January 29, 2012

The Protein Myth in Vegan Diet + Lentil patties

"Where do you get your protein from?", is one of the most common questions I get when I tell someone I've gone vegan. Beans, peas, greens, nuts, seeds, lentils - plants! There is certainly no lack of protein in a plant-based diet, yet the protein myth persists. The rise of the high-protein diets (paleo, being the latest), has probably contributed to this myth and vegan diet is considered merely wishy washy in comparison. This presumption of vegan diet lacking protein (or anything else, for that matter) could not be further from the truth.

Take these lentil patties, for example. They contain 150 grams quinoa, which has 13.8g protein per 100g, and 200 grams lentils, which have 24g protein per 100g. Both quinoa and lentils are thus a great source of protein for vegans and non-vegans! My non-vegan fiancé loves these patties and served with a fresh salad and/or some grainy bread, they certainly make a satisfying meal.

If you are interested in reading more about protein in a plant-based (and non-plant-based) diet, I recommend you to read "The China Study", by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. Colleen Patric-Goudreau also has an informative podcast titled "The Protein Myth and Vegetarianism",which I highly recommend you to listen.

Lentil patties

200g red lentils
1 carrot, chopped into tiny cubes
1 celery stick, chopped into tiny cubes
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of good quality salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 litre water

1 heaped tablespoon unhulled tahini
150g rolled quinoa
virgin coconut oil

1. Combine the lentils, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and spices in a saucepan. Add water and bring to boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are fully tender and the mixture has cooked down.

2. Add tahini and rolled quinoa into the mixture and let simmer for a further 5 or so minutes. You should now have a very thick, sticky mixture. 

3. Let the mixture to cool down. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Oil your hands with some virgin coconut oil and shape the lentil mixture into small patties. Place the patties on to the baking tray and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 170C.

5. Bake the patties for 25-35 minutes or until they feel firm to touch. Make sure to turn them around half way through cooking. Serve with a salad and/or with some bread.


Update: Thank you for all your feedback! Since many of you have asked about calcium, I'll be doing a post on the calcium myth in a vegan diet next!