If you’re a vegetarian, or are simply wanting to mix up your healthy meals, there are some great plant based protein options out there. Of course this is also perfect if you are going meatless for one day per week, or are just looking for some protein alternatives to change up your meal plans and dinner routines.
It’s surprising how many great plant based protein options are out there. Despite popular belief, it isn’t all that hard to fill your protein requirements as a vegetarian and even vegan. Since this article focuses on plant-based proteins, all of these dishes can easily be made vegan.
Let’s start with legumes. Beans, peas, lentils and other pulses contain quite a bit of protein and make a great addition to the dinner table. They are also wonderful if you’re working with a small portion of meat. Add a cup of cooked beans to fill you up and get to your daily protein requirements. Or mix the beans with either rice or cornbread, both of which also contain different proteins. Combined, they form a complete protein and provide your body with everything it needs from one meal.
Tofu is another great option. Soy in general is very versatile. You can cut up firm tofu, marinate it and either grill it or chop it up and use it in stir fries, soups, and stews. Soft tofu is a great addition to smoothies and you can even turn it into a sort of tofu pudding by blending it with a bit of liquid and some flavorings.
Quinoa is another great source of plant protein that has become a lot more popular and available. You cook this grain similar to rice or couscous. Serve it as a protein-rich side, or use it as the base of your meal adding plenty of veggies to make a filling meal.
While most protein powders are dairy based, you can find great vegan options including those made with hemp seeds. You can use the powder to make protein shakes, include a scoop in your favorite green smoothie recipe, or even cook and bake with it.
Give this different plant based protein sources a try. Between everything I shared here, you have plenty of options, particularly when you think about the various ways you can incorporate beans and lentils. Mix these with lean meat, or use them on their own. Keep trying something new until you have a nice little library of healthy recipes based around various lean protein sources that you can work from.