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spring onion falafel with millet + some accompaniments

spring onion falafel with millet + some accompaniments // the first messspring onion falafel with millet + some accompaniments // the first messfalafel prep // the first mess
There are plenty of things keeping me up at night lately and while I’ve already cut my caffeine consumption down to one coffee a day, I’m finding some true release in a put-it-all-out-there strategy. Sleep has been noticeably more solid and it’s funny how the universe provides some answers, just so long as you make your being/wants known. We’re on the tip of the very cusp of a new season (so close) and everything feels possible. There’s work to do inside and out at our place (counters in that kitchen!), all sorts of food to make, places to go. I think it might get a little crazy soon, but I’m hoping I can be here as often as ever. I like the early bits of spring. It’s all tiny green buds, petrichor, lighter jackets and anticipation

One of my dearest friends shot me a text last week to tell me that a) my site was down and b) this was a bummer because he needed a falafel recipe. I got the site back up, but still no falafel recipe? Huh. Truthfully I had never made it before. I have this thing about certain takeaway-style foods where I tell myself there’s no point in trying to replicate them at home because seriously, how are you gonna do better? Deep frying at home isn’t something I aim to do often, but I had a homemade falafel experience on my mind. So I consulted about 15 recipes, decided to get real wild and just bake them.

It was easier than I thought! And once you serve them up with pita, lettuce, tahini sauce etc., you kind of forget that they aren’t fried. All of the flavour is totally there. I lightened my falafel mix with cooked millet, lemon and scallions, uuuum because spring or something. I love the toasty, corn-ish qualities of millet and knew that it would fluff things up a bit in terms of texture. I’ve got three little add-on recipes to accompany these too. The first one is my basic pickled red onions recipe/non-recipe. I use these on any and all savoury foods. The next one is some salty sweet rosemary peanuts. These are so punchy and right on a falafel salad, but really good on their own too. Last thing is a dill-y tahini sauce that you can just shake up in a jar. When I make any sauce/dressing (or food in general), I keep tasting and adding more salt, sweetness, acid, fat or spice to my liking until I’ve nailed it. This recipe follows that taste-as-you-go strategy and the jam jar mixing method makes that whole thing a bit easier.

falafel prep // the first messspring onion falafel with millet + some accompaniments // the first messspring onion falafel with millet + some accompaniments // the first mess
spring onion falafels with millet + some accompaniments
serves: makes about 20 falafels
notes: I feel like quinoa or any other small, fluffy and spherical grain could work in place of the millet. Just make sure that all of the water is cooked out and the grain is as dry as possible when you go to mix it with the chickpea base. As always, garlic, cumin and any other spices can be added or subtracted to your liking.

falafel ingredients:
2 cups cooked chickpeas, dried with a kitchen towel
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled + roughly chopped
1/2 of a small cooking onion, roughly chopped
4-5 green onions, sliced, white bulb- parts and green tops separated
2 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp brown rice/oat/millet flour (or whole wheat, spelt, all purp etc. if you can handle gluten)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cooked, but still chewy, millet (1/3 cup millet + 2/3 cup water simmered until all the water is gone)
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a food processor combine the chickpeas, garlic, chopped cooking onion, the chopped whites of the green onions, ground cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until you have a chunky paste and there are hardly any whole chickpeas left. Add the flour and baking soda and pulse a couple more times to combine. You should have a wet and chunky paste. Scrape this into a large bowl. To this, add the cooked millet, sesame seeds, and sliced green onion tops. Fold it all together to combine.

Form falafels with your hands by grabbing about 2 tbsp of chickpea mixture at a time. Gently roll it into a football-ish shape and place it on the parchment lined pan. repeat with remaining chickpea mixture. Once you’re done, slide the tray into the oven and bake falafels for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly firm to the touch. Serve falafels in a pita, big lettuce leaf, or on top of a salad with any of the accompaniments below!

1. really easy pickled red onions
1 onion’s worth :)

1/2 cup white wine/cider/rice vinegar
1 cup+ water
2-3 tbsp maple syrup/raw honey
2 tsp sea salt
1 red onion, sliced into thin half moons

Combine everything but the sliced onion in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. While it’s heating up, pack the sliced onions into a clean jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions and allow it to sit at room temp, uncovered, for an hour or so. Put the lid on and refrigerate onions until ready to use. These will keep for a few weeks (but they probably won’t last that long).

