Protein-Packed Vegan Meals | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Three

VeganMoFo 2017

Week One: Changing Vegan Perspectives
But where do you get your protein? Make a protein-packed meal.

This prompt gave me a chuckle: I devoted all of VeganMoFo 2014 to sharing meals that are high in some of the nutrients vegans get grilled about: calcium, iron, and — duh — protein. (Side note… gosh, that photo of Luna in the link above is squeezing my heart. My little baby girl. I miss her so much.)

So, protein. Although I briefly considered developing a brand-new, protein-centric recipe for today’s prompt, I decided instead to plumb the depths of the ol’ blog and share some older recipes that fit the bill. Let’s call it recycling. ;)

First, a few words about protein. (I’m also recycling (and retooling) these from a 2014 post).

Marinated Tofu Sandwich

Where do vegans get their protein?

The “But where do you get your protein?!” has a pretty simple answer: From nearly everything I eat. Here’s what the American Heart Association has to say on the matter:

“You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.” (1)

Still, protein-related myths abound. One oft-cited “fact” is that plant proteins are inferior to their animal-derived counterparts because they don’t provide all essential amino acids in a single source (and are thus called “incomplete” proteins). Based on this belief, some sources will say that you must consume all of your complementary proteins in a single meal to derive the full protein benefit, but that’s been disproven. Instead, as long as you eat a variety of proteins throughout the day, your body can take care of combining them. (2)

(For a further, more in-depth read, I highly recommend The Vegan RD’s primer on plant-based protein. Ginny Messina is a vegan treasure!)

How much protein do vegans need?

So — how much protein do you need? Not as much as lots of people think. Unless you’re very active, 10-30% of your calories should come from protein. (3) The USDA has tool for tailored nutrient recommendations here. I’ve done a few calculations, and I should be getting between 50 and 70 grams per day. What does that mean in real-world food terms? Well, half a block of tofu has around 18 grams, half a cup of tempeh has 15 grams, and half a cup of black beans has 20 grams. And those are just the protein powerhouses! Most of the incidental foods we eat contain at least a little protein, and those grams add up. For example, bagels often contain around 10 grams of protein. A small handful of almonds gives you around 4 grams. Eat a balanced, whole-food-heavy diet, and you should have little trouble meeting your needs.

Hearty, protein-rich vegan veggie stew // govegga.com

What are some protein-heavy vegan recipes?

Glad you asked! Why not try one of these?

Sources cited:

(1) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Vegetarian-Diets_UCM_306032_Article.jsp 
(2) http://www.theveganrd.com/vegan-nutrition-101/vegan-nutrition-primers/plant-protein-a-vegan-nutrition-primer/http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html
(3) https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-7/

Note:

I’m neither a doctor nor a dietitian; please don’t treat my posts as medical advice! Consult a medical practitioner for specific medical or nutritional recommendations.

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Make-Ahead Vegan Breakfasts to Save Time and Keep You Full!

Moment Cafe PragueBreakfast: allegedly the most important meal of the day, and almost definitely the most easily skippable. As a reformed chronic breakfast-skipper, I can sympathize with anyone who just isn’t hungry enough to eat in the morning. (And don’t let the breakfast evangelists get you down — it turns out that the science behind breakfast’s importance has been over-stated and misinterpreted.)

These days, I nearly always eat something within an hour or two of waking up. On weekdays, that means I’m eating at my desk; I’m just not hungry enough to eat before I leave for work. (And, to be honest, I simply don’t want to get up early enough to make and eat breakfast at the house!) So I’ve come to rely on to-go options that will give me a burst of energy and keep me full.

If you, too, are in search of vegan breakfasts that you can make ahead of time and take with you, I have you covered! Here are some of my favorite ways to eat breakfast without digging into that stash of Clif bars you keep in your desk. (Save those for afternoon slumps!)

Top-down view of a metal baking dish filled with a casserole-like baked oatmeal studded with blueberries. To the right is a tan baking mitt, and across the top of the dish is a wooden spoon.

