Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Protein Power Bowl!


As much as I've never been one to buy into the whole "high protein" diet phenomenon, there is something to be said for the occasional over the top, protein packed meal (as long as it is accompanied by the appropriate amounts of fiber, vitamins and nutrients to actually help your body utilize those wonderful amino acids of course!) Being a workout enthusiast, I know how important it is to take care of your muscles, and that means giving them the building blocks to repair and grow. This meal is evidence of how easy it is to get essential aminos and proteins if you love to run, lift and just generally be an active person like myself and you also want to be vegan (also like myself). SO next time someone asks you how that crazy vegan friend of yours gets her protein, JUST SHOW THEM THIS BLOGPOST.

Let me break the protein-ified components it down for you:
  • Spelt Berries (AKA MY NEW FAVORITE GRAIN - MOVE OVER QUINOA) 6g
  • Tempeh 22g
  • Nutritional Yeast (in the sauce) 8g
  • Silken Tofu (in the sauce) 5g
  • Maitake Mushrooms (aka Grifola frondosa - I love scientific fungi names) 2g
  • Kale 2g
All in all, one serving of this dish has approximately 45 grams of protein. In other words, one modest serving of this delicious and nutrient packed little dish has more protein than an 8 oz steak (according to my research which says an 8 oz steak has about 38.8 grams of protein in it)

Protein is easy peasy when you're vegan! And it comes without all the added fats, calories and cholesterol! Neat!

Not to mention this dish is absolutely jam packed with brain and immune system boosting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D (did you know Maitakes are the only fresh veggie to contain significant amounts of Vitamin D?) and B (complex) AS WELL AS niacin, manganese, riboflavin, iron, copper, selenium, and choline. And OF COURSE lots of fiber-y goodness to help your digestive tract along. That is more than any ol' steak can say for itself.

Plus, most importantly, it is cruelty free. Duh. ;)

Alright, so I have clearly espoused all of the wonderful and amazing benefits of this dish, but the most important thing is how it tastes, right?

Lemme tell you, if you follow this recipe it will taste AMAZING. In fact, this is one of the better dishes I have made in a long time.

Based loosely on Oh She Glow's version :)

PROTEIN BOWLS
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked spelt berries (you can also use brown rice, lentils, quinoa or another grain of choice OR you can buy spelt berries in your local bulk foods section and fall in love with them the same way I have!)
  • 2 tsp oil (for sauteing)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a microplane grater
  • 1-2 cups fresh/frozen veggies of choice (I used fire roasted bell peppers from trader joes!)
  • 2 cups maitake mushrooms, cut however you like them (I just cut mine into strips)
  • 1 package tempeh (I just used plain, unflavored but use whatever kind floats your boat!)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 cups greens (spinach or kale is best!), chopped
  • 1 recipe "cream sauce" (below)
  • 1/2 cup (or to taste) fresh parsley, chopped
FOR THE "CREAM" SAUCE
  • 1 package silken tofu, soft 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice (I used lime and it was VERY limey so take it easy, kids)
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs white wine (you can also use 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha
  • 1 tsp agave or sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry spice blend (or other seasoning blend of choice)
First start by cooking your spelt berries. It is approximately a 1:3 spelt berries to liquid (water/stock) ratio and they take about an hour and a half to cook. So get on it!  Bring 1 1/2 cups berries and approx 4 1/2 cups water to a boil and then let simmer for about 90 minutes.

Blend all ingredients of your "cream sauce" in a food processor and set aside!

Bring the oil up to temperature over medium heat and then toss in your yellow and red onions. Let caramelize for about 6-7 minutes and then throw in your garlic. Brown garlic for another 2 minutes or so and then toss in your veggies, mushrooms and tempeh. Saute veggies for about 8 minutes or until beginning to brown nicely. Throw in your tomato and greens and allow them to cook down for about a minute (or until you have room in your pan!)

Add in your spelt berries and sauce and allow the whole thing to simmer for another 6-8 minutes! Toss in your chopped parsley, stir it in for another minute and your bowls are ready!

Note: All the cooking times here (with the exception of the spelt berries) are approximate. Use your best judgment to tell when things look like they are cooked to your liking and if something is starting to brown/burn, please feel free to NOT adhere to the entirety of the cooking time listed.

Spoon your protein concoction into a bowl, top with any additional parsley and munch munch munch!



Yummy!
Live long and prosper! And dispel the vegan-protein myth!

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