As someone who tends toward pescetarianism and is often mistaken for a vegetarian, I’m quite familiar with the question, “How do you get enough protein?”

Simple—I eat foods that contain protein…

Contrary to (uninformed) popular opinion and bioavailability aside, even vegans can get adequate protein quite easily. A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide just as much protein (and more) as one that includes meat. Certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12 and iron are of more concern, as they’re a little more difficult to come by in plant-based foods.

Protein, on the other hand, is available in abundance—with such a variety of beans, legumes, nuts, soy products and foods like seitan (made from vital wheat gluten), it’s hard to get bored. When you combine these foods with things like whole grains and vegetables (both of which also contain protein), you can get all the essential amino acids you need.

There are, of course, those days where you’re making lunch and have that, “Oh crap, what should I use for protein?” moment. This tends to happen to me when I’m low on both groceries and leftovers or if I need to stretch one piece of tofu between two people.

It’s exactly for times like these that I keep a bag of edamame in the freezer. One half-cup of these shelled soy beans offers up 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Not too shabby.

I like it in stir-fry, soups, noodle dishes, and salad, but you can also use it in hummus, pasta, and practically anything else you can think of. Today, I used it to brighten up some greens with leftover veggies (in my favorite miso-tahini dressing) and an Ezekiel English muffin with hummus. It was perfect!

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