2. sweet and salty rosemary peanuts
makes: 1 cup

1 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt

Toss all of the ingredients together and spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them in a 350 degree oven until they’ve browned slightly and dried up a bit, about 7-10 minutes.

3. jam jar tahini dressing
makes: a generous 1/2 cup

1 clove of garlic, minced or grated on a rasp
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp maple syrup/raw honey
splash of cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup water (depending on how thick/thin you want this)
1/4 cup tahini
salt and pepper
2 sprigs of dill, leaves chopped

Shake up all of the ingredients in a tightly sealed jar. Check it for seasoning, adjust and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

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Kathryn20/03/2014 - 6:11 am

Man, I love that idea that everything feels/is possible. Life feels so full of hope and anticipation. I’m totally on the falafel train these days; excited to try your version.

Jo from yummyvege20/03/2014 - 6:37 am

Yum they look so good, I’m feeling inspired to bake today…

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan20/03/2014 - 9:24 am

I can’t get over how gorgeous this is! Here’s to all those feelings of hope and anticipation : )

Lindsey20/03/2014 - 9:42 am

Wow, if ever a word was attached to an olfactory memory, petrichor would surely be the poster-child for it. Thanks for this wonderful introduction to such awesome word!

Yes, spring is here, officially! And with it comes possibility, new adventures, fresh air and these falafels! Love the addition of millet, and totally love all the sides – high-fives for jam jar dressings and sauces! ! Cheers Laura!

Stephanie20/03/2014 - 11:03 am

These little falafel bites are adorable! I just made some chickpea patties a little while ago with very similar flavorings. I could not live without chickpeas– hence the 2 crates I buy at every Costco run. :) I’m with you on the pickled red onions. I make them ALL the time because they go on everything.

dana20/03/2014 - 11:06 am

Beautiful, Laura! Love the photography as well (per usual).

cheri20/03/2014 - 12:29 pm

I love that these are baked, and all the accompaniments.

Golubka20/03/2014 - 1:02 pm

I needed the recipe for your soba last week when the site was down. That made me realize how much I depend on it. In terms of falafels, I’m the opposite and do make them often, always looking for new recipes and accompaniments. Love your pickled onions and rosemary peanuts, something to try with the next batch for sure.

molly yeh20/03/2014 - 1:11 pm

i so know how you feel about wanting to leave some things to the guys at the take out restaurants, but i am also with you about the frying vs. baking. i think i’d eat a whole lot more falafel if it wasn’t deep fried… that’s actually the reason why my old falafel monday tradition flopped.

so this is my cue to go make this right now. and i’ve been meaning to buy some millet anyways…..

yay happy spring!

Meredith20/03/2014 - 1:36 pm

These look great Laura! And the timing is perfect…I just bought a bunch of millet for the first time and have been looking for interesting recipes to try it out. Can’t wait to give these a go! Oh and beautiful photos, as always :).

shanna mallon20/03/2014 - 3:05 pm

I’ve been dreaming of making homemade falafel for a long while, and this post is reminding me why I need to just do it already! GORGEOUS photos. My mouth is watering.

sara20/03/2014 - 11:23 pm

gorgeous bowl that you’re mixing that falafel mush in, miss! so pretty. I am a baked falafel fan myself, but admit they hinge upon their sauce and fixins. Love the idea of the peanuts, must try that.
Good luck with the house but I am certain its coming along beautifully. I had to stop with ours, and just live in it as is for a few weeks because I was afraid there would be no end to the number of things we want to do around here (and the money going to hardware stores was disgusting me). Anyway. Love to you two and may is be as much adventure and little stress as possible. xo

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)20/03/2014 - 11:35 pm

This looks so healthy, tasty and satisfying. Can’t wait to try it out for lunch. :)

Teffy21/03/2014 - 6:11 am

Oh WOW! Looks so so good. I am a huge falafel fan. I’ve never actually made it myself, but this one would be the perfect one to start with.

{Teffy’s Perks} X

Sini | my blue&white kitchen21/03/2014 - 7:53 am

This post is a gem! The falafels and sides look amazing. I kinda want to run straight into the kitchen and make this for lunch.

Cheers to a spring full of possibilities,

Chelsea//TheNakedFig21/03/2014 - 10:40 am

I’ve only ever made raw falafel. Why has it taken me until reading this post to realize I should be making my own falafel? Thanks for sharing so many yummy recipes in one!

