Simply Protein Blog
Feeling festive? This vegan holiday hummus is high in protein and fiber. The cranberries add texture, color and a touch of sweetness to balance this savory dip. Serve with your favorite crudités and crackers. For added protein and fiber, scoop up this delicious dip with some Simply Protein Chips.
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 can (15-ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (organic if possible)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- Handful of dried unsweetened cranberries
- Chopped fresh coriander (optional)
*you may need to add a bit of water at the end to reach your desired consistency.
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil (or water) and the toppings in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and then scrape down the sides. With the motor running, stream in the oil (or water) through the feed tube.
2. Continue to run the motor until you reach the desired smooth consistency.
3. Add more salt, lemon juice, to taste, and then sprinkle with dried cranberries and coriander before serving.
Throughout the year, vegans can be faced with a variety of societal hurdles, many of which can come to a boil during the holiday season. In the past, many vegans have received confused looks and prying questions from less-than-sympathetic friends and family around the dinner table. As vegan lifestyles and menu options become more common, there is greater social acceptance and understanding.
Although the cultural and culinary challenges for vegans are fewer and less stressful than they have been in the past, the holidays are still a time when issues can arise. Many vegans can attest to the fact that traditional holiday meals – turkey, ham, cookies, gravy and stuffing, can either be based around animal ingredients entirely, or can be subtly non-Vegan by containing bone-char bleached sugar, honey, or even margarine.
The good news is that well prepared vegan meals rival (and often beat) even the best non-vegan ones. For those nostalgic for the appearance and texture of meat specifically, a number of protein-filled meat analogues are available such as TVP, seitan, quorn, tempeh and tofu.
Welcome to our Holiday Survival Guide
Despite the fact that rejecting animal products is often a simple and straightforward choice, vegans are still human and aren’t impervious to the many stresses of the holidays. We hope our tips make your holidays less stressful and more about the important things in life: family, community, and having a good excuse to party.
1. Tell Your Hosts That You Are Vegan
When invited to a gathering with family and friends, inform them of your dietary needs as early and politely as possible. Most hosts will be supportive and offer vegan options. If you feel that your needs may inconvenience your host, consider bringing a meal for everyone (including you) to enjoy, like this festive holiday hummus. Alternatively, host your own gathering and feed your guests entirely plant based meals.
2. Be As Prepared As Possible
It’s never a bad idea to pre-eat if you suspect the event you are attending or your host may not be vegan-friendly. It may also help you if your host underestimates what constitutes a filling vegan meal, and presents you with a plate of salad. If you are cooking, research common holiday dishes, read recipe books, surf the internet, and experiment with recipes. The internet is a monolith of vegan information, and don’t be afraid to use it.
3. Stay calm
Resist the urge to panic and do last minute shopping, and take the more relaxing route of early shopping, making your own gifts, and online purchasing. Get plenty of rest, fresh air and exercise, particularly if you enjoy wintertime sports like skating and skiing. Don’t feel pressured to visit everyone, and remember that the best gifts can be simple if they come from the heart.
4. It is okay to indulge
Don't punish yourself if you "enjoy" a bit too much! Some of the best vegan food is based around sugary sweetness or fatty goodness. The holidays are a time to indulge, much like the New Year is a time to get yourself back into shape from all the holiday meals.
5. Forgive yourself
Families and friends can be our harshest critics, and holiday gatherings can sometimes feel like walking into a firing squad. Your family may not even criticize your eating habits specifically – they may instead pick on your appearance, career, and relationships - but veganism can be a popular target for those ignorant of its merits. Always remember that you can say no to any situation, particularly those in which others may attempt to challenge your personal choices. The holidays are short and you shouldn’t feel the need to compromise on the way you live the rest of the year.
Most of all, the holidays are best spent focusing on the things that bring us together, instead of those that divide us. Have fun this holiday season with your family and friends enjoying holiday activities and festivities. Take the time to catch up on some of your favorite people, and make some memories to last you over the next year.
Zucchini Basil Soup with Simply Protein Herb Chips
This "green" pureed soup is creamy and smooth without using dairy. It is low in fat, and full of flavor, vitamins and minerals. Add some Simply Protein Chips in Herb flavor for added protein, extra fiber and a satisfying crunch for a complete meal. Great choice for a meatless Monday. This soup can be vegan or vegetarian, depending on your choices.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
- 3 pounds of zucchini (approx 10)
- 4 cups good quality vegetable OR chicken stock 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, torn or chopped 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Shaved or grated parmesan cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Spiralized zucchini
- Fresh basil
*and of course Simply Protein Chips
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes until clear and soft.
