Recipe of the Workweek: 5 Nutrient-Packed Vegetarian Recipes
Whether you’re sticking to a vegetarian regimen or simply want to incorporate more veggies into your diet, there are plenty of protein-packed, veggie-based recipes that will keep you satisfied and energized. It’s a common myth that vegetarian diets lack the nutrition needed to keep you full throughout the day. In fact, vegetarians have shown to have the same levels of essential vitamins, like iron, when compared to meat-eaters. Vegetarian diets have also proven to have numerous health benefits, contributing to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a decreased risk of chronic disease. More nutrients and less saturated fat makes for heightened longevity and reduced risk of chronic disease. Plus, with so many vibrant ingredients to choose from, you’ll never get bored! If you’re interested in learning some new recipes that will help you work smart and live well, check out our list below.
For centuries, garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, have been touted for their protein-rich makeup. You can find large amounts of folate, manganese, protein, copper and iron in a healthy serving of garbanzo beans and hummus - both great ways to get your daily dose of nutrients. This simple recipe for hummus “quesadillas” takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and it’s as easy as taking your ingredients out of the fridge and assembling. Select your favorite store-bought hummus, or prepare it yourself, and spread it generously over a tortilla. If you prefer a healthier alternative to the average corn and flour tortilla, consider substituting with a whole wheat or spinach option. Choose your fillings – this option uses a Mediterranean-inspired combination of spinach, sundried tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Fold your quesadilla into a half-moon shape and then heat over a skillet. That’s it! Now, you have a wholesome grab-and-go snack to munch on in-between meetings or on the way to the gym.
Fall is finally here and that means it’s time to breakout the sweaters and soup recipes! As the weather cools down, there’s nothing quite like the comfort of a rich lentil soup that happens to be healthy, too. This lentil-based recipe features an array of iron-packed greens to keep you sustained during the busiest of workdays. Like garbanzo beans, lentils are a staple in any vegetarian diet because of their nutritious properties. Lentils have been linked to lowered cholesterol, digestive health and stabilized blood sugar, which is crucial to staving off diabetes. High in fiber and protein, lentils burn off slowly and contribute to a steady source of energy that will keep you focused. This recipe also calls for spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and cardamom, which boost circulation and prevent mid-day energy slumps. Did we also mention this soup makes for great leftovers?
Don’t forget that pasta can be vegetarian! There are lots of pasta dishes out there that strike the perfect balance between comfort and healthiness. This enriching recipe puts Swiss chard in the spotlight, dressed in a flavorful mixture of garlic, olive oil, chilies, lemon juice and bread crumbs. While Swiss chard adds a wide range of vitamins and minerals to the mix, one of its lesser known offerings is calcium. A key factor in maintaining bone health, balancing fluids and sending messages throughout the body, calcium is a must in every diet. Dark, leafy greens are considered “brain food,” meaning they improve focus and concentration through a combination of magnesium, iron, fiber and other nutrients. This pasta dish is a tasty way to get your daily dose of green veggies for heightened productivity. To up the healthiness even further, consider substituting bucatini with a whole wheat option or zucchini noodles.
A vegetarian take on a classic! Healthy, flavorful and perfect for the grill, Portobello mushrooms are a great alternative to traditional hamburger patties. Portobello mushrooms bring some interesting essentials to health routines, like potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Potassium is an electrolyte that keeps blood pressure steady and enhances heart and kidney health. In order for the human body to function properly, it requires a healthy balance of electrolytes and Portobello mushrooms can contribute to that equilibrium. Phosphorus is also essential for maintaining balance throughout the body, especially when it comes to metabolism. This constant and consistent flow of energy throughout the day will keep the body and mind working smoothly. Just like any burger, all you have to do is prepare your toppings and grill your protein – in this case your Portobello mushroom cap – then assemble into a delicious burger! Handheld and easy to enjoy on the go, this burger is another great option for busy workday lunches.
Who needs tortillas when you have a healthy, vitamin-packed substitute? This one-of-a-kind recipe packs all of the flavor of your everyday taco into a baked sweet potato, for added convenience and deliciousness. Sweet potatoes get their orange flare from carotenoids, or naturally occurring pigments thought to prevent cancer and macular degeneration. Sweet potatoes are also a leading source of vitamin A, which also contributes to better eye health, better skin and a healthier immune system. Even better, sweet potatoes taste delicious and pack a ton of vitamins into a single serving. To prepare this dish, simply roast your sweet potato and choose a lean protein, such as ground turkey or chicken, to sauté with taco seasoning. Top with guacamole, onions and cilantro and you have a filling meal perfect for lunch or dinner.