Meat, fish, and poultry are the norm when it comes to the protein at the center of any meal. Plants do not fall far behind. But as more and more people become interested in following vegetarian or vegan diets, a shift away from animal products seems inevitable.
Maybe your workplace is jumping on the vegan bandwagon, trying to lighten their carbon footprint, or simply looking to incorporate more whole foods into their diets. Whatever the reason, good and tasty sources of plant protein should not be limited to tofu and vegetable medleys.
Here are 4 plant-based proteins even non-vegetarians will love that are nutrient-rich and full of flavor.
Chia Seeds – Protein: 6 g per 2 Tbsp
Deriving from the salvia plant, chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-rich foods in the world. Besides being packed with protein, they contain high levels of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and copper.
This superfood contains roughly 10% of your daily protein requirements. You can bake chia seeds into bread, turn it into a spread, and use it as a topping.
Spinach – Protein: 5 g in 1 cup serving (cooked)
Other than being Popeye’s go-to for strength, spinach is also a great source of iron and minerals. According to Medical News Today, protein surprisingly accounts for 30% of its calories. Some of its health benefits include improved eyesight and regulated blood pressure.
Overall, by consuming this leafy green, whether raw, sauteed or blanched, you are proactively taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
The Impossible Burger – Protein: 20 g in 3 oz serving
Say goodbye to the mundane veggie burger. The geniuses at Impossible Foods have naturally recreated the vital aromas, flavors and even textures of a regular burger. Their burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than its beef counterpart.
It is made with wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme – a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. Heme gives the impossible burger its characteristic taste and smell when cooked.
Chicago’s M-Burger is one of our many partners who features the Impossible Burger on their menu. Whether or not your office has a Meatless Monday, this is a burger option that is almost impossible to top.
Legumes – Protein: 7 g per ½ – cup serving
If you have ever eaten peas, soybeans, peanuts, lentils or chickpeas, you have had a legume. Chances are you have tried them in many forms. There are thousands of different varieties, many being the dietary staple in cultures around the world. Millions of people rely on its affordability, convenience and nutritional density each and every day.
Generally speaking, legumes, aka pulses, are packed with protein and are considered to be one of the best sources for vegans and vegetarians. Low in fat and rich in fiber, pulses are excellent for managing cholesterol, digestive health and regulating energy levels.
Los Angeles’ Cosmic Indian uses legumes along with hearty spices and farm fresh vegetables to create vibrant and delicious plant-based Indian food. Their steamed chickpea cakes are light, fluffy, vegan and protein-packed. Your colleagues won’t believe legumes are the main ingredient.