5 Reasons to Eat More Plants + Plant-Based Protein Packed Tabouleh Salad
Perfect for a weekday plant-based meal prep, this fresh and easy to make salad is light but satisfying and is packed with protein and low GI carbs to keep you going all afternoon.
I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but I do love a good plant-based meal. Whilst all my meals focus on plants first (at least half my plate is non-starch veggies), I’m finding more and more that I’m really enjoying vegetarian or vegan meals. I’m still experimenting with my plant-based meals and they are generally fairly simple like this one, but that doesn’t mean they are packed with flavour!
Being quite physically active with weight training 5 days a week, I do like to ensure my plant-based meals contain a good source of protein, which is easier than we think. This salad contains plenty of protein from both quinoa (also containing all 9 essential amino acids), and tempeh. Have a read of my Complete Plant-Based Protein Sources You Should Know About article for more inspiration on what to include in your plant-based meals.
5 Reasons to Eat More Plants
Reduces your risk of chronic disease & increases longevity:
Thanks to the increase in nutrients, fibre, polyphenols and antioxidants, and reduction in saturated fats. Regardless of whether you’re fully plant-based or not, multiple studies show that eating more plants can prevent and treat a number of health conditions including atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. If we look at dietary studies from ‘Blue Zones’ (places where people are considered the healthiest in the world, and with the lowest rates of disease – many live healthily over 100 years!) what they all have in common is they eat a lot of plants.
Beans, legumes, tempeh, tofu are all cheaper than meat! Plant based meals can reduce your overall grocery bill. Take this for example: 300g organic tempeh costs around $3.5-4, serves at least 2 large meals with 20g protein per serve (that’s $2 per serve!). 300g grass fed steak on average costs $10-$12. If you ate half (150g – although most people would eat the entire steak), you would get around 22-30g protein but at 3x the price.
Increases your fibre intake to improve gut health:
Vegetables are full of both insoluble and soluble fibre which help to increase bulk of our stools – eliminating toxins, metabolic by-products, excess bile, cholesterol and hormones that we no longer need. Fibre also feeds our healthy gut bugs to improve our overall health and reduce our risk of a number of health conditions.
It can help reduce your overall calorie intake:
Vegetables are low in calories but high in nutrients. If you are trying to lose weight, eating more plants can help by increasing the volume of food without the added calories, whilst the increase in fibre will also help you feel fuller for longer. It’s much harder to over eat broccoli that a block of chocolate isn’t it?!
Increases your nutrient intake for optimal health:
Let’s face it, meat and three veg is an easy meal to whip up quickly without much thought, which is great at times of course. However by challenging yourself to be more experimental with new recipes, you will likely increase the variety of food you eat and thus the variety of nutrients and polyphenols that are important for health.
For this recipe I used a new set of Victorinox Classic Tomato & Steak Knives which were unassumingly sharp and cut through the veggies with ease. They are really cheap for a high quality knife!
Plant-Based Protein Packed Tabouleh Salad
Perfect for a weekday plant-based meal prep, this fresh and easy to make salad is light but satisfying and is packed with protein from tempeh and quinoa, and low GI carbs to keep you going all afternoon.
Makes: 2 serves
- 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked) + 1&1/2 cups water
- 200g organic tempeh + 1/4 tsp cumin & 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/4 small red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1/4 green capsicum, diced
- handful spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- handful fresh parsley & mint leaves, chopped
- 1 lime, zest & juice
- 2 tbls apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- Put quinoa in a small saucepan and add water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for approx. 10 minutes until cooked through and water has absorbed. Once quinoa is ready, fluff with a fork, then cover and set aside. Grill tempeh:
- Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high. Dice tempeh into approx. 1 cm cubes and coat in ground cumin and paprika spices. Drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the pan and add tempeh. Stir fry for 8-10 minutes until outside is grilled and tempeh is cooked through. Assemble salad:
- Dice all vegetables and roughly chop spinach leaves and fresh herbs. You can use whatever fresh herbs you like. I chose mint and parsley as they give this meal a fresh flavour.
- In a large bowl add all vegetables, along with cooked quinoa. Add the lime zest and juice, apple cider vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Serve up in 2 bowls and top with grilled tempeh.