Sweet Sweet Protein

Sometimes you want a little something sweet, but you are still trying to get your protein in. Vegan recipes to the rescue! Some of these are mine, but some are not. All are delicious. Some involve protein powder, some beans, and some peanut butter (ok, many involve peanut butter, but that can frequently be subbed with another nut butter if peanuts aren’t your thing – I just love peanut butter).

Sometimes, I throw a couple of frozen bananas in the vitamix with some chocolate chips and peanut butter and make some ice cream. Sometimes, I just give in and buy some ice cream (like the chocolate on the left) and skip the whole protein. But, if I want to go a little harder (though still very easy), these are some of my go-to ideas.

And now, I want a cookie!

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bliss Balls

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cream Pie

Cookies More Cookies

Dawes Cookies – Vegan Recipe

Vitamixing it Up with Breakfast Smoothies

No-Bake Vegan Protein Bars (4 Ingredients!)

Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Bars [Vegan]

Hidden-Ingredient Tiramisu Protein Blondies [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Chocolate Covered Black Bean Brownie Pops [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Black Bean Brownies – No Flour Required!

No soy, no nuts, no problem! Getting Your Protein On.

Getting enough protein isn’t as hard for vegans as some people would have you believe. It can get more complicated, however, if feeding children (who can sometimes be picky – go figure) and then even more so if those children have food allergies or intolerances.

Soy and nuts are well-known sources of protein for vegans. But, soy and nuts are also common allergens or irritants. But, no fear! There are plenty of other sources of protein that can easily fit into a vegan diet. Here are just a few.

Beans, Lentils, and Peas

Chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, peas, and more. Beans are a great source of protein and when combined with a grain can even make a “whole protein” (less important to do in a meal than you may believe). Children may not be into the idea of pea soup – though mine were. But that’s ok. There are many other options to try. How about:

Hummus and pita
Tacos, nachos, or burritos with beans
Navy bean soup
Minestrone soup
Chili
Black beans (or any other bean) and rice
Uncrabby patties
Black bean and sweet potato patties
Sloppy Lennys

Seeds

If nuts are off limits, how about seeds? Hemp seeds and flax seeds can be ground and sprinkled onto or into other dishes including smoothies or even mac and cheese. Chia seeds go nicely in overnight oats or a pudding. Quinoa (which acts like a grain but is really a seed) can be easily substituted for rice. Sunflower seeds can be a fun snack and also make a good addition to cookies, salads, granola, or even pasta dishes. Pumpkin seeds go very nicely in Mexican food. And tahini is a good started for dipping, using as a sauce for veggies, or thinning with lemon and oil for a salad dressing.

Grains

You might not think that grain-based food would ever have protein, but it definitely can. Brown rice has protein, as does whole wheat, buckwheat, wild rice, cornmeal, and even oats. This opens up many options for adding protein to the diet, like:

A sandwich on whole wheat bread (or check the protein values of Ezekiel bread!)
Dishes made from/with seitan
Whole wheat or buckwheat pancakes (substitute almond or coconut milk for soy)
Overnight oats with your choice of add-ons

Vegetables (besides beans)

This throws people off sometimes, but yes, non-bean vegetables can have protein. Broccoli, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, sweet corn, arugula, asparagus, and artichokes (avocado, which isn’t exactly a vegetable). Potatoes even have some protein. This is why a varied vegan diet that contains a good amount of food close to its natural form means that there is little to fret about with regard to getting enough protein. You could whip up a little:

Roasted vegetables
Lemon miso kale
Guacamole
Artichoke dip
Asparagus tips with tahini sauce
Or even mashed potatoes

So, even if you are feeding picky kids or are a picky adult, and have to contend with allergies to soy and nuts, getting enough protein isn’t a barrier to eating vegan!

Sloppy Lennys and Coleslaw – A Vegan Yum

Do you remember sloppy joes? Did you mom make them, as mine did, or do you remember them from school lunch? I loved the sauce on my mother’s sloppy joes, though even then I didn’t like the texture or idea of the beef. Now, I can have the sauce yum without the meat gag.

For a rainy Memorial Day lunch, we cooked up some Sloppy Lennys and made a crunchy vegan coleslaw to go with it, along with chips and fruit. Delicious!

Sloppy Lennys

Ingredients

1 lb dry lentils
Water or broth to cook lentils
2 T olive oil
1 large onion – diced
1 red or green pepper – diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 can tomato paste
2 cups tomato puree or sauce
1 t worcestershire sauce
1 t liquid smoke
1 T chili powder
1 t smoked paprika
1 t hot sauce of your choice
2 T balsamic vinegar
3-5 T molasses, agave, or maple syrup
Sea salt to taste

Process

Cook lentils by covering in water or broth (about 1 inch higher than lentils), bringing to boil, and letting boil gently for 15-20 minutes. They should still be al dente. Save broth/water when you drain them.

Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients (not lentils yet) and mix well. Simmer 5 minutes. Add lentils. As they finish cooking, you will need to add the vegetable broth/water to maintain the level of sauciness you would like.

When lentils are cooked to your desired tenderness, serve on buns or bread.

 

Vegan Coleslaw

Ingredients

4 cups shredded green and red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
Diced onion if desired
2 cups vegan mayo
2 T apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Process

Mix ingredients above. Refrigerate several hours or (preferably) overnight. Serve beside, or on, sloppy lennys!