Erin Stanczyk | eat.move.rest.

guacamole

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos

Eat, Food + Nutrition, RecipesErin Stanczyk4 Comments

Let’s Taco-bout Plant Protein

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

But where do you get your protein?!

There’s a common misconception that even Dusty and I fell victim to when we were embarking on our plant-curious journey—that if you aren’t eating meat, you aren’t getting enough protein. By educating ourselves and putting it to the test, we soon came to find out that it’s simply not the case!

All foods contain protein, including plants, and 97% of American are getting enough. In fact, plants contain all essential amino acids. Studies also show that less than 3% of Americans are getting enough fiber. Plant foods are rich in fiber, which meat contains none of, and plants contain zero cholesterol, which meat contains a lot of.

Simply put, increasing your plant protein and eliminating or drastically reducing the amount of animal protein in your diet will equate to better digestion and a happier heart, amongst a plethora of other plant-powered perks! *sources + additional info linked below

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

Gram-for-gram, lentils contain more protein than beef!

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com
Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com
Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

The Complete Protein Myth

A complete protein is a food that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which helps our bodies to build and repair tissues. The group called essential amino acids are ones that our bodies cannot create, and therefore, we must obtain from our diet.

For a long time, people argued that plants were inferior protein sources because many of them are not “complete” proteins, and the body would not be getting what it needed. Food combining became popularized, where it was believed that you needed to eat complementary proteins, i.e. rice and beans, at one meal, in order to get the full spectrum of essential amino acids. However, research now clearly shows that our bodies have an amino acid “pool,” in which they store the amino acids we need, and expel the ones we don’t need.

All of that being said, quinoa is actually a complete protein, and while lentils are not, they do contain nearly 18g of protein per cup, cooked!

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

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Lentil Quinoa Tacos

If you’re craving something meaty, high protein, and extra indulgent, these delicious and nutritious Lentil Quinoa Tacos will do the trick! And don’t forget about the fixin’s—add in some vegan nacho cheeze, fresh salsa, guacamole, mango salsa, gluten-free tortillas, and chopped veggies and you’ve got yourself a fiesta!

vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, protein-packed!

time: 30min // serves: 4-6

ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa

  • 1 cup dry lentils

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tbsp oregano

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • salt + pepper to taste

steps:

  1. Rinse and drain quinoa and lentils and cook each separately with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium/low until water is absorbed and grains are cooked.

  2. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic with a bit of salt and pepper in a splash of water in a non-stick pan until soft, fragrant and slightly translucent.

  3. When green lentils are cooked, place in strainer and rinse under COLD water and then place in food processor and pulse to achieve more of a “meaty” texture. *The cold rinse will help ensure that the lentils do not become over-processed.

  4. Combine pulsed lentils, quinoa, sautéed onion and garlic, and seasoning mix, and stir until thoroughly combined.

optional fixins:

  • shredded romaine and/or romaine leaves

  • gluten-free tortillas

  • bell peppers

  • red onion

  • sweet corn

  • cherry tomatoes

  • mango

  • cilantro

  • lime wedges

  • avocado slices or guacamole

  • vegan cashew “cheeze” sauce

  • brown rice and/or black beans

notes:

  • To make your taco meat look even more “meaty,” try using red quinoa instead of white!

  • We also have a Lentil Walnut Taco Meat recipe on our Vegan Nachos YouTube video, so be sure to check it out for another delicious and nutritious variation!

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com
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Guac-n-roll

It’s always important to include healthy fats in your diet for optimal absorption of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients! …But I think it’s safe to say that nobody’s going to have to twist your arm to slop a dollop of fresh-whipped guacamole onto your tacos! ;)

Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

As Seen On Youtube

Be sure to join us in the kitchen as we taco-bout this delicious recipe in more detail on the EatMoveRest YouTube channel! Be sure to Subscribe, click that bell to turn on Notifications, give it a Thumbs Up, leave us some love in the Comments, and Share with family and friends!


Protein-Packed Vegan Lentil Quinoa Tacos | Erin Stanczyk | EatMoveRest.com

Lettuce Eat Plants

We get a lot of questions about how to maintain your plant-based perspective around family and friends, and while dining out and traveling. My simplest answer is, JUST ROCK IT—you do you—but I know that can take time!

My second answer is always to share the wealth! If you really want to wow your friends and fam, make them a delicious, plant-powered meal that they can’t resist!

Host a Taco Tuesday party at your house, complete with all the fixin’s, and let the plants work their magic! My favorite secret ingredient is our vegan cashew cheeze sauce! If you want us to share the full recipe, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Designed For Your Lifestyle,

Erin

Erin Stanczyk EatMoveRest

The Amazing Avocado!

