Your new plant based go-to dinner recipe!
Finding easy and delicious plant based dinner recipes might be difficult for those who are used to the meat, starch and veggie dinner plate. But replacing animal proteins, at least occasionally, with vegetarian options is a great way to 1. eat more colorful vegetables, 2. maintaining a slim waistline and 3. living a more conscious life that considers the welfare of animals and our planet.
Most nutrition professionals will tell you to eat protein at every meal to feel full, maintain muscle mass and help your body repair. While I do think protein is important, I also think most of us are eating too much of it, especially from animal sources. Excessive animal protein has an inflammatory effect on the body, turns to fat (not muscle), speeds up aging and development of certain chronic diseases.
A 2014 study found that people under the age of 65 who consume 20% or more of their daily calories from animal protein have a 75% increase in mortality and are four times as likely to develop cancer as those whose protein intake is only 10% of their calories.
Interestingly, for the first time ever, the new USDA 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call on teenage boys and men to reduce overall intake of protein foods by eating less meats, poultry, and eggs and increasing amounts of vegetables. Wow, that’s huge if our government is now waking up to the fact that all these hot dogs, burgers and steaks might be a factor in creating poor health.
How much protein should you be eating?
The USDA recommends 0.37 grams of proteins for every pound of body weight (more for kids and athletes). A 130 pounds woman should then get 48 grams of daily protein, which can easily be met by eating 1 cup quinoa (9 grams), 1 cup lentils (18 grams) and 3 oz salmon (22 grams).
Here is the takeaway: Build your meals around plant based sources of proteins (beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa, tempeh). But you don’t have to go full veg to build great health. Supplement with wild salmon and pastured chicken occasionally and you will be on your way to become a healthy superstar (no, I don’t recommend red meat).
Here is a perfect recipe to get you started on your Meatless Monday Dinner journey:
P.S. I used purple rice in the picture above, pretty right? Find it in Whole Foods for a colorful contrast to the curry.
- 2 tbs ghee or coconut or olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 tbs ginger grated
- 1 tbs garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbs yellow curry
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 small butternut squash peeled & cut into small cubes
- 2 cups green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 cup lentils uncooked, rinsed
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup whole cashews
- cilantro for garnish
Heat ghee in a medium saucepan, add onion and cook on medium to low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and continue cooking for 1 minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add curry, garam masala and salt stir to combine and cook for 1 more minute.
Add butternut squash, green beans, carrots, lentils, 3 cups of water and coconut milk; cook for 20-25 minutes until butternut squash and lentils are soft. Add a bit more water if the curry seems too thick.
Stir in cashews. Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro.