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Got Protein?

By Nancy Eisman

Over the years, one of the most commonly asked questions I get about my plant-based diet is “where do you get your protein”? This stems from the assumption that protein was only available from animal sources, but now plant-based protein sources, like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and non-dairy milk products are becoming more available and more tasty. And actually, these items are only the tip of the plant-based protein iceberg.

Turns out vegetables, beans/legumes, seeds (like pumpkin, sesame), nuts, and grains are not only good sources of protein, but it’s protein of the healthy, nutritious, vitamin and mineral rich, no-cholesterol kind that is really better for you. Even fruits have small amounts of protein, so if you eat a well-balanced, plant-based diet, getting enough protein is not a problem.

This recipe for Black-eyed Pea-laf was inspired by wanting to create a versatile, flavorful, fiber and protein-rich dish that could be enjoyed cold as a salad, or wrapped in a sun dried tomato tortilla, or in a romaine lettuce leaf, that could nicely fill the bill for lunch or dinner on a warm summer day.

Yes, I’ve got plenty of protein – and thanks for asking!
Image of Black-eyed Pea-laf
Black-eyed Pea-laf

1½ cups Mayo
½ cup Barbeque Sauce
½ cup Dill Pickle Juice
1½ Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 cups Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup Perfect Sweet Onions, diced
4 cups cooked Black-Eyed Peas
2 cups cooked Brown Rice
1 cup Celery, diced
½ cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 cup Pecans, chopped and toasted
2 cups Cabbage, diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Image of Black-eyed Pea-laf
Sun Dried Tomato Flour Tortillas
Romaine Lettuce

Whisk the mayo, bbq sauce, and pickle juice together in a small container and set aside.

In a sauté pan with the vegetable oil, cook the sweet potatoes and onions about 5-7 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In a large bowl, combine the black-eyed peas, brown rice, celery, parsley, and onion/sweet potato mixture, then add the dressing and stir to combine. Add in the pecans and cabbage, taste and then season with salt and fresh black pepper.

Let the pealaf sit a while for the ingredients to come together. Serve on a bed of arugula as a salad. Slightly fork mash and wrap in a tortilla or lavosh for a sandwich. Fill fresh, crisp romaine lettuce leaves with pealaf as an appetizer or first course. Stuff into plump, garden fresh tomatoes, or serve with crackers/chips.
Image of Black-eyed Pea-laf
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