So… I went vegetarian for a day.
To answer the two questions I know you’re secretly asking – 1) I did it simply to experiment with different foods and understand how they all taste, work together, and make me feel and 2) yes, it was hard.
In fact, I had to plan out my meals the night before. For breakfast, I knew I’d be having my protein shake that’s always made with almond milk, so that was easy. Then I had to figure out lunch and dinner. Hmmm.
My body needs a lot of nutrient-rich calories to support it with my high activity level. I workout almost everyday, and on the days I don’t workout, I make sure to get some sort of walk, swim, or any little bit of movement in. I didn’t want to workout the same day I ate vegetarian, since I wouldn’t be getting in as much protein. Still, I wanted to get as much protein as I could.
So, for lunch, I deemed edamame (soy beans) my best bet for the most protein. Keeping in mind their flavor (or lack of), I wanted to pair them with something that would bring balance without overpowering them or leaving my lunch completely flavor-less.
My mom used to make this edamame salad that had feta cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, cashews, and some olive oil and seasoning, but it required at least a day to make, so that was off the list. I analyzed what flavors made that salad so unique, and came to the conclusion that it was the pungent feta paired with the sweet dried cranberries. We didn’t have either of these on hand when lunch came around, but we did have about six little crates of strawberries taking up two shelves in our fridge and a huge bottle of balsamic vinegar.
Cook the edamame, slice the strawberries, drizzle on the balsamic, toast the pita…
And the rest is history. And lunch.
Makes 1 salad
¾ cup cooked edamame, shelled
5 sliced strawberries
1 cup mixed greens
1-2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper
1 whole-wheat pita bread
1. Add the mixed greens to a bowl and top them with the edamame and strawberries. Drizzle on the balsamic and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and crushed red pepper, if using).
2. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in a tupperware container.
* GF option - a gluten-free wrap or toast instead of the pita