Make-ahead oatmeal breakfasts

There’s a reason overnight oat recipes are still popular: they’re awesome! Overnight oats are portable, dead easy to make in advance, and quite healthy. (As long as you don’t sweeten them into oblivion.) Put together your jar of ingredients before bedtime and by morning, you’ll have breakfast ready to go. You can even make a large amount and parcel it out for a few days’ worth of breakfasts!

Here are my favorite easy overnight oat recipes:

If cold oats don’t appeal (especially during the winter), you can always heat up your overnight oats. Or you can make fresh hot oatmeal in the morning, provided you have access to a microwave at work. I do this frequently — before I leave for work, I’ll fill a jar with a big scoop of quick oats and a handful of frozen berries. When I get to work, I’ll pour everything into a bowl and add some soy milk and hot water, then cook it in the microwave. The berries add flavor and a little extra nutrition; I don’t need to sweeten my oats when I use them. No, quick oats aren’t as nutritious as rolled or steel-cut oats, but they’re certainly better than no oats at all!

Baked oatmeal is another oat-based breakfast favorite of mine. You’ll need to prepare the baked oats in advance, but then you can reheat portions for a hot, oat-y breakfast that’s not quite oatmeal and not quite a breakfast bar. My banana bread baked oatmeal or baked blueberry oatmeal would both work here!

(Semi-)healthy breakfast bars or cookies

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal BarsIf you’ve overdosed on oats or just want something a little more indulgent, a batch of breakfast bars or cookies might fit the bill. (They could also be a great option if you’re used to eating sugary muffins or pastries for breakfast and want to transition to a slightly healthier baked good.) What moves a bar or cookie into breakfast territory? Well, my completely unscientific definition is that if it contains less sugar than a normal recipe and has other redeeming factors (whole grains; extra protein to keep you full), it counts! Perhaps best of all, you can make a batch on the weekend and it’ll sustain you for the entire week.

Here are a few options to get you started. I’d pair one of these bars or cookies with a piece of fruit for a rounder meal.

Easy vegan pudla

My love for pudla (savory chickpea-flour omelettes) never wanes! Although I typically enjoy pudla for dinner, you could make a double batch and save one for breakfast. Just reheat and serve with your favorite toppings. My basic recipe is here, but you can also make them smaller and thinner, like crepes. Play around with flavor profiles and mix-ins for infinite pudla fun!

Leftovers for breakfast!

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.comWhat? Last night’s dinner for today’s breakfast? Why not?! Plenty of folks enjoy savory food for breakfast, and you can too. If last night’s kale and grain bowl was particularly tasty but didn’t leave enough leftovers for a full lunch, why not just eat it for breakfast? There are worse ways to start the day than with veggies. You could even purposefully make extra roasted or pan-fried potatoes and call them home fries the next day. Now that’s thinking ahead!

Filling breakfast smoothies

Although I prefer to make my smoothies right before eating them, some recipes handle overnight refrigeration just fine. I personally wouldn’t do it with a banana-based smoothie (because I find that the banana flavor and texture get a bit odd), but any other fruit and nondairy milk smoothie should work OK! Add protein powder for even more staying power.

PB granola and vegan yogurt // govegga.com

Other easy vegan breakfast options

Let me know if I’ve missed any other great make-ahead vegan breakfast recipes!

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Make-ahead vegan breakfasts // govegga.com Make-ahead vegan breakfasts // govegga.com

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Five Vegan Pancake Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

Although my pancake recipes are predictably and unimaginatively housed on my breakfast recipes page, I am a firm believer in the occasional pancake dinner. Pancakes are quick, they’re relatively filling, and they’re practically dessert! And I am all for the occasional dessert-y dinner.

If you’re feeling lazy and in need of a carbolicious meal tonight, might I suggest you make pancakes and say it’s all in the name of celebrating Shrove Tuesday? Here are a few recipes to get you started, both from me and from some of my fellow bloggers. (For more vegan breakfast recipes, check out my Pinterest board!)

Vegan pancake recipes for any time of day (or night)!

Vegan Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce // govegga.com

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes with Apple Pie Sauce (pictured above)

Spicy pillows of puffy goodness topped with a buttery apple pie-inspired sauce—what’s not to love? Check out my recipe here.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cinnamon Swirls

This recipe from Minimalist Baker is the stuff of my breakfast-for-dinner dreams! Note that it’s a yeasted batter, so you’ll need to allow an hour for the batter to rise.

