We know you have heard that protein is an important component of every diet and is necessary for muscle building and recovery as well as for curbing hunger between meals and snacks. And while we agree that adequate protein intake is crucial for health, muscles, satiety and recovery...many people simply eat TOO MUCH! In addition, many of our clients have been expressing an interest in taking part in meatless meals, days, or lifestyles. Their reasons for this range from preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes; and concern for animal welfare; to concerns with their body's ability to digest meat properly. What you may not realize is that with careful selection, beans and grains provide excellent and unexpected sources of protein, and can provide adequate protein to keep you both full and happy.
As a side note, meatless meals will make it easier for you to eat the recommended daily amount of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, and selenium that many fall short on. Read on for some easy, meat-free, high-protein recipes you can try today and take our challenge; We challenge you to at least one meatless meal (or day) each week for the next month!
Quinoa Summer Salad
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white quinoa
1/2 cup red quinoa
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbs. parsley
sea salt to taste
1. Bring water and vegetable stock to a boil in a pot; add both the white and red quinoa. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed- about 15 minutes. Set quinoa aside to cool.
2. Combine red onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Add in quinoa and mix well.
3. Whisk olive oil and lime juice together in a separate bowl; pour over quinoa mixture and stir together. Lastly add in parsley and mix. Serve hot or cold.
Quinoa is a great choice for meatless Monday: with 2 times as much fiber as pasta and 8 grams of protein in just one cup (which is more than an egg) it will help keep you satisfied for hours after your meal.
*Note: We purposely left the veggies raw in our instructions for an easy, summer salad. You can also quickly sautéed the onions and pepper in the olive oil if desired, then mix in the pepper, lime juice and parsley before combining with the quinoa.
Cold Farro Salad
2 cups farro
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
3-4 green onions, finely sliced
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup cucumber, finely chopped
4 ounces feta, sliced into small cubes
2 pinches red hot pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1½ lemons
1. Combine the farro and water/stock in a saucepan set over high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let the farro simmer until tender Remove from the heat, let the farro rest for 5 minutes, then pour off extra liquid out and fluff with a fork.
2. Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl while waiting for the farro to cook. Add farro and stir with spoon until all ingredients are well combined. Season with salt and pepper to your liking
3.Chill or serve immediately.
Farro is a great meat alternative because it is high in protein and fiber (6 grams and 5 grams respectively), but low in calories. It contains less than 170 calories in one cup so is a great grain for anyone looking to shave calories and loose weight.Fiber is very beneficial to digestive health, in particular soluble fiber cannot be digested by the body so it will help push and move food through your GI tract. It also leaves you feeling fuller longer so you can stay satisfied until your next meal.
Summer Barley Salad
4 servings (entrée size)
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 cup chick peas
1 cup corn
1 cup plum tomato
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
20 kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 ounces crumbled Grana Padano
1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil, add barley to boiling water and stir. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 30-45 minutes.
2. Combine barley, tomato, onions, olives, parsley and lemon juice together and mix well.
3. Combine juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic stirring well with a whisk.
4. Drizzle over barley mixture. Toss to coat. Mix in cubed cheese.
We love barley for its rich nutty flavor and because it is delicious hot or cold. Barley is a good source of iron, providing 12% daily value in one cup, as well as selenium (19% daily value) and manganese (20% daily value). Iron is very beneficial to the body, especially woman, who have a higher chance than men of being anemic. Getting enough iron in your diet allows your body to convert glucose to energy and helps carry oxygen through out the body. Selenium and Manganese are both trace minerals that act as antioxidants in the body. Manganese has other important functions in the body such as assisting with the metabolism of food and bone growth.
Enjoy these summer salads during this final stretch of the season and you are sure to stay on track with your health and weight loss goals without sacrificing fun or flavor! Bring one of the above to a Labor Day BBQ and impress your friends, or whip one up for a quick meal at home. Aim for at least 1 meatless dinner each week and be sure to include a grain high in protein and fiber.
Feeling daring? Expand to a full meatless day each week and see where it takes you. Please email us and let us know how it goes. And if you need more meatless recipes, email us that as well and we will be happy to provide you with more.