[…] spring onion falafel. […]

Kate23/03/2014 - 7:18 am

I made this, using quinoa, last night for dinner with all of the little sides and they were amazing. The peanuts and onions added a lovely sweetness, the tahini sauce was very bright, and the falafel was light and filling without being heavy!

Amanda23/03/2014 - 10:03 am

Made these last night (+ pickled and dressing) and they were fucking ridiculous.

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Alison Chino24/03/2014 - 3:26 pm

YES PLEASE! These look amazing. I’m totally going for it.

Kathryne24/03/2014 - 8:01 pm

Man, I went through this phase when I was only getting four hours of sleep a night, but it wasn’t due to too much caffeine. I must have been running on stress and determination alone. I finally cleared some projects off my plate and I’m finding some balance—hope you don’t go nuts like I did while you’re working on those kitchen counters. :) This falafel looks delightful and I can’t wait to try those quick-pickled onions.

[…] Une recette de falafels qui me met l’eau à la bouche! […]

Ileana25/03/2014 - 12:16 pm

What a lovely idea! I look forward to trying your clever recipe.

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Kirti26/03/2014 - 8:06 am

Can I just say I love your ideas and pictures? Also that I love the narrative?
In India (where I live), recipes/dishes with (red) millet are quite common. Especially in southern coastal India, where my husband is from. It is one of his favorite morning breakfast ingredients. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe. :)

Brian @ A Thought For Food27/03/2014 - 11:51 am

I love that counter! Oh my goodness. I want it bad. I won’t begin to tell you (or anyone else) how dated our (soon-to-be) kitchen is in our new house. I’m definitely planning on putting in similar counters when we redo it. Whenever that is.

ANYWHO! Ok, so I adore falafel and, like you, felt that it wasn’t something you made at home. BUT I’ve done a few versions… some baked with canned chickpeas (because I was lazy), some fried with fresh chickpeas (which were SO much better). But mine have never looked as beautiful as yours. Really, this is gorgeous.

Dawn27/03/2014 - 12:28 pm

I absolutely adore falafels and am always on the look out for recipes as I have never been content with the ones I’ve tried. They have always been too dry or bland. Can’t wait to give this a whirl.

On another note I hope that you are thinking about writing a cookbook as I would definitely be first in line to purchase a copy! Love your originality and inventiveness. x

Deena Kakaya01/04/2014 - 6:32 pm

Wow, your pictures look incredible! I don’t often see recipes using millet flour but I’m really impressed with the result of yours and especially that you’ve baked with them. Glad to have found your blog x

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simple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba

simple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first messsimple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first messnoodles // the first messThe Extra Virgin Kitchen by Susan Jane White
I find it really hard to eat full-stop healthy sometimes, but most especially this time of year. No garden, no sunshine to lure you outside for an off-the-cuff adventure, constant carb-y hankerings seem to fortify us against the cold (proof: there was a bathtub-sized vat of kale, celery root, chili + cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese for staff meal the other night), the anxiousness over whether spring will ever come… It’s the season of staying cozy and holding tight, and it seems far from over up in these parts. What to eat is more often answered with reasons of comfort than thoughts of lightness.

I haven’t been strictly vegan for a while (maybe we can talk about that soon?), I love salty snacks, treats with coffee, and I sincerely enjoy a piece of not-even-remotely whole grain sourdough often. All of that and some hot chocolate, you know just in case, has been thoroughly woven into the movements of life lately. It feels good deep down in certain ways that don’t really tick the boxes for wellness inspiration boards on Pinterest (which is fine because frankly #fitspo is a little scary for me). And while I’m happy (so happy) in a general life/place-in-the-universe sense… most of my jeans are tight as eff right about now.

So when The Extra Virgin Kitchen arrived in the post, the whole aura about it felt so timely. The pictures are green, gorgeous, and full of beautiful warm weather evening light. More importantly, Susan offers loads of inspiration in the realm of food and wellness. She has so many interesting and new ideas for superfoods, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. There’s lucuma fudge, beetroot ketchup, spirulina shots, buckwheat crepes with pine nut ricotta, badass breakfast bars (best title eveeeer), harissa quinoa with lemon-roasted fennel… lots of inspiration to help anyone be a little more creative and mindful in the kitchen. All of the recipes are gluten, dairy, and sugar free too (there’s some meat and fish in the mix FYI). I think flipping through this beaut might have been the spark I needed to dust off my juicer? Whatever the case, the inclination towards fresh juices, vegetables in general, plant-y proteins, and proper hydration has definitely been stronger lately.

