I’ve said this before and you probably know this from my posts, but I am not a vegetarian – I have been cutting back on the amount of meat that I consume though. That being said, I feel like a couple of the reasons for not following a vegetarian diet is the fear of not getting enough protein or feeling full from the food. Well I’m here to say that this dish fights both of those excuses.
I won’t get too into a health lesson but there are two types of proteins – complete and incomplete – which corresponds to whether (or not) the food has all the essential amino acids. You get complete protein from animal-based foods (eggs, fish, meat), while most plant-based foods (beans, soy, nuts, seeds) are incomplete proteins. When following a vegetarian (or vegan) diet, it’s all about combining plant proteins with other foods to make a complete protein (called complementary proteins). You can learn more about complete proteins here and complementary proteins here.
How is all that information relevant to this recipe? Well, combining grains (farro) and legumes (chickpeas) is one way to create a complementary protein. I actually used brown rice instead of farro but it’s the same deal. The rice and chickpeas make a very filling base and gives you enough protein to keep you satisfied long after you’ve finished eating.
Atop that lovely (and flavourful) protein base were these beautifully roasted carrots that added nice colour and touch of sweetness. Side note: I couldn’t find heirloom carrots at my grocery store so I cut a few large carrots in quarters lengthwise to get a similar shape. And then there was the tahini sauce (extra protein) which added creaminess and brought everything together. But wait, there’s more! The final touch was these lightly toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) which yes, also have protein. They also added a bit of crunch to the dish.
So the next time you think that vegetarian food means no protein, think again because this meal has a variety of protein-rich foods. Also, if you can make food look this good, who wouldn’t want to eat it. I was quite happy with my plating here 🙂