Going to a party while trying to maintain a nutritious diet is just about the worst thing ever for me. One of two things usually happens:
- I fast beforehand and gorge on goodies that are outside of my normal diet (the yummy-yuckies as one of my client calls them!), washing them down with copious amounts of red wine.
- I abstain from any junk and opt for a veggie tray and seltzer.
Neither one of these scenarios leaves me feeling good. Which is why I embarked on a journey towards active interaction and have been spending a lot more time training and practicing yoga with friends. (Read the post HERE).
But sometimes there are parties, and sometimes they happen when you are in your first week of a Whole30. This is not one of those times when scenario number 1 is appropriate, and scenario number 2-however acceptable-simply promotes an unnecessary feeling of deprivation. This is a situation where bringing your own food to snack on is a must, and having everyone at the party gush over it? Well, that’s just a nice bonus.
My solution? Almond coconut veggie dip for the win! I spent all night explaining what was in the dip, what in the hell is a “Whole30” and why am I doing it when I already eat like a freak. My friends like to take pictures of me when I dig into mac n cheese or cake, to use as evidence that I’m not always a carrot munching weirdo. But this time I surprised them with something so delicious-and Whole30 approved-that they spent the better part of the evening hovering over the veggie tray with me, ignoring the two store-bought, dairy-based dips that were on the table.
The inspiration for this magical dip was Melissa Joulwan’s sunshine sauce. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of her phenomenal cook book, Well Fed, do so now. All of the recipes are Whole30 approved and if you have ever had a doubt that healthy food can be delicious, Melissa will eradicate that sentiment once and for all. Her recipes are off the chain.
Initially, I’d planned to make the sunshine sauce and some chicken bites for dipping. But two things went awry. First, I couldn’t find sunflower seed butter with no sugar added, and didn’t have to time order it. And then, I cut the chicken into pieces that were just too small before I threw them into the crockpot. I ended up eating them for dinner the next few days instead.
But, as my culinary experiences have taught me, sometimes the best creations are the result of kitchen disasters. I didn’t have sunflower seed butter, but I did have raw almond butter. And I didn’t have the chicken for dipping, but fresh, crunchy, sweet peppers? Yes, please.
You can certainly use this dip as a sauce for meat or a spaghetti squash pad thai, like Melissa’s. But, for party purposes, I discovered that this incredible dip can please even the pickiest palates and entice them to fill up on veggies. While some dips mask the flavor or fresh produce, this one enhances it. It’s pretty damn incredible.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup full fat organic coconut milk from the can (check the label to make sure there’s no added junk!)
- 1/2 cup raw almond butter (the ingredients should just say “almonds”)
- 3-5 sprigs fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- tsp garlic powder
- about a tsp fresh ginger, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional, more or less depending on preference)
What you gotta do:
- Throw the cilantro into a food processor first to get it chopped up.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.
- Transfer to a dish and scrape the sides of your food processor with a rubber spatula. Maybe even lick said spatula.
- Taste, and add spices (salt, pepper, red pepper etc) as necessary.
- Serve with chopped fresh veggies. Especially good with the dip are persian cucumbers, organic red and orange peppers and organic baby carrots.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about chopping peppers. It occurred to me recently that something that even though this is completely ingrained in me, a lot of folks don’t know the best way to chop a pepper. Well, if I’m being honest I watched a twenty-something bachelor butcher a red pepper and I got a twitch. Allow me to add a little bonus to this post.
How to chop a pepper:
- Slice it in half lengthwise, from the smallest point at the bottom to the stem.
- Remove the seeds, pith and stem in one fell swoop.
- Slice lengthwise into strips of desired thickness.