submitted by Jason C. Venckus CPT, HC
Nothing is more important to an athlete, body builder or fitness enthusiast than their recovery. Without proper recovery, the next workout or training session is likely to be more difficult. Rest and rehydration are extremely important in building up your energy stores and so is getting ample sleep (7-8 hours per night). Though some of us may struggle to find the time for proper rest and restoration; one thing that we can control is what we eat each day. Especially what we eat after an intense workout. Eating a high protein, plant-based recovery meal after your workout repairs your muscles and reduces cravings for quick carbohydrates; such as sugar, white flour and white rice.
Many people are unaware that a plant-based meal can actually be extremely high in quality protein and serve as an excellent post workout recovery meal. When we exercise we are creating tiny “micro” tears in each muscle. That pain you feel the next day are those micro-tears growing back together. Your muscles need water and certain nutrients to heal properly. Your body also needs carbohydrates and protein at a 2:1 ratio for the best possible recovery. This makes vegetables, beans and legumes the perfect food for a plant-based post workout recovery meal.
Perhaps the most perfect post workout recovery food by itself, is the lentil. Lentils are 70% carbohydrates, 27% protein and 3% fat. A bowl of lentils by themselves are a bit boring, but they are very easy to spice up. This simple high protein plant-based workout recovery meal is not only great for the athletes and fitness buffs in the family, but are a delicious and nutritious option for everyone, including the little ones!
Lentil Tacos with Crispy Kale + Salt-Free Taco Seasoning
Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, soy free
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
- 1 cup cooked lentils (any variety)
- 2 cups water
- ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ½ T coconut oil
- 2 T taco seasoning (recipe + ingredient list below- or use pre-made blend)
- Garlic powder (optional)
- 1 head of kale, torn into pieces
- 1 pinch salt, pepper and chili powder
- 4 medium corn tortillas
- 1 can vegetarian refried beans
- 1 8 oz bag of Daiya shredded cheese (any flavor)
- Make salt-free taco seasoning blend (recipe below)
- Chop onion
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep set pan
- Add onions, dry lentils and taco seasoning (recipe below) into pan
- Heat and stir until onion sweats
- Add water and bring to a boil – once boiling, cover and let simmer until water evaporates
- Cover and let lentil mixture sit
- Melt remaining coconut oil in a separate medium size pan, add torn kale piece, sprinkle with salt, pepper and taco seasoning or garlic powder
- Turn with salad tongs to coat evenly and cook until the kale shrinks (it will crisp up after cooking)
- Heat refried beans in microwave or on stove top – sprinkle with Daiya shredded cheese so melted
- Fill corn tortillas with lentil mixture and top with kale and refried beans (recipe below)
* Chef’s tip: If you are not a fan of kale, then add shredded lettuce, avocado, sliced peppers or any of your favorite taco toppings! Or add them all!
Salt-Free Taco Seasoning Recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: n/a
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon minced onion (dried)
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ freshly ground black pepper
- Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake to mix
This simple guacamole recipe goes GREAT with these tacos!
This recipe is simple and full of high quality protein and complex carbohydrates. Will you give it a try?
Jason C. Venckus is a certified health coach and personal trainer in Chicago. To learn more about Jason’s services and background visit him at GoProVeg.com.