Add the zucchini, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and sauté on medium heat for another 5-8 minutes until the zucchini is tender.
Add the stock and the basil and bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Puree the soup either with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. Return the soup to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Serve this vibrant green soup with any or all of the optional toppings!
Chili is truly a one-pot wonder. This meal-in-a-bowl is not only comforting during the colder months, but it is chock full of nutrients to renew your energy despite the weather. This recipe is easy to prepare and can be frozen for future meals.
Beans are convenient and readily available. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Add some Simply Protein Spicy Chili Chips and amp up the protein and fun to this vegetarian chili.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 28 0z can of diced tomatoes with their juice
- 2 can of beans, drained and rinsed (I used 1 can of kidney and 1 can of black beans)
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen corns
- 1 tablespoons of cumin
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (more will be spicier)
- 1 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 cup cooked quinoa or
- 1 cup cubed tofu or
- 1 cup crumbled tempeh
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add spices and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Once the chili begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low. You want the chili to be at a low simmer with the lid off.
- Continue to cook the chili, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add beans and corn and let the chili return to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the corn and beans have heated through.
- Serve on its own or topped with one (or all!) of the delicious toppings.
- Simply Protein Spicy Chili Chips
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Greek yogurt
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Diced avocado
Butternut squash can be found year round, but is most readily available in the fall and winter months. This comforting soup is simple to prepare and is a nutritional powerhouse, sure to renew your energy on a chilly fall day. It is free of dairy and gluten, and high in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. Toss in some savory Simply Protein Chips for a tasty crunch with a boost of protein, and you have a complete meal in a bowl.
Add this easy and wholesome soup to your go-to recipes!
- 4-6 servings
- 1 large squash
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1-2 Tbsp grated ginger (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp hot chili flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, brush with olive oil and roast in the oven until soft, approx 45 minutes. When the squash is ready, let it cool slightly and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
In a stockpot, over medium heat, sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, the chili flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the squash, the broth, the maple syrup and the salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
In batches, blend the soup in a blender or use and immersion blender directly in the stock pot.
Taste and adjust for seasonings, and serve with Simply Protein Chips.
Want to try out some of our healthy and delicious SimplyProtein products and take the stress out of your next trip to the grocery store? We've got you covered.
We'll be sharing samples of a variety of our products at select Canadian Whole Foods markets throughout the month of October. Even better - share a tip on social media for how you renew your energy with #SimplyRenew or @SimplyProtein and show us to receive a free 5-minute massage!
Sampling dates and times are listed below. Click the link for directions from your current location. Dates with an asterisk(*) include massage demos.
- Cambie - 10/18 @ 3-7p, 10/22 @ 8:30a-12:30p, 10/24 @ 12-4p, 10/29 @ 5-9p, 11/1 @ 10a-2p.
- West Van - 10/15 @ 5-9p, 10/20 @ 12-4p, 10/21 @ 12-4p, 10/28 @ 3-7p, 10/29 @ 11a-3p.
- Kitsilano - 10/22 @ 11a-3p.
- Robson - 10/15 @ 11a-3p, 10/16 @ 11a-3p, 10/22 @ 11a-3p, 10/23 @ 11a-3p, 10/29 @ 11a-3p, 10/30 @ 11a-3p.
- Lansdowne - 10/16 @ 12-4p, 10/17* @ 12-4p, 10/18 @ 12-4p, 10/23 @ 4-8p, 10/25* @ 1-5p.
- Yorkville (samples only, no massage) - 10/16 @ 3-7p, 10/18 @ 12-4p, 10/23 @ 3-7p, 10/25 @ 12-4p, 10/30 @ 3-7p, 11/1 @ 12-4p.
- Square One Mississauga - 12-4p on 10/17, 10/18*, 10/24, 10/25*, 10/31, 11/1*.
- Oakville - 10/15 @ 3-7p, 10/16* @ 3-7p, 10/24 @ 12-4p, 10/25* @ 12-4p, 10/30 @ 3-7p, 10/31* @ 12-4p.
