Vegetarian and vegan options are making a bigger statement on modern menus, specifically due to well-prepared non-meat options.
Plant-based options are appearing on club and resort menus more frequently. Robust vegetarian options require variety, however, as well as diverse flavors that will encourage members to go meat-free.
So, what are plant-based proteins? As the name suggests, these are foods high in protein and not derived from animal products. A long list of starches, nuts, legumes, and vegetables contain significant protein levels, as well as processed food like tofu, tempeh, and meat-like veggie burgers.
Over the past several decades, diners have become more open to ordering plant-based dishes. While some make the shift for environmental or animal-rights reasons, others are pulled in by health benefits and a diverse list of nutrients in these non-meat ingredients.
Here are some of the most common plant-based proteins seen on menus and in meat-free products today.
Nuts and Seeds
Whole grains and nuts are making their way onto club menus, especially for lighter breakfast and brunch dishes. Some popular ingredients include:
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy Seeds
- Peanuts (though these are technically legumes)
- Nut milks
Fruits and Vegetables
While the main dish may have looked empty without a main meat-based protein in the past, some high-protein fruits and vegetables are taking over the center of the plate. These may include:
- Brussels sprouts
Legumes are often the first thing to come to mind when considering vegetarian dishes with lots of protein. Despite their classic popularity, they are still a focal point of meat-free meals.
- Soy milk and soy-based cheeses
- Kidney, pinto, black, and lima beans
- Green beans
Grains and Starches
These protein-rich options often act as the base of a vegetarian or vegan dish and can tie a dish together, whether it features meat or other plant-based proteins.
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Wild rice
While this list is far from complete and doesn’t include any of the many new and innovative composed plant-based proteins produced by suppliers, it does reflect the wide range of plant-based ingredients for chefs seeking ingredients packed with filling proteins.