The following recipes are fully vegetarian and absolutely nutritious and delicious. They are also designed for people who don’t have much time to cook and are usually on the go, so few steps are required to make them and they are mostly easy to carry around in a zip-lock bag. They could also be convenient for vegetarian athletes who prefer homemade foods to all those packaged protein/energy bars (which usually contain lots of additives, preservatives, and refined sugars) or who simply need easy alternatives for their pre and post-workout meals.
1) Amino Acid Boosting Shake.
7 veggies/fruits to get all your essential amino acids in a cup.
Recipe: Blend a cup of water with 1 cup of chopped apples, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of chopped beets, 1 cup of chopped avocados, 1 cup of chopped cucumber, 1 cup of chopped parsley, and 1 banana.
*The 9 essential amino acids are those which our body cannot produce on its own so we need to make sure we include them in our diet. All these veggies/fruits which are very common and easy to find, contain them in different proportions (some in larger quantities than others). However, when blended together these add up to about one good amount of the recommended daily intake of amino acids (about 1/3 if you are an average sized woman and ¼ if you are a man). Don’t forget that you will be getting amino acids in all your other meals too, so one third or fourth is pretty good (not to mention all the great vitamins and minerals they contain as well). You can always double or triple the recipe if you want even more amino power and drink more cups of the the shake through the day.
The 9 essential amino acids and the amounts contained in the shake are:
1-Leucine (avocado 214mg, banana 153mg, parsley 122mg, beet 92.2mg, spinach 66.9mg, apple 16.3mg, cucumber 15.1mg). Total: 679mg
2-Lysine (avocado 198mg, banana 112mg, parsley 109mg, beet 78.9mg, spinach 52.2mg, cucumber 15.1mg, apple 15mg); T: 582.2mg
3-Phenylalanine (avocado 348mg, banana 110mg, parsley 87mg, beet 62.6mg, spinach 38.7mg, cucumber 9.9mg, apple 7.7mg); T: 664mg
4-Valine (avocado 160mg, banana 106mg, parsley 103mg, beet 76.2mg, spinach 48.3mg, apple 15mg cucumber 11.4mg); T:519.9mg
5-Threonine (avocado 109, parsley 73.2mg, beet 63.9mg, bananas 63mg, spinach 36.6mg, cucumber 9.9mg, apples 7.5mg); T:363.1mg
6-Isoleucine (avocado 126mg, parsley 70.8mg, beet 65.3mg, banana 63mg, spinach 44.1mg, cucumber 10.9mg, apples 7.5mg); T:387.6mg
7-Methionine (avocado 57mg, beet 24.5mg, spinach 15.9mg, parsley 25.2mg, banana 18mg, cucumber 3.1mg, apple 1.3mg), T:155mg
8-Histidine (bananas 173mg, avocado 63mg, beet 28.6mg, parsley 36.6mg, spinach 19.2, apple 6.3mg, cucumber 5.2mg); T:331,9mg
9-Tryptophan (beets 25.8mg, banana 20.2mg, spinach 11.7mg, avocado 37.5mg, parsley 27mg, apples 1.3mg, cucumber 0.3mg). T: 123.8mg
*The daily requirements of essential amino acids per 1kg of weight are: 43 mg of Leucine, 38 mg of Lysine, 33 mg of Phenylalanine, 24 mg of Valine, 20 mg of Threonine, 19 mg of Isoleucine, 19 mg of Methionine, 14 mg of Histidine, and 5 mg of Tryptophan.
*Optional: For an even higher quantity of amino acids, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of spirulina. This type of seaweed is not as common as the other ingredients but it contains higher amounts of most of the amino acids per gram. It can be found in most shops selling herbs or natural products.
Breakfast/Lunch/ Pre-Workout Fruity High-Protein Crepes
2) Chickpea and/or red lentil fruity pancakes/crepes: This recipe is great for VEGETARIANS or VEGANS since it contains a high content of plant-based protein. Plus it is packed with many other nutrients.
