With Earth Day just around the corner, there’s been an increased focus on sustainability and earth-friendly choices, both within food and non-food categories. When thinking about sustainable food choices, plant-based diets have consistently been favored due to these diets requiring fewer natural resource input than diets rich in animal products. In a recent study on the environmental cost of protein choices, beef was shown to require ten times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of edible protein than would be required for kidney beans to produce that same 1 kilogram of protein. The growing movement known as Meatless Monday has encouraged people around the world to rethink their protein choices and begin to incorporate more meatless meals into the weekly dinner rotation. Whether you’re new to meatless meals or simply looking for interesting new recipes to try this month, Harmons dietitians and chefs have got you covered. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite plant-based proteins with delicious recipes to help get you started.
Tofu is neutral in flavor which means it takes on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking with. Extra firm tofu is great for baking, stir-fries and salads. Silken tofu works well in soups, purees or even desserts!
Protip: When cooking with firm or extra firm tofu, it’s best to press it before use. To do this, line a plate with a towel and place the tofu on top of the towel. Place an additional plate on top of the tofu and add a heavy item to the plate, such as a cookbook, canned food or a cooking skillet. Leave for 15-30 minutes to allow moisture to be released.
Recipes to try:
- Korean Tofu Bowls
- Miso Ginger Tofu with Coconut Rice
- Creamy Tofu Bagel
- Crispy Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy
Lentils are not only easy to cook, but they’re also quick, with some types of lentils taking just 15 minutes! They’ll add a bit of an earthy, mild flavor to your dish. Since they have a heartier texture, they make a great substitute for meat in recipes, including pasta sauce, tacos, soups, or even burgers!
Protip: Make sure to inspect your lentils before adding them to your recipe. Sometimes you’ll find small stones that were accidentally scooped up when harvesting the lentils.
Recipes to try:
This was just a small portion of the meat alternatives we carry here at Harmons, but we cover a few more plant-based proteins in a blog post you can find here. If you’re interested in learning more about plant-based proteins, or would simply like additional recipe suggestions, email us at email@example.com.
Sranacharoenpong K, Soret S, Harwatt H, Wien M, Sabate J. The environmental cost of protein food choices. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(11):2067-2073.