An Introduction to Vegetarian Proteins

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HUDS Barbecue Seitan Sandwich

In case you’re wondering about those vegetarian proteins in the dining hall, or just looking to jazz up your next meal, check out this breakdown of the most common vegetarian proteins.

Tofu: Made from the coagulation of soymilk (a milk extracted from soybeans), low in calories and fat, this is a great versatile vegetarian protein. Though somewhat tasteless on its own, tofu is great at absorbing flavor especially when marinated. Try it fried, baked, or sautéed, just make sure to press out the excess water from it before cooking.

Tempeh: Another protein made from soybeans, tempeh goes through a fermentation process that melds it into a cake. Tempeh is much stronger than tofu, so it is great to slice into strips or hold up on a barbeque. It has a grainy texture that crumbles well and tastes somewhat nutty. A maple syrup and soy sauce marinade is one of my favorites and goes great on a burger bun.

Seitan: Seitan is made from the gluten of wheat and is the main protein of wheat. In terms of texture, seitan has an almost meaty quality, as it can be made chewy or stringy—it also absorbs flavor well. Seitan is also easy to make at home if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative. Try it cooked in a mushroom sauce with tacos.

Legumes such as lentils, nuts, or other soy products such as soybeans or edamame are also great options for vegetarian protein. However, nearly all vegetables have some amount of protein so if you eat a healthy vegetarian diet complete with varied vegetables, your protein intake should be just fine.

Here are some links for unique ways to incorporate vegetarian protein into your next meal:

Breakfast: Scrambled Tofu 

Lunch: Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT) Sandwich

Snack: Veggie Sticks with Red Lentil Hummus

Dinner: Seitan Shepherd’s Pie

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