Salty, creamy & crunchy- Laura from “The First Mess” takes lightly blanched broccoli and hits it with an ridiculously punchy cashew butter caesar dressing. The smoky-fried tempeh bits are the icing on the cake!
Guys, so many good vibes behind this post today!
Last week I was ruminating in something, as one does, and an email popup zapped me out of my own head- delivery from Canada post! When it registered it was a copy of “The First Mess Cookbook” addressed to Earth & Oven, I almost hugged the concierge who handed me over the weighty brown paper package.
As a cookbook hoarder + recipe developer, I’ve leafed my way through my share of recipes. What sets this hard-covered beauty apart is Laura’s endearing writing style (like little bed time stories about food), effortless photography, and intelligent culinary perspective.
Without being snobby or intimidating, Laura uses streamlined techniques and inventive ingredients to recreate traditional dishes and invent new. You’re going to want to dive head first in the kitchen with her as your guide.
A few recipes i’m craving:
Maple Baked Beans– I mean, yes. I can maybe handle a few more winter months with these in my roster.
Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Aoili- now you’re speakin’ my language.
Creamy Quinoa and White Bean Risotto with Crispy Brassica Florets– K STOP.
As you can see, I’m still in the comfort food + nesting stage of my winter diet. Luckily for us, Laura has a knack for making delicious magic happen with fresh, virtuous ingredients.
–> Case and point, this broccoli caesar with smoky tempeh bits. I probably don’t have to tell you that a creamy, garlicky caesar dressing tastes killer with smoky crumbled tempeh. But have you tried it with cashew butter? First time over here and I can say that tahini is already jealous.
The crumbly-fried tempeh is also a keeper, coming together quickly in the pan with a smoky-sweet seasoning. This method works extremely well for removing the bitterness from tempeh without having to par bake or steam- lazy gal score!
Grab this stunning book on March 7th, guys!
- 2 tbsp raw cashew butter*
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a microplane
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp capers, minced
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1/2 block tempeh (114 g), crumbled
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
- extra nutritional yeast + ground black pepper
- In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add the cashew butter, warm water, lemon juice, garlic, dijon mustard, capers, nutritional yeast, and olive oil. Close the lid and shake the jar vigorously to combine.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 4 minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green. Drain the broccoli and rinse under cold water. Set aside in a clean dish towel to dry thoroughly.
- In a small bowl, add the paprika, smoked paprika, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and tamari.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the crumbled tempeh. Let it rest and sear for 2 minutes. Stir the tempeh, and then let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Pour the paprika mixture into the pan and stir to coat the tempeh. Remove pan from heat.
- Plate the broccoli and drizzle the cashew caesar dressing overtop. Sprinkle with the tempeh and garnish with extra nutritional yeast and freshly ground pepper to finish. Enjoy!
* I used roasted cashew butter because I had it on hand, and it was delicious as well.