Transitioning - Finding recipes for protein portion - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-14-2016, 12:31 PM
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Unhappy Transitioning - Finding recipes for protein portion

Hi,

I'm new on here and finally deciding to seek help after struggling with transitioning to vegetarian for the past couple weeks. I no longer eat any meat other than the occasional small piece of chicken or bacon.
I'm totally okay with not eating meat but I'm still cooking for my husband who eats it and my 2 year old. When I make dinner I usually make two veggies and a meat portion. So that's what I'm struggling with now, how do I replace that meat portion on my plate without making a meal that's all in one (casserole or black bean burgers for example).
My plan is to still make two veggie sides and one meat portion so that my husband and son can still eat those, but I can't seem to find recipes or think of ways to make protein packed foods that separates itself from their meat part of the meal.
I'm hoping I'm explaining this clearly/properly.
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#2 Old 11-14-2016, 01:37 PM
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You can replace meat with soy, lentils, beans, chickpeas for instance which are protein rich foods. Where they have a hamburger you have a soy burger.

However most foods contain some protein including plant foods and you don't need to worry too much about protein. Just eat a well balanced and tasty and filling diet.

One option you have is just to give yourself a bigger portion of whatever's left. E.g. meat, potatoes/rice/pasta and veg and you just eat potatoes/rice/pasta and veg, with a bigger portion. The vegetarian dish sometimes looks better with everything mixed together, rather than arranged as separate items on the plate.

You might want to have two different grains and/or or two different grains, to keep it lively, just two different things on a plate can be a bit dull, however it's always a possibility when you are in a hurry or don't have much in the house. But ideally you want two types of veg in there, or peppers as well and/or some other flavouring.
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#3 Old 11-15-2016, 02:56 AM
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I keep trying to answer this thread but I can't support the idea of cooking meat for someone else so no matter how I put it it's going to seem awkward but I will try.

How about making open ended dishes that your husband can add his own meat to?

For example, corn shell or soft shell tacos? Make the shells, prepare the toppings in little containers, and he could add his meat to his, and for your tacos, try stuff like fat free refried beans (regular ones have lard), or a lentil/bulgur taco mix, or TVP (textured vegetable protein). Everyone could then add whatever stuff they want to their own tacos.

Or spaghetti. Make the spaghetti and maybe some tomato/vegetable sauce. Red lentils cook quickly and can be added to the sauce for texture and protein. Then your husband could add meatballs or some other animal product to his spaghetti if he wanted.

French toast is easy and versatile to make. You could make tempeh "bacon" to go with yours. It's simply slicing tempeh very thin and marinading it with stuff like liquid smoke, maple syrup, dijon or bbq sauce and then broiling or grilling it. If your family isn't willing to try tempeh bacon, they could have their own bacon.

You could make homemade pizza, and make a portion of it with only your own toppings, and toppings they would like for the other half or portion. For your portion, if you add cheese to your pizza, there is a little protein there. Have a side salad with some beans thrown in, or a handful of nuts or seeds. A glass of soy milk will provide about six to eight grams of protein for you also.

Some other high protein ideas: roasted chickpeas with paprika, garlic powder etc; seitan roast (I love this recipe: http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/sag...eitan-roast/); commercial veggie burgers such as Gardein, Bocca, Morningstar etc. Stir fry veggies over rice with sauteed tofu on yours and whatever animal product they want on theirs. Then add a peanut butter thai sauce or another type of sauce over everyones.

