

to finish:
big handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl, combine the sliced brussels sprouts, celery, beets, sweet potato shreds, sliced apple and red onion slivers. Season all of that with some salt and pepper and toss. Set aside.

Make the dressing: combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender on high until you have a smooth dressing that will coat the back of a spoon, in a decidedly thin way (you might have to add splashes of cider vinegar/water etc to get there). Check it for seasoning, adjust and set the dressing aside.

Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss it up. Garnish with the pumpkin seeds and parsley. I think it could hold up in its dressed state, sans apples, for a couple hours if you had to bring it somewhere. Just add the apples and garnish it up right before serving.

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Harriet06/11/2013 - 6:07 am

I have to admit, I’ve been totally inspired by your raw-someness (tehe). Lately I’ve been doing roughly two-thirds raw, one-third cooked, and am just IN LOVE with how I feel. I’m enjoying food in a totally different way, and it’s terrific. Thank you for giving me the courage to step out into it!

This salad looks exactly like something that should be in my belly right now. Raw beetroot is a favourite, as is nearly every other ingredient. Bliss.

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)06/11/2013 - 8:31 am

“1 tsp grainy mustard (or dijon, whatevs)
1/3 cup raw tahini (or regular, NBD)”

This is what I love about you.

Kathryn06/11/2013 - 9:15 am

The whole having to get my shit together for raw food is one of the things that puts me off but this salad? This I can definitely get it together for. Such totally great flavours.

tara06/11/2013 - 9:25 am

Lady! This is gorgeous. I’ve got all the ingredients in the house, so I’m taking that as a sign.

thelittleloaf06/11/2013 - 9:48 am

This is exactly the kind of thing I love to pack for my lunch at work. Tahini dressing comes up trumps every time :-)

Emma Galloway06/11/2013 - 10:17 am

Oh yes, shredded veges and creamy salad dressing forms about half of my daily diet! :-)

Kristen06/11/2013 - 10:45 am

This salad looks marvelous! I was just wondering, how you cut your veggies into matchsticks? Elite knife skills or a mandoline? :)

Maja06/11/2013 - 10:56 am

I am always looking for my next new favorite tahini dressing and this orange version looks like a serious contender. Definitely prioritizing this recipe for tonight’s dinner salad :)

As an aside, your photography and recipes are consistently inspiring.

Emma06/11/2013 - 11:04 am

How stunning is this?! It’s so sad that many people think of salad as some sad undressed lettuce and perhaps a few token tomatoes!This would certainly prove them wrong.
Root vegetables are so versatile and tahini with anything sounds good to me.

Fresh and Foodie06/11/2013 - 12:17 pm

A tahini dressing! Great idea. I usually just use mine to make hummus or to drizzle on salads as-is.

Katy06/11/2013 - 12:32 pm

I love tahini but have only made dressing from it once or twice. I definitely need to do that again. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had brussels sprouts raw but I love the combination you’ve done here, especially with the apple!

Pamela Joy06/11/2013 - 1:01 pm

This looks beautiful and delicious! Would be great to share at Thanksgiving!

Dawn06/11/2013 - 1:24 pm

Your salads always look so beautiful! Love the colours.

Laura Wright06/11/2013 - 1:48 pm

Hey Kristen! I’ve had a loooot of practice in the knife skills department, so I’ll chock it up to that. Mandolin would have made it go a bit faster though :)
-L

Kristen06/11/2013 - 2:08 pm

Thanks, Laura! Sounds like I need to get a mandolin. :)

Eileen06/11/2013 - 3:17 pm

Prettiest salad ever! Plus orange and mustard with crispy shredded winter veg just sounds right. :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar06/11/2013 - 3:44 pm

HELLO! This slaw looks fantastic!

dishing up the dirt06/11/2013 - 5:20 pm

lovely, easy, tasty. Love this recipe.

I love everything about this salad; the colours, the flavours! Looks delicious!

I have to say your photos this time totally rock me. I am floored by them! I love the in your face close ups and the collage of the various elements. Very inspiring. Plus the recipe. These ingredients raw, I have never tried something like it. Awesome!

Nina07/11/2013 - 12:25 pm

This sounds amazing! I’ve never cooked with tahini or raw sweet potato and this recipe has inspired me to try both!! Thanks so much for sharing and your photos are beautiful.

molly yeh07/11/2013 - 1:14 pm

you had me at brussels sprouts. and then you had me again at tahini.. and then these gorgeous photos omg i just about died. this is everything i want in a vegetable thing and more. plz come be a guest at all of my potlucks?

Golubka07/11/2013 - 9:46 pm

This is such a beautiful salad and that tahini dressing sounds heavenly. You’re definitely inspiring me to make more raw food again. Thankfully, it is just the right time for it here in Florida, our green market is bountiful for the next 6 months!

