Flash Fire Nachos – A Vegan Recipe

Food styling and picture by Ms. E of the VeganAsana family.

Food styling and picture by Ms. E of the VeganAsana family.

Mmmmm… nachos. Yay… pressure cooker! We like beans. Had you guessed?

Ingredients

IMG_1065web1 lb pinto beans
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 
jalapeños, halved
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
2 T turmeric
2 T chili powder
2 T cumin
2 T vegetable broth powder
Water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 T olive oil
Salt to taste
Nacho chips
Romaine lettuce
Salsa

Process

Throw beans, onions, celery, jalapenos, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and vegetable broth powder into the pressure cooker. Add 2 T olive oil and water to about 2-3 inches above beans.

Place lid on cooker and bring to high pressure. Allow to cook 25 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the cooker to naturally depressurize. After it is safe to open, check beans to see if they are soft. If not, return to heat and cook longer (with or without lid).

Once beans are nicely soft, drain off most of the water and use a stick blender or food processor to blend the bean mix, adding nutritional yeast gradually.

Serve with nacho chips, lettuce, black olives, salsa, etc.

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Top Ten Reasons Not to Worry About Protein in a Vegan Diet

Batman meme protein

I’m borrowing the Top Ten Tuesdays meme from my sister at Many Little Blessings today!

A top question that is asked of vegetarians and vegans is “how do you get your protein?” Protein is a combination of amino acids that the body uses for things like metabolism and muscle development. While we do need protein in our diets, it is not as much as is often assumed and plant sources provide perfectly adequate protein.

So, let’s look at the top ten reasons why vegans don’t need to fret about how they can get enough protein.

1. On average, an adult needs between 45-55 grams of protein per day. That’s really not that much! If an individual consumed a cup of beans, 1/3 cup of almonds, ¼ cup of oatmeal, 1 piece of whole wheat bread, and a half cup of tofu in one day, he/she would have 48.5 grams of protein, even without any incidental protein that comes from other veggies etc.

2. BEANS! Legumes are a primary ingredient for most vegetarians and they are full of protein. Most beans have 7-10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked.

  • 3. Nuts. Nuts are also delicious, nutritious, and easy to work into any diet. Check out the protein in some of them:
  • Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein
  • Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
  • Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
  • Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams

4. Seeds. Most seeds are little bundles of protein. Sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds have between 6 and 8 grams of protein in just 1/4 cup and are easy to sprinkle onto salads or sandwiches, or blend into smoothies.

5. Grains. There is more  protein in whole grains than most people realize.

  • Quinoa, ½ cup – 4 grams
  • Bulgar, oats, kasha, ¼ cup cooked – 3 grams
  • Whole wheat bread, 1 slice – 2.5 grams
  • Broccoli, 1 cup cooked – 4 grams
  • Spinach, 1 cup cooked – 5 grams

6. Tofu. Vegan protein does not mean that you have to cook with tofu every day, though it can.  Tofu is very versatile and can be added to many food items with very little impact on flavor.  New tofu eaters may find it more palatable if it is more “dry.”  This can be accomplished by using a tofu press or by freezing a block of extra firm tofu and then thawing in a colander before use.

7. Tempeh. Tempeh is another easy way to fit protein in.  Tempeh comes in prepared blocks.  They can be chopped and added to other items, sliced and fried (we love it with bbq sauce), or eaten right out of the package.

8. Dark greens. Even items that you might not think of as protein sources, like dark greens, have protein. So, most healthy-eating vegans get a lot of that “incidental” protein in their diets without much effort.

9. Protein “combining” is not necessary in individual meals. No worries! Your body is actually so clever that it will “hold” the amino acids and do its own combining. And, some of the natural companion foods for vegan proteins are items that would “complete” them anyway. So, things like tortilla chips, rice, corn, couscous, or oatmeal are pretty good fits with the items listed above. It’s likely that you’ll end up with a protein combination in your meal anyway, and it’s almost inevitable over the course of a day.

10. There are plenty of vegan running long distance, boxing, doing competitive weight lifting, swimming, and playing football. When  you take a look at some of them (Robert Cheeke, Brendan Brazier, Tony Fiammetta, Molly Cameron, Matt Frazier), it’s pretty hard to doubt that it is possible to get enough protein in a vegan diet.

If, having read this, you still feel worried, it’s fine to add a protein shake to your day, but there really isn’t a need to obsess about it or have two or three shakes a day. Eat a varied, plant-based diet, and your protein should be fine!

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Vegan Orzo Salad

On yet another super toasty day in July, I was left pondering this afternoon what to make for dinner. Remembering that there was orzo in the pantry, I surfed the web looking for recipes. I came across many recipes for orzo salads, but most were not vegan friendly, and many had ingredients that I didn’t have in the house. So, after I got home from work, I gathered things that seemed like they would go well and put together this dish. It was a hit with the people in the house who aren’t completely pasta picky (i.e. only like spaghetti and mac n cheese). I loved it and am looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Easy Vegan Orzo Salad

1 lb orzo
1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch basil chopped
4-5 scallions chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 large tomato diced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions, al dente, and then rinse with cold water. I add some olive oil to the pasta water, but that’s optional. While the pasta is cooking, juice your lemons, chop the basil, scallions, and tomatoes, and prep your beans. Combine lemon juice and olive oil and wisk. Place pine nuts in a skillet and toast gently. Mix all ingredients and serve at room temp or chill.

Yum!