Review: The First Mess Plant-Based Cookbook

plant-based cookbook the first mess

who should read it

Anyone interested in nourishing, seasonal recipes that are both hearty and healthy. You don’t have to be vegan to fall in love with this plant-based cookbook.

recipes i tried

Red Flannel Beet Hash with Dill, Creamy Garlic Dressing, Peaches, Peas and Beans Summer Salad, Sesame Cucumber Noodles with Melon and Avocado, Crispy Avocado Tacos, Salted Caramel Date Shake, Seedy Sesame Granola Bars with Chocolate, Avocado Tartare, Cauliflower and Pine Nut “Ricotta” Toasts, Homemade Popcorn with Magic Dust.

The amount of recipes I tried directly indicates how much I love this plant-based cookbook. I enjoyed them all except for the Cauliflower Ricotta — and even then it wasn’t terrible.  My Simple Hummus or Cashew Cream Cheese do the trick for me anyways!

plant-based cookbook tacos


Definitely the beet hash. I’ve made that recipe approximately eight times now and I got the cookbook a month ago. The photography is amazing. I love how the simple, homey styling reflects the flavours and themes of the food. Also, there’s a picture for every recipe, which should be mandatory in my opinion. I find giant cookbooks filled with text quite uninspiring. It’s hard to know what you’re going for in the kitchen without the visual.

plant-based cookbook tempeh bacon


I bought a copy of this cookbook, downtown Toronto, on a whim. I don’t normally spend money on cookbooks because it’s all on the internet, right? Wrong. The First Mess blog is great but between all the other blogs I follow and the millions of recipes they share on a daily basis — I never truly got to know Laura Wright’s style of cooking. The photos, the food, the stories, they blend together. This cookbook allowed The First Mess to stand out in my mind. Now, I’m more inclined to visit the blog or recognize Laura’s work.

My only minor criticism of the book is the emphasis placed on the seasonal cooking. I am in full support of seasonal eating, however, it is not always immediately clear what season the recipes are for. You have to read the descriptions carefully because the title doesn’t give it away in every case. As someone who is cultivating their awareness around seasonal eating it would’ve been nice to quickly check for a symbol or sub-heading that indicated the season for each recipe.

Also, with ingredients like banana, avocado and mango, I question how seasonal the recipes truly are. After all, Laura Wright lives in Ontario. Of course, I googled whether or not I could grow some of these fruits in my own backyard; apparently you can seed a mango in this frigid province. Yet, it seems unlikely that people will grow mangos in order to make the Thai-ish Salad. That being said, I cannot discourage cooking which is mostly seasonal. Reducing the amount of imported ingredients on our plate is wonderful and The First Mess cookbook certainly accomplishes that task.

On a more general note, this plant-based cookbook is great for beginners. Lots of the recipes, like avocado toast, tempeh bacon or popcorn with magic dust are classics — those recipes that seek to satisfy the fatty, meaty, buttery cravings we all have sometimes. If you’re looking to transition to a vegan lifestyle The First Mess Cookbook would be a great place to search for staple recipes.

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