This is the second part of a three part series on the integration of plant-based proteins into athletes’ diets. Just as diversification is an important element of effective triathlon training programs, the diversification of protein sources to include plant-based proteins in athletes’ diets is crucial for maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Chickpeas are versatile ingredients that provide an excellent substitute for non-vegetarian protein sources in comfort foods such as meatballs and hamburgers. The nutrient density of chickpeas, which are high in fiber and protein and low in fat, are gaining mainstream recognition as companies, such as New York City based startup Chic-A-Peas, are developing chickpea-based snacks as a healthier alternative to conventional snacks and energy products. To continue your integration of plant-based proteins in your training diet, my delicious recipe for Mediterranean Chickpea Balls is provided below.
Mediterranean Chickpea Balls are a vegan alternative for Mediterranean meatballs. The addition of wholegrain breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs combined with olive oil and a special Mediterranean spice blend result in dense chickpea balls with a similar consistency to meatballs. The accompanying tomato-based sauce provides a beautiful aroma, flavor, and visual appeal as the contrasting colors of the tomatoes, red onion, and peas, add bold colors to the dish.
As I mentioned in my previous article, vegan-based proteins are low in bad fats, contain zero cholesterol, are alkalizing foods, and contain many other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, and phytonutrients, which are not found in animal-based proteins.
Each serving of Mediterranean Chickpea Balls includes approximately 9 grams of protein and provides essential amino acids, healthy fats, among other benefits.
To learn more about Chic-A-Peas, visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/90585934/give-peas-a-chance-0?ref=live
Melissa Robbins teaches vegan and macrobiotic cooking classes in New York City. Melissa apprenticed with renowned macrobiotic chef and counselor, Melanie Waxman. Melissa graduated from Boston University with a degree in Biology. Outside of the kitchen, Melissa enjoys running, swimming, cycling, Yoga, and CitiBiking.
Mediterranean Chickpea Balls
Preparation time: 45 minutes (+30 min cooling time)
for the Chickpea Balls
for the sauce