Recipe: Sprout 1 cup of red lentils and 1 cup of chickpeas. Put them in the blender with just 1 cup of water until the batter has a pancake texture (if you want to make crepes you should add 1 more cup of water to make the mix more liquid). Pour into a waffle maker or pan previously sprayed with coconut, avocado, or extra-virgin olive oil and cook like regular pancakes/crepes. (For crepes it’s useful to use a spatula to even them out on the pan or waffle maker). Top with your favorite fruits and ENJOY!
How to sprout: it’s very easy! Leave the lentils in 2 cups of water overnight and then drain them in the morning. After this, let them sit moist on your counter top or fridge for 1-2 days or until they grow a tail. Do the same with the cup of chickpeas.
*Note: Lentils sprout faster than chickpeas, so the latter could need an extra day. As soon as the grains have a tail, they’re good to go. Even a 1mm tail is ok for both grains, but the longer the tail, the more nutrients they’ll have. However, if you wait too long, they could get mouldy or dry, so up to about a 1cm tail should be fine. The time for sprouting depends on the temperature of the room, they will sprout faster in a warm space but there is a greater chance of them getting moldy or dry so if you’re a busy person and can’t be watching them or sprinkling them with water in order to prevent them from getting dry, you can always keep them in the fridge where sprouting will take about a day longer but there is less risk of mold or dryness. It shouldn’t take longer than 4 days in either case.
Sprouted 3 Green Lentil Burgers. Packed with PROTEIN and IRON, sprouted lentils can be turned into burgers!
Recipe: Sprout 1 cup of lentils for 2-3 days. Then put them in the blender with ½ a cup of water, a tbsp of coconut, avocado, or extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme (or any other spice of your preference). Shape them into small burgers and cook them on a pan using coconut, avocado or extra-virgin olive oil. You can eat them plain or top them with avocado for an extra nutritional boost.
How to sprout? Just like the red lentils mentioned in the previous recipe. A quick recap: Leave the cup of lentils in 2 cups of water overnight. In the morning drain the water and allow the damp lentils to rest in the counter or fridge for 1-3 days until they grow a tail, then they’re ready. They will grow faster on the counter but may also dry up or get mouldy. In the first case, sprinkle them with a bit of water twice or thrice a day. In any can case (fridge or counter), when their tail is about 1cm long, they’ll be ready to eat and fully packed with nutrients.
*The avocado, coconut and/or extra virgin olive oil will give the batter a thicker consistency and a good amount of healthy fats. These are also the best oils for cooking. All oils will begin to degrade and may even become toxic after being exposed to a certain temperature (the temperature at which they begin to produce smoke). These three oils are very resistant to heat and for this reason they are the best choice for cooking.
Mid-Day/Afternoon/ Post-Workout Energy Boosting Snacks
4) Chocolate, Almond, Flax, Agave Muffins: For a PROTEIN and ENERGY boost try this muffin.
Recipe: Blend 1 cup of flax seeds previously soaked in 1 cup of water (20 minutes is enough), 2 cups of almond flour, 1/2 a cup of cocoa powder, 1 tsp of agave syrup, and 1 tsp of baking powder. Pour the mix into a muffin platter. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and cook for 20 minutes at top temperature. Enjoy!
*Both almonds and flax seeds have great amounts of protein, so besides being a delicious, healthy dessert, these can also be eaten as an after-work out treat.
5) Raspberry, Whole-Wheat, and Agave muffins. One more Energy -Boosting muffin with flax and agave.
Recipe: Blend 1 cup of flax seeds previously soaked in 1 cup of water (20 minutes is enough), 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1/2 a cup of raspberries, 1 tsp of agave syrup, and 1 tsp of baking powder. Pour into a muffin platter. Bake at top temp for 20 minutes. Top with one raspberry and a peppermint leaf.
*Agave syrup is a great sweetening alternative since it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar but is actually sweeter, so you need less of it to sweeten your desserts. The sweetness from agave syrup comes from fructose which is the naturally occurring sugar in fruits, making it way easier for the body to use and digest than refined sugar or many other sweeteners.
*Flax seeds, besides being another great source of protein, are a great alternative to eggs if you want to avoid all animal products.