On Tuesday, when I shared my new recipe for hemp hummus, my reader Hannah made a good observation:
It sort of annoys me that so much of the media touts hummus as a high protein “food,” when it really has only 2 grams per 2 T serving, but this? This is this is the real deal.
This is so true! At least with regard to commercial hummus, which usually only has about 2-3 grams of protein per serving. Protein needs can go up or down with activity level, whether or not one is healing from wounds, chronic disease states, and more, but the recommendation of 0.8-1 gram per kilogram body weight is agreed upon by lots of dietitians. One kilogram is about 2.2 lbs, so if we were to translate that recommendation into pounds, it would be about half of one’s body weight in grams protein, per day (that’s on the generous side).
So the question becomes, what protein sources can vegans rely on that will give them all of the protein they need? This post contains more detailed information. But as far as sources go, they include, but aren’t limited to:
You’ll want to exercise a little caution with that last category, since it’s hard to get a really good serving of protein (say, 10 grams or higher) from nuts or seeds without also eating quite a bit of fat. (To give you some context, 2 tablespoons of almond butter has 16-18 grams fat and 4-8 grams of protein; 1 oz cashews has 5 grams of protein but 12 grams of fat.)
But enough talk. The best way to show anyone how easy it is to get a good amount of protein as a vegan is to share easy and unexpectedly high protein recipes. Take my wall of green soup for example: one serving packs in a solid 20 grams. Eating a portion of my hemp hummus with two slices of Ezekiel toast would yield almost 19 grams. And even a single cup of my hemp milk would contribute 9 grams of protein to a smoothie.
If none of those options appeal, you might give this quinoa protein bowl a try. This recipe came together two weeks ago, for the same client I made my hemp hummus recipe for. As soon as I tasted it, I was thrilled, and I plan to repeat it often. It’s a quick, easy weekday dinner, and it’s remarkably nutrient dense. Just see for yourself!
It goes beautifully with big salad. But then, what doesn’t?
Hopefully this post gives you a sense of how I feel about protein, as I’m often asked to comment on it. Protein is important, and readers who are worried about meeting their protein needs on a vegan diet shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed about their concerns.
They should, however, take comfort in the fact that it’s not a tremendous challenge to get all of the protein you need on a vegan diet, just so long as you work to combine protein-rich plant foods in your meals. If you need a little help with the process, Power Plates has plenty of ideas 😉 . And this lovely, filling meal has about 24 grams.
Back tomorrow with my new favorite salad recipe. Happy Sunday!