- Yonge and Sheppard - 10/16 @ 6-10p, 10/18* @ 2-6p, 10/23 @ 11a-4p, 10/25* @ 2-6p, 10/30 @ 11a-4p, 11/1* @ 2-6p.
- Unionville - 10/17 @ 12-4p, 10/18* @ 12-4p, 10/23 @ 3-7p, 10/24* @ 12-4p, 10/31 @ 12-4p, 11/1* @ 12-4p.
With the leaves changing and Fall in full-swing, parents everywhere are back to packing lunches and stocking snacks to keep their little ones fueled for school. But when it comes to providing a nutritious boost, not all options are created equal. Here are 4 tips to ensure a balanced, healthy, and tasty after school snack experience.
Your afternoon snacks should be:
1) Low in Sugar
It seems nearly every day we hear a new study detailing some new negative impact that sugar has on a person's long-term health. A recent review by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that sugar-sweetened beverages have been consistently linked to problems like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Beyond long-term health consequences of sugar intake, too much can also cause the dreaded "sugar crash," or as it's known by doctors, "Reactive Hypoglycemia." It's tough to do your homework when you're napping on the couch after a sugar-binge.
2) High in Protein
Providing snacks high in protein will help keep their tummies from rumbling. According to a 2015 report in Today's Dietitian Magazine, consuming snacks high in protein will do a better job satisfying a person's hunger than those with a lower protein content.
For the parents' sake, snacks shouldn't have to be a chore to prepare. For the kids, snacks should be packable and portable, ready for any adventure the day might bring.
While we'd all like our kids to reach for a stalk of raw celery as soon as they walk in the door, we know that providing a satisfying snack for young ones can often require a bit more in flavor department. Finding satisfying flavor while minding sugar content can be a challenge, but fortunately there are many great options to choose from, including our SimplyProtein Kids Bars and our regular SimplyProtein Bars.
As another holiday winds down, I am sitting at a cafe with a very large pot of tea. I am utterly wrecked, but thrilled to find myself with nothing but paper and pen to talk to, and blessed to have had this week away.
Why do I tell myself I will return from trips well-rested? I never have. Between airline delays, cramped trains, random lingering smells, paper thin walls, snoring neighbours, forgotten luggage, strange food and language barriers, relaxation was never a possibility. Compound that with the self-inflicted damage of long bike rides , too much cheese, too much champagne, and it makes for a tired, worn-out body.
Yet despite the physical fatigue, I feel as though I am restored and ready to take on new challenges, both in life and at work.
We have been discussing this distinction between rest and renewal a lot recently. Rest is what you do when you plop on the couch at the end of a long day, enjoying a glass of wine or a bath. It requires very little of you. Renewal on the other hand harder, but more rewarding. It gives back only as much as you put in. Good examples are yoga or painting or hikes in the woods. With renewal you drain your energy to zero in order to bounce back up to full. With only rest, you'll never fully operate at your maximum capacity.
This trip has not provided rest, in fact, quite the opposite. But I am certainly renewed.
Share with us: How do you renew? What activities help you recharge instead of relax?
These Spicy Black Bean Burgers are protein powerhouses, thanks to the SimplyProtein chips and black beans. The corn and "salsamole" topping add an extra layer of freshness, which contrasts nicely with the burgers' heartiness. The best part? They're vegan, gluten-free, and can be made in large batches in the oven, so everyone at the barbecue can enjoy these filling, meat-free burgers.
1 c. cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt + pepper, to taste
Spicy Black Bean Burgers:
2-1.16 oz. packages of Spicy Chili SimplyProtein chips
2-15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. cilantro
2 Tbsp. red onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and ribbed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. adobo chili powder (can sub regular chili powder)
1 ear corn, sliced off cob (or 1 c. corn, frozen then thawed)
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly mist with nonstick spray.
2. Combine salsamole ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Add chips to food processor, and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Remove crumbs to bowl and set aside.
4. Add 1 can black beans, cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno, salt, cumin, and chili powder to food processor. Process until thick paste forms, scraping down the sides as needed.
5. Add black bean mixture to large bowl with remaining can of black beans.
6. Stir in corn and crushed chips until mixture is fully combined.
7. Form mixture into 4 uniform patties and place on prepared baking sheet.
8. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip burgers, and bake for another 8 minutes.
9. Remove burgers from oven and let cool slightly. Serve on buns or over greens, and top with salsamole.