Happy Thursday, everyone! Amazingly, this is the very last morning of my current clinical rotation. Putting aside the overall challenges of the DI itself—new schedule, lots of oversight, lack of privacy—my seven weeks at this site have been a wonderful learning experience, with supportive and caring dietitians as teachers. I’m still struggling to wrap my mind around a whole year of this kind of work, but I’m feeling grateful that my first rotation was such a positive learning environment.
I have a few days next week to rest, recharge, spend some quality time with a close friend who’s visiting, and get ready for my next rotation. That one involves a long commute, and it’s at a large hospital, which will mean a quicker pace and faster output than I had in the nursing home. I’m trepidatious, but for now, I’m glad to have a pause.
One of the things I’d love to do next week is to sit down and spend some quality time with my friend Brandi’s beautiful, inviting new cookbook, The Vegan 8. Many of you probably know Brandi as the author of a blog by the same name. Her recipes are vegan, hearty, homey, and feature 8 ingredients or less, which makes them accessible, too.
Brandi and I have gotten to know each other in the last year, and we’ve quickly discovered super similar food sensibilities, starting with our love of carbs and all things comfort food. I love her style of cooking, and I’m so happy to have a new recipe collection to dive into.
In the book, Brandi relays the story of how her husband’s health struggle with gout compelled her to explore a plant-based diet. Now she, her husband, and her daughter enjoy veganism together. Not surprisingly, Brandi’s recipes always feel family-friendly and crowd-pleasing, inviting to everyone. They’re also oil free and largely gluten free, for those who avoid either.
It’s always fun for me when I flip through a new cookbook and have more recipes that I’d like to bookmark and make than not. I got my copy of The Vegan 8 on Tuesday night, and I sank back into the sofa cushions with some post-its, hoping to mark the recipes I’d put on my batch cooking list this fall and winter. I quickly had so many I wanted to make—Orange Vanilla Waffles, Mexican Tahini Chickpeas, a Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Buddha Bowl, Green Split Pea Soup with Coriander, Hungarian Red Lentil Soup, Showstopper Chocolate Cake, and the list goes on—that I stopped with the post-its. This is a cookbook I’ll take my time with, and I don’t doubt that I’ll explore nearly all of the recipes at some point or another.
I so badly wanted to start my exploration of the book with a stew or a main dish, but the last week has been really demanding, and I’ve been trying to outrun a cold. I decided to start with something simple but practical. Brandi’s Thai Red Curry Sweet Potato Dip was a perfect choice: really easy to make, and the perfect solution for a full week of work snacks.
The dip features mashed sweet potato, white beans, bold red curry paste, and coriander, among other seasonings. It’s a breeze to whip up in the food processor, and it yields more than your average batch of hummus, which means that it truly did last me a week. It’s bold, flavorful, and versatile: I’ve now used it as a dip with crudites, crackers, and as a sandwich spread (I paired it with baked tofu slices and roasted bell pepper strips—yum!). It would also be a fabulous appetizer to serve to friends. Here’s the recipe.
Thai Red Curry Sweet Potato Dip
- 1 cup (248g) cooked, mashed sweet potato*
- 1 15-ounce can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or
- 1 1/2 cups (255 g) cooked white beans
- 2 tablespoons (30g) fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons (32g) roasted almond butter
- 2 tablespoons (30g) low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup (60 g) Thai red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon 1g dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Optional: roasted sliced almonds or fresh chopped basil for garnish; crackers, chips, or sliced vegetables for serving
- Add the mashed sweet potato, beans, lime juice, almond butter, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons (30g) hot water, curry paste, basil, coriander, and salt to a food processor; process for 3 to 4 minutes or until very smooth. Scrape the sides and process again. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Garnish with almonds and basil, if desired, and serve with chips, crackers, or assorted sliced vegetables.
How nice to have something this flavorful and nutritious on hand for the snacks that have been keeping me going, week after week! I can’t wait to welcome more of Brandi’s new recipes into my kitchen.
If you’re as eager to explore The Vegan 8 as I am, Brandi and her publisher are generously offering a giveaway copy of the book to one lucky US reader. Enter below to win!
I’ll announce the lucky winner on the widget in 2 weeks. Good luck–and I’ll see you soon, for the weekly roundup.