Peas

If you are a vegetarian, one of the first questions people will ask is, “how do you get enough protein?” Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s truly not that hard. Most women need about 46 grams of protein per day and men need approximately 56, according to the CDC. Of course there are some exceptions, including pregnant women, but you can easily adjust your intake to meet your dietary requirements.

As you may have heard before, reducing our meat consumption can help prevent the effects of global warming. It can also help you save money on your grocery bill. Who wouldn’t want that?

Peas
This may surprise you but one cup of green peas contains a whopping 8 grams of protein. That’s equivalent to a cup of milk. Peas are best when purchased fresh or frozen; canned peas typically have heaps of added and unnecessary sodium. They can also be cooked in a variety of ways. Try them sauteed in vegetable broth, on top of salad, or in stir fry.

RECIPE: Linguine with Pea Pesto via Smitten Kitchen

Quinoa
This grain (though actually a seed) is what is known as a complete protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for repair. It also contains 8 grams of protein per cup, along with 223 calories, 39 grams of carbs, and 3.6 grams of fat. Quinoa cooks quickly and can be added to many dishes from chili to salad.

RECIPE: Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Peppers via Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth

Beans
Beans are a great source of protein and are available in many varieties. With black, pinto, kidney, and navy, to name a few — the preparation combinations are extensive. Kidney beans contain 26 grams of protein for two cups. Beans can be purchased dry and soaked overnight or purchased in cans (opt for low sodium to avoid extra salt intake). Try them in a salad, in a casserole or in soup.

RECIPE: Best-Ever Veggie Burgers via The Kitchn

Nut butters
If you ever needed an excuse to eat more peanut butter, this is eat. Peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons. Additionally, most almond butters clock in at 7 grams of protein for two tablespoons. You can make your own nut butter with a food processor and a bit of salt. When purchasing nut butters, make sure they contain only nuts and salt (no other ingredients are necessary to make this tasty spread).

RECIPE: Peanut Butter Satay Sloppy Joes via Crumb

Not only is eating less meat good for the planet, it’s also good for your health in general. Not ready to go cold turkey (pun intended)? You can join the meatless revolution by joining in on Meatless Monday, an initiative that aims to “improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.”

Share your favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes below!

Photo via Flickr