5 amazing meat-free but protein-packed recipe tips


It’s easy to forget that, for centuries, peas and fava beans provided us with much of our protein in Britain. But when meat became more affordable they were cast aside, dismissed as the ‘meat of the poor’. Their climate-friendly, protein-packed punch hasn’t had much press recently either.

But in combination with other veggie delights, pulses really can take the place of meat on your plate, making sure you get all the nutrients you need.

Another big bonus? They’re cheap too.

There are so many fabulous pulse and grain combos to try that your meat-free protein fix is guaranteed. 

5 meat-free but protein-packed recipes:

  1. Dal with raita, rice or flat breads.
  2. Tortilla wrapped fried black beans with chilli, topped with grated cheese and Guacamole.
  3. Warm hummus with pitta, crudités, olives and green leaves.
  4. Super salad: 1 cup of cooked wholegrain (eg brown rice, bulgar wheat) 1 cup of cooked beans (eg black beans, cannellini) 500 g roasted vegetables (eg carrots, cauliflower or beetroot), 3 oranges (segmented) 1 tbsp roasted nuts, 1 tbsp roasted seeds, plenty of fresh herbs and a good vinaigrette.
  5. And, if you’re looking for a reason to ditch the steak at your next barbie… try my Ultimate Summer Bean Burger recipe below.

Want more tasty tips?

The science bit:

Can pulses really take the place of your meaty meals? Oh yes. Pulses have an incomplete set of the amino acids required to make protein and yet, by some miracle of nature, cereals can provide that missing piece of the jigsaw – an amino acid called methionine. There’s no need to combine legumes and grains in every mouthful, or even every meal – just consume both during the day.

Protein from pulses comes with plenty of healthy fibre, minerals and B vitamins too. Vitamin C will unlock the precious iron content, aiding its absorption, so be sure to squeeze some citrus juice over your dish.

Ultimate Summer Bean Burger Recipe

These crispy-coated cakes of creamy beans with loads of texture and spicing can knock the socks off a meaty burger. They bear no resemblance to the veggie burger of old – textured vegetable protein pretending to be meat. This bean burger can hold its own.

 meat-free beanburgers at a picnic

For 6-8 burger-sized cakes, you will need…

Step-by-step guide to protein-packed burgers:

Cooking your burgers

I like to pan-fry my bean burgers in olive oil. About 5-6 minutes on each side over a medium flame will do the trick. You can keep them hot in the oven for about 15 minutes, any longer and they seem to dry out a little.

Alternatively you can place the burgers on a greased tin foil plate, drizzle with a little oil and place on the hot barbie for about 20 minutes (turning after 10). They will pick up plenty of the smokey flavours without any fear of them collapsing.

Serve your beautiful bean burgers with dips, salsas or salads – but don’t stuff them into burger buns, the result is just too starchy.

Want more amazing recipes?

This is the fourth in a series of blogs from the amazing Jenny Chandler, author of Pulse. Check out her thoughts on chickpeas here. If you fancy joining Jenny for more easy, climate friendly food, sign up for more inspirational tips.


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