Puffy Pillow Pancakes

For classic melt-in-your mouth straightforward pancake goodness, look no further than the queen of all things vegan brunch-y, Isa Chandra.

Bright blue cloth with a white plate and a stack of seven thin, orange pumpkin pancakes. Scattered around them are a few mini chocolate chips.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pancakes (pictured above)

This recipe is an oldie, but definitely a goodie! If you’re into towering stacks of wafer-thin pancakes studded with little chocolate bites, this is the recipe for you.

A stack of five pancakes, covered in maple syrup, sit on a blue plate. To the left are three slices of apples. In the background is a bowl of chocolate chia pudding and a bottle of ginger syrup.

Whole-Wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes (pictured above)

Another one of my older recipes, go for this recipe if you’d like to convince yourself you’re eating a healthy dinner: It uses whole wheat (pastry) flour, after all!

What’s your favorite vegan pancake recipe?

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Five vegan pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday -- or any day!

10 Vegan Recipes to Make for the Holidays

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Five: Holidays!

It might not be December yet, but if you’re anything like me, you’re already planning your holiday cooking and baking. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a roundup of some of my favorite holiday-appropriate recipes from the blog! From drinks through dessert, I’ve got you covered.

1. Creamy Caramelized Onion Soup

This luxe, creamy soup makes the perfect start to your holiday dinner. Serve it alongside a loaf of crusty home-baked bread for extra deliciousness!

Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash

2. Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash

Serve individual squash halves as the main course, or halve them again to serve smaller portions as a side dish. Heck, if you don’t have squash on hand, just make the filling and serve it alone as a warm side dish.

Warm Lentil & Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Radicchio Wedges

3. Warm Lentil and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Radicchio Wedges

If the combination of lentils, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seeds doesn’t scream “filling winter dish!” then I don’t know what does. Feel free to double the dressing if you’re serving someone who loves a big pop of flavor.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

4. Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

It is a scientific fact that you cannot fail to impress your guests if you serve risotta. Your secret? It’s incredibly easy to make! This version features pureed butternut squash, and its golden hue makes for a beautiful presentation.

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

5. Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

Hungry houseguests clamoring for breakfast the morning after a holiday? Bake up this rich quiche. Who needs eggs when you’ve got aquafaba? You could also go rogue and serve this with your holiday dinner — why not?! It’s your house; you make the rules.

In the foreground, three chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. In the background, a container of instant espresso powder, a glass of soymilk, and a stack of more cookies.

6. Espresso-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite part of the meal: dessert! For chocolate-y, caffeine-y decadence you can bake in advance, these cookies can’t be beat. Bring them to your annual cookie swap and you’ll be everybody’s favorite swap partner.

Chocolate-Orange Chia Seed Pudding

7. Chocolate-Orange Chia Pudding

Chocolate and orange: the quintessential Christmas flavor pairing? They come together in this creamy, healthier version of chocolate pudding. You could even eat it for breakfast!

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

8. Sweet Potato Pie

I know I keep talking about this darned pie — but it’s just so good! Whether you serve it in a gluten-free nut crust or a more traditional pastry crust, the creamy, pumpkin-like filling will make your guests salivate.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

9. Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Sure, buckwheat doesn’t exactly sound like the most indulgent of ingredients. But trust me — these rich, chewy buckwheat bites do indeed taste indulgent! Buckwheat offers a beautiful crunch and a little bit of savoriness to counteract all that rich chocolate.

Vegan chai hot toddy // govegga.com

10. Chai Hot Toddy

Wrap up your holiday evening the way it’s meant to be ended: on the couch in front of a crackling fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, with a mug of something steaming hot. I recommend this hot toddy, but if you want something non-alcoholic, you could do worse than my hot molasses mug!

So — what are you making for the holidays?

Lazy Sunday: A Bunch More Recipes You Should Totally Make

LVV MoFo 2014 mainIt’s the last Sunday of Vegan MoFo! Instead of sharing recipes focused on a specific nutrient, here are a few generally healthy options pulled from my Pinterest!

What recipes appeal to you today?