When I became vegetarian almost 40 years ago people raised their eyebrows thinking that I was even weirder than they had thought.
Most assumed I ate a lot of carrots and no protein, picturing a plate with boiled peeled potatoes (A Swedish staple) with the meat or fish removed.
Some people still assume that, thinking that a meal is always made with meat or fish, a carb and a vegetable.
Sometimes people look at me with a look of surprise and ask, “How do you get your protein?”
They genuinely seem to think that meat and fish are synonymous with protein, not that they contain protein just like other foods.
Another misconception is that vegetarians eat incomplete protein. You may have heard that vegetarians must mix grains with beans or lentils to get all necessary essential amino acids to make it complete.
This is a myth that is still prevalent even among vegetarians.
What is true is that most plant-based proteins don’t have all the amino acids you need in each source. But if you eat a balanced varied diet that includes several kinds of proteins, you have nothing to worry about. It doesn’t mean that you must mix and match to get “complete protein” as some meat eaters are fond of telling you.
So, what do I eat for protein then you ask?
If you’re familiar with my blog, you have probably seen a couple of my recipes already, but this post is about vegetarian protein so I’m making a list of my favorites 😊
It could be longer but this I think, is enough to refer to if someone tells you that we might fall over because of our low muscle tone.
Did you know that the world gene bank is currently holding about 40.000 bean varieties?
Rinse beans before you cook them especially if they’re canned. If you do, you won’t fart. No really, it makes a big difference.
Indian Autumn lentils, a mix with orange, yellow and black split lentils
Black lentils, also called beluga
Green or French lentils, I rarely cook with them, yellow, red and orange are softer and tastier in my opinion. They’re easy to find in Indian or Middle Eastern stores.
Black eyed peas
Almonds (I don’t like them unless they’re made into almond butter which I love to add to oatmeal.)
Seitan (it’s wheat gluten, the protein in wheat.) Delicious especially if you sauté it in oil and spices until it’s crispy.
Field Roast, a brand with several different sausages, burgers and roasts. Flavorful with a nice bite, containing natural ingredients. No unpronounceable things on their labels.
Quorn, made by fungi (mushroom) contains egg whites. Their nuggets are delicious and their grounds are perfect in my lasagna.
Beyond Meat burgers and sausages, taste like the animal-based product according to my husband who eats it, but it’s made with Fava beans and pea protein.
Tofu, I like the firm kind.
Let me just say that Watermelon Roast and Cauliflower Steak are not on this list. And yes, they’re a thing. I can pretty much guarantee that vegetarians were not the ones who thought of them.