Despite having a rather decent background in nutrition, I had some trouble taking meat out of my diet. I love beans, nuts, and whole grains but after a month with no meat my hair started falling out and a pat on the back left me with a hand shaped bruise. I started tinkering with ways of getting more iron in my blood by eating loads of green leafy vegetables. (And yes, about 4 ounces of grass raised ribeye every month or so.)
To keep my proteins complete I started playing with textured vegetable protein, soy, and my new favorite: Quinoa. The protein content is as high as 18%, and the essential acid profile is fairly complete. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa
Quinoa is a seed that behaves a lot like a grain. It cooks easily, and will substitute for rice in almost any recipe. It’s fluffy though, and absorbs flavors. I love it tossed with a vinegrette and wilted greens. My newest obsession is to use it spiced like Spanish rice and mixed with black beans. This takes all of twenty minutes, and is only about 5 points on Weight Watchers. It’s my new comfort food.
Quinoa with Black Beans: Bring to a boil 2 cups water, 1 tbs cumin, dash of kosher salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tbs tomato bullion, and 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the quinoa is light and fluffy, with small curlicues throughout. (Yep… curlicues) Mix 1/2 cup prepared quinoa with 1/2 cup hot black beans. I used canned. Top with a pinch of shredded cheese, pico de gallo, or salsa.