Protein: meeting the body's needs
By Nathan Payne
Animal protein delivers all of the essential amino acids our body needs, whereas proteins from vegetable sources are generally missing one or two of the essential amino acids. (An exception is the grain quinoa, which happens to contain all eight essential amino acids.) For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, eating a variety of foods and combining food items such as legumes with grains or nuts and seeds will ensure that you are meeting your body’s protein needs.
Try this recipe for Daal with Autumn Vegetables: a vegetarian dish with a strong protein component and a punch of flavour.
Daal with Autumn Vegetables
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 cardamom pods
2-3 tablespoons of chat masala
2 bay leaves
2 cups butternut squash (1/4 inch cubes)
3 cups Brussels sprouts (washed and quartered)
1 can whole tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock (plus 2 cups water)
1 cup lentils
1 cup brown rice
In a large saucepan, sauté onion, season with salt, and add all the spices (chat masala can be incorporated or sprinkled on top of the final dish). Add the chopped squash and Brussels sprouts, and cook on medium for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the can of whole tomatoes along with 4 cups of vegetable stock and 2 cups of water. Add the rice and lentils, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender.
Remove bay leaves before serving and garnish with a bit of plain yogurt if so desired.
Note: This dish will thicken over time. Simply add more water to return it to a soup-like consistency.