When you think of a dietitian, what comes to mind? It’s usually not a food blogger or a plant-based chef…so I really love sharing the work of dietitians who inspire me. Miranda Hammer, Registered Dietitian and Founder of crunchyradish.com, is one of those dietitians. I started following her work after a student of mine tipped me off and both her blog and instagram account provide a delicious dose of inspiration that keeps me moving forward in my own healthy eating.
In addition to being a dietitian, Miranda is also a trained natural foods chef so you know this lady’s got some serious game in the (NYC-sized) kitchen. Let her inspire you to make the kitchen your playground!
Which came first, your dietetics career or your plant-centred diet? And how has one informed the other?
When I first began my career, I was not focused on plant-based nutrition as the corner stone of my ethos nor was I as focused on personally eating and living that way. As I began practicing, educating, and developing recipes and content, the importance of leading a plant-based lifestyle became more and more prominent for myself and in my writing and recipe creations.
You live in NYC – a city filled with tiny kitchens, super convenient takeout and meal delivery at every turn – what advice do you have to help get people cooking more often?
There are also amazing greenmarkets, CSAs, and speciality markets. I think the key is to make it work for you and place a priority on cooking. If you have a super busy schedule make the time to meal prep and set yourself up for success so you don’t turn to takeout or delivery when you get home late during the work week. Finding pleasure and reward in cooking and enjoying the process of purveying for ingredients and figuring out what to cook and experimenting, is all part of getting into the kitchen and finding fulfillment and enjoyment in cooking.
You’ve just finished your training as a natural foods chef; what new skill has seriously upped your kitchen intelligence?
I just finished the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and it was an incredible experience. It really opened my eyes to a whole new way of cooking plant based. I learned a lot about cooking with seaweed, scratch cooking condiments, medicinal cooking, and making vegan desserts.
It used to be that salad was a “compromise” meal for a healthy eater…your instagram feed definitely squashes that notion. What makes a killer salad, in your opinion?
I love playing around with textures and crunch whether its from toasted nuts, shiitake bacon, chickpea poppers, or crunchy veggies. Also making things vibrant with a diversity of colors and of course acid. I love a zesty dressing with lemon juice, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.
With all you have going on…how do you nourish your body and mind to stay well?
I always prioritize working out. I usually run in the park in the morning with my dog and husband and I will also sign up for a few HIIT classes at Refine Method during the week. I am learning more and more the importance of balance and how to embrace the slower moments which will then allow me to more skillfully ride through the intense busy times.
My kid has strong opinions on food. Obviously, she got that from me 😬
It’s just that her tastes and mine don’t often align. I could eat a kale salad everyday and well…she would prefer mac and cheese. The boxed kind.
So I wanted to do something just for her. Not because I’m craving her approval (well…maybe I am) but also because she’s always presented with things that are “not her favourite” and I want to give her something she LOVES.
May I humbly present my first ever vegan mac and cheese: kid friendly, and super nostalgic for those of us who left childhood behind ages ago.
It’s dairy free and nut free so it’s allergy aware. Plus, the sauce comes together in the blender in 5 minutes so it’s super easy to whip up.
I typically serve this with some roasted cauliflower or broccoli as a meal and if you want to add more protein, some navy beans would fit in nicely here.
If you’re ready for a little more fun in the kitchen, might I suggest pre-ordering a copy of Plant Magic? 🪄
From spicy tofu nuggets, to broccolini smothered in romesco to chocolate chip spelt pancakes, there is something for every set of taste buds! Also, it’s the cutest book I’ve seen in a loooong time so I think you might like it too…the link to preorder is my profile along with the recipe link ⬆️
You’ve really got to think purpose-specific when it comes to vegan cheeses.
If you’re looking for nutrition? It’s all about the nut-based cheeses. Usually made from cashews or almonds, these will be more fat and protein forward and will lend themselves well to melting into dishes, adding to salads and pastas and cheese boards. They’re also gonna be a bit pricier because they’re made from higher cost ingredients.
The all-rounder: @spreadem_kitchen Semi-firm cheeses. They’re made from whole foods so they’ve got a bit more nutrition on offer, they’re properly fermented so they have good flavour and you can use them like a sandwich spread, crumble them onto pasta or salads or put them on a cheese board and none of your omni friends will even notice.
Another awesome cheese board/semi-firm option: @nutsforcheese . Whole food, fermented, firmer than Spread ‘Em, tons of flavours (my fave is the un-brie-lievable and Black Garlic) and perfect for a cheese board.
Looking for classic functionality, like nachos, burgers and grilled cheese? Now, you’re typically looking at a cheese that is starch and coconut oil based. So more saturated fat, less overall nutrition. But you get that gooey melty vibe and neutral flavours.
Melty shreds: the new @daiyafoods oat cream shreds have won me over, big time. They have a creamy, non-oily melt and a neutral flavour (gone is that margarine-y flavour of the old style).
Slices I would eat on their own: it’s @violifeca smoked provolone for me!! I could eat half the pack. It actually tastes like smoked provolone. Texture has the right amount of chew cold and yep, it melts.
