It's Almost Fall
This past Monday we got a taste of what it will be like in the months to come. In a nutshell..... chilly. As we snuggled in the cottage with a fire crackling away, I reached for a cookbook to get some recipe ideas. Soups and stews make us feel warm and nourished. I always look forward to the fall and winter months for a chance to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The soup recipes I gravitate towards often are vegetarian. I tend to add certain ingredients to soups/stews to make them really filling but also to provide complete protein.
Amino Acids and Protein
One of the most common concerns with a vegetarian or vegan diet is getting adequate protein. I don’t mean eating a high protein diet. By getting adequate protein I am referring to consuming adequate amounts of essential amino acids. Amino acids (there are 22 different ones) are what proteins are broken down to. They are the foundation of all proteins. Our body is able to synthesize some amino acids as needed and others we must obtain from food. The ones we must obtain from food are called essential amino acids. When we have all of the essential amino acids, our body has what it needs to make new proteins.
Animal food products are called complete proteins because they contain all essential amino acids in adequate amounts.
Most vegetable sources of protein are incomplete proteins. This means they may be high in some of the essential amino acids but low in others. Mixing two or more different plant protein foods at a meal (or throughout the day) is called protein complimenting. This method will provide all of the essential amino acids. To explain this let’s look at beans and grains as a combination. Beans are limited in methionine and grains are limited in lysine and threonine. By combining beans and grains in a dish you will get all the essential amino acids because beans and grains compliment each other .
To compliment the protein in the chickpeas, enjoy this delicious soup over brown rice, barley or cous cous.
Chickpea and Roasted Squash Soup
Adapted from Donna Hay’s Chickpea and Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1 butternut squash 6 cups veggie stock 1 tbs vegetable oil 1 tsp ground cumin 2 tbs dijon mustard 2 tbs honey 1 can chickpeas (19 oz.), drained and rinsed 1/2 cup shredded basil
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Peel the squash and cut into large chunks.
- Place the squash in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Bake for 40 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Once roasted put into the food processor with 1.5 cups of the stock and blend until smooth.
- In saucepan heat oil, heat the onions and cumin until soft.
- Add the mustard, honey, remaining stock and squash puree and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and basil and cook for a further 5 minutes.