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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in protein (2)


Help! I'm Vegan and Can't Eat Soy. How Do I Get Enough Protein?


Getting Protein from Veggies, Seeds, & Fruit

Are you following a vegetarian or vegan diet and have found that you cannot tolerate soy products? Don’t worry--while soy products are high in protein and often considered a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets, you can absolutely get enough protein and variety without soy as part of your diet. 
The thing to keep in mind is that all foods, even fruit, contain a certain amount of protein. The key is to choose the foods that are highest in protein per serving in their category.

Here are 3 ways for a vegan to get enough protein without using soy products:

  1. Beans are your Friend: With all of the soy products out there, it can be difficult to remember that soy is just a little ol’ bean. And just like soy, starchy beans, like pinto are a wonderful source of protein. While soy is the bean highest in protein content, fava beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans are very close in their protein content per serving.
  2. Go for High Protein Vegetables: Vegetables also contain protein. Peas, Broccoli, Spinach, Artichokes and Potatoes (yes, potatoes—isn’t that the best news?) all have a decent amount of protein per serving.
  3. Hurray for Seeds: Some of the highest protein ‘grains’ aren’t grains at all—they are seeds. Quinoa, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Millet and Teff. All of these seeds have more protein per serving than rice.


Quinoa Pumpkin Seed Salad

Serves 4-6

This delicious, high-protein salad featuring quinoa and black beans is one of my most requested recipes. 
1 cup dry red quinoa, rinsed well (or 2 cups cooked red quinoa)
2 cups water
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 15-oz can black beans, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
In a saucepan, boil water and add quinoa, lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool at least to room temperature before continuing (or use precooked quinoa and skip this step).
In a bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, cumin, and chili powder. Pour over quinoa and stir in cilantro, scallions, beans and peppers, mixing thoroughly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until service.  Right before serving, stir in pumpkin seeds.

About Chef Jenny Brewer

Jenny Brewer is a nutritionist and chef who teaches people how to cook healthy foods that taste delicious. Visit her site at for delicious healthy recipes, meal plans and cooking inspiration.






See More of Jenny's Posts

Not Your Mamma's Chocolate Mousse Tart (super allergen-free)

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegan, DF, GF, Soy-free, Nut-free)

Plans Your Meals, Change Your Life!



Recipe: Quinoa Hash with Cumin & Sweet Peppers


The family of enormously chubby ground hogs who live rent-free in my yard, found a way through the fence and into my garden a couple of weeks ago.  They ate nearly everything.   Only a few peppers, most herbs, the arugula (take note, they don't seem to like arugula) and a few tomatoes  survived.   If you understood how much work I put into my garden this year, you'd understand my mood.  This made me blue.  Like purplish blue.  But whenever I get a blow to the spirit, a stint in the kitchen with simple, nurturing recipes makes me human again.  Serving healthy comfort food to people I like, perks me up even more, especially if they enjoy it. 

On The Tender Palate Facebook page, a few Tender Foodies recently asked, "I've never had quinoa!  How do you make it?"  So virtual friends, here is the first of a series of quinoa recipes.

This particular recipe is comforting in summer or winter, and the left overs can be turned into a quick, protein-rich breakfast, too (see below).


What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (say, "keen-wah") is a gluten-free, alkaline grain that is high in manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, phosporous, tryptophan and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).  Though considered a grain, it is really a seed related to leafy greens like spinach & swiss chard. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and is super tasty in savory & sweet dishes. It also has all 9 of the essential amino acids that we humans need, including lysine, which is important for tissue growth and repair.  Those 9 amino acids make quinoa a complete protein and a fantastic meal.  The Inca Indians called it warrior food, or "Inca Gold" for a reason. 


Rinse & Cook the Quinoa Grain

Rinse 1 cup of raw quinoa in a bowl, then drain using a fine sieve.  Get all of the foam off.  Unwashed, quinoa seeds have a bitter-tasting coating that protects it from being eaten by birds when it is growing in the field.  This coating is called saponin and must be removed before it is cooked and eaten. Most modern quinoa is washed to a degree, so simple rinsing is thought to be adequate.  (More on washing quinoa and its origins).

Toss into a pan with 2 cups of chicken broth* and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until a white ring forms around the outer edges of the grain.  Set aside.  This can be done a day or two ahead.

*Vegetarians can also use vegetable broth.  If you use water, you may need to adjust the seasoning.



2 TBS of good, organic olive oil

2 cups cooked organic quinoa

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped yellow onion

Optional: 2 sweet organic peppers, sliced (purple, red, orange are best.  Green peppers are a little too bitter when cooked for my taste)

1-1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

2 cloves of chopped garlic

Fresh snow peas, ends chopped off

1/2 cup organic chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


Prepare the Vegetables & Make the Hash

In a med/large- sized frying pan, heat the olive oil for a minute or so, then toss in the chopped onions and carrots.  Cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes until the carrot is just tender and the onions are soft.  Add the garlic, 2 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. coriander and 1 tsp. of sea salt and stir in well.  Add the sliced peppers.  Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and a little bit carmelized.

At this point, the pan will be a bit dry.  Don't add oil.  Just add the cooked quinoa and stir in.   Let the quinoa sit on the stove for 1-2 minutes.  If the quinoa starts to get brown, that is great, it will add flavor.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of chicken broth, the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt and the chopped snow peas.  Cook for 2 more minutes.  Then stir in the chopped basil and cook for 30 seconds or so - just enough time for the flavors to filter through the food.  Taste, adjust and serve hot.


What Do I Do with the Left Overs?

Reheat the Hash with an Egg

If you have left over hash, put a touch of olive oil in a pan, heat it, add the leftover hash and crack an egg or two over it.  Stir in the egg until it's cooked.  It's really good as a hearty breakfast, or as a different, protein rich dinner on night two.