October 2018

Simple High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

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Simple High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

Our salute to Breast Cancer Awareness month continues with a round-up of high-protein vegetarian meals that are packed with flavor. And did you know that the American Cancer Society says a plant-based diet, along with regular exercise, can help reduce the risk of cancer? Let’s eat!

Easy Chickpea Street Tacos
This quick and easy vegetarian taco recipe is packed with muscle-building protein and lots of flavor. Perfect for fitness foodies.

Ingredients
15 ounce can of chickpeas
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 street taco corn tortillas
1 lime, quartered
1 tub prepared guacamole
Prepared rice or quinoa, optional

Method
1.    Drain and rinse chickpeas.
2.    In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. 
3.    Sauté chickpeas, soy sauce and seasonings until all the liquid is absorbed. 
4.    Add chickpeas to a corn tortilla and serve with the guacamole and lime wedges. 
5.    Enjoy with prepared rice or quinoa.

Serves 2.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
This high-protein salad is endlessly customizable. Perfect for on-the-go lunches and healthy dinners!

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 bunch scallions, diced
1 container cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and diced
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup low fat crumbled feta

Method
1.    Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions (reduce the water to 1 ½ cups). Fluff with a fork when done and set aside.
2.    Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and combine in a large bowl.
3.    Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle over the vegetables.
4.    Add the quinoa to the vegetables and fold in the feta.

Serves 4.

One-Pot Pasta
This is the easiest — and maybe the most fun — one-pot pasta dish you’ll ever make, ideal for potlucks with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Ingredients
12 ounces protein spaghetti or your favorite spaghetti
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2-3 sprigs basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4½ cups water
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Method
1.    Combine spaghetti, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, salt and water in a large Dutch oven.
2.    Bring to a boil over high heat.
3.    Once the water is boiling, reduce temperature to medium-high and stir for about 10 minutes, or until water has absorbed into the pasta.
4.    Serve with fresh parmesan.

Serves 4-6.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
This quick and easy protein-packed sandwich tastes equally great with multigrain bread or on a bed of spinach leaves with your favorite dressing.

Ingredients
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and mashed 
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 green onions, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method
1.    Combine mashed chickpeas, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and chopped green onions in a medium bowl.
2.    Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3.    Serve over toasted bread or as a salad.

Serves 2.

Split Pea & Barley Soup
Boasting fill-you-up fiber and fat-free protein, split peas are a nutritional superstar. The barley in this recipe adds a chunky texture. This also freezes well for once-a-month cooking.

Ingredients
1 pound dried split peas
½ cup pearl barley
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups carrots, diced*
1 medium onion, diced*
⅓ cup celery, diced*
1 bunch green scallions, diced, for serving

*Save time! Sub out the diced carrots, onions and celery for a prepared “Mirepoix.”

Method
1.    Combine all ingredients through cumin in a large stockpot; bring to a boil over high heat.
2.    Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
3.    Add the carrots, onion and celery and stir to combine; cook for 20 to 30 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender.
4.    Remove the bay leaves.
5.    Serve immediately, garnishing with the green scallions.

Serves 6-8.

Getting enough protein is an essential part of any diet, especially when building muscle or challenging your body by starting a new fitness program. Now it’s your turn! How do you incorporate vegetarian protein sources into your meal planning? 

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