This recipe from the salads & suppers section had me intrigued in its outright simplicity. I knew it had to be one of those things that was way more than the sum of its parts because why else would she call it “snazzy broccoli and soba noodles”? Snazzy! Some chopped brazil nuts (selenium yea yea) are stirred into a salty-awesome mix of sesame oil, tamari, garlic etc. I added a couple little things just for fun because I had them around (lime juice, ginger, tiny splash of maple syrup). It was just a little stir and pour-over kind of move and holy jeez. So good. Suspiciously good for the amount of effort really. This one is for all the peeps who don’t think they have enough time to eat well for themselves, because YOU KNOW you don’t have time to feel like shit either. Give yourself the power in a cool 15 minutes :)

simple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first messsimple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first messsimple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first messsimple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba // the first mess
simple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba
lightly adapted from Susan Jane White’s The Extra Virgin Kitchen
serves: 2-3
notes: This recipe is so versatile: use any steamed/roasted/grilled/raw vegetables you like, noodles of whatever persuasion you prefer. But the sauce! Please keep the sauce :)

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

1-2 garlic cloves, grated on a rasp
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled + grated on a rasp
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
splash of maple syrup/brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp light miso
hot toasted sesame oil to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of cayenne or chili flakes
juice of 1/2 a lime
4-5 brazil nuts, chopped + divided

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. This usually takes anywhere from 8-10 minutes once your water’s boiling. Drain them and rinse with cold water.

While the noodles are cooking, in a small bowl whisk/stir together the grated garlic, ginger, tamari, maple syrup/brown rice syrup, miso, hot toasted sesame oil, olive oil, cayenne, lime juice and chopped brazil nuts. Add a little fresh ground black pepper if you want. Set aside.

Steam the broccoli to a point you find enjoyable. I like mine still sorta raw-ish, so once the water’s simmering in the pot, that steamer basket hangs out for about 3-4 minutes.

Divide the noodles and broccoli among bowls, drizzle the sauce on top, sprinkle the tops with some extra chopped brazil nuts if you like and serve.

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Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)13/03/2014 - 4:39 am

Two words: that. gif.

Skye13/03/2014 - 5:31 am

You’re photos are always so beautiful – how do you do it?!
I’m endlessly trying to be healthy too. And then failing miserably when someone offers me a slice of cake. But recipes like this certainly help to inspire me to be more conscious of what I eat…

Kathryn13/03/2014 - 5:39 am

I’ve seen a couple of people talking about this book recently and, like you, it feels pretty timely to me. I’m so bored about obsessing about what I eat and I’m so ready to embrace a more simple + happier outlook. Sometimes that will involve carbs + chocolate and other times it will involve broccoli and soba noodles. That’s what balance is all about right? Love this + your pics which are so full of beauty and life.

Natalye13/03/2014 - 6:02 am

Looks amazingly good! I have some broccoli in the fridge waiting to be used. Might just have to try this out! Thanks for sharing.

Lisa @ Simple Pairings13/03/2014 - 7:09 am

What a beautiful dish! I have yet to try soba noodles, but I really should one of these days. I’ve been seeing them everywhere! This looks so yummy – love the sauce recipe.

lynsey13/03/2014 - 8:36 am

This is the best “This one is for all the peeps who don’t think they have enough time to eat well for themselves, because YOU KNOW you don’t have time to feel like shit either” – we all only have 24 hours…why not feel awesome? great post. xo

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan13/03/2014 - 8:50 am

Those noodles and veggies, perfect!

Christine13/03/2014 - 9:58 am

I haven’t heard of this book, but it looks right up my alley and I think I’ll add it to my wishlist :) Your pictures look beautiful and this sounds really delicious!

la domestique13/03/2014 - 10:27 am

OMG I’m talkin about Extra Virgin Kitchen over on la domestique too! Love that book and had great fun at her cookery demo in Dublin last night. You’ve made the broccoli soba look irresistible!

Lauren13/03/2014 - 10:45 am

This looks great AND I have most of these ingredients in my kitchen already. Looks like I’m going to have a new favorite weeknight meal…
-Lauren at

Emma13/03/2014 - 10:58 am

What an easy, tasty-looking dish. I’m not familiar with that book but the recipes you listed sound right up my street.
Spring has finally sprung here but I’m still clinging on to winter comfort foods…

michelle13/03/2014 - 11:02 am

Amazing! Just the kind of simple meal that I love. Question: what nut would be an ideal substitute for a brazil nut in a pinch?

