We’re a culture obsessed with protein. I’m amazed at the amount of people who have asked me where I get my protein or tell me that they’d like to go vegan but they “need their protein.” Are people really lying in bed at night worrying about their protein intake? Really, folks, it’s not difficult to get adequate amounts protein on a vegan diet. And in Protein Ninja, Terry Hope Romero shows just how easy it can be.
Protein Ninja is a companion piece to Terry’s 2014 book Salad Samurai, and the books complement each other well. Where most of the meals in Salad Samurai were light and refreshing, the dishes in Protein Ninja are hearty and filling.
Terry starts the book with some ninja basics, including tips on cooking and freezing beans and grains, handy items to keep stocked in your pantry, and a primer on protein powders. If you’re already a pro at protein-packed cooking, you can skip ahead to the recipes.
Protein Ninja is chockfull of recipes that used beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, or seitan. Many of the dishes are turbo charged with an added boost of protein in the form of protein powder, too. Terry uses different powders, such as pea, hemp, and brown rice. We’re not just talking about smoothies and cereals here, although there are plenty of recipes for those. There are recipes for pancakes, waffles, toasts, scrambles, breads and biscuits, burgers, bowls, sweet treats, and much more.
Terry is an experienced chef, and her recipes reflect her culinary knowledge. Some of them have long lists of ingredients, while others just use a few simple components. Some take a while to prepare, while others cook up in just a few minutes. All of the dishes in Protein Ninja are extremely flavorful and well worth the effort.
I’ve made four recipes from Protein Ninja so far. In any new cookbook, I almost always gravitate to the macaroni and cheese recipe first, so the first meal the menu was Pro Mac with Roasted Broc. This was easy to make and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand already. This dish was really tasty, and I loved that the “cheese” contained butternut squash for an added nutrient boost. Next up was the Baked Veggie Pan Omelet, which was perfect for lazy Sunday brunch. Because I know that Terry can make a mean salad, I tried the Korean Tofu Taco Salad, which is probably now my new favorite lunch recipe. It took a little while to prepare because there were a lot of components, but it was well worth it. I’ve been on a quest for quick and easy breakfast dishes, so I also made the rich and chocolaty Chocolate Maca Chia Pudding, which I will definitely be making again. I doubled the recipe so that Dennis and I would have enough for today days, and I served with lots of cherries and cacao nibs. I have lots more recipes in Protein Ninja bookmarked, so I know I’ll still be cooking with it in the weeks ahead.
Protein Ninja is the perfect book for athletes, those worried about their protein intake, or anyone who is just looking for a collection of super delicious recipes.
Baked Veggie Pan Omelet from Protein Ninja
- Roasted Veggies:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more to re-grease pan
- 1 large leek trimmed and sliced on an angle into
- 1- inch pieces
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 1 large red onion peeled and sliced into thick half-moons
- 1 cup green beans ends trimmed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces soft silken tofu
- ½ cup unsweetened plain soy milk
- ⅔ cup garbanzo bean flour
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 heaping tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch of kala namak (Indian black salt) (optional) Prepare the veggies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss together the olive oil, leek, carrots, onion, green beans, tomatoes, and herbs in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. When everything is coated with oil, spread in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.
Roast the veggies for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the vegetables to a dish or cutting board. When the baking pan is just cool enough to touch, line with foil (maybe slip on a pair of baking mitts for this part). Generously grease the foil with additional olive oil.
Make the omelet: In a blender, pulse together until smooth the tofu, soy milk, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, olive oil, mustard, baking powder, turmeric, salt, and kala namak, if using. Pour into the pan and gently shake the pan a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Arrange the roasted vegetables on top of the tofu mix-ture in a pleasing way. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tofu layer is lightly puffed, golden, and no longer liquid but instead a soft, solid texture when poked with a knife.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Use a spatula to gently remove squares of the omelet from the pan. The tofu will firm up considerably if chilled overnight and reheats well.
Excerpted from [i]Protein Ninja: Power Through Your Day with 100 Hearty Plant-Based Recipes That Pack a Protein Punch by Terry Hope Romero. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Press Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
I have a copy of Protein Ninja for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on August 23rd. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!