I know some people pride themselves on avoiding processed stuff and using only foods in their most natural and whole state. I wish I could be like that but I’m not, at least not yet. Maybe when I’ve retired, have my dream kitchen built and have a flourishing garden in the backyard. Sure there are some nutrients lost during food processing, but the benefits of having a still pretty nutritious meal ready in 20 minutes that tastes fantastic is just too convincing for me not to reach for canned, jarred and frozen items. Look for no salt added or low sodium versions whenever possible. You can add personalized flavors with herbs and spices later on!
My version of a high protein vegan chili shown below is an example. It’s far from fancy, more of an everyday after-a-long-exhausting-day kind of meal. Because everything is cooked and ready to eat, you can throw the ingredients into a pan and heat for 20 minutes (or longer if you like). The following recipe makes 3-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are!
- 1 large can red kidney beans (no salt added if possible), drained
- 1 can whole sweet corn, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
- 1 jar Newman’s Own Mild Salsa (fyi this is low sodium)
- Nasoya Organic Chipotle Baked Tofu, 2 squares chopped into smaller cubes
- Gardein Meatless Meatballs, 4 meatballs (I like to cut each in half for smaller chunks after the chili has simmered)
- Cumin to taste
- Trader Joe’s dry whole wheat couscous
- Fresh bagged chopped kale (in salad aisle)
Add the first seven ingredients to a saucepan on high heat, bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. As that is cooking, prepare the couscous in your desired amount. After the water boils, take the pan off the heat and add the couscous along with handfuls of kale. Stir and cover until couscous absorbs all the liquid.
For the chili, you can add more spices but because many of the ingredients are already seasoned, you don’t need much more. There’s loads of protein in this dish because of the beans, tofu and soy meatballs. There’s plenty of fiber as just about every ingredient contains fiber. And most importantly, there’s tons of flavor because of the combination of ingredients. Hubs, who usually runs from my vegan meal experiments (especially containing soy, which he’s convinced will emasculate him), couldn’t stop eating this. So make an extra large batch for hungry hubs like that, or just to have easy nutritious leftovers for the next few days.
This high fiber dish can be made lower in sodium by using fresh or frozen unseasoned corn, dried beans, and fresh diced tomatoes. If you have diabetes and need to control carbohydrates, omit the couscous and allow the kale to simmer with the chili ingredients.