Non vegan eaters always seem to think I must be on the verge of a collapse, so starved and malnourished by my lack of animal consumption that my body couldn’t possibly live to see another day. And sometimes it feels like that, sometimes I don’t do my diet justice and munch on the wrong this, or the wrong that.. but the other 99% of the time, I’m conscious and I fill myself up with goodness. A common misconception is those with a primarily plant based diet don’t have the ability to consume an adequate amount of protein.
Protein is an important part of any person’s balanced diet. It is one of the three energy dense macronutrients, and assists in the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and antibodies which keep us balanced and healthy. Protein is most well known for its ability to supply broken down muscles with the building blocks its needs to be rebuilt stronger.The USDA recommends 10%-35% of a diet be comprised of calories from protein. What does that mean? For someone that consumes 2000 calories/day, that would be about 50g- 175g protein. All of this being said, the average consumer of food equates protein with meat, dairy, eggs, fish and poultry. So what do the vegans eat?
The best sources of plant based protein are found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, pseudo-grains (more on those later) and seeds. This salad is jam packed with plant protein and fiber which will leave you feeling full, but not bogged down. The warm olive oil and garlic dressing is intoxicating, I can’t get the smell out of my kitchen and I don’t plan on trying to. This can be served warm or chilled and any dark leafy green can be substituted. Feel free to add 1/2 an avocado or some sautéed tofu if you’d like to make it more substantial!
Chickpeas & Watercress Greens Salad [Serves 2]
adapted from: Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, Heidi Swanson
2 cups, 10 oz, 280 g cooked chickpeas, or 1 15 oz can, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
.5 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
about 2-3 cups watercress greens
Prepare chickpeas, put aside in a medium bowl.
In a large skillet, warm oil then add garlic and red pepper and continue stirring until garlic just begins to sizzle. Toss the watercress into the skillet and again, stir until leaves just begin to wilt.
Pour the garlic and greens mixture over the chickpeas and toss. Add sea salt to taste.
Nutritional Information (per serving)
266 Calories, 34g Carbohydrates, 11g Fat, 13g Protein