For all the carnivores out there: please keep an open mind when reading this post.
Legumes (ex. lentils, beans & soy) have many health benefits, and I would suggest using them as substitutes for meat protein at least twice a week.
Their health benefits include:
-High in protein & fibre (1 cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein & 15 grams of fibre!)
-High in folic acid or vitamin B9 (cancer fighting & key for cell division & growth – important for women who are in their child-bearing years and/or trying to get pregnant)
-An excellent source of minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium & iron)
-Easily digested (unlike meat protein)
-A complete protein when combined with a grain
There are many delicious ways to incorporate more legumes into your diet:
-Add chickpeas, kidney beans or black beans to any type of salad (spinach salad, greek, cold pasta salad)
-Combine with quinoa, wheatberries or barley for a complete protein meal
-Add canned lentils to your chilli or stews instead of ground beef or chicken
-For fajita night: sauté black beans with onions & peppers instead of ground chicken (or do half beans, half chicken)
-Make chickpea or black bean hummus as a sandwich spread instead of mayo, or as a dip for raw veggies and/or whole wheat pitas
-Add chick peas or white kidney beans to your pasta dishes instead of meat (great chick pea pasta recipe below!)
-Add black beans to frittatas or omelettes, and add corn, salsa & avocado for a great Mexican dish
Legumes are available dried or canned. Dried beans have to be soaked (1 hour), boiled (2 minutes) & than set-side (1 hour), which is time consuming. Canned beans are a great alternative, and a huge time-saver. Just make sure you rinse & drain them really well to avoid some unpleasant side-effects (the musical fruit), and to cut back on the sodium.
Here’s a really healthy, easy, yummy pasta recipe that may just persuade the carnivore in your life to eat vegetarian a couple nights a week.
Chickpea & Tomato Pasta
½ package of brown rice pasta
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 small onion or 2 shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed & drained
½ – ¾ jar organic tomato pasta sauce
¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
⅓ cup of fresh basil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Pink salt & pepper to taste
Chop onion, garlic & red pepper, and drain/rinse chickpeas. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute onions for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, chickpeas & garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce is heated and flavours meld together.
Add in the cooked pasta, feta cheese & lemon juice, and stir to combine.
Top with salt & pepper and fresh basil – Enjoy!