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Guest Post: High Protein Veg Meals for the Day

I’ve had some of you ask me what my favorite vegetarian recipes are.  And to be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out, as I explore the vegetarian menu.  Instead I’ve had Amee Shah of Rabbit Food Rocks, share recipes you can use throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Amee runs a terrific recipe veggie blog, check it out at

http://www.rabbitfoodrocks.blogspot.com/

High Protein Meals for Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

by Amee Shah, Rabbit Food Rocks

You say you’re a vegetarian and someone might ask you ”But how do you get your protein????”  It isn’t as hard as it seems.  We are programmed by our environment here in America to be overly concerned with protein, but other countries seem to survive just fine without a “USDA”.  In fact if you look at a typical vegetarian diet, it’s nearly impossible to miss your daily requirement.  The daily requirement is 56g for men and 46g for women.  There are many high protein foods in a vegetarian diet, such as dairy, nuts, and legumes, but don’t discount the smaller amounts of protein you are getting also.  There are different amino acids in just about everything you eat.  They add up!

Here’s a sample Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner menu, just to show you how easy it is to get your daily protein.

Breakfast Protein
2 scrambled eggs topped with tomatillo salsa 12
1 slice of raisin bread, toasted, w/ low fat cream cheese 2
1/4 c almonds 7
1/4 c blueberries 0
1 c. milk (1%) 8
Lunch
Baked Potato topped with 5
1 cup steamed Broccoli and 4
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese 16
Apple Slices with 2 Tablespoons peanut butter 7
Dinner
1 cup Indian Spiced Chickpeas with 15
1 cup Brown Rice 5
Cucumber-Mint Yogurt (Raita) 6

Without Even Trying

87g

As you can see this menu is not only vegetarian, but also excludes tofu and “faux” meats.  You can see that if you actually eat breakfast, you’re already halfway there.  For this menu’s lunch, a potato is not the best carb selection, but in this case, let the potato (or sweet potato!) simply be the vehicle for the broccoli and cottage cheese.  Cottage cheese is a great substitute for sour cream, and much more satisfying.  After all, protein is the component that makes you “feel full”.  Some people don’t like cottage cheese on its own, but they may not mind it if it’s served on a baked potato or in a veggie wrap.  And finally, the dinner menu is a perfect example of how beans combined with rice makes a complete protein.  A complete protein is that which comprises of all 22 amino acids.  Once you try this spiced chickpea dish paired with a cooling yogurt raita, this dinner will make a regular appearance in your meal plans.  So if someone isn’t getting enough protein, it’s not because they are vegetarian – it’s probably because they are skipping meals!

Here is my recipe for Indian spiced chickpea curry.  This is truly the most basic of Indian cuisine, the chili of Indian food.  You can find many other chickpea curry (chhole “CHO-lay”) recipes online.  You’ll need a stocked spice cabinet, and substitutions/absences won’t do.  Invest in some of these spices because this dish will become a favorite.  You’ll thank yourself (and your waistline) later.

Indian Spiced Chickpea Curry (“Chhole”)

1 serrano pepper w/ seeds (chopped in 3 parts)

5 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, halved and cut into 1″ cubes

1 T grated ginger root

1 tsp cumin seeds

2T vegetable/canola oil

1 14.5-oz can rotel (diced tomatoes) or 2 tomatoes, diced

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

chili powder to taste (if you need more heat)

1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 15-oz can chickpeas (or 1 cup dried beans, pressure cooked)

1/4 c chopped cilantro

Pulse serrano pepper and garlic cloves through a food processor until they are finely cut.  Scrape the edges of the processor work bowl and pulse again.  Add onions to the food processor and pulse again until the onions are fine but not watery/mushy.

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot on medium-high and add cumin seeds.  Add onion-pepper mixture and grated ginger root.  Saute until the onions soften and are clear.  Meanwhile, empty contents of rotel in the food processor and pulse until it is a soupy consistency.

Add turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder to the onions and cook for 4-5 mins.

Add salt, tomato puree and cook for 3 mins.

Add chickpeas and garam masala.  Simmer for 15 mins.

Remove from heat.  Just before serving, top w/ fresh chopped cilantro. If you like cilantro, please don’t skip this step!  It make a beautiful, fragrant finish!

Enjoy with brown or white rice.  Personally, I prefer Jasmine rice, but traditionally it is served with Basmati rice.

Cucumber-Mint Raita

2 c plain yogurt (low fat or regular)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced

15 mint leaves coarsely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve as a cooling side dish with spicy dishes.

Again check out Amee’s great blog at Rabbit Food Rocks for more great Recipes.  Please share any great beginner recipes you have found in the comments.

Related posts:

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3 Responses to “Guest Post: High Protein Veg Meals for the Day”

  1. On February 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm Joe responded with... #

    Once again great article. There is protein in so many of the foods we eat as plant based eaters and it adds up quickly. By adding multiple foods into your diet such as nuts, seeds, high protein grains etc, by the end of the day you’ll get plenty of protein.

    Plus keep in mind that plant based protein very easy to digest and be used by the body. It’s not always a question of quantity as it is quality.

    Keep up the great work guys.

    Joe
    http://www.activevegetarian.com

    • On February 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm Tommy responded with... #

      Thanks for reading Joe and your kind words!

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