Also, thanks for sharing that article about #fitspo. I hope more people reconsider those kinds of messages.

Ashley13/03/2014 - 11:46 am

Just beautiful. And, that sauce!!! I’ve definitely been overdoing it with the carbs lately. Whoops. ;)

jen13/03/2014 - 11:46 am

Assuming you got this book from the publisher/author, did they provide more info on North America distribution that you could include in the post?

Looks like a wonderful book I’d like to buy but I see it listed for $82 US, and only from third party sellers, which seems crazy….

cheri13/03/2014 - 11:49 am

Look’s like this is a great cookbook, love soba noodles, broccoli and most any kind of nut garnish on top. Yum!

Laura Wright13/03/2014 - 12:05 pm

Hi Jen!,
The publisher included a link to Book Depository, which seems to have it at a more reasonable price!:

Laura Wright13/03/2014 - 12:07 pm

Almost any chopped up nut or seed would be appropes I think. Peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds or almonds (or a mix!) would all be so great.

dederka13/03/2014 - 1:54 pm

i love the photos! i love soba, i love broccoli, i love brasil nuts, looks like a have a winner in the whats for dinner everyday contest
all the best!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen13/03/2014 - 3:59 pm

I’ve been obsessed with soba noodles lately, so this dish basically calls my name. Definitely going to make this soon! Thanks, for being such a constant source of inspiration!

Jessica DeMarra13/03/2014 - 10:49 pm

Your photography is so brilliant and vivid. The way you present this dish makes my mouth water over something so simple as broccoli and noodles.

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)14/03/2014 - 1:44 am

Soba noodles are such a simple joy. My son will rarely eat pasta but soba noodles always go down a treat. Adding this recipe to my meal plan!

Jo14/03/2014 - 11:31 am

This looks so delicious can’t wait to try it! Although I’m tempted to just make the sauce and use it for dipping bread in!

M14/03/2014 - 7:49 pm

Just wondering if you tried the sauce with miso? It’s in one of the photos!

Laura Wright14/03/2014 - 8:39 pm

M, I toootally forgot to add that to the recipe! Oops. Fixed it :)

Chelsea // The Naked Fig15/03/2014 - 10:44 pm

This looks so delicious and simple to make. I must remember this one next time I’m feeling run down and uninspired. That book looks fantastic. What a beauty she is. Thank you for sharing!

Gwyneth17/03/2014 - 11:11 am

I just learned how to make my own soba noodles, so I am definitely trying this out. Thanks so much!

Kris17/03/2014 - 3:17 pm

Girl, I totally get this. I could have written this post myself, especially (unfortunately) the part about that my jeans are effing tight! :) You have no idea how nice it it know that I’m not alone. I’ve gotta get my hands on this book now, too!

Katie @ Produce on Parade17/03/2014 - 3:50 pm

Haha, omg this post had me cracking up…and relating. Those fitspo images are terrifying on some many different levels. Not gonna lie, I run at least four times a week and do yoga at least twice a week but it’s mostly for a mind release, to fight stress and curb illness. I do it because it makes me happy, not because if I don’t do it it will make me upset! I’ve never understood that! Being vegan makes me very happy too! :) Loved this post. Now off to eat a chocolate cherry cookie, yum!

Weekend Reading, 3.17.1417/03/2014 - 5:55 pm

[…] love a recipe with a descriptive title. What’s more evocative than Laura’s simple, salty, sweet, nutty broccoli soba […]

[…] Avant je détestais le brocolis. Mais maintenant j’ai envie d’en manger à toutes les sa… […]

jade18/03/2014 - 8:22 pm

this is EXACTLY what I feel like today. and i have all the ingredients already on hand! very excited – the amazing recipes just keep coming laura! sheesh!!

Evan19/03/2014 - 9:48 am

Made this last night–simple, quick, delicious. I found the sauce incredibly salty for some reason–not sure if it was the type of miso I used. I added a little extra olive oil to balance it out and it was just fine. Thank you for the recipe, and for the tip about the book! I look forward to checking it out.

Hilary19/03/2014 - 3:54 pm

“This one is for all the peeps who don’t think they have enough time to eat well for themselves, because YOU KNOW you don’t have time to feel like shit either”

Pure Genius.

