Lately it seems I have been meeting more and more individuals who are following, or considering following, a vegetarian lifestyle. When someone asks me my thoughts on a vegetarian lifestyle there are four key nutrients I like to bring up:

  • Complete proteins
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron

This week I am going to focus on complete proteins and I will discuss the remaining three topics in the upcoming months. Complete proteins are protein sources that contain all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. There are a total of 20 amino acids and our bodies can produce all but nine of them. That is why these nine amino acids essential, because our bodies cannot produce them and we have to obtain them from our diet. All animal products are complete proteins, so an individual following a vegetarian diet will have to become more creative with their complete protein sources. Here are examples of vegetarian friendly complete proteins:

  • All soy products
  • Greek yogurt – and regular yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Rice and beans
  • Buckwheat
  • Chia seeds
  • Pita bread and hummus
  • Peanut butter sandwich

This quinoa bowl recipe has two complete protein sources – quinoa and edamame – making it a perfect meal for a vegetarian, or anyone in general! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients for bowl:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
  • 1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1 avocado – remove pit and skin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbs chopped green onions
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Over high heat bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cover the saucepan and lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa should be fluffy with little water remaining after the 15 minutes has passed. Remove from heat once done.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 Tbs oil and chopped kale and saute over medium-high heat until bright green. Once cooked, add minced garlic and cook for about one minute. Remove from heat.
  3. For the dressing, add all ingredients into a blender and blend until thoroughly combined and no avocado chunks remain.
  4. Assemble bowl with quinoa, avocado, kale, edamame, chickpeas, and dressing. Enjoy!

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