These environmentally sustainable and animal-friendly protein-packed options taste delicious and offer numerous health benefits.

Say protein and most people think only about meat as the right source for it. But did you know that there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options that are rich in protein too?

These environmentally sustainable and animal-friendly choices taste delicious and as a bonus, offer numerous health benefits. Studies have shown that vegetarian and vegan diets can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, they can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy weight management.

Plant-based diets are generally lower in saturated fats and cholesterol and higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than meats. So, if you’re looking to improve your overall health and well-being, trying out vegetarianism or veganism might be worth considering.

With so much noise on social media, it can be overwhelming to figure out which vegan or vegetarian food to go for. There are countless recipes, blogs, and influencers promoting their own unique take on plant-based protein. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian or vegan or just starting out, there’s something for everyone.

So, let’s navigate the world of delicious and nutritious plant-based protein.

1. Tempeh

If you are not familiar with tempeh, it is a cake-like substance made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans.With a nutty and slightly sour taste, tempeh’s meaty flavour and unique texture gives it a savoury taste that’s hard to resist.

Whether you’re grilling it up with some smoky BBQ sauce, tossing it into a colourful stir-fry with your favourite veggies, or crumbling it into a taco for a tasty twist on taco Tuesday, tempeh is a versatile ingredient that’s sure to impress (and fool!) even the most die-hard meat-lovers!

2. Quinoa

Not only is quinoa packed with essential amino acids, fiber, and other nutrients, but it’s also incredibly versatile. Whether you’re using it in salads, stews, or soups, quinoa’s nutty flavour, and hearty texture make it the perfect addition to any meal. Quinoa also makes for an interesting gluten-free alternative to every household’s breakfast beloved – dalia and upma.

For a refreshing and satisfying summer salad, try tossing quinoa with some roasted veggies, herbs, and a dash of lemon. It’s the perfect dish for a picnic in the park or a lazy day at the beach.

3. Lentils

These tiny legumes are a budget-friendly source of protein and they come in a rainbow of colours, from earthy green to deep, velvety black. With their mild yet flavourful taste and tender-yet-firm texture, lentils are versatile ingredients that can be used in countless dishes.

Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty soup, a fragrant curry, or a fresh and filling salad, lentils are always up for the task. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not try making some lentil burgers for your next backyard BBQ? Trust us, your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you.

4. Tofu

Tofu is the unsung hero of the vegetarian and vegan world. This protein-rich soybean product is a staple in many plant-based diets, and for good reason.

Its neutral flavour and soft, silky texture make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a multitude of ways. Stir-fries? Check. Salads? Check. Soups? Check.

Tofu is a team player that can elevate any dish it’s added to. Feeling adventurous? Use it as a substitute for ricotta cheese in your favourite lasagna recipe for a healthier twist on classic comfort food. Stir-fried tofu tossed with some fresh veggies and your favourite sauce is sure to take on a culinary high!

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, the beloved legume that goes by the names garbanzo beans or chana, are a powerhouse of nutrition. Bursting with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients, these little beans are a must-have in any vegetarian or vegan kitchen.

From classic hummus to crispy falafel to roasted chickpea snacks, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this legume. One of our favourite ways to indulge in chickpeas is to whip up a zesty chickpea salad, complete with fresh veggies and a tangy dressing. It’s the perfect light and refreshing lunch that will keep you feeling full and energized all day long.

6. Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, is a plant-based protein that is made from wheat protein. Despite its meaty texture, it’s entirely vegan-friendly.

It’s an excellent meat substitute for dishes like stir-fries, stews, and sandwiches. You can even make seitan-based “chicken” wings or nuggets for a fun twist on classic comfort food.

But why stop there? How about trying out a seitan-based “chicken” pot pie? Creamy filling, flaky crust, and tender pieces of “chicken” made from seitan will make this dish a winner at any dinner party. Plus, you’ll be packing in the protein without any of the cholesterol and saturated fats that come with traditional meat-based pot pies. So, give seitan a try, and who knows, it might become your new favourite meat alternative.

7. Spirulina

Spirulina may not be the most conventional ingredient, but it’s definitely one of the most nutritious! This blue-green algae is loaded with protein, antioxidants, and vitamins, making it a superfood superstar.

Don’t let the “algae” factor scare you away – spirulina can be a delicious and versatile addition to your diet. Mix it into your morning smoothie for an eye-catching green hue and a serious protein boost. Feeling adventurous? Try a spirulina latte for a fun and energizing twist on your morning coffee.

8. Mushrooms

What can be said about mushrooms that has not been said before? With their meaty texture and umami flavour, they are a great substitute for meat in many dishes. Grill portobello for your burger patty or slice and add them to a stir-fry. Sauted shiitake mushrooms can make even boring salads fun to munch on.

And don’t forget about the mighty mushroom’s “fun”gi friends like truffles, that when shaved over a pasta dish, create a luxurious burst of flavours. Plus, they are low in calories, fat, and carbs, and high in antioxidants and other nutrients. So, don’t underestimate the power of the humble mushroom in your quest for protein-rich vegan and vegetarian options.

9. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is the magical ingredient of the vegan world. It is ideal for enhancing the flavours of any dish as it brings a cheesy flavour that’s hard to resist. Sprinkle some on your popcorn and indulge in a guilt-free cheesy snack.

You can mix some cheesy (alternative!) goodness in the pasta sauce to jazz it up. Plus, it’s the secret ingredient for delicious and creamy vegan mac and cheese. Nutritional yeast is a must-have for anyone looking to take their vegan game to the next level.

By adopting a plant-based diet, you can improve your overall health and well-being while also doing your part to protect the environment and reduce animal suffering. So why not give it a try? With so many delicious options available, you may just find yourself pleasantly surprised and wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner.

Remember, making small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your health and the world around you. So whether you’re a committed vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, every little bit helps. So go ahead, grab a fork, and dig in!

Original source: https://www.onmanorama.com