Also remember that plant foods are abundant in protein. Grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, even pasta have anywhere from six to twelve grams of protein per cup. Broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes all have a good bit of protein. Ditto with nuts and seeds, and don't forget soy milk. Adding all these foods together will yield a high amount of protein...for example, stir fry with lots of broccoli or kale in it, maybe some peanuts or cashews, or black beans, and a heaping serving of brown rice, with a glass of soymilk. Really any vegetarian dish can have meat added to it, or beans or nuts/seeds as an alternative. Even a side of peanut butter on toast will provide a good bit of protein. Most whole wheat slices of bread have about three or four grams of protein each, and two tablespoons of peanut butter provides about eight rams of protein, so combined that alone would provide fourteen to sixteen grams of protein. Have that with a homemade soup, or have grilled cheese with the soup, such as tomato soup. This is a classic most families, omnivore or not, seem to like.
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Last edited by Naturebound; 11-15-2016 at 03:07 AM.
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#4 Old 11-15-2016, 04:47 AM
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I understand your dilemma. I have the same problem. My husband has a hard time digesting beans, so he is game to have a bean-based meal 1-2 times a week, but the rest of the time he just can't handle it. So much of the common advice for families where some people are veg and others aren't, is "just add meat" to whatever you made for the omnivores, but it doesn't really work if you made something with beans for your protein and the other person won't eat them! LOL.

I make 1 quinoa dish a week, because that is a complete protein that my hubby's tummy can handle. I have a few meals I have found work easily for us to "add meat to", so I pick one or two a week out of those. They include:

- Pasta with marinara sauce. He adds cooked ground meat, I add cooked lentils. It actually tastes great!
- "Mexican night" I have beans, he has meat, and the rest is the same for both of us; baked potato or tacos, guacamole, salsa, or served over rice.
- Vegetable Stew - he adds cubed chicken, I add chickpeas.

The rest of the time, I cook for myself and he can figure it out if he doesn't like what I've made!!! hehe. I don't totally leave him stranded, but I also don't feel guilty if this means he has to rely on a grilled cheese, or eat the same meat dish for the third night in a row. I make some kind of meat casserole or chili/stew for him once a week, freeze half, and then leave the other half in the fridge for him to pick at when he doesn't want to eat what I'm eating.

The truth is, nobody NEEDS to eat meat every meal, and you don't have to struggle to make that happen. There is a GREAT COOKBOOK called Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore: Dinner for Everyone at the Table by Anna Thomas, and the meals are vegetarian focused and feature some meat additions as a side note. That is to say, the vegetarian portion is the star of the meal, and the meat is just a simple addition if you want it. Don't feel bad to shift your thinking a little. We live in an omnivore society, where meat is consumed in excess, so it takes a while to adjust to the idea that it is simply not necessary.
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#5 Old 11-16-2016, 09:20 AM
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Your concern makes total sense to me. I am the only vegetarian in my house and I do most of the cooking.

That being said, it seems to me as though you are only cooking dry meals. What I mean by that is that it does not seem that you include soups. Those are a very versatile options along with pasta. Serving two sides of veggies and a meat portion, does not leave a lot of room for creativity or variety in your meals. If I felt restricted to eating that way, then I don't think it would have been possible for me to become a vegetarian.

I don't think it is necessary for you to cook meat for your husband and 2 year old everyday. I really don't think, as someone else mentioned, that they NEED to eat meat everyday or at every meal. As such, having a vegetarian tortilla soup, or a black bean stew, or any vegetarian meal as a whole family should not be an issue. Surely, they can eat vegetarian at least 2 or 3 times a week.

Soups and pastas can be a very versatile dish when cooking for others. For example, you can make a veggie stew, or a baked potato soup and then add the meat of choice at the very end once you have separated your portion. Otherwise you can cook the meat portion separately and then add it only to the other's plates.