Healthy eating isn’t endless handfuls of carrot sticks or plain almonds…it’s about thinking of flavourful, exciting ways to cook with whole plant foods.
Which is why I am SO excited to be partnering with @lifeofasweetpotato to bring you this creamy, cozy sweet potato white bean bake.
It’s kind of like a gratin but gooey-er…meant to be eaten in a bowl, curled up on the couch under a blanket. High in fibre and plant-based protein, creamy, cheesy, and so, so delicious.
American sweet potatoes are a cool weather staple for me because they offer a much-needed dose of colour on a dreary day. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, a vitamin A carotenoid that helps support healthy skin and immune function, as well as 4 grams of fibre to keep your gut happy. Plus, American sweet potatoes are readily available and Canadians can find them year-round in their local grocery store.
This sweet potato bake is the perfect thing to pop into the oven on a cold day when you’re looking for a comforting and casual meal.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 small yellow onion, diced ½ lb baby spinach 2 x 14 oz cans of white beans, rinsed and drained 2 tbsp flour 2 cups unsweetened soy milk 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 2 tsp garlic powder 1 1/4 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning 1/2 tsp dried thyme pinch chili flakes 1 large sweet potato (about 1.5 lb), sliced 1/8 inch thick Vegan shredded cheese or parmesan
Visit americansweetpotato.org for the full recipe instructions (link in bio ⬆️)
A list of all the things I want in a perfect dinner:
✨Doesn’t take too long
✨ Easy enough I won’t want to weasel out of it
✨ Lots of flavour
✨ Filling and satisfying
This farro risotto hits on all four criteria, big time. Feels fancy enough for guests but is actually weeknight doable.
It’s 45 min, start to finish but most of that is hands off. Not too much chopping (even less if you buy precut squash) and offers fibre, protein and veg.
Waxing lyrical like this makes me nervous that you’re gonna think I’m overselling it but like I said, whatever star crossed me when I was creating this week’s recipes…I hope she just keeps shining because this one is an 11/10 for me!
I’m calling it: this is one of my best recipes ever
This salad (and perhaps the recipe coming in exactly two days) is one the most delicious recipes I’ve shared yet.
✨ Writing Plant Magic unlocked a whole new level of commitment to creating flavourful plant-based recipes that ANYONE will love. Even the plant skeptics in your life!
This salad looks fancy and tastes fancy…but it’s still pretty simple to make. Step One: stop peeling your root veggies! It creates waste and you’ll lose valuable fibre and nutrients. Yes, even beets. Just scrub with a veggie brush or one of those scrubby dish cloths.
Then, take 5 minutes to toast up some panko crumbs and another 5 minutes to whip up the maple tahini dressing while you roast everything else up. The kitchen will be clean before the salad is even done!
And, you know…if you wanna…you can preorder your copy of Plant Magic now! 📚
Preorders really help authors like me as they tell bookstores and media outlets that the community wants the book! The link for preorder – and for the recipe – is in my bio!
Okay, there’s this weird trend of people trying to convince you that smoothies aren’t good for you…which is totally ridiculous. This is NOT that.
But as a digestive health dietitian for over a decade, it’s not uncommon that clients tell me that drinking smoothies can upset their stomach a bit. So here are 3 reasons why that might happen.
❌ You drink them too fast. A smoothie is a MEAL in a cup. Which makes them easy to gulp down in 5 minutes but your gut needs a bit more time than that to do it’s thing. You’re putting a big nutrient load into the stomach all at once.
✅ The fix? SIT DOWN, SLOW DOWN and CHEW your smoothie. Yep, I said chew. It will feel soooo weird but chewing each mouthful slows you down and helps mix the smoothie with your saliva, which is your first point of carbohydrate digestion.
❌ You put way too much stuff into one smoothie. Yep, the protein powder, giant scoop of nut butter, 3 different kinds of seeds, greens powder…it’s so easy to overdo it. The more fat, protein and fibre in that glass, the slower your gut is going to run to digest it all. I’ve had clients craft smoothies with 30 grams of fibre in one serving!!! It’s a lot for one meal.
✅ The fix? Pare it back. Try just one omega 3 rich seed. Add a tablespoon of almond butter, not a ¼ cup. Stick to just one or two boosters: perhaps a half scoop of protein powder and 1 teaspoon of psyllium.
❌ You’ve accidently built a really high FODMAP smoothie. This one’s for my fussy tummy friends. A lot of classic smoothie ingredients – soy milk, oat milk, bananas, avocado, dates, mango – are really high FODMAP.
FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are actually beneficial to gut health, but for my FODMAP-sensitive folks, they can cause a lot of gas and bloating. And in high doses, even folks without IBS might feel the effects, like chasing a 3 bean chili with cauliflower wings during the game.
✅ The fix? Open up my book Good For Your Gut or head to my website for some low FODMAP smoothies and see if those don’t feel better....
The information on this site is intended as educational only and cannot replace one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation.