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I am not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.

A. Whitney Brown

Lentils of varying colors.

Here at Feed the People we have a curious diet..we are kind of like vegans, but with meat and eggs…so really not vegan at all. However, we do eat meat sparingly, mostly because we don’t really like it and also because when we do eat it we want it to be local and sustainably farmed. Budget limitations often affect our purchase choices..buy 3 pounds of beans or 1 pound of meat? Obviously we choose the beans, which feed our family much longer. Eggs we eat a lot of because we get them for free most of the time, our landlord has chickens so we lucked out!

Vegetarian sources of protein can be just as good as meat based sources, and they generally have less impact on the environment because they require fewer resources to grow. Even a sustainably farmed grass fed cow eats a lot, and the amount of energy it takes to produce said cow is way beyond what it takes to grow beans. Vegetarian sources of protein often have to be combined to be complete, a complete protein is one that has all the amino acids that the body needs to make proteins. The ideal protein is considered to be egg protein, and most meat sources rack up as complete proteins while veggie sources do not. That is why it’s very important to combine a number of plant sources together to make good quality proteins the body can use as building blocks. Generally forming a complete vegetarian protein means you combine legumes + nuts, seeds, grains, or corn. You could also add a little bit of meat, egg or cheese and that completes the protein as well.

So what do we eat for vegetarian protein combinations? We have to avoid wheat products due to Izzie’s celiac, so we tend to stick to a few grains we know she enjoys, such as quinoa, brown rice, or polenta. Then we usually have beans or some sort of legume, we like trying out new ones as well as older staples. Izzie loves black beans, but she also likes garbanzo’s (my favorite!) lentils, black eyed peas..you name it.

We eat a lot of beans.

So tonight we had what I would consider to be a great vegetarian meal.

I roasted some garlic, onion and tomatoes in the oven and combined this with some basil and lentils cooked in chicken broth.

We also had sautéed beet greens with roasted onions and garlic.

Finally we had glazed parsnips and carrots, steamed in ginger water and glazed with orange juice.

Of course, the best thing about having a healthy meal is not feeling guilty eating dessert. I made this very yummy, very simple lemon curd, which was even better because I had a double yolked egg!

Dairy Free Lemon Curd

2 lemons

1/2 cup granulated sweetener (I used Coconut Crystals)

2 eggs

Zest and juice both lemons and put the zest and juice in a small saucepan. Add eggs and sweetener and whisk together. Cook over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes quite thick (about 10 minutes). Pour into ramekins and chill until firm.

This had such a nice tart little bite, I like my citrus dishes not too sweet so if you tend to feel differently add a bit more sweetener, it won’t do any harm. lemon curd is delicious on its own but can be used in lemon bars as well or spread on toast, swirled in with yogurt, over ice cream…the possibilities are truly endless..and delicious!

What are your favorite protein sources?