If you've followed this blog for a bit, you might have noted that I'm pretty sweet on protein—and for good reason! Several studies have linked high protein diets with greater satiety and a more balanced blood sugar. And a more balanced blood sugar generally means more balanced moods, energy and performance.
So, when my husband chose to transition to a vegetarian diet last fall, my first concern was him getting enough protein. A vital macronutrient, protein is considered a long chain amino acid, which are the most important molecules we derive from food. The highest protein content is usually found in animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy. However, plants such as legumes and seeds also contain protein.
Protein is responsible for supporting muscle development and recovery, building and repairing tissue and we use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. When we don't have enough diverse protein sources in our diets, it can lead to deficiencies in certain kinds of amino acids. The result is usually lower energy, difficulty increasing muscles mass, poor concentration and memory, and even unstable moods and blood sugar. It's fundamental to a healthy body.
When switching to a vegetarian diet, it's important to ensure you're getting complete protein. Animal proteins are considered complete proteins as they contain the essential amino acids, but plant proteins are often incomplete on their own. As such, you need to mix plant protein sources to achieve a complete essential amino acid profile. See the chart below for ways to combine protein sources to achieve a complete protein.
So, when I think about meal plans and a balanced plate for my husband, it's always with an eye towards complete proteins and that's where these veggie burgers come in.
2 cups of chopped portobello mushrooms
1 cup of fresh broccoli, chopped
1 15 ounce can of black beans
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup of almond meal
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 tbs of minced garlic
2 tbs of coconut secret teriyaki sauce
1/2 a tsp of pink Himalayan salt
Olive oil for frying
1. Chop the portobello mushrooms into small chunks and set aside
2. Drain the beans and spread them out onto paper towel. This step is important. Use the paper towel to press any extra moisture out of the beans. Once dry, transfer to a bowl and mash. It's okay to have chunks, but try and mash well.
3. Chop the broccoli quite fine and mix with the mushrooms.
4. Add the beans, garlic, almond flour, onions, eggs and seasonings to the bowl of mushrooms and broccoli. Mix well.
5. Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat and place palm-sized heaping of the mixture into the pan. Allow to cook for several minutes, then flip.
6. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
7. Serve on a lettuce wrap or bun or your choice.