Two common comments I hear about a vegan diet is that cooking vegan takes more time than carnivorous meals, and that it is hard to get enough protein. In my opinion these things are not true. In the past few month Tom and I have discovered some recipes that have become staples in our diet for quick meals, and they just so happen to be packed with protein. Here is one of the recipes, which I am going to call an Eveything Salad because there are so many possibilities for what you can put in it.
1 or 2 cups quinoa, cooked with 2 or 4 cups water or vegetable broth, and cooled (I ate this salad warm too, and it was delicious)
x amount shredded carrots
x amount roughly chopped spinach, kale, or arugula
x amount corn (canned, or stripped from a cooked ear of corn)
x amount red onion
x amount toasted almonds*
Maple Dijon Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
Basically, just toss all the veggies together with the quinoa, mix the dressing in a container and toss with the salad, and you’ve got yourself a delicious lunch or dinner (especially good on a hot day). The amount of dressing needed may vary on your taste buds; there may be too much dressing depending on how big the salad is.
I also really enjoy adding about 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavour and some extra nutrition (1/4 cup of nutritional yeast is 300% of your daily intake of vitamin B12, which is most commonly found in animal products).
Suggestions for other add-ons: raisins, dried cranberries, other toasted nuts, cucumber, tomato, cooked and cubed sweet potatoes, and fried tofu for the warm salad. You can also substitute other salad dressings, or just use olive oil and salt. The possibilities are endless.
Cooking quinoa takes 20 minutes, and chopping the veggies can be done during this time. If you eat the salad warm, it could take you 20 minutes to make. Furthermore, 1 cup of uncooked quinoa (which is the minimum amount in this recipe) has 24g of protein, and 1 cup of almonds has 30g of protein. Enough protein for you?!
* To toast almonds, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a smell comes from the oven, about 10 minutes. Let them cool completely before eating.