|♫ Kitchen ninjas eatin' on smoothie bowls. Laid back. ♫ ♪♪|
To use this book to its full potential, you'll need to stock up on several different kinds of protein powder. Besides the vanilla flavored Vega or Plant Fusion packets you undoubtedly have hiding in a dusty nook somewhere, you'll also need unflavored powderz in the varieties of hemp, pea, and brown rice, if you have the ca$h and kitchen real estate. If you don't, read on.
Since I'm down for PPA (Protein Powder Action©) in my smoothies and smoothie bowls, but not so much in my other meals, that's how I've explored this book. As my usual, I'm also always scopin' for gluten-freezers, and of course, my current affinity for natural sweeteners. Good news for me-- Protein Ninja has plenty for me to bust a grub on.
|PEANUT BUTTER STRAWBERRY BOWL!|
Vanilla protein powder, soymilk, frozen banana and strawberries, peanut butter, chia seeds, and vanilla. Topped with frozen strawberries, peanuts, and a PB powder and maple drizzle. Most ice-cream tasting nice cream of all time.
Here's what I cooked and munched--I aimed for picking things from different chapters. And for my own curiosity, I calculated how much protein I was eating using the My Fitness Pal app.
Peanut Butter Strawberry Bowl (Vanilla Almond Smoothie Bowl variation) --34 grams protein.
Holy shit, this made a gigantic bowl of smoothie power--I could only eat half in one sitting! This is the creamiest smoothie bowl I've ever had, and the protein powder was only noticeable, because the vanilla in mine tasted like Dandies. I always forget to add soymilk when I make these, and I was stoked on Terry's perfect ratios. Plus, this recipe has oodles of variations to try-- the Chai Bowl's next.
|TEMPEH APPLE SAGE SAUSAGE PATTIES BLUEBERRY PANCAKE SAMMY STYLE!|
Tempeh, apple, kidney beans, sage and other spices. Simple and delicious.
Terry obviously knows what's up, because tempeh + apple is one of my favorite things. I knew these would be good as soon as I saw the recipe, and then I felt pretty dumb for not coming up with something like this myself. Don't rat me out, but I may have added liquid smoke. Since these don't have a starch binder, they're pretty delicate, and thus perfect to eat in biscuits like the book recommends, or Kittee-style shoved between pancakes. They're also a great platform for experimenting with other bean and spice combos.
Cashew Hemp Goddess Dressing --.7 grams protein per tablespoon.
I fell in lust with the cashew curry dressing in Salad Samurai, so I was excited to taste another Terry-cashew-concoction. The additon of EFA oil was a boon, too, since I try to add that in whenever I can anyways. If you don't have a lot of creamy cashew based dressings in your repertoire, this is a good place to start. The Thousand Island variation sounds really great, but I'm out of pickles! :-<
|MODERN DAY MACRO BOWL (Kittee Soy Curl variation). |
This picture makes it like you were almost there with me and this tasty thing.
Sorry dudes, this bowl was too complicated for me to try to calcu-protein-ate--here's what's in here: aduki sesame brown rice, orange-ginger Soy Curls, tahini-miso sauce, steamed veggies, and raw veggies.
Even though this bowl contains many parts, it came together pretty quickly. Especially since I had everything I needed in the house. I also saved myself some time by Instant Potting aduki beans a couple of days ahead. I used Soy Curls instead of seitan, and I was very pleased. If anyone wants to try, I hydrated a couple handfuls in water, then squeezed out ALL the water and weighed them. Then I just followed Terry's method for the seitan, eazy peazy. This is a very earthy bowl, and I totes would not skip out on the miso-tahini sauce for the top, 'cuz it added a lot of flavor. I topped mine with raw shredded cabbage, steamed kale, and blanched bok choy, and the bok choy really made me happy. I need to remember to add that to more bowls in the future. Dazee ate this for dinner two times, with tongue wagging, which is an extremely good report.
|EDAMAME & PEA AVOCADO TOAST|
Calling this toast makes me laugh. I ate a delicious misnomer for breakfast.
