Let’s Taco-bout Plant Protein
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
Gram-for-gram, lentils contain more protein than beef!
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!
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
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
1 tsp chili powder
salt + pepper to taste
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.
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.
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.
Combine pulsed lentils, quinoa, sautéed onion and garlic, and seasoning mix, and stir until thoroughly combined.
shredded romaine and/or romaine leaves
avocado slices or guacamole
vegan cashew “cheeze” sauce
brown rice and/or black beans
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!
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! ;)
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!
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!