Now I have a tendency to be pretty flip when it comes to the protein question. People ask me (for the gazillionth time) where I get my protein and, depending on the day, rather than being a helpful vegetarian ambassador, I roll my eyes, drop my arms limply by my sides, toss my head back, and give a slack-jawed, monotone explanation about how there's protein in everything and it's really not an issue. (It's true, I can be a bit of a poop. I'm workin' on it.) HOWEVER, as I look at my sugar intake and my pattern of always reaching for fruit, bread, energy bars, sweet vegetables (carrots and beets) and chocolate when I'm hungry, I'm realizing I could stand to up the protein intake.
For the last couple of days I've been eating more beans, more tempeh, and putting hemp protein powder (as usual) in my smoothies. One of the strategies I use for making sure I can have a tasty meal ready without too much prep time, is by keeping a variety of pestos, hummus's, and spreads handy in the fridge. This cilantro pesto makes a great open-faced sandwich paired with Quick Smokey Tempeh, or in place of chimichurri sauce in this Avocado Wrap. I also like it on whole grain bread with sprouts and sautéed mushrooms.
If you're doing the challenge with us, take a moment to say hello in the comments and let us know how it's going!
|This is my hand holding cilantro to give you an idea of the size of my bunch :)|
1 Large Bunch Cilantro - washed, large stems removed
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
A few garlic cloves
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Approximately 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Place the sunflower seeds, garlic cloves, a big pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine.
- Add cilantro. With the motor running, pour oil through the food chute in a steady stream, and continue processing until desired consistency is reached. You may need more or less oil, depending on the amount of cilantro and your preferences.
- Taste and adjust for salt.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. To prevent oxidization, store with a thin layer of olive oil covering the surface. Tah dah!