Where do you get your protein? It's a question that anyone who has given up meat or is cutting down is probably familiar with. By now, I think everyone knows that soy products, such as tofu and tempeh are a great source of plant-based protein. Many people also understand that nuts, seeds and beans make up a bulk of our protein intake. Unfortunately, this may lead some to think that all you can eat is tofu and beans. This is simply untrue!
Here's a list of 5 plant-based foods that are packed with protein.
Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) are extremely versatile and are a great source of plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber, making them a filling, satisfying, and heart-healthy choice. A 1 cup serving of garbanzo beans contains 14.5 grams of protein, or 29 percent of the daily value. Read all about them in our Spotlight on Chickpeas. Look for garbanzo bean or chickpea flour in the grocery store (It can usually be found in the gluten-free section). Add it to baked goods for a creamy, rich flavor. The flour can also be used as a thickening agent for soups, sauces and gravies. The traditional Middle Eastern dish falafel is a delicious example of the use of chickpeas; this Taco Falafel recipe takes a fun spin on them. Falafels are also great on salads or simply baked as a snack. Toss them with a little olive oil and the seasonings of your choice. Bake in a 400º oven until golden and crispy. You now have a healthy alternative to popcorn! This Baked Falafel Salad is AMAZING!.
Hummus is another popular chickpea dish that is loaded with protein, courtesy of its two main ingredients, garbanzo beans and tahini. Bored by the plain variety? Try and make some new hummus flavors, such as Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus, this Fresh Pumpkin and Kale Hummus or this great recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. If you are looking for even more protein for your post-workout snack? Try spinach, tofu, avocado or black bean hummus. Feel like scrapping the beans altogether? No problem; go ahead and make your own homemade tahini. Get creative!
Avocado contains healthy, monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to slow brain aging. This fruit has also been shown to help protect against certain types of cancer, and are a great source of antioxidant vitamin E. Avocado provides all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. When most people think of avocados, the first thing that comes to mind is guacamole. While delicious, it's not the only thing avocados are good for.
Try adding some avocado in your morning green smoothie. Trust us, it will add an unbeatable creamy texture. If you are a real fan, then add it into an avocado "alfedro" sauce for pasta or blend it into a soup like this delicious Raw Creamy Mushroom Soup with Avocado. Don't forget about dessert; this amazing fruit can quickly turn into a superb creamy icing for any cake! Don't believe us? Make these Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado-Mint Icing!
Pineapple Fried Quinoa
Quinoa contains significant quantities of essential vitamins and minerals including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and copper. A cup of cooked quinoa also contains 8 grams of complete protein and 5 grams of fiber! Read all about this superseed in our guide to Quinoa. Use it in place of rice for a much more nutritious side dish. Try it cold in a salad or warm in a burrito or pilaf and don't forget to check out these amazing Quinoa Recipes.
4. Green Peas
Eat your peas! Turns out, mom really did know what she was talking about. These little guys contain 8 grams of protein per cup. If you think you don't like peas, try them fresh out of the garden. They are actually quite sweet. Still not convinced? Sneak them into stir fries, soups and salads. Or, go for the gusto with this raw pea soup. Our favorites are these two knock off pea dishes; the Sweet Pea Hummus and the Knock-off-amole!
Recipe: Simple Lentil Dal
With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Lentils are the easiest legumes to work with. They do not need to be soaked overnight and can be on your table in as little as 20 minutes. While, soups, stews and salads are common dishes that contain lentils. For your next cookout, try lentil veggie burgers, lentil tacos or this out-of-the-world lentil loaf!
These are not the only plant-based foods packed with proteins, we've also got chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, soy and you can read all about them here.
This post was originally published on One Green Planet.