A lot of vegetarians worry about not getting enough protein, but you shouldn’t worry, this nutrient is found in so many foods including pulses, tofu, eggs, cheese, soya, cheese and seeds.
Pulses is used to describe all of the many varieties of beans, lentils and peas.
These are highly nutritious especially when combined with grains such as cous cous, pasta, rice or bread.
Dried pulses should always be kept in a airtight container in a cool dry place. They keep well but after a few months the skin starts to toughen and they start to take longer to cook.
Canned pulses are a quick and convenient alternative to the long soaking and cooking of dried ones.
Sprouted Beans and Seeds
Mung beans, aduki beans, alfalfa seeds and fenugreek are among many of the sprouted beans and seeds that are available.
Rich in nutrients they give salads and stir fries a lovely crunchy texture with a nutty flavour.
Fresh bean sprouts are usually available from most supermarkets.
Most supermarkets and shops now stock a wide range of vegetarian cheese, made using vegetarian rennet which comes from plants such as mallow and thistle.
Make sure you check your cheese does not contain Rennet which is animal derived (see My cheese has what in it)
Tofu is also known as bean curd. Tofu is made from ground soya beans in a process similar to cheese making.
It is very nutritious but virtually tasteless however it absorbs other flavours readily when marinaded.
Tofu is a chilled product and should be kept in the fridge. When opened tofu should be placed in a bowl of water and eaten within 3-4 days.
There are 3 main varities of tofu:-
Firm – you normally cut this tofu into chunks and marinate before cooking.
Smoked – Has a lot more flavour than normal tofu, used in the same way but doesn’t need marinating before use.
Silken – is very soft and a lot creamier than firm tofu, This tofu is very useful when making sauces or dressings.
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
This is the most commonly used substitute and forms the bulk of most burgers, sausages, mince and veggie ready meals.
IT is made from a mixture of soya flour, flavourings and liquid. It has a neat like texture and can be put into stews, curries, pies and any other vegetarian dish that meat would be used in as a replacement.
Quorn is derived from a distant relative of the mushroom.
It is not suitable for vegans due to it containing egg albumen.
Quorn is a great source of protein for vegetarians. Like tofu Quorn can be bland and really benefits from being marinated before cooking.