Justina08/11/2013 - 1:16 am

The dressing sounds amazing. I love the tahini. I’ve seen it in recipes but I have not used it for a dressing.

I’m also amazed that beets are in salads now (or again, I’m not sure). I love it.

How long have you been eating raw?

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures08/11/2013 - 9:31 am

I had no idea you could eat sweet potatoes raw! I love this raw adventure you are currently knee deep in!

Rebecca Jane09/11/2013 - 7:59 am

This is pretty much the exact salad i had the other night. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve said in this post. Tahini dressings totally round out a big asse bowl of salad and i’m there with you in terms of raw food preparation- always something to dehydrate/ soak. I love it- i fall in love with food even more when i have to make that extra effort. Good luck with all you’re busy with xx

Adri09/11/2013 - 9:03 pm

This is a delight! It looks utterly tempting, and your photographs are gorgeous!

Jessicaisbaking10/11/2013 - 1:35 am

I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING!! New Thanksgiving side, for sure!! Thanks for the recipe and keep up the inspiration!!

Liz Oppenheim10/11/2013 - 2:58 pm

This is one gorgeous looking salad. I love shredded salads, and the dressing looks refreshingly different.

One quick question: I have read several places that it is not safe to eat sweet potato raw because it contains an enzyme that inhibits protein digestion. I can never tell if this is alarmist, or advice worth heeding. Do you have any personal experience with feeling funny after eating them raw?

Thanks so much! I always enjoy your new recipes.

Brian @ A Thought For Food11/11/2013 - 10:07 pm

Winter is when I tend to go with slaws and salads… even more than stews. Because that stuff can get old really REALLY quickly. You need these lighter dishes to keep things interesting.

sarah13/11/2013 - 9:34 pm

I am sick in bed, sneezing and coughing my head off, and this looks like just the thing to make me feel better. Also, I love when you say hippie-dip. xo

[…] dann aber wohl oder über an die Essensbereitung gemacht. Zum Glück hatte ich noch ein Glas mit diesem Dressing im Kühlschrank, sodass ich nur noch schnell etwas Gemüse raspeln musste und fertig wars schon das […]

Ashlae17/11/2013 - 9:48 am

I’m thinking of embarking on some sort of raw journey in the near future, as four months of being removed from my normal eating habits have taken a SERIOUS toll on my belly. With that being said, I think this is just the nudge I need because I – miraculously – have every. single. ingredient for this recipe just chillin’ in my kitchen, waiting to be chopped up and sliced and thrown together to make this rawsome (too cheesy?) salad.

PS – Your photos are my fav. <3

[…] Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with fall vegetables and garlic-tahini dressing, via The First Mess […]

Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts19/11/2013 - 7:48 am

I love the colors in this! They’re so vibrant and yet so perfectly Fall-y. Thank you for sharing — it’s now on my list of must-try salads :)

[…] First Mess’ Garlicky Orange Tahini Dressing (Gluten + Dairy Free): You really can’t go wrong with tahini! A bright salad to match […]

Lo13/12/2013 - 5:27 pm

Sounds lovely! Can not wait to mix it up. To u make your own tahini? I found a method to make it that allows me to store and keep it longer.

[…] recipe from The First Mess […]

[…] Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (pin) / 3. Kale Citrus Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing (pin) / 4. Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Garlicky Orange Tahini Dressing […]

[…] Shredded Brussels Sprouts + Fall Vegetable Salad from The First Mess […]

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gone raw: autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”, za’atar carrots, avocado, dijon + dill

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/ celery root "rice", zathe dill out back // the first mess
Have I mentioned this? I’m going to try the raw food thing for a month! That completely immersive and beautiful dinner we had at Pure Food & Wine back in September left a pretty serious impression on me. It was so innovative, colourful, satisfying and, most importantly, life-giving. I didn’t feel like a half-drunk, belly-aching, lumbering bear clambering around in the streets afterward. Sometimes destination restaurant experiences have that sleepy after-effect, but not this time. We had three courses, cocktails, the whole bit, and just bounced right outta there afterward without missing ANY sort of beat. I’m pretty sure I observed out loud at least 7 times how awesome and vibrant I felt.

I’m not a stranger to raw foods or anything, but I wanted to give the lifestyle a very sincere effort for a lot of reasons. I feel like my creative nature might need a slight kick in the pants–just been in steady resting mode with foods and preparation methods lately. Certain constraints seem to reveal a whole new world more often than not–i.e. travel, changing careers, using twitter as a communication medium IN GENERAL etc. You can lose those everyday crutches and gain a new set of tools/capabilities once you decide that the lead-up actions are worthwhile. Any shred of personal growth is so valuable to me, so yep, I dug out the dehydrator and bought myself some lucuma.

