Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero

If worrying about not getting enough protein in your diet is the only thing holding you back from becoming vegan, Protein Ninja dispels that worry and provides over 100 protein rich recipes for you to choose from.

Terry Hope Romero has put together a book of recipes for every meal of the day, from breakfast, dinner, and dessert to snacks in between. Over 100 recipes in all, all providing satisfying protein, with gluten-free and soy-free options, too.

Protein Based Powders and Protein Additions

While not every recipe will contain a protein based flour, many do. These include hemp, rice, and pea-based protein powders, not enough to give an all out flavor to the dish but enough to boost the protein levels in the dish. Other ways she gets in protein in her Protein Ninja recipes is by using beans, seeds, nuts, seitan, and tempeh. Protein additions you may be familiar with, and others may be new to you.

Book Overview and Chapters

Part One is all about the basics. Romero goes into detail about the different protein powders in her book and tips on using them in recipes. She gives a great primer on cooking and freezing both beans and grains, and includes basic recipes for cooking beans, quinoa, and short-grain brown rice, all staples in any kitchen. Instead of purchasing seitan, try your hand at making it at home. She gives a detailed recipe on how to make your very own batch using vital wheat gluten flour which yields about 32 ounces. She also throws in her recipe for her My Best Coconut Bacon – yes, snackable bacon made with large, unsweetened coconut flakes.

The chapters begin with Smooth Bowls and Granola and finish with Sweet Treats. In between you’ll find Stealthy Protein Pancakes, Waffles, and Much Much More; The Protein Bakery Basket; Super Toast: Savory and Sweet; Protein-Packed Patties and Burgers; Better Than Ever Burger Bowls; and Grain and Noodle Bowls. She includes metric conversions and a complete index at the back.

Favorite Recipes

Yes, I have a few in this book. The first is Fluffy Rice Protein Drip Biscuits. I love biscuits, and pairing them with a simple vegetable stew is so yummy but pairing it with a protein-laced biscuit makes it so much more satisfying. Another one is the Black Bean Hemp Burger Bowl with Refried Corn Quinoa and Mango Chia Salsa. The refried corn quinoa is almost like a quinoa stir fry with cilantro, red bell peppers, roasted corn kernels, and smoked paprika.

The Button Up White Bean Gravy is a must try, and the recipe is below. She writes that this is a necessary breakfast or brunch staple, but I’d add that this dish is so comforting it would also make a great dinner meal, too. Serve as is over biscuits or as suggested in the picture with sautéed mushrooms and grilled or sautéed seitan or tempeh strips. Either way it will satisfy you anytime of the day.

Overall, a really great cookbook if you are wanting to increase your protein take. Recipes are easy to follow, and if you are familiar with any of her other books (Vegan Pie in the Sky, Vegan Eats World, Salad Samurai) you’ll know that the recipes are all delicious, too.

Button White Bean Gravy

Button Up White Bean Gravy
Yields 2
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Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 cup diced yellow onion
  3. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  4. 6 ounces white button mushrooms, roughly chopped (2 cups)
  5. 1 tablespoon tamari
  6. 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose or garbanzo bean flour
  7. 1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  8. 1 1/2 cups vegan vegetable broth
  9. 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  11. Salt (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the mushrooms, sprinkle with the tamari, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the mushrooms are tender but
  2. still juicy.
  3. Decrease the heat to low and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly, and appears to have grown in volume.
  1. The gravy can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it over low heat, stirring occasionally.
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Book Information:

From Protein Ninja: Power Through Your Day with 100 Hearty Plant-Based Recipes that Pack a Protein Punch by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own. Affiliate link and ease of purchase by Amazon.

Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse by Elina Fuhrman

 Spicy Quinoa and Vegetable Chili

Elina Fuhrman created Soupelina (soup + Elina, catchy!) from recipes she created at home in an effort to help her in her fight against an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her goal with her soup company is make the world a healthier place one soup at a time.

Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse book came out at the perfect time for me. I am currently undergoing chemo therapy for an aggressive form of breast cancer myself – something called triple negative breast cancer. The more research I do, the more I discover living a plant based diet is the key to beating it back, and to prevent cancer from recurring when I do beat it.

Fuhrman’s book is more than a recipe book as she goes into finding your dosha, folk remedies, equipment and ingredients, and how to fool your cravings. There are many interviews with doctors and experts in their fields, too. And if you are familiar with cleanses, she has tips for expert cleansers.

So, What Makes a Soup So Special?

It fills as it nourishes. Her soup cleansing diet provides energy, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, and keeps you full. Fuhrman details why soup cleanses are better than raw food smoothies which primarily rely on fruits. With cooked soups, you tend to eat more veggies. Your body absorbs minerals better, and cooking vegetables will make it easier for your body to digest them.

She believes that slowly simmered organic soups can both heal the body and mind, and help restore your immune system. And while she is a proponent of cooked soups, she does dedicate an entire chapter to raw soup recipes so that you are able to do a short one-day raw cleanse.

Menus and Recipes

The recipes are all divided by types of soups: smooth blended, chunky style, broths, and raw soups (not cooked). Because she has traveled the world as a journalist, she is keen on different cultures. Fuhrman brings out exotic culinary flavors in her recipes from her travels.

Included in the book are menus to help along the way: 5-Day Soup Cleanse, 24-Hour Reset Cleanse (using raw soup recipes), and a 3-Day Boost cleanse. The seasonal menus in the book go from Spring to Winter, and all have five meals (breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, midafternoon snack, and dinner – all soups). She even gives a list of favorite soup toppings so that each soup can be unique.

