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Easy Protein Sources for Vegetarians

Updated on April 29, 2012

Three Readily-Available Staples for a Vegetarian Diet

It is surprisingly easy to find protein-boosting staples for your diet without spending a fortune on 'special foods'. And it isn't necessary to spend weekends slaving in the kitchen to produce meat-free meals for a whole workweek ahead.
These protein-boosting staples can be found in any supermarket. They are versatile, delicious, and store well:

Dried Pinto Beans: I cook them in a slow-cooker for three hours on high. Two cups beans to eight cups water, lightly salted, with hot sauce added to taste. Cook until tender; add one cup onions and cook for ten additional minutes. Drain off most of the liquid; mash beans and onions until smooth. Advantage over canned refried beans: You control the amount of sodium.

Extra Firm Tofu: This is very versatile and can be used in a hundred ways. I have found the baked variety easiest and most portable.
Baked Tofu Recipe: One container Extra Firm Tofu, rinsed and blotted (I use paper towels). Apply gentle pressure to squeeze out excess water. Cut into one-inch blocks and transfer to glass baking dish. Make a marinade of 6 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tsp honey, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (MUST use balsamic), 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1 tbsp grated ginger.
No need to pre-marinate. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Protein Powder Supplements: Soy and Whey powders can add more than 20g of protein to a glass of milk or recipe. I prefer Soy because the Whey powder causes too much bloat with me, so try a few before you give up on them.

The beans and tofu can be stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


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