July 6, 2017
5 Ways to Add More Plant-Based Proteins to Your Diet
Who says all of your protein needs to come from meat? Add any of these easy plant-based protein recipes from our friends at California Walnuts to your family’s weekly meal plan to shake things up!
#1: Start With a Plant-Powered Breakfast
Oats, walnuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and plant-based protein powder provide a boost of protein and lasting energy to get you through the morning. Make a batch of these in advance for a quick breakfast throughout the week.
Blueberry Protein Walnut Breakfast Bars
- 1 cup California walnuts
- 2 cups Gluten Free oats
- 1/4 cup plant-based vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Gluten Free oats
- 1/4 cup California walnuts chopped finely
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 9×9 square baking dish with two pieces of parchment paper. Place parchment paper in opposite directions for easy removal.
- Add all the ingredients for the base to a food processor and process on high until fully broken down and the mixture is doughy.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer with a spatula.
- Bake 8 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients for the crumble mixture into an even layer pressing the mixture gently into the crust.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven, top with the crumble mixture into an even layer pressing the mixture gently into the crust.
- Bake another 12 minutes in the oven.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan 30 minutes prior to lifting the bars out of the pan with the parchment paper. Slice into 12 bars.
- Store bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
#2: Opt for a Veggie-Based Taco Filling
Use a blend of roasted walnuts and cauliflower as a taco filling instead of traditional options. Walnuts provide four grams of plant-based protein per ¼ cup, plus the seasoned cauliflower and walnut mixture acts as a convincing meat substitute, appealing to both vegetarians and meat-lovers.
Roasted Walnut and Cauliflower Tacos
- 1 head cauliflower, small, chopped
- 1 cup California walnut pieces, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, medium, seeded, minced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 12 tortillas, corn, small, warmed
- 1 ½ cups green cabbage, shredded
- ¾ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup California walnuts, chopped, toasted
- Cilantro leaves, fresh
- Lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 475ºF. Coat cauliflower with 1 tbsp. olive oil; place on a baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and toast walnuts for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add to pan with cauliflower.
- Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic and jalapeno cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in water, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt; cook until mixture is thick and excess water has cooked off. Stir in cauliflower mixture.
- Spoon mixture into warmed tortillas and top with cabbage, cheese, walnuts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Optional: Cauliflower mixture may be ground in a food processor so that it resembles the texture of ground meat.
#3 Pack Salads with Nuts, Grains & Lentils
Not only do these ingredients offer plant-based protein, they also provide a variety of textures and flavors. Mix up a batch of your favorite ingredients and enjoy for lunch, or try this Bulgur Salad with Green Lentils and Walnuts to start.
Bulgur Salad with Green Lentils and Walnuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups bulgur, medium cut
- 3/4 cup yellow onions, minced
- 2 cups water, hot
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted, ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 cup green onions, minced
- 1 cup California walnut pieces, toasted
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
*Optional Garnish: 2 ounces French feta cheese, crumbled
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low; add the bulgur and onion.
- Cook, stirring, until the bulgur grains are coated with oil, toasted, fragrant and uniformly brown, about 20 minutes. Add the hot water and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until just tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat; allow to sit 20 minutes. Allow to come to room temperature. Place the bulgur in a medium mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, put the lentils in a small saucepot and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the lentils until tender.
- Remove from the heat; drain; place in a shallow pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl place all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk to combine. When the lentils have cooled a bit, add to the bulgur, along with the vinaigrette, green onions, walnuts and parsley. Mix well.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with the feta cheese if you wish!
#4: Mix up Traditional Spaghetti with Veggie Meatballs
Walnuts and cannellini beans pack nine grams of plant-based protein per serving in this recipe for Walnutty Veggie Meatballs.
Walnutty Veggie Meatballs
- Cannellini beans (15 ounce can), rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup red peppers, roasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup California Walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, minced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons smoked sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning blend
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 egg
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Put beans and red peppers between paper towels and pat dry.
- Place in a food processor with all remaining ingredients except cooking spray.
- Pulse on and off until all ingredients are finely chopped. Do not over mix or meatballs will be mushy.
- Shape into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Coat liberally with olive oil spray and cook for 10 minutes. Spray again and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Serve with marinara over whole grain pasta or in whole grain rolls as a meatball sub.
TIP: Mixture will be easier to shape if refrigerated for several hours
#5: Sub Walnuts & Either Beans, Mushrooms, or Cauliflower for Meat in Recipes
This increases the plant-based protein of the dish while also adding a satisfying texture and taste.
Beef Sliders Stuffed with Walnuts and Gorgonzola
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cups button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb ground beef, 10% fat
- 4 ounces gorgonzola (or blue cheese), divided into 16 portions
- 32 California walnut halves
- 16 dinner rolls, small (or 2, 24-inch baguettes, each sliced into 8 equal portions, then sliced horizontally)
- Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and sauté bacon until just cooked but not crisp.
- Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until water evaporates, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and egg to mixture. Add beef and gently mix by hand until all ingredients are incorporated, without over mixing.
- Divide mixture into 16 equal portions. Form into thick patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter, tucking a piece of cheese and 2 walnut halves into the center of each patty.
- Grill patties on medium-high heat until cooked to preferred doneness. Serve in small dinner rolls or between baguette slices with desired condiments.