Food + Nutrition, Recipes, EatErin StanczykComment

One of my husband and I's favorite favorite whole foods is avocado! We slice it up, mash it up, and put it on just about everything! Avocado can make a great addition to almost any meal, and is touted for its many health benefits: 

Guacamole | Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest.
  • Add to your morning smoothie, to amp up the smooth and creamy texture 
  • Slice it and add it to just about any salad for a dose of healthy fat 
  • Mash it up and make guacamole to dip veggies and chips in
  • Spread it on a slice of toast or add to a sandwich or wrap
  • Massage into your scalp for a great deep conditioning treatment
  • Buy the oil form to rub on your skin for an extremely moisturized body

Health Profile

Avocados are rich in healthy fats. Who would've thought...A healthy fat?! Good news! Yes, there are "healthy" and "unhealthy" fats. Incorporating fat into our diet can aid our bodies in better absorbing other vital nutrients in foods, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Avocados can also help reduce total cholesterol, by improving your "good," HDL-cholesterol, and lowering your "bad," LDL-cholesterol, as well as slowing the development of heart disease. 

Alkalinity is another thing the avocado has going for it. The pH scale goes from 1-14, 1 being highly acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being highly alkaline. We want to strive to keep our bodies in a slightly alkaline state, a little above 7. If we are too acidic, it can causes inflammation inside our bodies, which exhibits itself in many unwanted forms, from acne, to acid reflux, to heart disease. Eat an avocado for an alkalinity boost that will help your hair, skin, and nails to grow and glow! 

As with any food, though, there can be too much of a good thing. Limit your intake of avocado if you already consume a diet high in other fats. One avocado typically contains about 230 calories! Dusty and I like to split one over lunch, or whip up a quick batch of guacamole and make it last for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

The Amazing Avocado | Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest.

Vote with your dollar!

Remember when it used to be a big deal when it was "avocado season" and you could get it on your Subway?! Now Chipotle cranks out batches of guac that take 48 avocados to whip up…multiple times a day! Enter the health nuts. In 2012, the American obsession with super foods and the relatively new concept of "good fats" versus "bad fats" drove avocados to superstar status. Avocado demand spiked 34 percent in 2012, with yet another 10 percent increase in demand for 2013, says Mike Lew, of Bon Appétit.

I say Power to the People! I have always been a firm believer in leading by example, and a key component to that mantra is voting with your dollar. While much of our country is in a healthcare crisis, there is becoming a greater amount of awareness about health. Health starts with what we put into our bodies! If the demand for avocados, and other healthy foods keeps increasing, then suppliers will continue to supply supply supply! Prices will also begin to fall! So if you want to see more healthy options in your local supermarket, keep buying what makes your body feel good, and you will continue to see it more widely available.

The same goes for organic produce, the higher the demand, the more there will be. Which brings me to one last fun fact before I share the recipe: Avocados are actually on the Clean 15 list, meaning that they contain some of the lowest pesticide residues. So if you can't find an organic avocado, don't sweat it, apparently the pests just don't like waiting around for an avocado to ripen! Must be because they don't realize just how incredibly delicious they are. Let's keep it that way! :) (Keep your eyes peeled for my future post on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, so you can better navigate the produce section!)    


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ERIN & DUSTY'S BASIC, HOLY GUACAMOLE! RECIPE

When selecting an avocado at the grocery store, you want to pick one that is barely soft when you apply pressure, and super dark green in color. Many times the store will only have green hard avocados in stock. Then you simply need to let them sit out on your countertop for a day or two, or to speed up ripening place in a paper bag with a fruit like an apple or a tomato and close it up. Both give off a high amount of ethylene gas, that will cause the avocado to ripen quickly. You can also use this trick to ripen bananas! One trick that I've learned, is if the stem of the avocado "pops" off easily, then it's good to go!

ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (or a few pinches of dried)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • need heat? add in a dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne red pepper

method:

  1. Slice each avocado in half and remove the pits.
  2. Scoop out the avocado flesh and discard the skin.
  3. Add to a bowl with other ingredients and mash with a fork.
  4. Enjoy with just about anything!

notes:

  • The best way I've found to store leftover guacamole is to put it in a tupperware and cover it with a piece of saran wrap that is pressed down directly on top of it to reduce any exposure to air. (The citrus from the lime also helps to preserve). Place it in the refrigerator and eat within a couple of days.
  • You can also add in other ingredients such as onion, garlic, and tomato, but this recipe is just as delicious and takes no time at all to make! Enjoy!
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Designed for Your Lifestyle,

Erin 

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design