High protein side dishes

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High-protein sides add that extra burst of nutrition to your meals -- especially in the summer when you may be eating lighter than usual. The protein in side dishes is generally lower in fat and calories than the main event and provides plenty of nutrients and fiber.

Couscous and black bean salad

Couscous is a pasta that cooks in minutes. It is a good substitute for rice or mashed potatoes because of its unique, fluffy consistency. In this dish it pairs with spicy peppers and onions to create a unique side dish with a kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups couscous, uncooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiling vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup red onion cut in a small dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut in a small dice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the couscous, cumin and salt with the boiling vegetable broth.
  2. Stir, cover and remove from heat.
  3. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until the broth is absorbed.
  4. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.
  5. Saute until soft.
  6. Add the garlic, olive oil, lime juice, beans, onion, peppers and cilantro to the couscous and mix well.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Thai quinoa salad

An unusual Thai-inspired salad with plenty of protein from the quinoa and peanut butter. Make this a main dish by adding grilled chicken breast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Bring broth to a boil and add the quinoa.
  2. Cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until all the water is absorbed.
  4. Put the peanut butter, coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and garlic in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding a bit of hot water if necessary.
  5. Mix the celery, jalapeno, carrot, cilantro and cucumber into the quinoa.
  6. Pour the dressing over the top and mix well.
  7. Serve immediately.

Southwestern baked bean medley

8 Servings

Smoky and sweet mesquite-flavored beans combine with corn to create a complete protein in this easy side dish. Pair it with smoky barbecue and a crisp salad for a dinner that the whole family will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion (Vidalia or 1014), chopped coarsely
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups diced potatoes, cooked
  • 1 (16 ounce) can Bush's Grillin' Beans Sweet Mesquite

Directions:

  1. Saute the onion and pepper in a little olive oil until tender but still crisp.
  2. Add the corn, potato and Bush's Grillin' Beans Sweet Mesquite.
  3. Heat through and serve.

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