Roasted Butternut and Barley Salad
Did you know that the word protein is derived from the Greek word 'proteios' which means 'of first importance'? Its crucial in our every day meals because its our bodies' building block. All of our organs, including the skin, muscles, hair and nails are built from protein. Our immune system, digestive system and blood also rely on protein to work correctly. Its basically the crème de la crème of our diet because its vital to the development and correct functioning of the body.
For some reason, most people believe that meat is the primary source of protein. This misconception stems from how we have been raised because we are used to seeing meat on the plate; if there is no form of meat, the meal looks incomplete. The first time I came across the concept of being vegan or vegetarian a few years ago, I was surprised that people could opt to cancel out any meat products! I attempted both lifestyles because of the ample health benefits they offer but failed miserably because I didn't understand how to supplement my plant protein intake.
If you choose to drop meat from your diet, its important to note that animal products are the main source of complete protein. Our bodies naturally manufacture thirteen amino acids and we need twenty two to function at our best. This means that the nine remaining amino acids need to be supplemented from our diet; this is why they are called essential amino acids. Complete protein means that it has all the essential amino acids whereas incomplete protein means they lack in the essential amino acids.
So what does this all mean? All I am saying is that plants are an excellent source of protein but only if they are eaten in combinations that supply all the essential amino acids. Some of my friends who go vegetarian or vegan have given reviews of being dissatisfied after a meal or worse, feeling weak and low in energy because of failing to supplement well. If there are amino acids missing in a vegetable, it can be provided by eating grain products or another vegetable at the same meal or later that day. Since sharing is caring, here is a great recipe you can try if you are gradually cutting out meat and which has protein containing all essential amino acids.
What You'll Need
- ½ cup of butternut, roasted
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ cup of Barley
- 10 cherry tomatoes , slice in half
- 1 medium red onion , thin slices
- Handful of parsley , roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roasted & chopped
- 2 tsp of honey
- 50ml balsamic vinegar
- 4 sprigs of parsley, chopped
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 25 ml olive oil
- 1/8 cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 cup of flaxseed
Step 1: Chop the butternut into small cubes, sprinkle olive oil and salt & pepper, and toss in the oven for about 30 min at 180C.
Step 2: Place the barley into a small pot and filling it ¾ with cold water. Place it on medium heat and boil for 15-20 min. Drain and cool. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them up.
Step 2: To prepare dressing, whisk all the ingredients apart from the pumpkin and flax seeds. Drizzle the dressing onto the salad (you can add the dressing at this point)
Step 3: Serve the salad and sprinkle the seeds to top it off!
This salad is filled with enough protein because of combining butternut with leafy greens, super foods from the seeds (pumpkin & flax seeds) and barley which is a type of grain. The recipe can also serve two people, so share away!
Groceries: Zucchini Greengrocers Limited
Chief Online Editor: Loise Machira
Photography Credits: Brian Koome
Food Stytlist: Sharon Gatonye
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