Lastly, do not worry about trying to find a way to incorporate protein into a vegetarian diet. It is overrated in the sense that meat-eaters more often than not, consume too much protein. As a vegetarian eating a well balanced and varied diet you should have no issues getting the right amount of protein.
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#6 Old 11-16-2016, 02:07 PM
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There is already some very good advice from others here but one thing I may add - that I didn't realize either when I first went veg*n - is that your concept of meal planning when you are an omni changes quite a bit when meat is removed. I was like you at first - the plate was built around the meat and everything else was "sides" so I was stumped at what to replace it with. Once I got past the idea of meat/protein being the central part of a meal, I realized the sky is the limit on what you can do with plant based foods. Potatoes, pasta, grains, veggies... all contain protein and don't need to take a secondary role to meat at all ^_^ Now our meals are a lot more varied, and interesting - we eat a lot more variety than we ever did as omnis! You can make rich pasta dishes, soups and stews, roasted veggie dishes, casseroles, stir fries, curries, pizzas... the list goes on and on! It's tough if you're still catering to meat eating family members, I get that - but maybe you can try to incorporate some veggie dishes throughout the week too; variety is the spice of life, after all ^_^
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#7 Old 11-16-2016, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Symondezyn View Post
There is already some very good advice from others here but one thing I may add - that I didn't realize either when I first went veg*n - is that your concept of meal planning when you are an omni changes quite a bit when meat is removed. I was like you at first - the plate was built around the meat and everything else was "sides" so I was stumped at what to replace it with. Once I got past the idea of meat/protein being the central part of a meal, I realized the sky is the limit on what you can do with plant based foods. Potatoes, pasta, grains, veggies... all contain protein and don't need to take a secondary role to meat at all ^_^ Now our meals are a lot more varied, and interesting - we eat a lot more variety than we ever did as omnis! You can make rich pasta dishes, soups and stews, roasted veggie dishes, casseroles, stir fries, curries, pizzas... the list goes on and on! It's tough if you're still catering to meat eating family members, I get that - but maybe you can try to incorporate some veggie dishes throughout the week too; variety is the spice of life, after all ^_^
THANK YOU
This is what I mean. I'm just starting and a meat portion was always the main part of every meal. Or is?! Now it's like I'm just trying to find that meat portion to replace. My husband is native so he hunts moose and what he gets feeds him, his aunt, and her 3 daughters. I can swing maybe 1 vegetarian meal a week but more than that no. I'm just trying to feed all of us but have two sides that we both can eat and he can worry about his meat portion while I worry about my protein portion. I know some advice is don't worry about protein so much but I works out everyday so I'm looking to have a high protein vegetarian diet.
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#8 Old 11-16-2016, 09:39 PM
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I am so used to eating a meat portion with two veggies that I'm stuck now just eating two veggies, not knowing what to replace that meat portion with.
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#9 Old 11-16-2016, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Naturebound View Post
I keep trying to answer this thread but I can't support the idea of cooking meat for someone else so no matter how I put it it's going to seem awkward but I will try.

How about making open ended dishes that your husband can add his own meat to?

For example, corn shell or soft shell tacos? Make the shells, prepare the toppings in little containers, and he could add his meat to his, and for your tacos, try stuff like fat free refried beans (regular ones have lard), or a lentil/bulgur taco mix, or TVP (textured vegetable protein). Everyone could then add whatever stuff they want to their own tacos.

Or spaghetti. Make the spaghetti and maybe some tomato/vegetable sauce. Red lentils cook quickly and can be added to the sauce for texture and protein. Then your husband could add meatballs or some other animal product to his spaghetti if he wanted.

French toast is easy and versatile to make. You could make tempeh "bacon" to go with yours. It's simply slicing tempeh very thin and marinading it with stuff like liquid smoke, maple syrup, dijon or bbq sauce and then broiling or grilling it. If your family isn't willing to try tempeh bacon, they could have their own bacon.

You could make homemade pizza, and make a portion of it with only your own toppings, and toppings they would like for the other half or portion. For your portion, if you add cheese to your pizza, there is a little protein there. Have a side salad with some beans thrown in, or a handful of nuts or seeds. A glass of soy milk will provide about six to eight grams of protein for you also.

Some other high protein ideas: roasted chickpeas with paprika, garlic powder etc; seitan roast (I love this recipe: http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/sag...eitan-roast/); commercial veggie burgers such as Gardein, Bocca, Morningstar etc. Stir fry veggies over rice with sauteed tofu on yours and whatever animal product they want on theirs. Then add a peanut butter thai sauce or another type of sauce over everyones.

