The newest book in for review from the publisher, Protein Ninja by the ever so prolific vegan cookbook author sensei Terry Hope Romero. It’s the cookbook to finally end the perpetual question of where do vegans get their protein?
The answer sadly is not some sort of martial arts attack, no matter how much I wish I could karate chop the few who insist on asking this question like they really care. Instead it’s chock full of advice, tips and recipes for plant-based protein from powders to seitan to legumes.
Let’s get to the recipes. First up, Blackest Bean Chocolate Seitan Chili page 193. How can I not make chili with chocolate chips in it? It’s a full-on flavor punch to the mouth with a bit of spice, tempered with a bit of sweetness, and meaty with seitan. Admittedly, I was a little unsure of the peanut cabbage topping. Who puts that on top of chili? Apparently everyone should, the topping is awesome with its complimentary flavors. Plus, it provides a nice crunchy contrast to the chili.
Tempeh Sausage Sage Gravy page 56, gravy is not one of those things that you normally would think of as being pack full of protein. The recipe called for biscuits but I prefer freshly baked homemade fries, the tempeh protein balancing the potato carbs. Comfort food at its finest, I’ll take my protein as a poutine any day.
From the sweet treats section, I made the Orange Creme Frostycakes page 220, in mini tart pans. For once I actually wanted somebody to ask me the where-do-you-get-your-protein question just so I can say “cheesecake” with a huge grin.
I’ve only had protein powder in acai bowls from a juice bar so it’s not an ingredient I’m all that familiar with. Seems fine in the cheesecake, no weird taste or texture or anything like that. Although for some reason I thought the cheesecake would be more of an orange color. I suppose it’s green from the pea protein powder. Still it’s very good and it does indeed have an orange taste.
The recipes for smoothies and baked goods call for some sort of protein powder whether hemp, pea or brown rice. While I’m not against the use of such powders, I’m also not much of a baker and wouldn’t have made any of the baked goodies anyways. With summer in full swing, I’ll probably try out the smoothies just to get more of a balance with the additional protein. But there’s still plenty of other recipes in Protein Ninja that don’t require the use any protein powders.
To kick off the morning right, Early Bird Scrambled Tofu page 68. Oh sure, I’ve made many a tofu scramble in my day. I really like this version combining chickpeas with the tofu and marinating it overnight for maximum flavor. Putting the good in good morning, the publisher has generously shared the recipe below.
Early Bird Scrambled Tofu
Time: About 40 minutes, not including marinating time
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound extra-firm tofu, undrained
1 cup sliced button or shiitake mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 heaping rounded tablespoon white or yellow miso
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Slightly crush the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork in a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the tofu. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the vegetable oil, spinach, and nutritional yeast. Stir everything together (hands are particularly good at this) until the miso is dissolved. Cover and chill for an hour or overnight.
When it’s scramble time, heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated tofu and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant silicone spatula. Fold in the spinach and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and most of the liquid from the tofu has been absorbed.
Just as the tofu looks firm and is starting to brown, sprinkle on the nutritional yeast. Fold in the yeast for about 30 seconds, just long enough to coat the tofu but before it completely melts. Serve the tofu with toast or the Harissa Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Sunny Oat Burger Bowl (page 151).
Pro-Tip: Most recipes ask you to drain and press the tofu, only to add more water at the end. The controversial method of just leaving the tofu unmolested and letting it mellow in the fridge yields a tender, flavorful tofu.
From the book Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2016.
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