A fresh (and complete) take on plant protein – Food Business News

December 20, 2021 by No Comments

CHICAGO — After actor Stanley Tucci lost his sense of taste and smell following radiation treatment for oral cancer, he feared he would lose part of his heritage, having grown up in a traditional Southern Italian-American household outside New York City where everything revolved around food. Three years later, his sense of taste returned and he said it’s actually heightened. He is now focusing much of his energy on food, with a “foodie” television series based in Italy and a recently published memoir, aptly titled “Taste.”

Neither vegan nor vegetarian, Mr. Tucci is embracing the plant-based protein movement. The caveat, like for many other food enthusiasts, is he is incorporating more plant protein through whole foods and not through processed products formulated to look like hamburger or chicken nuggets.

Mr. Tucci does this in a spaghetti dish featuring a vegan ragu bolognese. Lentils are simmered in water until tender. After draining, the legumes are blended with chopped onions, carrots, celery and chunky tomato marinara and cooked until desired consistency.

Making it a complete protein

The challenge with lentils, like most plant proteins, is they are not complete proteins. This means they do not contain the nine essential amino acids in the ratio the body requires. While lentils contain a high amount of some essential amino acids, they lack methionine, as do most plant proteins. This makes methionine the limiting amino acid for lentils and why lentils are considered an incomplete source of protein.

For this dish to be a complete protein — something that should always be considered when formulating with plant proteins — it needs to contain other ingredients that have sufficient amounts of the limiting amino acid. Traditional semolina pasta is not a source of methionine; however, use of egg-based noodles along with the addition of some cheese should ensure the dish has a complete protein profile. If the dish must be vegan, then there are other specialty pastas that may be used. One of the best vegan sources of methionine is vital wheat gluten, which is only lacking in lysine.

Animal proteins are complete, as are quinoa, soy, most nuts and nutritional yeast. The latter is a deactivated yeast dried into a powder and commonly used as a flavoring in vegan meals, as it has a strong cheesy, nutty flavor profile and provides umami, a taste many plant-based foods lack.

To make a front-of-package claim, protein must be calculated as a complete protein. “Good” or “excellent” source of protein claims refer to the amount of complete protein in the product. This is 5 grams or 10 grams per serving for each respective claim. This is very important information for vegans …….

Source: https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/20220-a-fresh-and-complete-take-on-plant-protein

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