Quinoa and lentils are super foods that work well with other vegetables.
Being a vegetarian or a vegan often means finding different, creative ways to get the nutrients that you need to live a healthy lifestyle. But although it might seem challenging at first, those who live the lifestyle often find that it leads them toward the experiences that they want. A vegan might have to work a little harder to get protein without resorting to dairy or other animal proteins, but sacrificing flavors isn’t something they have to do.
One great way for vegetarians and vegans to get the protein their body needs it with quinoa and lentils, two nutrient-dense foods that are rich in protein and easy to cook. As vegetarian and vegan diets have become more mainstream, these ingredients have become much easier to obtain, making it a lot less complicated for home cooks to try these dishes for themselves.
Why Is Quinoa Popular?
Quinoa is a great choice for vegans because it’s a versatile, grain-like substance that is easy to doctor. Depending on the flavors that you want in your finished dish, you’ve got several options to make quinoa your own, all without losing any of the nutrients that makes quinoa so healthy in the first place.
One of the best things about quinoa is that it’s loaded with both protein and fiber, which go a long way in convincing your stomach that it’s satiated and doesn’t need to eat anytime soon. In addition to being a vegan staple, quinoa is also a popular choice for gluten-free diets because it gives a similar texture to pasta without using any flour, giving those with celiac disease another option for enjoying the flavors they love.
What Are the Benefits of Lentils?
Lentils are legumes, similar to beans. As a close relative of beans, they possess many of the same nutrients as beans, such as high amounts of protein and fiber. They’re also a great partner for quinoa because they become creamy and soft when they’re cooked properly, adding another layer of flavor to the finished dish.
What Vegetables Pair Well with Quinoa and Lentils?
When they’re cooked well, lentils give off an earthy taste and texture, which makes them an ideal partner for mushrooms. Mushrooms are another nutrient-rich food that gives umami flavor and adds little in the way of calories. Spinach is another great option to help brighten your dish.
How Do I Make Quinoa and Lentils?
The most important thing to do is to prepare both quinoa and lentils properly. While both are filled with nutrients, both have their pitfalls if they aren’t prepared right. For your quinoa, make sure that you wash it properly. Quinoa is filled with bitter saponins, which give a soap-like taste unless they’re washed off before cooking. Lentils, meanwhile, are loaded with lectins, which can cause digestive problems unless they’re killed in cooking.
Once you’ve paired your quinoa and lentils, you’ll want to make a dressing to create the dish. Ideally, you’ll make a vinegar-based dressing, because this will give your dish another pop of flavors that contrasts well with the creamy lentils. Once your dressing is made, mix together all of your vegetables and toss in the dressing. That’s all you need to make a flavorful, protein-packed salad.
Being vegan doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. There’s a world of flavors that are open to you when you opt for a plant-based lifestyle, if you’re willing to take the time to seek them out. If you’re looking for a new taste that’s full of health benefits, quinoa and lentils are a great addition to any diet.