Friday, June 3, 2011

Making the Protein Complete, Deliciously

Tonight I used up the last of the peperonata I made a few days ago, dishing it generously over some very soft, creamy polenta--a fabulous combination. I had been to the gym in the afternoon, and increased the weights, so I wanted to make sure I was giving my body a healthy dose of essential amino acids with which to build muscle.

Polenta is corn, so in order to form a complete protein, I needed to combine it either with a whole grain, which would have been way too heavy, or some beans. What I really wanted was a salad. I had some frozen edamame (fresh green soybeans), an avocado, a bunch of scallions, and not much else, except for a gorgeous selection of tender greens my wife harvested for the occasion from our bathtub garden.

As is often the case, a limited set of raw materials made the dish come to life spontaneously. By the time I had blanched and refreshed the edamame, it had all become clear what I would do. I still had on my mind the dressing I used on the salad I wrote about in a recent post, "Luscious Antioxidants," and it had worked very well, so I made more of it--this time at least double the amount, so my wife could take some to put on her salads at work. I used about a third of it to bind the edamame with the avocado, cut into similar-size dice, and the scallions, very thinly sliced . Then I dressed the greens with a little more of the dressing, made beds, and topped them with gobs of the edamame mixture. Mission accomplished. Salads have a wonderful way of making the body sing!

There are other ways to get a complete protein without combining--soy itself contains all nine essential amino acids, as do quinoa and buckwheat, for example. However, combining is a very easy formula: any legume with any whole grain will do it. We used to think--because we were told--that it was crucial to get a whole protein at every meal, but the latest information I have is that as long as we get enough protein, the individual amino acids can be eaten at different times during the day. I hope that's right, but I still have this complete protein fetish (old fixations die hard), so just in case, I'm careful to get 'em all, every time.

1 comment:

  1. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!✮ ¨*•.¸ . ❤