Plant-based protein time! It is actually pretty easy to get enough protein while eating a vegan diet, though it does require a little know-how. Quinoa alone provides all of the essential amino acids that your body needs, as well as many vitamins, minerals, fibre. Beans are full of good stuff too and researchers have found that eating beans and legumes can help prevent type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (1). They are also super cheap when you buy them dry in bulk and they can be stored for a long time.
This is a very simple vegan recipe that is high in protein and easy to make. Perfect for lunch or as a side dish with supper.
~Makes 4-6 servings~
- 1 cup quinoa (measured uncooked)
- 1 cup mixed beans/peas (measured uncooked)
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1 small zuccini, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots (I used heirloom varieties that I picked up at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market)
- 8-12 cups fresh spinach (2 cups/serving)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1. Place dry beans in a pot and cover with water (you want extra water in there to be absorbed by the beans). Add a tsp of baking soda to help suck out some of the lectin (a protein that causes bloating and gas among other things). Soak overnight (~12 hours). (As an aside, if you are eating lots of beans, it is a good idea to cook up a big batch every week so that you aren’t stuck with a jar of dry legumes when you want to make something).
2. The following day, rinse the beans thoroughly and add fresh water. Bring to a boil and then cook on medium heat until beans are soft (~2 hours). Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Cook the quinoa. Add 1 cup of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil and then cook on medium until water is absorbed and the kernals flatten and take on a spiral shape. Set aside to cool.
3. Chop the veggies and add them to a large bowl with the cooked beans and quinoa (make sure your bowl is big enough! Mine wasn’t so I had to get a bigger one half way through!).
4. Make the dressing by mixing together the oil, mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
5. Pour the dressing over the salad. Mix through. Place salad in the fridge for a few hours before serving or place in tupperware containers for lunches.
NUTRITION PROFILE: 4 SERVINGS: 17 g protein; 55 g carbs; 10 g fat; 380 calories 6 SERVINGS: 11 g protein; 40 g carbs; 6.7 g fat; 260 calories
Enjoy! I sure did 🙂