But I Won’t Get Enough Protein
A common misconception is that we need to consume meat in order to get enough protein. We really don’t! Yes, there is a lot of protein in meat but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get enough anywhere else.
Protein is an essential part of the human diet, it’s what helps us build tissue, muscle and bone and is also an essential part of the process for repairing damaged cells. On average, men should aim to eat around 55g of protein a day and women should aim for around 45g of protein.
Over the years, I’ve heard many people making the transition to vegan or vegetarian saying that they are lacking energy and feeling generally unwell. Protein is definitely the key and below are some of the best foods with which to replace meat:
- Lentils, 18 grams of protein per cup
- Chickpeas, 12 grams per cup
- Tempeh, 41 grams per cup
- Black beans, 15 grams per cup
- Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
- Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
- Nuts (brazils – 14g, peanuts – 38g, cashews – 18g, almonds – 20g, pistachios – 20g and walnuts – 15g)
- Green vegetables (the superstars are kale, broccoli, seaweed, and peas), varied amounts of protein
At first glance, the above foods might not appeal to you, particularly if you’ve been used to a regular diet of meat and two veg for many years, however, there are thousands of delicious combinations and creative ways to prepare and cook plant based foods.
A real Friday night favourite treat meal (even though it’s healthy, it still feels like a treat because it’s so yummy) is vegetable and black bean quesadilla… served with a side of sweet potato chips… see the recipe below, it really is delicious!
Vegetable Quesadilla Recipe
Prep: 10-15 mins Marinate: 2 hours or overnight Cooking: 20 mins
- 1 x red onion, chopped in strips
- 1 x red pepper, chopped lengthways
- 1 x green pepper, chopped lengthways
- 1-2 courgettes, chopped in half then lengthways
- 1 x can black beans
- 1 tsp chilli powder, or more if you like a bigger kick
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 lime
- a bunch of fresh coriander
- a big glug of extra virgin olive oil
- Tortilla wraps (2 for each serving)
- Cashew Cream - 2 x cup of cashews soaked in boiling water for at least 30 mins, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Put all of the above ‘filling’ ingredients (except the beans and the wrap!!) in a bowl with the olive oil, lime juice and fresh coriander (roughly chopped). Give it a good stir then leave to marinate.
- Once marinated, cook in a big pot until the veg is soft.
- Add the beans and cook for a few more minutes
- Drain the nuts then blend in a food processor with the lemon juice, soy sauce, 1/4 mug of fresh water, and a pinch of salt and pepper, until smooth and creamy. This may take a couple of minutes.
- Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, place a wrap in it, cover with the mixture and spread cashew cream on the other wrap. Pop the second wrap on top and fry for a couple of minutes until each side is golden brown.
- Serve with guacamole or sweet potato chips - YUMMY!!