Thanks for the spark of inspiration:)

WorldlyPost19/03/2014 - 11:08 pm

Oh my goodness! I could not agree more with the desire to reach for a comforting slice of toast or a slice pot pie for a cold evening or some gooey mashed potatoes! Spring is around the corner though….even though it seems like longer! :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Poutine80twenty25/03/2014 - 12:12 am

[…] richer, more satiating foods still maintains a stronghold on my appetite. I related a lot to Laura’s post about still having a need for comforting, fortifying carbs, and other heavy foods throughout this […]

Brandon26/03/2014 - 10:14 am

I made this the other night and it was fantastic. 5 out of 5. So simple and so delicious. The only thing I may change is to add tofu next time to give it a bit more protein, but other than that it was perfection. Thanks so much for the fantastic recipe.

SLJ27/03/2014 - 6:26 pm

This was so simple to make, yet so wonderfully satisfying. I will add tofu next time too, but it’s lovely the way it is as well. Thanks for the recipe and the gorgeous photos.

[…] simple, salty, sweet and nutty broccoli soba, The First Mess: I’ve been getting a lot of broccoli in my Abel & Cole vegetable box of […]

Michelle Duong27/04/2014 - 11:44 pm

I just made this for lunch. It was deliciously tasty but also light. Yum! Thanks for the recipe and I’m loving your blog

Patty09/06/2014 - 11:06 pm

YUM! Just made this. Quick, easy, super tasty. Thank you!

[…] Make it a topping for a salad dressed with something like this. […]

roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth

roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first mess
This simple bowl reminded me of why I actually started this site in the first place. With the emails, sorta silly mismatched dish piles, multiple attempts at a palatable goji berry sauce (one day I’ll get it) etc., this sort of reminder is a surprising ray of light. It’s kind of soup-y, but also kind of not. It’s also mostly just carrots and spice served with a bit of rice and sprouts. It’s affordable as all get-out, quick to throw together and warming to the core. Most of these ingredients were pantry stock for me and I imagine if you’ve been here before, they might be for you too.

I may have overkilled it with turmeric-focused recipes here in the last while, so I hope you don’t mind another. Didn’t you know that all of the cool kids are staining their counters and wooden spoons with this stuff? I roast a couple carrots with thyme until they’re sweet and while that’s happening I make up this sharp miracle broth of sorts. It begins with minced shallot, garlic, ginger and turmeric. A little sparkle of lemon at the end keeps it from seeming flat. You could add a chili or something hot if you want too. It has all of the zing of turmeric tea, but in a more obviously savoury form. Once I had a taste of it all mingled around the sweet carrots and nutty rice, I kind of wondered where it had been all winter (and, news flash, this winter’s been hella long). I like green things so there’s a little tangle of sprouts/shoots (aaaaalways in season) on top of this as well.

When I was studying nutrition in culinary school, we had guest speakers from time to time. Some of them were reputable/interesting and some of them were clearly on the grind and grindin’ hard. One of the good ones was this older man of about 75-ish who was enamoured with sprouts. His name was Tony and he sold sprout growers for home use. Oh, and he maintained a website with up to date information on various styles of dance lessons/dance related socials in the province of Ontario (but also Florida). He absolutely glowed. His business cards promoted “LIVE GREEN FOOD FOR HEALTHY DANCERS.” He told us that he ate 3 tablespoons of sprouts every morning and dang if we didn’t all buy one of those guaranteed-for-life devices by the end of the class.

I honestly have no idea where that thing got to, but I still make a habit of eating sprouts as often as I can. For the amount of nutrition bundled in their little shoots, they’re cheap sustenance. If you think of a young child, all energy and potential, and then how that child grows into an adult, for better or for worse from a health standpoint… a sprout/small shoot is like the plant version of that youthful essence, all bouncing off the walls and full of possibility. I mostly like having them around because they add a bit of freshness to the non-stop roasted roots and lentil-y things that seem to be prevalent this time of year. I’m partial to sunflower + sweet pea shoots and Sarah even has some instructions on handling those all by yourself.

So we have roots, sprouts, brown rice, and healing spices. All the makings of some warming hippie health moments, or maybe just a quiet winter’s lunch. Hope you’re all getting some of those these days. xo

roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first messroasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth // the first mess
roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth recipe
serves: 1
notes: Any roasted root or tuber would be excellent in place of the carrots. This dish is mostly about the interaction of the caramelized, lightly sweet vegetables and the sharp broth.

2 medium carrots, scrubbed + cut into 1 inch pieces
fresh/dried thyme leaves (+ extra for the broth)
salt + pepper
sizeable knob of coconut oil/ghee
1/2 shallot, fine dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + minced
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup filtered water
juice from 1/2 a lemon
cooked brown/wild/whatever rice for serving (or another grain you like)
sprouts/shoots/small greens of some kind (I like sunflower shoots)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment.

