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New to being veggie or semi-veggie? Coming up with new meal ideas can be tough! Here are some protein-rich salad ideas to keep things interesting.

Are you a newly-minted lacto-ovo vegetarian — or perhaps just someone who has committed to reducing their meat intake, whether for health reasons, to lose some weight, to save some money or to be more friendly to the environment? Finding satisfying and filling meals that are lacking in the protein department may be a bit of a struggle for you at first, and you may wonder how some people have made it (nearly) all their lives eating what those who don't like the idea of vegetarianism still often condescendingly call "rabbit food". Vegetarians, of course, eat so much more than salads alone! Good main-course salads, however, can titillate the taste buds and ultimately remind you just why not eating meat (so often) is so awesome. 

Are you bored of a diet that has become less varied than you'd like? These awesome salad ideas should add some excitement to your kitchen — and offer you a well-balanced lunch or dinner as well!

Rocket, Feta And Beet Salad

I absolutely love this refreshing salad, and think you will, too. You'll need:

  • Rocket — which offers plenty of vitamin A, C, and B6 as well as calcium and iron. 
  • Baby spinach — rich in folate, vitamin K, potassium, and even protein
  • Pickled beet — in which you'll find vitamin C, iron, and magnesium, among other things
  • Feta cheese — a great source of protein and vitamin B12
  • Roasted sunflower seeds — packed full of protein, magnesium, vitamin B6, and iron

Exact quantities are up to you and depend on how many people you're trying to feed. You want to start off by tossing the spinach and rocket together and adding a lovely mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar dressing with a generous dash of olive oil. Then, add your pickled beets, sliced up into small pieces, and diced bits of feta. The roasted sunflower seeds top it off, together with some coarse sea salt and pepper. If you're a real cheese lover, thinly sliced pieces of Parmesan cheese will complete the ensemble. 

Green Bean, Asparagus, And Fried Tofu Salad

Now, for something completely different! Here, you'll need:

  • Green beans — vitamin C, B6, and iron, as well as a bit of protein
  • Some baby spinach, the nutritional benefits of which we've already seen
  • Green asparagus — good for selenium, folate, selenium, B vitamins, and protein
  • Tofu — a main source of protein for veggies, as well as excellent for iron

You'll steam your green beans and asparagus while frying your tofu. I like mine best cut into thin and long strips, fried with just a little sesame oil, and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and rice vinegar. Be sure to add some garlic and ginger, and fry your tofu until it is pretty crispy. Add your green beans and asparagus onto a bed of baby spinach, in — if you like, which I do — a dressing of coconut milk and some finely chopped chilly peppers. Crown your creation with your crispy tofu, and enjoy! If you are extra hungry, some fried young potatoes are an excellent addition to this meal. 

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  • US Department of Agriculture
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