Soy and Seeds Make a Protein Power Dish for Vegetarians
A few weeks ago my 17 year-old daughter turned vegetarian. I wasn’t very surprised because I could see this decision coming for several years, her reasons based on ethical concerns to respect an animal’s life. Now she doesn’t eat fish either so this left her new vegetarian diet needing to be filled with protein and nutrients from primarily plants, eggs, and seeds. It isn’t easy to be a vegetarian in France! (Read why here).
This month’s recipe redux theme, protein power bowls inspired my timely opportunity to explore making a dish that is filled with protein, taste and color while keeping with personal constraints of a recipe that needs to be easy and quick to make and that my 17 year-old would enjoy. And for teen vegetarians, in particular girls, there are also nutrient and mineral requiements that are more difficult to get from a vegetarian diet, such as protein and iron, so I wanted to create a recipe that met these two nutrition goals.
And voila, the three power protein foods that are essential for any vegetarian diet are put together in this Asian spiced dish: quinoa, tofu and sesame seeds. Spinach was added for color, taste and other important minerals. The result is an easy to make vegan (vegetarian) dish that is power packed with protein, iron and other essential minerals ideal for a teen or non teen vegetarian or vegan.
Note that I pre-cooked the spinach for 2 minutes before adding it to the tofu sauce. Spinach contains high amounts of oxalic acid, and cooking it breaks down the oxalic acid, making nutrients more available to the body in the cooked spinach form. Cooked spinach is actually more nutritious than raw spinach. Read here Quinoa is a high protein seed, (it is not a grain but is called a pseudo-grain) and it contains all nine essential amino acids. One cup of quinoa contains 15 percent of the RDA for iron and it is considered one of the heathiest foods. Tofu, which originated from China is high in iron with 100 grams contaning 5.4 grams of iron.
Enjoy this South America meets China Protein Power Bowl Recipe using quinoa, tofu, spinach and sesame seeds.
Recipe for Protein Power Bowl of Tofu, Quinoa and Spinache
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- Spinach leaves, about 10 large or 30 baby spinach leaves (a big handful), washed well with big stems cut out
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- Handful of sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
- 2 Cups of cooked quinoa (easy to make, here in France you can buy it to make the speedy method).
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
- 4 ounces (100 grams) of firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- Heat up a large pan of water until boiling. Cook the spinach in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then drain the spinach.
- In a large stove top pan, pour in sesame oil and heat oil under medium heat, just until the oil gets hot but not smoking.
- Add the shallots to hot oil, lower heat to medium and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add the tofu and cook for a few minutes more, until the tofu turns a soft brown color. Add the drained spinach, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and dried ginger.
- Cook tofu mixture over medium heat for a few minutes more, mixing well until the tofu sauce is well blended.
- Pour this sauce over a bowl of cooked quinoa and serve immediately, adjusting for seasonings.
Do you have a story to tell? Share it with us by commenting below. I hope you enjoyed this Protein Power Bowl recipe. Check out my fellow dietitian submissions below for more inspirational protein rich bowl recipes. Have you reached the end and want to see more recipes like this? You can subscribe to BrightonYourHealth monthly newsletter and article updates by clicking on the button below. Your email will always remain private.