Often when wanting to try out a vegetarian diet, protein is a concern. Here are a few powerful plant proteins you can rely on to get you started, whether vegetarian or not they come highly recommended.
This gluten-free grain has achieved such wide popularity that the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation declared 2013 'International Year of Quinoa'! It's high in protein, and is one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids. It's delicious with roast veg, or blended into smoothies and desserts. We've even used it to make healthy cupcakes.
2. Hemp seeds
These high performing little seeds not only contain an amazing amount of quality protein but also add omega-3 fatty acids to the mix. They have a slightly nutty taste and can be added to almost any recipe to boost its protein content. Try sprinkling them over salads, stirring them into soups or adding them to your morning smoothie, muesli or porridge as a start.
Expect a nice balanced source of protein, carbohydrates and fibre from these versatile pulses. Cook them with your favourite spices and seasonings, use them to fill out salads or Buddha bowls, or make veggie patties or 'meatballs' out of them. The options are endless.
4. Chia seeds
Chia seeds have been used for centuries for their amazing fibre, protein and healthy fat content. They're little black seeds that are highly absorbent. When exposed to liquid they become gel-like and are great for thickening meals or creating tasty healthy desserts. We like adding them to our oats in the morning and soaking them in almond milk to make a delicious and super simple dessert. They can also make a delicious jam. Remember it's best to soak them before eating as they become more easy to digest.
This super green is about 70% protein. While it's a great nutritional addition to smoothies, it does taste a bit 'seaweedy' so is often easiest taken in supplement form. That being said, we have come across some very cleverly disguised spirulina in a few tasty raw dessert and energy bar recipes. If you like the idea of the powder form, try adding it to a date, cacao, vanilla, almond mixture rolled into a bliss ball.