Toss the carrots with some thyme, oil, salt + pepper. Scatter them in a single layer on the baking sheet and slide them into the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned in spots and soft.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots. Stir them about and sauté them until translucent and soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and a sprig of thyme if you like (or a sprinkle of dried thyme leaves). Stir this mix about until it’s very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turmeric to the pot and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring until the mix seems paste-like. You’re cooking the raw-ness out of the spice at this point, ideally for about 3 minutes (add more coconut oil if necessary). Slowly add the water and stir. Gently simmer the broth for 10 minutes or so. Add the lemon juice and stir at the end. Season the broth with salt and pepper.

Place the roasted carrots and rice in a bowl. Strain the turmeric broth if you like, then ladle it on top. Garnish the bowl with sprouts and sesame seeds if you like.

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thecitygourmand06/03/2014 - 4:56 am

Yum, this looks like a real crowd pleaser!

Kathryn06/03/2014 - 5:44 am

Never apologise for tumeric recipes – that little spice is packed so full of goodness + I don’t think it’s possible to have too much of it. Love the goodness of this recipe + those little sprouting powerhouses on top.

Chelsea // The Naked Fig06/03/2014 - 8:23 am

I love adding turmeric to everything. Between the color and the health benefits how could you go wrong? This looks so delicious! Thank you, thank you.

This is so beautiful Laura. I love the simplicity of it and the way you photographed it. I need more tumeric in my life (I’ve always wanted to be one of the cool kids.)

Lisa @ Simple Pairings06/03/2014 - 8:44 am

What a great idea! Turmeric has become one of my favorite spices lately – I love its pungent flavor, and especially its healing properties. I haven’t experimented much with it in foods though, as I typically just stir it into my morning warm lemon water. This is a must-try for me! Love your recipe.

Robyn @ simply fresh dinners06/03/2014 - 9:28 am

Hi Laura,
I just saw your beautiful pic you sent with this morning’s tweet and had to come see more. Imagine my surprise when I come across some of those beautiful food photography I’ve ever seen! Your site is gorgeous and so inspirational – thanks for sharing!

Sarah06/03/2014 - 10:11 am

I like this sunny bowl—this is the type of thing I eat ALL the time. Thanks for the nice shout-out about the sprouts, too. I love picturing your sprout-dancer-joy man :)


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan06/03/2014 - 10:42 am

I’m loooving tumeric right now, especially trying to get out of this winter slump. Also, sprouts are my favorite, so I’m in with this!

cynthia06/03/2014 - 10:51 am

Bring on the turmeric! I don’t use it enough and vibrant recipes like these are a vital reminder that I need to incorporate it into my cooking much more frequently. :) Gorgeous recipe, Laura — thank you so much for sharing this.

Shilpa06/03/2014 - 10:56 am

This is the perfect recipe for me today. I am in the thick of fighting this weird bug. Don’t we all get sick right after we talk about how we haven’t got sick all year? This soup is perfect. I have been making a turmeric tea in the mornings so I am excited about this broth!

I met Tony at the Guelph Organic Conference a few years ago. He certainly does have a glow! And seems to always have people around him.

Thanks for the perfect timing of this recipe, Laura!

Golubka06/03/2014 - 10:57 am

Ah, zingy broth, sweet roots, chewy rice with fresh, crunchy sprouts…sounds crazy good, made me so hungry for this kind of meal!

Amy @ parsley in my teeth06/03/2014 - 11:19 am

I think the simple dishes – direct from the pantry type – tend to be the best. Sounds delicious and the photos are beautiful!

Lane | Green Spirit Adventures06/03/2014 - 11:37 am

This sounds absolutely lovely! I think it’s just the meal I’ve been in need of. The photography is so gorgeous, as usual!!

Pang06/03/2014 - 2:31 pm

This could now be one of my favorite “simple but great” recipes to make :)
Your pics are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

I’m loving both turmeric and roasted carrots right now. This post is is gorgeous and inspiring! I’ve gotta go grab some carrots and turmeric on my way home now :)

Tea06/03/2014 - 9:52 pm

This is real serious I’m making what I have in the fridge & pantry. They are always the best meals, and tumeric is good for inflammation something we all likely have in Ontario in the depths of winter. Nice one.

