Loaded Fajita Salad
Where do you get your protein?
When you are vegan/vegetarian this is undoubtedly the most frequent question you will be asked. I used to respond that protein deficiency in veganism is a common myth and countless plants make good protein sources. Then I got to thinking...
Why is this automatically the first thing people think to ask when they hear I'm vegan?
They genuinely don't seem to care when I name all of the plant foods that offer high amounts of protein and other nutrients in comparison to meat...so why even ask? My response is a little bit different now, because I think the real issue is that people cannot fathom what a meal would look like without meat. And I don't blame them...we have been educated in a nutrition and health system which values the consumption of animal protein and byproducts for life sustaining nutrients: meat gives us protein and iron, fish gives us omega fatty acids, dairy gives us calcium. We've been taught to recite this as well as we do our ABCs. Although Veganism has been around for centuries, living in the age of technology and social learning by internet has brought us into a #PlantBased movement. More people are trying the diet to overcome major health diagnoses, health documentaries are going viral via internet streaming services, and our society is being challenged to build our plates in a different way than ever before.
By ditching the meat.
Building a vegan plate calls for a creativity beyond grabbing the nearest soy-based meat alternative. In order to adopt this style of eating, we have to recalibrate our tastebuds. That is, to remove the salts and fats and sugars from our foods and re-learn to enjoy them in their most natural state. This is key to why so many believe that being vegan is boring, and that is totally false. Being vegan is what you make of it. You can choose to fill up on veggie burgers, chick'n strips, or French fries. Or, you can create art by bringing different flavors and colors into your plates, combining cooked and raw plant foods to create healthy, but deeply satisfying dishes. I think you know which type I am :)
Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce or other greens
1 -2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Bell Peppers
1/2 Red Onion
Dairy-free Cilantro Salad Dressing
1 Can Organic Black Beans
1 C Long Grain Brown Rice
Seasonings (Fajita/Taco seasoning or garlic powder, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika)
Heat a skillet and add 1/4 c water. When skillet is hot add in sliced bell peppers, red onion, and seasonings. Toss until peppers are softened but still have a bit of a crunch.
For rice: Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup brown rice, bring to a boil. Add turmeric and garlic powders. Simmer without a lid for 30 min. Fluff rice with a fork.Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 min until softened but not sticky.
For beans: Bring to a boil. Add spices (recommend chili or cayenne, garlic powder). Let cool.
Chop lettuces roughly, then add drizzle of cilantro dressing. Top with beans, rice, fajitas, salsa, and fresh avocado. Optional, top with fresh cilantro herbs and lime.