Tag Archives: protein

Cajun Blackened Tempeh

We found some easy prep red beans and rice and decided to make a Cajun meal (or our version of it) using that, some steamed green beans that we topped with BacUn from Pure Market Express and some spiced tempeh that we coated in our home-made rub and blackened under our broiler.
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper (feel free to grind the whole peppercorns with the mortar and pestle)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt

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After mixing these spices in a bowl I rolled each piece of tempeh (I recommend marinating it in some veggie bouillon or your favorite marinade for 1-2 hours, some tempeh can be dry) in the mixture. I placed the tempeh in a dish and covered it lightly with a paper towel. I then microwaved the tempeh for 2 minutes total for 30 seconds at a time, turning it over between sessions.

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Then I put it on tin foil and placed it near our broiler on each side for 2-3 minutes or until it started to toast.

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The result… happy Brent and happy Christie.

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Pasta with a side of protein, please…

I like pasta. It’s easy to make and easy to request with no meat or cheese at restaurants. The problem with veganizing pasta (other than the obvious, which is doing your best to ensure that the actual pasta is vegan) is that it very often will lack a good amount of protein. I like having some Italian sausage or ground turkey or meatballs or chicken or fish with some pasta. I love hot dogs in my spaghetti! But I’m vegan now. I had a pressed block of tofu and some vegan spaghetti waiting for me in the fridge, so I had to get creative.

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I “ground” up the tofu with a fork and mixed it together with the following:

1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
minced garlic
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

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I took my leftover spaghetti out of the fridge, put some on a plate, topped it with some of the tofu and heated it up in the microwave.

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Mix it up a little and it just looks like there’s some cheese in there! It was delicious on the pasta and also on its own. I’ll be making this tofu mix again. –Melissa

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SaviSeeds

I was browsing at ‘rhymes with Schmole Broods’ today and came across SaviSeeds by Vega. There were small packages, perfect for tasting, so I grabbed the Oh Natural and Cocoa Kissed pouches. I ended up staying late at work and was highly caffeinated, very much needing a snack as I waited to meet up with my sister for dinner. So I grabbed the Oh Natural bag and decided there was no better time than right then to try them out.

I have never heard of sacha inchi seeds before. They mostly remind me of peanuts, but the more I ate, the more I found them to be a giant, hearty seed — which is exactly what they are. The Oh Natural version is seasoned only with sea salt. These seeds were delicious and easily tied me over.

These guys are gluten-free and have 6 grams of Omega-3 (according to the package, they are the richest plant-based source of Omega-3) and 9 grams of protein per serving. AMAZING!

Here is a photo of the sacha inchi. Totally rad, right? I think I have found my perfect on-the-go snack! –Melissa

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Mean Green Openface Sandwiches!

I’m calling this the mean green sandwich because it’s full of raw, good-for-you awesomesauce and they’re open face because I like to look my meal in the eye. Fortunately these don’t have any eyes because I have issues with that. The first thing I did was make a basil garlic spread using the following:

1 very large handful of basil leaves

5-6 peeled garlic cloves

1/4 cup of pumpkin pits

1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tsp Meyer lemon olive oil

2 tbsp veganaise

1/2 tsp flake red pepper

1/2 cup of water (you might not use all of it)

I blended all of that up, adding water as needed to form a spreadable texture. We spread it on sliced, toasted gluten-free bread and topped it with spinach and avocado.

I added a lot of extra flake red pepper because I’m just that kind of girl. This was a fast and delicious meal. The buttery avocado was a great contrast to the spicy basil and pesto. The nuttiness of the bread and hemp reminded me I was getting a heaping dose of omega fatty acids and protein to go with my antioxidants and iron.  It would have been great in a nori wrap with sprouts too for a real raw meal! Maybe we’ll do that next time and until then, nom on!

This is Christie, signing off!

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PB2: Powdered Peanut Butter

I was talking to a friend who’s a vegetarian (Hi, Yamini!) when she asked if I had heard of PB2. I had not. So she gave me some to try. How awesome is that?

PB2 is a powdered peanut butter product. Say what? Yep. Powdered peanut butter.

PB2 has three ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt. It’s basically traditional peanut butter — without  fat or oil. Per their web site, this is how the product compares to traditional peanut butter:

AMAZING, right?! Making the peanut butter is easy. Simply mix 2 tbsp of the powder with 1 tbsp of PB2. Adjust as needed if you want something more runny or more thick.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely blown away by PB2, but if I hadn’t known that it started out as a powder, I would have been fooled. My six-year-old niece tried some, and she loved it! I do wonder why sugar was added; not a huge deal, though.

I prefer traditional peanut butter, but the nutrition facts speak for themselves. I sometimes go several days in a row when I eat peanut butter and toast for breakfast. The lower fat and calorie content, along with 5g of protein per serving, makes PB2 a GREAT option. In addition, having peanut butter in powder form makes it easy to mix into smoothies or when baking and cooking. I definitely intend to use PB2 next time I make kare kare.

