LENT-ils: Protein alternatives for meatless Fridays

It’s Friday! And you know what that means during Lent? No meat. Which leaves you with meal options like pizza or pasta to eat … again. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good pizza, pasta or even veggie pasta after a long week, but as tasty as these meals can be, on their own they tend to lack one important nutrient—protein. Fish can be expensive, so what else has protein? Look no further than beans, lentils and other legumes. These plant-based protein sources are a great staple to turn to for the much-needed nutrient. 

Try one or more of these delicious protein alternatives for meatless Fridays:

Lentils

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Lentils come in an assortment of colors, the most popular being brown, green, and red. They're all pretty simple to prepare and are among the highest in protein of all the legumes.

Protein Nutrition: 18g/cup

Make it Friday

SOUP: Lentils, petite diced tomatoes, thyme, veggie broth

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TACOS: Lentils, RO*TEL®, cilantro, taco shells

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Great northern beans

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Along with cannelloni and navy beans, great northern beans are one of the most popular white beans. They have a slightly grainy texture and resemble the shape of large lima beans.

Protein Nutrition: 14g/cup

Make it Friday

SOUP: Great northern beans, kale, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce

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SIDE/MAIN: Great northern beans, petite diced tomatoes, garlic, pesto

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Kidney beans

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Although kidney beans are often eaten with meat, they also taste great in meatless dishes as the main source of protein. Cumin and lime are great flavors to add.

Protein Nutrition: 16g/cup

Make it Friday

CHILI: Kidney beans, yellow onion, chili seasoning mix, tomato sauce

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SIDE/MAIN: Kidney beans, RO*TEL, cumin, lime juice

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Pinto beans

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Pinto beans can be identified by their beige color with brown speckles. Once cooked, however, their color turns to a light pink. Pinto beans are very popular in Mexican dishes.

Protein Nutrition: 16g/cup

Make it Friday

SIDE/MAIN: Pinto beans, RO*TEL, cilantro, Mexican beer

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RICE AND BEANS: Pinto beans, red onion, garlic, aji amarillo paste

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Black beans

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Black beans are great in Latin American dishes and are very low in fat. They taste especially good when paired with the flavors in this sweet potato noodle dish.

Protein Nutrition: 15g/cup

Make it Friday

SIDE/MAIN: Black beans, RO*TEL, mint, pineapple tidbits

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SWEET POTATO NOODLES: Black beans, sweet potato, cumin, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce mixed with tomato sauce

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Chickpeas

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Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are full of hearty protein. And yes, this includes your favorite hummus. 

Protein Nutrition: 15g/cup

Make it Friday

SALAD: Chickpeas, diced tomatoes, basil, Italian dressing

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SKILLET WITH COD: Chickpeas, petite diced tomatoes, capers, spicy harissa

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Adzuki beans

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Adzuki beans originate from East Asia and are eaten most commonly as a paste after being boiled with sugar. This is a great bean to pair with sweet ingredients like mango chutney or cinnamon sugar.

Protein Nutrition: 17g/cup

Make it Friday

SIDE/MAIN DISH: Adzuki beans, RO*TEL, cilantro, mango chutney

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SIDE/MAIN DISH OR DESSERT: Adzuki beans, raisins, cinnamon sugar, peanut butter, milk

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Sources:

SELFNutritionData

USDA