Also remember that plant foods are abundant in protein. Grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, even pasta have anywhere from six to twelve grams of protein per cup. Broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes all have a good bit of protein. Ditto with nuts and seeds, and don't forget soy milk. Adding all these foods together will yield a high amount of protein...for example, stir fry with lots of broccoli or kale in it, maybe some peanuts or cashews, or black beans, and a heaping serving of brown rice, with a glass of soymilk. Really any vegetarian dish can have meat added to it, or beans or nuts/seeds as an alternative. Even a side of peanut butter on toast will provide a good bit of protein. Most whole wheat slices of bread have about three or four grams of protein each, and two tablespoons of peanut butter provides about eight rams of protein, so combined that alone would provide fourteen to sixteen grams of protein. Have that with a homemade soup, or have grilled cheese with the soup, such as tomato soup. This is a classic most families, omnivore or not, seem to like.
I think you did very well in answering my post without judgement knowing it was hard for you. You provided some solid advice. I know for a lot of vegetarians or vegans it's hard to entertain the idea of someone cooking meat for someone else. My way of thinking and my reasoning for going vegetarian was at first personal but also became very ethical but I can also understand someone else's reasons for eating meat. As I said in my previous reply, my husband is native and hunts every year. What he gets feeds him for an entire year or more. It's the way he was raised and what he believes in, I will never think that I can change this way of thinking otherwise we'd be in for some big relationship issues.
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#10 Old 11-16-2016, 09:55 PM
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Reneegree66, if you want protein, get your protein. Some on here are basically saying protein doesn't matter much. However, it sounds as though it matters to you, so go out and get it! Personally, I'm like you. I like protein, and I feel my best when I'm getting a lot of it. I don't need as much as the average omni gets, but I need more than most vegans get to feel my best.

So, how do you get it? First, tempeh. It's a fermented soy cake that is nutritionally about like meat. So, it's loaded with protein (40 grams in an 8 oz. stick). It also tastes surprisingly like meat, especially if prepared properly. Easiest thing is to slice it into thin, bite-sized pieces, then sautee it in olive oil and soy sauce. Serve over rice with green onions. Other option for tempeh is to slice it thin, marinate for six hours in equal parts lemon juice, soy sauce, and olive oil, then grill (best) or bake.

Second, hemp seeds. They're available all over the place now, including at Whole Foods, Meijer, and Trader Joe's. Among nuts and seeds, they've got the highest protein per calorie ratio. They also taste good sprinkled on top of anything. Just don't heat them because if you do, they'll get a weird flavor.

Third, meatless meatballs. Get the Gardein brand. They're available everywhere if you live in the U.S. Simmer in vegetable broth, then serve with pasta and marinara. Easy peasy, and big-time protein.

Fourth, a faux ground beef product. The best on the market, at least in the U.S., is Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles. Use them to make sloppy joe's or taco filling. However, be aware, to get them to taste their best, you should probably add some nutritional yeast to boost the umami, some corn starch to thicken, and for extra flavor, a tiny, tiny bit liquid smoke (just like 1/8 teaspoon per bag of the stuff).

Fifth, lentil soup. Try Amy's brand. Heat and serve over rice, or better yet wild rice (more protein). One can has 16 grams protein, and the wild rice will significantly boost that.

Sixth, refried beans. Again, I'd suggest Amy's brand. It's delicious and has a lot of protein.

Seventh, Quorn Vegan Chik'n Tenders. They can be a bit hard to find. Some Whole Foods have them, as do some other places. They're also available online. Serve with pasta, lemon juice, coconut cream, and sauteed garlic. That's big protein.
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Last edited by Dilettante; 11-16-2016 at 10:41 PM.
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#11 Old 11-19-2016, 08:26 PM
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Reneegree66, if you want protein, get your protein. Some on here are basically saying protein doesn't matter much. However, it sounds as though it matters to you, so go out and get it! Personally, I'm like you. I like protein, and I feel my best when I'm getting a lot of it. I don't need as much as the average omni gets, but I need more than most vegans get to feel my best.

