There are many health benefits to eating a vegetarian meal. Forgoing meat means a meal that is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol, which is only found in animal products. But what ingredients should you choose when creating a vegetarian meal from scratch? You might not have time to cook a complicated recipe, and may want to cook on a budget. No problem at all, many of the most delicious ingredients can be combined in endless ways to have a protein-packed, iron-rich, hearty vegetarian meal. For protein choose a legume. I especially love lentils, but any bean will give you a fiber and protein packed meal. Cannellini beans pair well with kale, and pinto beans pair well with a tomato and rice pilaf. Tofu is another excellent protein, and is great for those who want a meaty, substantive meal.
Any whole-grain creates a delicious, fiber-laden base for your meal. I love quinoa, spelt, and wehani rice. The red-colored wehani rice has a nutty aroma, which pairs very well with mushrooms. Pile roasted vegetables on top of a mound of cooked pearl barley, or freekeh. No recipe needed, but hearty and filling, nonetheless.
For iron, choose a green, leafy vegetable like kale, swiss chard, collard greens or spinach. Saute with in a little canola oil, season with spices, then toss with beans and some whole-wheat couscous for a middle-eastern inspired vegetarian feast!
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