It’s also a bit of a control readjustment thing. The house and its updates are kind of maddening/sad-party some days (but also really great in a future-thinking sense–not complaining, dudes). I’ve been reaching for what my man calls a “poor man’s mocha” more often than I’d care to admit (it’s like ordering a coffee and then asking that half of the cup be taken up by hot chocolate–I know sooooo sneaky). There’s a lot of hastily grabbed snack-y foods that are less than virtuous floating around. I figure a new mindset/mission is what I need to take the power back. I get to a point almost every day where I pause in the middle of some glamorous task like piling up smelly old floor boards outside, and I think “Aaaah, maybe I’ll just like, make sure I eat a salad before I go to work…?” That doesn’t usually pan out. It’s just an overall operating-at-75-percent kind of thing, in the efforts put forth and the results, that’s bothering me. I’ve never been a 75 percent-er, ever, so it’s time to change and work outside of my comforts a bit. Simple as that.

And the last obvious thing: it’s for my health, duh! I’m excited to feel a bit more in tune with my body and this magnificent, consistently humbling earth. It’s pretty crazy to think about the amount of energy you can just weave into the fibres of your being by simply eating. And the land provides! I’m excited to make beautiful things happen, and to feel a bit more spring in the heels. Also, no shame, a bit of this.

So yeah! Gonna try it all out, learn a few things, make some stuff. Just living and working with a bit more intention is all. This little snack came to me while I was flipping through Sarma’s amazing book. She has a version with jicama for the rice portion, which sounds really fresh and lovely. We have celery root everywhere and I love its lightly sweet, fresh, creamy celery-ish taste. I thought it would be mind-blowing all rice-d up in an autumnal nori roll (or sushi if you aren’t gonna be all crazy concerned about cuisine terminology usage) situation with some dressed carrots, dill and dijon. The combination was pretty solid–nice and crunchy, bit of chew from the nori and zing from the mustard. My dad grew some mighty fine carrots in his garden this year–so sweet and flavourful. The dill is vibrant and green out there too, despite negative temperatures at night. Thankfully, it all just grows and goes together. Nature, seriously!

See you next week with some more raw goodies, loves! xoxo

raw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", zaraw autumn sushi w/celery root "rice", za
raw autumn sushi w/ celery root “rice”
with vegetable-based rice guidance from Raw Food, Real World
special equipment: a sushi mat! These can be had rather inexpensively.
serves: makes about 18-24 rolls, depending on how thick you lay the rice mix in
notes: I coat the celery root chunks in lemon juice pre-processing to prevent any sort of browning. Also, it’s fun to have the leafy bits of sprouts sticking out the ends of the rolls. Pretty presentation!

celery root rice ingredients:
3 cups diced (peeled!) celery root
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
splash of rice vinegar
splash of raw agave nectar OR raw honey
fat pinch of sea salt

za’atar carrots:
1 large OR 2-3 medium carrots, peeled + cut into matchsticks
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp za’atar
little handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper

assembly:
3-4 sheets of nori (there are raw brands available, if you are concerned)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
extra dill sprigs + the little seedy flowers if you got ‘em
big handful of sprouts (sunflower is my fave)
nama shoyu/coconut aminos to serve

Toss the diced celery root with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Throw the pieces into the food processor along with the pine nuts. Pulse/run the motor until the nuts and celery root become rice-sized. Scrape all of that out into a medium bowl. Toss the “rice” with the rice vinegar, agave/honey and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, toss the carrot matchsticks with the lemon juice, za’atar, dill, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Line up your nori sheets, sliced avocado, sprouts, dill bits and pour your coconut aminos/nama shoyu in a little serving bowl.

Lay a nori sheet, rough side facing up, on your sushi mat. Make sure the lines are going horizontal. Spoon some celery root rice onto the bottom third of the nori. Spread it to all the corners, packing it down. You should have a solid layer of the rice with minimal gaps. In the middle of the rice, lay some of the carrot mixture down. Top that with dill, avocado and sprouts.

Now, grabbing the bottom edge of the sushi mat with your thumbs and simultaneously pushing the sushi filling in with your fingers, start rolling it up. After you’ve enclosed the center bits (carrots, avo etc), clamp down on the roll to firm it up a bit. Continue rolling, firming up the shape of it as you go. Moisten the last little edge of the nori with water on your finger before you completely roll it up, just to seal it a bit.

Cut the roll in half. Then cut those halves into 3 evenly sized pieces each. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, carrots etc. Serve it up with the nama shoyu or whatever you like.

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Emma30/10/2013 - 6:42 am

These are stunning! I keep meaning to try raw sushi rolls but haven’t yet.
Hope the raw month goes well. I did a fully raw week and felt so good but a month might be a bit long for me to go without baking and roast veggies!