Learn more about PB2 at their official web site! Let us know what you think if you try it, and I hope you do. –Melissa

 

 

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Rice Cooker Cuisine: Persian-Inspired Rice & Lentils

This dish was my attempt to recreate the dish I had at Noon-O-Kabab a few weeks ago. As you’ll see, my creation doesn’t look anything like adas polo, but it was easy to make, made my kitchen wonderfully fragrant, and was a pretty good replication in terms of flavor.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils (I used red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

I put the brown rice and lentils in my rice cooker pot, rinsed them, and then added water to fill up to the 2 cup line. I did measure out the water this time around for those of you who don’t have a rice cooker: it was just under two cups of water. I also want to note that the rice was slightly undercooked, so I will go with 2 and a half to 3 cups of water next time. I put the pot in the cooker and then turned it on.

Immediately after pushing the “on” button, I prepared the garlic, onion, and dates. I then heated some olive oil in a pan and browned the garlic, onion, and dates along with the spices. When the onions were nearly translucent, I removed it from heat and then added it to the rice cooker pot, stirring it in to the rice and lentils. Tip: use a wooden spoon or spatula when mixing stuff around in a rice cooker! Anything metal can scratch the pot and that is no bueno.

I stirred the mixture every 5-10 minutes to keep it from sticking. It stuck a bit anyway. Sigh. The above photo how it looked when the rice cooker first thought it was finished. I gave it a quick stir and pushed the “on” button again, and it cooked for at least another 5 minutes.

Finished! I had a moment of panic at first (uhhh… where did my lentils go! I need my protein and iron!) but the lentils had gotten mushed in with the rice pretty quickly.

I sprinkled some salt and pepper on tomato, onion, and bell pepper and broiled it in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. They were a great accompaniment to the rice and lentils.

Mmmmm… cinnamon…. –Melissa

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Rice Cooker Cuisine: Persian-Inspired Rice & Lentils

This dish was my attempt to recreate the dish I had at Noon-O-Kabab a few weeks ago. As you’ll see, my creation doesn’t look anything like adas polo, but it was easy to make, made my kitchen wonderfully fragrant, and was a pretty good replication in terms of flavor.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils (I used red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

I put the brown rice and lentils in my rice cooker pot, rinsed them, and then added water to fill up to the 2 cup line. I did measure out the water this time around for those of you who don’t have a rice cooker: it was just under two cups of water. I also want to note that the rice was slightly undercooked, so I will go with 2 and a half to 3 cups of water next time. I put the pot in the cooker and then turned it on.

Immediately after pushing the “on” button, I prepared the garlic, onion, and dates. I then heated some olive oil in a pan and browned the garlic, onion, and dates along with the spices. When the onions were nearly translucent, I removed it from heat and then added it to the rice cooker pot, stirring it in to the rice and lentils. Tip: use a wooden spoon or spatula when mixing stuff around in a rice cooker! Anything metal can scratch the pot and that is no bueno.

I stirred the mixture every 5-10 minutes to keep it from sticking. It stuck a bit anyway. Sigh. The above photo how it looked when the rice cooker first thought it was finished. I gave it a quick stir and pushed the “on” button again, and it cooked for at least another 5 minutes.

Finished! I had a moment of panic at first (uhhh… where did my lentils go! I need my protein and iron!) but the lentils had gotten mushed in with the rice pretty quickly.

I sprinkled some salt and pepper on tomato, onion, and bell pepper and broiled it in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. They were a great accompaniment to the rice and lentils.

Mmmmm… cinnamon…. –Melissa

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Fiddling Romping Quinoa

We’re still awash with fiddleheads and ramps so we’re finding ways to add them to things we already love to make them more exciting. This was a night when we were in a hurry so we did something quickly. Brent prepared quinoa with the following ingredients.

1 1/2 cups of quinoa (he used red and white, but any sort will do)

1 cube of veggie bouillon

salt and pepper to taste

He made it in the microwave, microwaving at 2 minute intervals, stirring between heatings, until the liquids were absorbed. Meanwhile I collected the following:

15-20 fiddleheads

10-15 ramps, washed, bulbs, stems and leaves separated

1/2 cup edamame (any beans will do)

1 medium onion, diced

1/4 cup cilantro (use parsley if you’re not fond of cilantro)

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp vegan margarine

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

I sauted the onion and garlic with Earth Balance buttery spread until the onion began to caramelize. I added the fiddleheads, edamame (white Northern beans would be a great substitute for those with a soy allergy) and ramp bulbs until they began to soften.

I added the ramp leaves and cilantro and stirred until they wilted. We combined this with the ramp stems, mayonnaise, and quinoa and devoured it. I put a sliced avocado drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with garlic salt on the plate too for even more omega fatty acids: nourish your brain!

You can do this with spinach, asparagus and scallions instead of ramps and fiddleheads. There were no leftovers and only 2 survivors.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Where do you get your protein?

I come from a family that loves meat and dairy. Sound familiar?

My dad doesn't really look like this.

My dad is an avid bow hunter. My mother is down with Paula Dean. My brother and I were certainly a product of them. That is, I freaking loved meat and cheese. Upon challenging myself to be vegan, I had to re-educate myself about what food was good for me. Being disgustingly close to a scientist/vegan makes for delicious amounts of good information.

