It is becoming increasingly clear that too many of our favorite foods are laden with too much protein, and more importantly, too much animal protein. Did you know that reduced fat and extra lean meats actually have more calories than the original? Did you know chicken nuggets contain 2140 calories and 93 grams of fat per 100 grams? That’s 39% protein! Did you ever think about where those additional calories come from? Animal products are loaded with saturated fats. Too much saturated fat in the body can lead to heart disease, elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension, or high cholesterol levels.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans or Bengal gram. They are high in protein and fiber, which means they keep you full for longer. They’re also a good source of iron, which helps keep your energy levels up. Chickpeas can be used in salads and soups, but they are especially delicious when prepared as a curry.
- 1 tbsp oil (or vegetable broth)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger root, grated
- 1 green chili pepper (optional), chopped (I like mine spicy!)
- 1 large tomato diced or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchiladas
This recipe has a lot of protein, but it’s also very healthy. Black beans are full of fiber and protein, and quinoa is an excellent source of protein as well.
- 1 cup black beans (cooked)
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix together until evenly distributed. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Pour the mixture into the pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until heated through and bubbling around the edges.
Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top if desired. Broil in the oven until cheese is melted and browned slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve hot with fresh salsa or guacamole!
Easy Tofu Stir Fry
Tofu is made from soybeans, and it’s a low-calorie, high-protein food. The US Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume 46 grams of protein per day. An ounce of tofu contains 8 grams of protein. Tofu can be used in many different ways, including as a meat substitute in most recipes.
Sautéed tofu is a common dish that you’ll find on many Asian menus. You can make your own version by sautéing fresh or dried tofu cubes in sesame oil with garlic and ginger until they’re golden brown on all sides.
Add vegetables such as mushrooms, onions and carrots to the pan with the tofu for added flavor. Serve over brown rice or noodles for an easy vegetarian meal that’s high in protein and low in fat.
A veggie burger patty can be made from just about any combination of vegetables and grains you like. Try combining black beans, oats, corn kernels and mushrooms for a meatless burger that tastes great served on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato slices.
You can also add extra flavor by adding spices like ground cumin or curry powder to the mixture before forming patties with your hands or using cookie cut
- 1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup) 2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup) 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except 2 tablespoons oil and mix well with a spatula until completely combined. Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle remaining oil over the falafel balls and bake for 15 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately with hummus or tzatziki sauce, if desired.
Garbanzo Bean Burgers
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash of pepper to taste (optional)
Place all ingredients except buns in a food processor or blender and purée until fairly smooth. Shape about 1/4 cup of the mixture into each patty; flatten slightly with your palm. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil.
Cook patties until browned on both sides and heated through, 5-7 minutes per side. Serve on buns with desired toppings.
Roasted Edamame with Sesame Oil and Sea Salt
This recipe is so easy, just toss the edamame in olive oil and sea salt, spread them out on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees until they start to brown. Then, toss them with sesame oil, more salt, and any other seasonings you like. You can also add some extra flavor by grilling the soybeans before roasting them.
The key to this recipe is using fresh beans instead of frozen ones. If you use frozen edamame in your recipe, it will take longer to cook and may dry out during roasting. If you want to make this without any added fat or oil at all, feel free to use fresh cooked soybeans instead of raw ones.
One of the biggest concerns with a vegetarian diet is that it is low in protein. This is a misconception. All plant foods, including vegetables and grains, are high in protein. You just have to eat a good variety of plant foods at every meal to make sure you’re getting enough protein for your needs. Vegetarian meals can be high in protein without being overly expensive, unhealthy or unappetizing.