Chloe30/10/2013 - 7:02 am

he he you’re pretty great to listen to :) I love the way raw food makes me feel too – so much goodness. I’ve made raw sushi with cauliflower rice before, also pretty great. looking forward to the raw goodies ! xo

thecitygourmand30/10/2013 - 7:53 am

Some gorgeous detail in that first shot!

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures30/10/2013 - 8:24 am

These look soooo good! I am always looking to go a little more raw and am excited for you to share your raw adventure!

Grace30/10/2013 - 9:36 am

Beautiful! Props to you girl for going raw for a month! Totally raw is tough for me but if anyone can make it incredibly delicious it’s you. I’ve been feeling a similar disconnect from my body and so am doing a detox for the month of November. Raw, lots of broth, and zero sugar or allergens (well my potential ones at least). Let’s get these high vibes going!

erin30/10/2013 - 10:00 am

These are just gorgeous and I love the idea of using celery root as the rice!

Grace30/10/2013 - 10:08 am

Such beauties. I want to pop them all in my mouth and feel happy! Can’t wait to see more fresh goodies you “cook” up this month! ;)

Christine30/10/2013 - 10:32 am

These rolls look vibrantly life-giving, and your words are inspiring. Thanks for mentioning the books _Raw Food/Real World_ and _Living Raw Food_. Would you mind mentioning a few other sources that have guided and inspired you in preparing for this month? Thanks!

stacey snacks30/10/2013 - 10:45 am

Just harvested the last of my fennel and has now turned to seed, which I am happy about, now I have a big container of fennel seeds………

I just posted your beautiful Moroccan stew with chickpeas and dates, I’ve made it 3 times so far! It’s so good!
Thank you for your lovely recipes and beautiful photos.

Stacey
http://www.staceysnacksonline.com/2013/10/moroccan-style-vegetable-stew-w.html

Shanna30/10/2013 - 11:45 am

Brilliant idea and I can’t wait to hear how you feel as the month goes on!

thelittleloaf30/10/2013 - 12:48 pm

This looks incredible! Not sure if I could do a whole month of raw food but seriously impressed :-)

Michelle @ The Fresh Direction30/10/2013 - 4:17 pm

Look at you go! These looks amazing – never made sushi before but this raw version has definitely inspired me. Good luck with the raw food venture, totally down with that. Keep us posted! :)

Harriet McAtee31/10/2013 - 12:16 am

These looks so wonderfully delicious and inspiring! Like you, I seem to love a new eating challenge and the ingenious ideas that spring from them. Haha. I’m the person that’s a little bit sad when I detox is over, and I return to normal eating. Totally digging that intentional, purposeful feeling you get from eating that way. These rolls look seriously good – I can’t wait to see what else appears here while you’re raw!

jade o'donahoo31/10/2013 - 5:09 am

the photos are gorgeous! i can’t wait to give the celery root ‘rice’ a go. X

[…] Autumn Sushi with Celery Root “Rice” from The First Mess […]

sarah31/10/2013 - 3:02 pm

You are so inspiring. Although, I’m having a very hard time imagining you as a ‘lumbering bear clambering around in the streets’ regardless of what you eat, ha. Your photos are gorgeous as always! And I can’t wait to see this house of yours take shape!

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com31/10/2013 - 4:48 pm

Divine! Raw foods can be so satisfying and beautiful! Need to try this soon!

JCollins01/11/2013 - 10:19 am

I am VERY familiar with the ‘poor man’s mocha’. During my college days as a barista, we had a poor man’s version of several drinks we thought were too pricey for consumption during work (even with a discount). Poor man’s Italian soda – a can of sprite and some of the syrup flavoring (yes, a total sugar bomb).

Fresh and Foodie01/11/2013 - 11:00 am

Beyond gorgeous! I’ve been trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. If I could eat like this everyday, it’d be much easier!

Eileen02/11/2013 - 4:52 pm

This has to be some of the prettiest sushi I’ve ever seen–and most sushi is pretty beautiful, so that’s saying something. :) I love the idea of using zata’ar too!

Haley04/11/2013 - 12:52 am

Oh my gosh these look great. What a cool idea for the “rice”

Miachel (Spiced Curiosity)05/11/2013 - 10:24 pm

What an amazing raw meal, and a creative take on making sushi healthy.

Cheers! :)

[…] Autumn Sushi w/ Celery Root “Rice”, Za’atar Carrots, Avocado, Dijon + Dill ~ The First Mess. I have been obsessed with making nori rolls lately, and this take on them with spiced carrots looks amazing. […]

Sonja06/11/2013 - 11:10 pm

I read this the other day and was blown over by your creativity here (but forgot to leave you a little note to say so :) ). I’m a huge fan of celery root but never would have thought of using it as sushi rice. I’m inspired!

Joy Newton13/11/2013 - 10:54 pm

Wow! Such beautiful images! I can’t stop looking at them :).