So, how do you get it? First, tempeh. It's a fermented soy cake that is nutritionally about like meat. So, it's loaded with protein (40 grams in an 8 oz. stick). It also tastes surprisingly like meat, especially if prepared properly. Easiest thing is to slice it into thin, bite-sized pieces, then sautee it in olive oil and soy sauce. Serve over rice with green onions. Other option for tempeh is to slice it thin, marinate for six hours in equal parts lemon juice, soy sauce, and olive oil, then grill (best) or bake.

Second, hemp seeds. They're available all over the place now, including at Whole Foods, Meijer, and Trader Joe's. Among nuts and seeds, they've got the highest protein per calorie ratio. They also taste good sprinkled on top of anything. Just don't heat them because if you do, they'll get a weird flavor.

Third, meatless meatballs. Get the Gardein brand. They're available everywhere if you live in the U.S. Simmer in vegetable broth, then serve with pasta and marinara. Easy peasy, and big-time protein.

Fourth, a faux ground beef product. The best on the market, at least in the U.S., is Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles. Use them to make sloppy joe's or taco filling. However, be aware, to get them to taste their best, you should probably add some nutritional yeast to boost the umami, some corn starch to thicken, and for extra flavor, a tiny, tiny bit liquid smoke (just like 1/8 teaspoon per bag of the stuff).

Fifth, lentil soup. Try Amy's brand. Heat and serve over rice, or better yet wild rice (more protein). One can has 16 grams protein, and the wild rice will significantly boost that.

Sixth, refried beans. Again, I'd suggest Amy's brand. It's delicious and has a lot of protein.

Seventh, Quorn Vegan Chik'n Tenders. They can be a bit hard to find. Some Whole Foods have them, as do some other places. They're also available online. Serve with pasta, lemon juice, coconut cream, and sauteed garlic. That's big protein.
I've noticed you've said "in the US" a lot and for good reason! I rarely see variety for vegetarians in grocery stores here in Canada unless I go to a farmers market. I don't even know where to find tofu or soy or anything like that in my regular grocery stores I feel like I need to go out of my way.

Protein definitely is a big thing to me because it's protein that really hits your stomach and makes you feel satisfied so I've noticed. Plus helps with the muscle repair after a strenuous workout!

Thank you for your reply
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#12 Old 11-19-2016, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Reneegee66 View Post
I've noticed you've said "in the US" a lot and for good reason! I rarely see variety for vegetarians in grocery stores here in Canada unless I go to a farmers market. I don't even know where to find tofu or soy or anything like that in my regular grocery stores I feel like I need to go out of my way.

Protein definitely is a big thing to me because it's protein that really hits your stomach and makes you feel satisfied so I've noticed. Plus helps with the muscle repair after a strenuous workout!

Thank you for your reply
Where in Canada are you? In the area where I live it's very easy to find vegan/vegetarian products.
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#13 Old 11-20-2016, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Reneegee66 View Post
I've noticed you've said "in the US" a lot and for good reason! I rarely see variety for vegetarians in grocery stores here in Canada unless I go to a farmers market. I don't even know where to find tofu or soy or anything like that in my regular grocery stores I feel like I need to go out of my way.

Protein definitely is a big thing to me because it's protein that really hits your stomach and makes you feel satisfied so I've noticed. Plus helps with the muscle repair after a strenuous workout!

Thank you for your reply

Hi Reneegee66,

If you don't have access to soy "meats", then another approach is to include generous amounts of beans and whole grains in your meals. Beans (which include lentils and split peas) and whole grains (which include pasta, bread, and cereal) are not as protein-rich as fake "meats", but you will still get plenty of protein if you center your meals around these foods.

