Plant-based Protein!

This week, Groceryships groups began their discussion on protein. After covering the basics-- why it's important, and what foods have it-- group members also learned about the larger environmental and economic issues surrounding this popular nutrient. 

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Many group members were surprised to learn about the perils of factory farming, from its impact on the environment, to its impact on our overall health. Steak suddenly sounded less enticing once the conversation turned to "agua negra" (or "black water"), the term used for the giant lagoons of animal waste that are a result of our intensive farming practices. 

 The silver-lining in our meetings this week was that not only is plant-based protein easy to find in a variety of foods members consume already, it's also far more budget-friendly than proteins from animal sources. 

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Our Groceryships Ambassadors proved once again that plant-proteins, like beans and quinoa, are not only health-supportive and affordable, they are also versatile and delicious. We taste-tested a protein-packed meal of Quinoa with Healthy Pesto, along with a fresh take on a southern-classic: Black Eyed Pea Salad. 

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Quinoa with Healthy Pesto

(Serves 4)

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup walnuts or almonds
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper

 Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Put all of the ingredients, except the quinoa in your vitamix blender. Start on the lowest setting, then raise to the highest setting, blending for just one minute, until the mixture is coarsely combined. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick. Add more lemon juice and black pepper as desired.
  3. Once combined, add the pesto to the quinoa. Mix in chopped bell pepper. Serve warm or cold. 

Black Eyed Pea Salad 

(Serves 8-10)

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 medium red (purple) onion
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cans (3 1/2 cups) low sodium or organic  black-eyed peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro fresh
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsps apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Peel cucumber and cut in half lengthwise; scrape out seeds with a spoon and discard. Dice cucumber in small pieces and put in a large bowl.
  2. Peel and chop onion
  3. Rinse and chop tomato and bell peppers.
  4. Add all chopped veggies to a large bowl. Mix in salt & pepper and spices, mixing well.
  5. Enjoy!