Ultimately the question from my family is always — always — “How do you get your protein?” Without going into an anthropological diatribe reminding you and them how our LCA likely survived best on nuts and plants gathered rather than from the often rotten scavenged meats the males would kill themselves to get, I will throw down a quick list of vegan goodies that are high in protein.

Peas

Peas are the overlooked powerhouse of the western diet. Not only are they jam packed with vitamins and minerals your body craves, but they offer a generous dose of protein to keep you strong like young bull (5.9g/100g).  Protip : Stay away from canned peas… or canned anything for that matter.

Beans

They don’t just make you toot; they make you strong. A cup of cooked beans can yield 12g of protein. That’s pretty gangster if you ask me. I prefer black beans when I get the choice (read : when cooking). I like the flavor more than green beans, and I stay away from refried beans. While that seems limiting, the nutritional benefit is nothing to scoff at and there are loads of ways to prepare them.

Soy Beans

I had to put these separately as they provide such an insane amount of protein. 68g per cup, is what I’m reading. Unreal. I also had to put this separately as I know some folks who are allergic to soy. That really really really sucks.

Lentils

I love lentils. Lentil soup is amazing. Lentils with rice and quinoa is killer. What’s more is how they provide such an unreal amount of nutritional substance. 18g protein per cup? Yes please. Protip : If you sprout lentils before consumption (soak for more than 8 hours) you get all of the essential amino acids. By themselves.

Seeds

Here’s a fun one. Pumpkin seeds can provide 74g protein per cup. Eat them like sunflower seeds and crack the shell. Or eat them whole when cooking them in something. Better still, grind/blend up the seeds and make the pasty substance into something delicious!

Nuts

Nuts are awesome for protein, but the consequence for all that delicious flavor is a lot of extra fat and whatnot (20g protein per cup, but 48.11g fat too). That’s not to say that one should avoid nuts, but if looking for a lean way to get protein, nuts should be used sparingly. Almonds are a solid go-to and are now made into all sorts of goodies.

Asparagus

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have asparagus. Not a lot of fat, but not a whopping amount of protein either (2.95g protein per cup, .16g fat per cup /underwhelmed). But consider that the human body isn’t meant to get 200g protein a day, folks. Rather, the average should be somewhere around 50-60g for men, 40-50g for the ladies. Then again, I’m not a nutritionist, and these numbers vary on height and weight. This should give you a nice jumping off point, though.

Final Thoughts

By being vegan, you don’t have to sacrifice protein. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your body effing needs it. I hope this post helps point you to the threshold of the myriad of options you have as a vegan to get your protein. Protein doesn’t just come from milk, cheese, eggs, meat. Some of the best protein comes from anything but meat and dairy. That said, this is not a comprehensive list by any means. There are loads of other protein sources out there. What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

Peas out, my vegans.

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Ridiculously Easy & Versatile Refried Beans

I almost hate to admit this, but Taco Bell has become a fast food savior of mine since transitioning to a vegan diet. I can only eat so many French fries and 6″ veggie delight subs. Taco Bell rises above the rest for one reason: beans. A bean burrito, no cheese is super cheap, tasty, and vegan — no lard, you guys! I have also ordered nachos with beans only (which has to be announced to the entire staff for some reason).

I was itching to have some refried beans at home, so I went to the store to buy a can. I spotted the Fat Free can first. Fat free? No way! So I picked up a can of Traditional style refried beans. I read the ingredients. LARD. No way! I checked out the Fat Free Can was delighted to read that fat free meant no lard and simple ingredients. Yay! Now, you may be thinking that I could have started with a can of pinto beans. Yes, I could have. For convenience, though, a can of Bush’s Fat Free Refried Beans is perfect.

Melissa’s Ridiculously Easy & Versatile Refried Beans

Ingredients:
1 can Bush’s Best Refried Beans, Fat Free — I used about 1/3 can per serving
Shredded ‘cheese’ — Christie sent me some Daiya and I am in lust with this cheese
diced onion — I used green onion since I had some
your favorite hot sauce — I’ve tried it with Sriracha, Tabasco, and Taco Bell hot sauce
Extra seasonings — the can of beans is already seasoned, but you can add garlic (fresh or powder), onion powder, cumin…

Put your beans in a microwave-safe bowl. Add your seasonings and smoosh it in with the beans. Top with the cheese. Microwave, covered, for about a minute (use a bowl so that the cheese doesn’t melt onto whatever cover you use).

I like my onions crisp and raw, so I top the warm beans and cheese with them. I used shears to chop my green onions. Then, top with your hot sauce. Mix it all together and:

  • Stuff it in a tortilla to make a bean burrito OR
  • Serve it with some Spanish or Mexican rice OR
  • Throw it on a bed of lettuce; add tomatoes, avocados, jicama, and cilantro and you’ve got yourself an awesome salad OR
  • Put some tortilla chips around it and you’ve got yourself some fancy bean and cheese nachos:

I adore versatile foods. This was muy delicioso! –Melissa

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