Let’s put one thing to bed…. Protein.
We are aware that for those of you out there who aren’t as vegan savvy as us here at GetVegan!, protein can be a concern when considering a vegan diet. We want to put your mind at ease because, well, there’s just nothing to be concerned about. We’re not going to lecture you on how much protein you should be eating in a day – that’s for you to decide based on your body, your lifestyle and personal goals. All we want to do is let you know that if you want protein, you can have it. If you want a lot of protein, eat a lot of protein. So, read on for our top 10 plant-based sources of protein…with a hearty high-protein recipe at the end!
1. Seitan – 21.2 g / 100 g. This is made from gluten and is often referred to as ‘wheat meat’. You can buy it pre-packaged or can make your own at home. You can have seitan in a stir fry, tacos, burritos, fajitas, soups, sandwiches and wraps.
2. Oats – 13.2 g / 100 g. Good old Scottish oats. Have them for breakfast. Have them in a smoothie. Have them in vegan yoghurt. Have them in flapjacks. Just have them.
3. Tofu – 12 g / 100 g. Made from soy beans, tofu comes soft, silken, firm or extra firm. It can be bought seasoned or plain, and can be marinaded to your tastes. Tofu can be used in a stir fry, a creamy dessert, cheese sauce, curry, salad, wraps, barbecued, grilled, in pasta, in tacos, it can even be made into vegan eggs and ice cream/mousses. Really, tofu is incredibly versatile and can be eaten however you like.
4. Lentils – 9 g / 100 g. We’ll come to this one later!
5. Chickpeas – 8.9 g / 100 g. These lovely little legumes are great in chilli, soups, curries, burritos, pastas and even in sandwiches. They’re pretty much great in everything. You can even stick them in the oven with some seasoning and turn them into delicious little crunchy, crispy treats. They literally are houmous, too.
6. Green peas – 5.2 g / 100 g. Peas are little nutritional powerhouses and are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as protein. Pea protein is known as a ‘complete protein’ meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids that the human body requires to synthesise protein.
7. Quinoa – 4.3 g / 100 g. Quinoa is a gluten-free wholegrain carbohydrate, as well as a complete protein. It s a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins and iron. In its simplest form, it is a good substitute for rice but can be used in many other ways.
8. Soy milk – 3.2 g / 100 g. Like tofu, soy milk is made from the soy bean. To produce soy milk, the soy beans are soaked and ground, boiling the mixture and filtering the remaining particulates. Soy milk can be drank on its own hot or cold, or in in tea, coffee, milkshakes or hot chocolate. Yeah, we did actually just tell you what to do with milk.
9. Wild rice – 3.9 g / 100 g. Rice is rice. You know what to do with rice. Most supermarkets stock wild rice, and, as an alternative to popular rices such as basmati rice, wild rice is slightly higher in protein.
10. Chia seeds – 5 g / table spoon. Chia is the edible seed of salvia hispanica – a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds can be sprinkled on anything you like, from yoghurt and granola, to puddings and smoothies.
These are just 10 vegan foods that contain high amounts of protein. There are many, many more and we encourage you to do some digging of your own to find what suits you best.
Now, about those lentils…
Red Lentil Bolognese (serves 4)
100 g whole grain spaghetti
100 g red (split) lentils
1 celery stick
2 cloves of garlic
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
500 g tomato passata
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp of parsley – fresh or dry
2 tsp dry basil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp vegan butter/spread
10 cherry tomatoes
Optional (fresh basil leaves)
1. Wash & finely dice vegetables.
2. Crush 2 cloves of garlic.
3. Boil pot of water ready for spaghetti.
1. Heat oil (or water) in pan.
2. Add onions and garlic.
3. Cook for few minutes on medium heat until onions and garlic soften.
4. Add carrots and celery.
5. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
6. Add red lentils, tinned tomatoes, tomato passatta, stock cube, dry basil, parsley & seasoning (to taste).
7. Bring mixture to the boil.
8. Reduce heat & allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, occasionally stirring until vegetables and lentils are soft.
9. While the bolognese mix is simmering – add spaghetti to pre-boiled water and boil for 12-14 minutes – when cooked, remove from heat and drain water.
10. Add vegan butter and nutritional yeast to spaghetti and mix well – close lid and allow to sit without heat until bolognese is ready.
11. Once bolognese mix is cooked, remove heat and add cherry tomatoes.
1. Plate the spaghetti and top with the bolognese mix.
2. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and season to taste.
The GetVegan! gang.