Getting Protein As A Vegetarian

Vegetarian Column By Marcus Samuelsson

If you're a vegetarian or considering making a dietary change in the veggie direction, getting the protein you need may seem like a challenge. Fortunately, nature has provided many protein-rich vegetables and legumes and some of man's own advances can supplement a nutritious vegetarian diet.

Many grains, such as quinoa, are really great sources of protein. Quinoa is actually a pseudo-grain, as it is a not a grass and actually produces edible leaves as well. It is commonly known as a superfood since it has fantastic levels of protein and amino acids, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is a good carb-type base for cold salads or can be used as a substitute for rice.

Nuts and legumes, such as beans are more great contributors to a healthy meat-free diet. These two foods shine as sources of fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Beans are even comparable to meat in their caloric content. Nuts are a great snack and condiment, while beans can be added to many carb-based dishes to round out a meal.

Spinach, a green that is a major source of iron and protein, is a perfect base for salads and a delicious side dish when sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

A great contribution that ancient food science has made to the vegetarian diet is tofu, a soy-based bean curd best known in block form. A great substitute for meat in many dishes and a great food in and of itself, tofu has been around for thousands of years.

Protein-deficiency can potentially be a problem if a vegetarian diet is not managed properly, but let these protein-packed foods help you out! Try out Portobello Mushrooms with White Bean Dijon, Tofu Dinners, or Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette to start.