Plant Protein & My Go-to Lunch Recipe
Far too often the first concern of going plant-based is protein. “How do you get enough protein without eating any animal products?” That’s usually the first question I get. Please allow me to set the misconception straight. Yes, plants have protein! Many of them. Actually, most of them. In fact, as long as you’re simply eating enough calories for your body; you will never be protein deficient on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Now, something that oh so many people are deficient in: FIBER. Why isn’t fiber as big of a concern? It’s extremely important to have a variety of fiber in our diet. Aside from keeping you full, it’s imperative to support a healthy gut! A healthy microbiome means a healthy, happy you; but that is a huge topic for another day.
This brings me to my ingredient of the day: chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. Technically, it’s a legume…more specifically a pulse. Whatever you categorize it as, this little plant powerhouse has a lot to offer. Of course, it is a great source of protein and fiber. With that, it’s full of a long list of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
I encourage everyone to use nutritionfacts.org as a resource. Dr. Michael Gerger complies all the nutritional information you could ever want to know, so you can save time doing all that research.
There’s probably a million delicious ways to incorporate chickpeas into your diet. I want to share one of my favorite recipes because it’s easy, fast, doesn’t require cooking, and can be eaten on the go. It’s also one of those perfect “transition” meals, for those of you looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, but don’t want to jump right into the tofu/ tempeh aisle.
I’m sure we’ve all had that old classic, boring, tuna fish sandwich before.You know, the canned stuff. I veganized it. And improved it. This meal has all the convenience of the classic, sans mercury! Plus, it adds all the micronutrients, and a whole lot more flavor.
Chickpea “Tuna” Salad
I’m sharing the recipe I use the most when I make this dish. This one is not an exact science so you can omit or add anything you want! Get creative and find the way you like it best.
15 ounce can/ box of cooked chickpeas (little to no sodium added)
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp spicy brown (whole grain) mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste (I prefer fresh ground)
*this is the plain recipe
Mash the chickpeas lightly with a fork, add the rest of the ingredients & mix together.
Then I add the following: finely chopped celery, red onion, jalapeños, parsley, and cilantro.
Other suggested add-ins: pomegranate seeds, scallions, finely chopped radishes, shredded carrots, tomatoes, and other herbs & spices.
I enjoy mine open-faced on toast, topped with sprouts. You can also have it as a sandwich, in lettuce cups, in a wrap, a panini… the options are endless.