If you're vegan, you know it can be tricky to get enough protein — no one wants to eat nuts or peanut butter all the time. But Terry Hope Romero's new book "Protein Ninja" proves sneaking protein into your meals isn't hard, it just takes a little creativity. Her book has over 100 plant-based recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks.
While her Tempeh Apple Sage Sausage Patties and Tomato Zucchini Dill Burgers sound delicious, it was the Pro Mac With Roasted Broc that caught our eye — this isn't your grandma's casserole. Made with butternut squash and vegan Dijon mustard, it's a flavorful, filling meal. Get the full recipe here:
Pro Mac With Roasted Broc
Excerpted from "Protein Ninja" with permission
Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
3/4 cup unroasted cashew pieces
10 ounces high-protein pasta shells, spirals, or elbows, such as quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta (for gluten-free mac)
Olive oil, for baking dish
2 cups vegan vegetable broth
1 cup butternut squash puree (see pro-tip)
1/2 cup pea protein powder
3 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon vegan Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bread Crumb topping
1. cups whole wheat or gluten-free bread crumbs
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Red pepper flakes
1. Cover the cashews with 2 inches of hot water and soak for about 20 minutes, until softened. Drain and discard the water.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but slightly undercook by 2 to 3 minutes so the pasta is very firm. Drain and rinse with plenty of cold water in a colander. Set over a sink to drain while preparing the rest of the recipe.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously oil a 7 x 11 x 2-inch baking dish. Also, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a blender, puree the drained cashews, vegetable broth, butternut puree, pea protein powder, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, turmeric, and salt.
4. In bowl, toss together the bread crumb topping ingredients, rubbing the crumbs together with your fingers to distribute the olive oil evenly. Sprinkle about a quarter of the crumbs onto the bottom of the baking dish.
5. In another bowl, stir together the drained cooked pasta and cashew sauce. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Spread the crumbs in an even layer over the casserole. Cover the casserole tightly with foil.
6. On the baking sheet or in a mixing bowl, toss together the broccoli ingredients, rubbing the broccoli with your fingers to distribute the oil and spices evenly. Spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
7. Bake the mac casserole on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil from the top of the casserole and also slide the broccoli pan onto the top rack. Occasionally stir the broccoli as it roasts.
8 Roast the broccoli for 20 minutes, or until tender and the tips are lightly browned. The casserole should be ready in about 15 minutes, or when the crumb topping is golden.
PRO-TIP: For this recipe, I prefer to steam peeled 1-inch chunks of butternut squash for 20 to 25 minutes until very tender. Once it’s done, puree it with an immersion blender or mash like crazy until very smooth. But really what I actually prefer most busy days is to buy frozen butternut puree (you can even find it organic!), thaw according to the package directions, and use that in this recipe for some seriously ridiculous convenience.