Mainstream vegetarian / vegan organizations recommend this approximate ratio of foods (see below). For athletes with higher protein and calorie needs, you can add extra helpings of beans and grains.




Some people think that a "serving" is a huge amount of food; it is not. The table below explains the meaning of "serving"




The Vegetarian Resource Group has published this webpage regarding vegetarian diets for athletes: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/athletes.htm


I don't personally enjoy eating a meal with separate beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Instead, I tend to make a soup that includes the beans, grains, and vegetables, with sauces and spices added to the broth. This method saves me a lot of time; I can make a huge pot of lentil, barley, and kale soup, put it in the refrigerator, and eat it throughout the week.

Burritos are also a tasty way to make a simple meal that includes beans, grains, and vegetables - just put beans, rice, your favorite veggies, and spicy salsa into a lard-free tortilla.

.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 11-20-2016 at 04:35 PM.
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#14 Old 11-20-2016, 04:21 PM
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Hi Reneegee66,

Here are some very simple vegetarian meals that I used to prepare when I was single. I ate this way for 15 years, and I lived a physically-active lifestyle (I bicycled everywhere - to and from work, grocery shopping, recycling, etc.). (Now I am married, and my also-vegan wife likes to do the cooking).

Whole wheat spaghetti with boiled lentils, with marinara sauce

Whole wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce, with mashed tofu added to the sauce

Oatmeal with mashed tofu added, with syrup or fruit

Whole wheat pita bread with hummus

Salad: Spinach, tomatoes, and vinegar (balsamic or red wine)

Soup: Lentils, kale, onions, tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce - too sweet), soy sauce, hot pepper sauce

Burrito: Canned veggie refried beans, canned corn, sliced celery, and salsa, in a whole wheat, lard-free tortilla

Lentils and brown rice, plain or with a little salt

Canned black beans (rinse before eating) + canned corn (rinse before eating) + salsa, with avocado if available

Peanut butter on whole wheat bread

Raw vegetables, eaten alone or dipped in hummus


**** Soups!!! I can't emphasize enough just how satisfying and convenient soups can be. It's so easy to make a big pot of soup, with beans, grains, and leafy green vegetables, and then just eat it throughout the week. Just serve with your favorite bread.

Hearty beans and green vegetable soups are popular in traditional Portuguese and Italian cooking. If you Google "vegetarian Portuguese soup" or "vegetarian Italian soup", you'll find many recipes.


(Below: Portuguese White Bean and Kale Soup)




(Below: Vegan Lentil and Kale Soup)



.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 11-20-2016 at 04:36 PM.
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#15 Old 11-21-2016, 09:18 AM
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David, can I have a recipe for that Lentil and Kale soup? It looks soooooo good.
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#16 Old 11-21-2016, 06:10 PM
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David, can I have a recipe for that Lentil and Kale soup? It looks soooooo good.

Hi Marinelle,

Here is the recipe webpage: http://www.gourmetveggiemama.com/201...oup-with-kale/
.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#17 Old 11-22-2016, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Reneegee66 View Post
I've noticed you've said "in the US" a lot and for good reason! I rarely see variety for vegetarians in grocery stores here in Canada unless I go to a farmers market. I don't even know where to find tofu or soy or anything like that in my regular grocery stores I feel like I need to go out of my way.

Protein definitely is a big thing to me because it's protein that really hits your stomach and makes you feel satisfied so I've noticed. Plus helps with the muscle repair after a strenuous workout!

Thank you for your reply
Whereabouts in Canada are you? I'm in the western part of Canada and I can easily find many veg*n products even in mainstream grocery stores. Check your frozen section for Gardein - it's pretty standard in most places here, and is hands-down some of the best quality meatless product I've ever had Tofu is found in the produce aisle in most places, and is also pretty standard. The only thing I find it a little hard to locate is tempeh, which is sometimes found in the frozen section but rarely fresh unless it's a Nature's Fare or something. Good luck!
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