A Cook's Diary

Replacing proteins lost in meatless diets with legumes, fruits and nuts

Replacing proteins lost in meatless diets with legumes, fruits and nuts | casaveneracion.com

I don’t think I need to enumerate here the reasons why we need protein in our diet. Suffice to say that protein builds tissues and is a source of energy. In the human diet, meat, eggs and seafood are complete sources of protein with milk and dairy products a close second. Fortunately, Sam has chosen the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. Meaning, she will not give up eggs, milk and dairy products. She is okay with broth made from pork, chicken and fish bones. It’s really just the meat that she is ditching.

Still and all, we know that she will benefit from additional sources of protein. And that’s where legumes (pulses), fruits and nuts come in. Fruits and nuts need no explanation; but what are legumes, exactly?

In common usage, legumes are fruits that grow inside pods. Probably the best examples are beans and peas, both of which have so many varieties available fresh or dried.

Among beans, the soybean is king because it is the richest in protein.

casaveneracion.com edamame

With the number of vegetarians on the rise, edamame (fresh soybeans) has become a buzz word in the culinary world. Tofu (see deciphering tofu labels) is made from soybeans.

casaveneracion.com peas

Then, there are the peas. Just like beans, there are a lot of pea varieties. Dried peas come whole or split. Sam is partial to chickpeas (garbanzos).

There are a lot of recipes in the archive that feature beans, tofu and peas. Some are vegetarian; others can be tweaked to make them vegetarian. Below are some of them.

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