Our protein flip will move animal foods to the edges of your plate, so vegetables, beans, and grains can steal the spotlight.
December 14, 2015
1 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
Flip Your Protein
Most of us eat more than enough protein—more than 100 grams each day, twice the recommended amount. About 85% of that protein comes from animal sources. Meanwhile, only 14% of Americans are eating enough plants, which not only have vitamins and satiating fiber but also lots of protein—and far less saturated fat than most animal proteins. Let's shift our plates to focus more on plant-based proteins. The good news is we don’t have to give up meat entirely, but we can use it as more of a flavor booster than the star of the plate. Eating plant-based proteins is associated with a lower risk of disease, and they have a smaller carbon footprint, too. But the best part? Vegetables are downright tasty. Read on to find out how to flip your protein.
2 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
Before: Steak & Potatoes
The average New York strip is no less than a half-pound on the plate, and typically serves one. That's practically a day's worth of protein, plus a hefty 12 grams of sat fat--before the addition of buttered potatoes and beans.
3 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
After: Steak Salad Niçoise
We take a single 8-ounce steak, thinly slice it, and use it to flavor 4 entrée-sized salads, each filled with more than 2 cups of veggies.
4 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
Before: Classic Chicken Marsala
The classic recipe has a meat to veggie ratio of about 3:1, while our makeover is quite the opposite. We skip the white pasta and spoon this saucy goodness over whole-grain quinoa. Our new recipe even has mushroom before chicken in the title.
5 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
After: Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls
Rich chicken thighs are supremely satisfying when paired with lots of buttery browned mushrooms.
6 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
Before: Pasta Bolognese
More meat than actual sauce, Bolognese sings with fatty cuts of beef and pork, then sits atop a mountain of white pasta. To flip, we “beef up” just 6 ounces of sirloin with loads of mushrooms, aromatics, and walnuts.
7 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
After: Veggie-Packed Bolognese
Just when you think there isn’t enough veggie goodness, we pack even more into the base disguised as “boodles” (butternut noodles), intertwined with whole-grain pasta. You’ll need a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make the veggie noodles. The meaty texture and nutty flavor from the walnuts is downright addictive.
8 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
Before: Pork Carnitas Plate
Carnitas are a labor of love, as pork simmers in fat for hours until tender, then gets piled onto a plate with refried beans and rice. Very few veggies find their way into this classic dish.
9 of 10Photo: Jennifer Causey
After: Shredded Pork and Pinto Tacos with Pepita Slaw
A half-pound of pork is a gracious plenty for these tacos, which are beefed up with pinto beans, Greek yogurt–amped avocado crema, and a crunchy slaw topped with pumpkinseeds. The plant protein sources make up about half the total amount.
10 of 10Photo: Iain Bagwell
It's time to ! The protein in your burger, that is. Chefs and major food-service companies alike have had huge success with plant-forward burgers because they're delicious, satisfying, and better for you. We upped the veggie-to-beef ratio in this makeover of a classic burger for a patty that's much lower in fat, yet full of meaty satisfaction.