You’ll hear a lot of vegans gripe about how others will ask them, “Well, if you don’t consume any animal products, how do you get your protein?” They gripe about it because it’s SO EASY – a no-brainer, really, and if you include a variety of different plant-based foods into your eating, it’s really a non-issue.
Let me just give you a little list of vegan, protein-providing foods out there – beans, legumes, lentils, nuts and nut butters, oatmeal, seeds, tofu, edamame, seitan, tempeh, chia seeds, flaxseeds, barley, farro, brown rice, quinoa, and not to mention the protein in lots of vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and kale. Whew, that was a lot.
It’s really easy to incorporate vegan proteins in your diet – you just have to experiment! That’s one reason why I love vegan cooking. I get to explore different foods and methods of preparation that I probably would never get around to if we still ate meat on a regular basis (I mean, how uncreative is it to stir-fry some chicken, as opposed to making a protein-packed, delicious vegan meal?).
One of the foods that I first cooked when becoming more plant-based was tempeh. I made vegan spaghetti and tempeh meatballs, and C even said, “Mmm, Mama, this spaghetti is yummy!” I even made a hoisin barbecue meatball sandwich in one of my cooking classes, which was a hit. Tempeh is a great vegan protein powerhouse, providing 31 grams of protein per cup, and also nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium.
The other day, I thought how it would be great to mix in with sticky rice, and when my mother-in-law tried it, she said, “You HAVE to make this for the party you’re going to throw next week!” Well, I have to say, I made enough of this for FORTY PEOPLE (the menu was entirely vegan!) and it did not disappoint! Easily one of the stars of the show, and a highly requested recipe!