Ever since I started working out on a near daily basis, I’ve been thinking a lot about protein. People who eat a plant-based diet get a lot of “feedback” from omnivores regarding their perception of a protein deficiency. To those people, I say… usually nothing, but let them get their opinions out and nod and smile. Then I walk away, because I don’t have time in my life to fight every battle.
Protein is not the hill I’m willing to die upon.
However, I will happily talk about it on my blog all I like.
A lot of people simply aren’t aware that there are abundant protein sources in nature. And, ounce for ounce, there are a lot of plants that provide a greater source of protein than meat.
I tend to eat a pretty balanced diet most of the time, so my protein consumption has never been a concern. But since, as I said, I’m getting a lot more physical activity right now, I’ve decided to work harder to up the amount that I eat each day.
When I’m being particularly fastidious, I like to use the My Fitness Pal app to track what I’m eating in order to check that I’m hitting my macro goals. (Note: totally unaffiliated with the company, I just like the app). Now, there are a lot of differing opinions out there about the amount of protein that you should be consuming on a day. Some websites and calculators have told me that I need to be consuming 57g of protein a day…umm, no thanks? I don’t think I’ve ever reached that level, even back when I was eating meat.
So, how do I make sure that I’m getting enough for me? Honestly, I use two important metrics: food tracking (to ensure that I haven’t somehow made it through the day only eating fruits and bread…) and knowing how my body feels. If I’m too sore after a workout, particularly the next day, I probably didn’t get enough protein. Same with if I’m feeling like my blood pressure is off — but that’s also something that is impacted by medication I’m taking, which is a whole other blog post.
So with that all being said, I want to share this recipe for a pretty simple high protein dinner that I eat fairly regularly.
This recipe is chocked full of nutrition and flavour. You all know that my favourite grain is quinoa, because it’s a complete protein all on it’s own. To that, I’ve added black beans, corn, and sweet potato, topped with some avocado and seeds.
These are all ingredients that are really easy to keep on hand pre-prepped. I almost always have a can of black beans on the go, rinsed and ready to eat in the fridge. Quinoa can last the better part of a week in the fridge after you cook it, cutting down on cooking time in a huge way. You can always bake up the sweet potato in a large batch, too, and reheat it in the skillet — I prefer it freshly roasted, but eat it from the fridge without complaint. So there are a few shortcuts to making this a quick dinner.
Also, check out the healthy fats in this meal — the avocado, obviously, but also the hemp hearts and olive oil. All things in moderation, but fats are an important component of a nutritious diet. So make sure not to skip out on these tasty garnishes.
Black Bean Protein Bowl
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 3/4 cup black beans
- 1 cup diced sweet potato
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/8 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 avocado
- Balsamic glaze (optional)
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions, or use pre-cooked quinoa from the fridge.
Toss the sweet potato cubes in a little bit of the olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt, and roast them in a 375 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
In a pan, heat up the remaining olive oil. Finely dice the shallot and garlic and add to the oil when hot. Add a pinch of salt in order to make the shallot release water and not burn as quickly.
When the shallot begins to turn translucent, add the corn and black beans. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes, adding in the oregano, paprika, pepper, and any extra salt you want to add.
Add the quinoa and allow it to crisp up in the pan a little bit, which should only take a few minutes.
When cooked, plate the quinoa mixture in a wide dish. Add the sweet potato on top once cooked. Slice the avocado, add a little salt and pepper for flavour, and lay on top. Garnish with the help hearts and pumpkin seeds, and add a little drizzle of balsamic reduction if you wish.