Meghan Faulkner07/03/2014 - 1:48 am

This looks like the kind of meal I would make, and then keep on infinite rotation until my skin was orange from beta-carotene and my spoons yellow from turmeric. But, I’m totally okay with that, because someone told me it’s the cool thing nowadays. Shoots are a bit new to me, but I’m sure they’d find a cozy place among the goodness and warmth.

Tereza07/03/2014 - 3:36 am

Beautiful recipe! Thank you for sharing

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures07/03/2014 - 9:38 am

This recipe has such a beautiful array of colors! I’ve been craving protein in this cold so I think I’m going to try this with a handful of chickpeas. Mmmm…

Fay07/03/2014 - 3:13 pm

Can’t wait to try this – going to attempt it without oil, hope it doesn’t lose too much flavour.

[…] been on a turmeric kick lately. This recipe from my friend Laura of The First Mess looks pretty damn […]

Laura Bray07/03/2014 - 6:42 pm

I love the idea of putting a gorgeous broth with a light grain and a roasted vegetable. I definitely intended to try this – perhaps as part of a variation using quinoa. Would that work, too? Beautiful photos, as well.

Katie @ Produce on Parade07/03/2014 - 9:31 pm

I’m down with anything with turmeric or sprouts. My favorite are broccoli and radish! They last so long in the fridge too. My sprouting was fueled by the fact that our stores (Alaska) will no longer carry mung bean sprouts :( But now I do my own! This looks wonderful!

SouthernSpoonBelle08/03/2014 - 12:31 am

It’s 80F today but I’m filing this away for Aussie winter– nourishing recipe, thank you!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen08/03/2014 - 10:31 am

What an amazing dish you have created. Like a bowl of sunshine. Can’t wait to have a serving of this!

Hope you have a lovely weekend,

hannah09/03/2014 - 8:38 pm

This is one of those “all-my-favourite-things-in-one-bowl” recipes that had me coo-ing immediately – sweet caramel root veg, ginger-garlic spiciness, turmeric earthiness – and OF COURSE it was absolutely delcious. I topped the bowl with some wrinkly black olives which I would HIGHLY recommend to add some salty to the earthy-citrusy-sweet flavour combo!
Thank you so so mcuh Laura ;)

h x

Kathryne24/03/2014 - 8:22 pm

Your roasted carrots dish seems tremendously appropriate for this time of year. Love those colors.

Kellen Ferkey27/03/2014 - 10:21 pm

Tonight I ran this for dinner service with some great results! Thanks for the inspiration. “Odori-Brined Pan Roasted Pheasant Breast with Herb-Roasted Rainbow Organic Carrots & Crimini Mushroom Infused Wild Rice in Spicy Turmeric Broth with Ginger & Allium”
It can be funny how we find the need to twist the words for the restaurant guest. In short, “It is good food, and we care about our ingredients and techniques. You will love it.”

Erin30/03/2014 - 3:24 pm

I made this for lunch today. Didn’t have any ginger but it was still delicious without it!

[…] This recipe looks beautiful (and so healthy!). […]

Alanna01/04/2014 - 8:22 pm

Goodness, this bowl is just stunning. I will be so happy when I make it soon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful recipes and photographs!

Vita05/04/2014 - 11:06 am

I look forward to getting your healthfulled ,
Delicious looking receipes ..

Mrs D13/04/2014 - 2:55 am

I got here from Heidi’s and I’m so pleased for the recommendation. I made this with a few adjustments, including four times the amount of ginger, lemon and turmeric plus some homemade coconut milk in with the water. Outrageously good! Thank you so much for a quick, restorative, healthful and bright addition to my repertoire.

Sunday Foodie Likes04/05/2014 - 2:34 pm

[…] Colorful and healthy, I like you so much roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth. […]

Marie-Pier16/05/2014 - 6:38 pm

I used parsnip and squash instead of carrots. And added a bit of lemongrass. :) It is a lovely idea, changes from the usual rice bowl! thanks for sharing!

[…] – Loving turmeric at the moment, so can’t wait to make this zingy turmeric broth […]

[…] Colorful and healthy, I like you so much roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth. […]

[…] Pin || The First Mess […]

[…] read this recipe awhile ago and had it kicking around in my mind so full credit goes to The First Mess for the […]

Renee H.28/09/2014 - 2:14 pm

Hi! This is my first time coming across your blog and I love it! This recipe is fantastic, like you said, sweet and sharp. Your photos are great too. I look forward to following you more!