This might contain avocado and look a lot like avo-toast, but it really is its own uniquely delicious thing. It's pretty fancy for me for breakfast, but it was pretty quick to make. In fact, by the time my toast was done (we don't have a toaster, so I used the oven), I had all the components complete and ready to go. We have this rillly great dedicated GF bakery in town called New Cascadia, so I used their seeded bread. Also, just for the sake of comparison, a tablespoon of my normal toast topping (peanut butter) only has 4 grams of protein. This wins.
There are two things about Protein Ninja I wish I could change: no nutritional analyses are given (it'd be nice to know how protein-strong the recipes are without getting My Fitness Pal involved). And second, the vast majority of flour based recipes have no gluten-free options, or even tips for converting them. That makes all of the brutish pancakes, waffles, biscuits, muffins, scones and flatbreads off-limits to me, and while I don't expect to be pandered to, it's still a bummer. That being said, I really marveled at how unique, creative and niche-y this book is, and I think it's pretty great that Terry was able to write a cookbook to match a vision she seemed to have.
OK! Here's Protein Ninja's chapter breakdown and my quick analysis:
Unstoppable Smoothie Bowls and Granola
This chapter was one of my favorites. The recipes all contain PPA, but are also all gluten-free. I'm so glad Terry uses natural sweeteners in Protein Ninja. I see recipes with coconut sugar, maple syrup and even an occassional date. Nothing too expensive, besides the powders.
Stealthy Protein Pancakes, Waffles and Much Much More
Besides the tempeh sausage patties, which I loved, this chapter was mostly a bust for me (see above). I'll probably go back and make the tempeh bacon and the Peanut Butter & Raspberry French Toast Sandwiches, because holy shit they sound good. But otherwise, I cried gluten deprived tears.
The Protein Bakery Basket
What I said up there ^. This entire chapter is wheat or spelt based flour concoctions with PPA. Stuff like scones, muffins, biscuits and flatbreads.
Super Toast: Savory and Sweet
Don't miss this chapter, my fellow deglutenies! Very cool GF toast toppings to be found, even if stoned editors don't agree.
Protein-Packed Patties and Burgers
Most of this chapter is gluten-free, but also has PPA. I didn't try any, because I couldn't find any unflavored pea protein in individual packets.
Better than Ever Burger Bowls
This chapter incorporates the patties and burgers from the previous chapter into really creative bowls. There are dressing recipes and sides not to be missed hiding in here.
Grain and Noodle Bowls
Another favorite chapter with oodles of gluten-free stuff, and lots of the recipes are based on legume proteins instead of PPA.
Terry focuses on healthier treats in Protein Ninja, so you'll find bean brownies here, along with cool sounding desserts like Frozen Avocado Pudding Protein Cheesecakes. This chapter also has lots of PPA and I'd guess almost half is GF.
|IF YOU SKIMMED THIS POST, YOU PROBABLY NEED MORE PROTEIN.|
Buy the book, support vegan authors.
- Title: Protein Ninja
- Author: Terry Hope Romero
- Blog: Vegan Latina
- Publisher: DaCapo Books
- Photos: Beautiful and colorful images by Vanessa K. Rees
- Focus: "Protein Ninja investigates sneaky ways to add planty proteins (hemp, brown rice, pea protein, beans, tofu, etc.) into everyday meals, snacks and treats."
- 6 Recipes to Intrigue: Peanut Butter and Raspberry French Toast Sandwiches, Ginger Lemon Cayenne Cold Blaster Bowl, Early Bird Scrambled Tofu, Baked Veggie Pan Omelet, White Bean & Cashew Ricotta Toast, and Korean Tofu Taco Salad.
- XGFXness: There's not an emphasis on gluten-free recipes, but if you look for them, you'll find a lot.
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I received a free review copy of Protein Ninja from DaCapo Books. No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the rad opinion posted here is my own.