Good morning, friendssss :)
Lately I’ve been brainstorming what other topics I can cover on here aside from just recipes. I am going to try my best to sprinkle in more home posts, photos, and just general life happenings. I think it keeps the content from getting stale or boring. I’ve been also trying to think of vegan-inspired posts that would be helpful to you. At first, I was staying clear of some of the obvious ideas, but then I thought… why?! This isn’t just a place for established vegans… it’s for everyone, especially those who are interested in a more plant-friendly way of life. I’m going to try and write a couple posts coming from a vegan 101 angle.
That being said, I think (ahem, know) that a lot of non-vegan/vegetarians are concerned about protein. It’s basically one of the first questions asked when you announce that you don’t eat meat. Let’s start there.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that yes, there are a number of vegan protein sources. I say no surprise, because hello, look at us all living healthy and shit! Of course we get our protein fix – just not from meat. ;)
These are some of my favorite sources of protein… and almost all of them work well as a meat replacement in dishes.
Let’s start with my favoriteeeee. Beans… literally, any kind. They are cheap as hell (especially if you buy dry in bulk) and pack a protein punch, with usually about 20-30 grams of protein in a 4 oz serving. My favorites are: black, pink, pinto, chickpeas, and butter beans. Eat them any ‘ol way, such as tossing on a salad, roasting with spices, making a bean salad, patties, beanballs, dips, brownies (yes, black bean brownies!), or hell, out of the freaking can. My personal favorite go-to is butter beans with olive oil and rosemary… a veg-head’s version of comfort food.
My favorite meat substitute packs about 30 grams of protein in a cup. It’s not as spoken about as tofu is, but I think it is even better. It is a fermented soy, and kind of has a nutty flavor to it. The good thing is, it will usually take on any flavor that you cook it with. Crumble it up and toast it on the stove with your favorite spices, or use it as a meat substitute in chili, soups, lasagna… really, anything.
Not everyone’s favorite meat substitute, but it is definitely the most talked about. Tofu has a whooping 20 grams of protein in a cup. Like tempeh, it will literally take on whatever flavor you cook or bake it with because it has zero taste whatsoever. Sure, the texture can be funky if you don’t know how to prepare it, but keep trying. Once you’ve had (properly) baked and seasoned tofu, you’ll be popping tofu bites like popcorn. It’s a great meat substitute. Personally, I keep my soy intake to a minimum because I have found that it can upset my stomach if I eat a ton of it (which is why I prefer tempeh). But still, every once in a while, it’s a treat! I usually save it for the tofu breakfast sandwich at my favorite local vegan spot. I made a similar version, HERE.
Lentils are so good! I never liked them growing up, but now I put them in basically everything. In just 100 grams, you’ll get 9 grams of protein. Cook them in vegetable stock for a quick side dish, or add them to soups, salads, and more. Long live lentils. <3
Seitan is not my favorite meat substitute, but hey, I’ll show it some love because it is a protein powerhouse. With 18 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving, it’s definitely a great option. This soy protein is definitely more “meaty” than others, making it a great choice for someone who wants a similar experience to eating meat (you know, without actually eating meat). My friend and fellow blogging, Brooke, makes a mean BBQ seitan po’ boy – find the recipe HERE.
Yes, this little grain chock-full of protein. Did you even know? With 8 grams per cup, it’s an easy go-to. Make a batch on the weekend and use it throughout the week. Quinoa is great in stir-fry, soups, or mixed with roasted veggies.
Nuts and Seeds
One of the greatest snacks of all time, nuts are highly nutritious when eaten in moderation. With so many varieties, you’re bound to find one that you like. Some of my go-tos are: almonds (6 grams), pistachios (5.8 grams), cashews (5.2 grams), walnuts (4.3 grams), hemp seeds (10.3 grams), pumpkin seeds (9.3 grams), chia seeds (4.4 grams), and sunflower seeds (5.5 grams). Keep in mind, these numbers are based off a 1 oz. serving.
Anyone not like peanut butter (unless you have an allergy)? I didn’t think so. The easiest way to kick off your day with 8 grams of protein is to add 2 tbs to your toast, bagel, english muffin, or banana. I also love adding it to my smoothies for an extra boost.
There’s plenty of vegan protein powders out there, the most common being Vega. Protein powder is not usually my thing, but I know a lot of people who do love it. Add it to your morning smoothie.
Textured Soy Protein
Also known as TVP. Just 1/4 cup of TVP has 12 grams of protein. Bob’s Red Mill carries it, and it’s definitely a great meat substitute if you are still struggling to remove it from your diet. This is another great substitute in chili!
With 17 grams of protein in a cup, this is another easy and refreshing way to fill your protein quota. I love edamame on a salad, or steamed in the shell with some sea salt.
Not the most nutritional item on here, but still a source of protein. I keep Clif Bars at my desk in the event that I am too busy to grab lunch. They are filling and have between 10-13 grams of protein (depending on which one you like). Cool Mint is my favorite.
Of course, there’s a ton of protein in other veg-friendly options, including: dark leafy greens, peas, flaxseed, mushrooms, oats, avocado, soybeans, wild rice, farro, and kamut. I cannot express how easy it is to get enough protein into your diet without turning to animal products. I hope this list helps you to see that, too.
Readers – please ask me questions! I would love to hear what you want to hear about. I’m very open to doing a FAQ segment, or just tackling new topics one post at a time. I want to be a resource in any way that I can. I’m so happy to spread awareness and my own personal experiences on here, and I am so glad you are along for the ride. Thanks for listening to me, as always. xx bianca