A quick flip through the recipes will tell you it’s not just an ordinary soup cookbook. All her recipes have fun names, and half the fun of preparing the recipes is reading the titles: Kale-ifornia Dreamin’; I Gotcha Kabocha Covered; A-Mung the Stars; What’s the Hurry, Melon Curry?; Lady MacBroth; and Macho Gazpacho.

This cookbook is an excellent group of recipes. The soups are all vegan, soy and nut free, and all call for organic, GMO- and gluten-free ingredients. So, even when you aren’t doing a soup cleanse, any of the recipes would incorporate well in your everyday menus.

My favorite recipe? The quinoa and vegetable chili that she cleverly names ‘It’s Chili and It’s Hot’.

It's Chili and It's Hot
Serves 6
More protein than a steak, this great-for-you chili contains quinoa giving this dish an impressive amount of B vitamins all packed into an incredibly tasty dish.
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  1. 1/2 cup red quinoa, soaked overnight
  2. 1/2 cup white quinoa, soaked overnight
  3. Extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 onion, chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  7. 1 medium size carrot, peeled and chopped
  8. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  9. 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  10. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  11. 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  12. 1 zucchini, chopped
  13. 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight and cooked
  14. 1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked
  15. 2 diced tomatoes with juice
  16. 1 cup freshly pressed tomato juice
  17. 1 tablespoon cumin
  18. Handful of fresh oregano leaves, or 1/2 tablespoon dried
  19. Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper
  20. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  21. 2 to 3 cups boiling filtered water
  22. Sliced avocado, fresh cilantro spirgs, and chopped onion, for garnish
  1. In a medium-size saucepan, boil 2 cups of water, add the quinoa, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini and cook until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add all the beans, tomatoes, and tomato juice, along with the cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Taste before slowly adding chili powder to your desired spiciness.
  5. Add the quinoa and boiling filtered water and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Keep stirring and adding spices and salt until you are happy with the taste.
  7. Garnish with avocado slices, cilantro, and onion.
Adapted from Soupelina's Soup Cleanse
Adapted from Soupelina's Soup Cleanse
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Book Info:

  • Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse by Elina Fuhrman
  • De Capo; 2016
  • ISBN13: 9780738218885
  • 265 pages; hardcover; color photos throughout.

Affiliate Link Below:

Recipe and image from Soupelina’s Soup Cleanse: Plant-Based Soups and Broths to Heal Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Transform Your Life by Elina Fuhrman. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Baby Lima Beans in a Bacon Red Wine Sauce

Frozen baby Lima beans are simmered in a sauce flavored with red wine, beef stock and vegetables and enhanced with a little bacon.

Sand and Succotash | Baby Lima Beans, Bacon Red Wine Sauce

If you are looking to increase your legume intake, here is a great recipe to try using Lima beans. Lima beans are a flavorful and nutritious legume, and found in many forms: frozen, dried, canned, or harvested fresh from the garden. When purchasing canned Lima beans, take a look at the label as they are often prepared and sold in a ham sauce. Lima beans go well with other vegetables, and like all legumes, can combine with grains, nuts, seeds, and even dairy products, to make a complete protein.

This recipe uses bacon to give them a slight smoky flavor. Make it meatless and omit the bacon, if desired. If going vegan for this dish, replace the green onions with yellow onions, and begin with 3/4 cup of them in the pan with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Lightly brown them slowly over medium heat before adding the carrots and celery. The onions will help give a natural sweetness to the dish that the bacon provided. Use vegetable stock in place of the beef stock.

This recipe makes about 6 servings as a side dish, or about 4 servings as a main dish, depending on serving size.

Baby Lima Beans in a Red Wine Sauce
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  1. 3 slices thick-cut style bacon, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  2. 1/2 cup diced carrot
  3. 1/2 cup diced celery
  4. 1/2 cup red wine
  5. 1/2 cup beef stock
  6. 1 1-lb. package of frozen baby Lima beans
  7. 5 green onions sliced, white parts only
  8. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  9. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  10. 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  11. Black pepper to taste
  1. Cook the chopped bacon in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan. Pour out all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat from the pan.
  2. Add the diced carrot and celery to pan. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp and light brown in color.
  3. Pour in the red wine and beef stock. Add in the Lima beans, green onion, and parsley. Sprinkle in the paprika and dry mustard, and add black pepper if using. Increase the temperature to medium high to bring the beans up to a boil, then reduce heat to bring the beans down to a soft simmer. Cover the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the beans are done to the desired tenderness.
  4. Serve warm.
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Cumin Black Bean Cakes with Peppers

Sand and Succotash | Cumin Black Bean Cakes with Peppers

Sand and Succotash | Cumin Black Bean Cakes with Peppers


The size of the black bean cakes will decide the serving portion.

This recipe can be divided easily into 12 equal cakes. Use an ice scream scoop to make the dividing an easy chore. While cumin and chili powder are used as the predominant spice here, adjust the seasoning to go with whatever meal they are being served with.

This recipe will make approximately 8 to 12 individual black bean cakes, depending on size.

Cumin Black Bean Cakes with Peppers
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For the mashed beans
  1. 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  2. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  3. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
For the cakes
  1. 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, separated
  2. 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  3. 1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
  4. 1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
  5. 3 garlic cloves
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  8. 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  1. Place the drained and rinsed black beans in a large mixing bowl. Mash using a potato masher or the back of a large wooden spoon until all the beans have been mashed. The consistency should not be a black bean puree, just mashed beans. Add the cumin, chili powder and mustard powder. Add in a sprinkle of salt to taste, if desired. Set aside.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, add in 1 1/2 tsp (1/2 Tbsp) canola oil over medium heat. Add in the onion, and the green and red bell peppers. Cook until the onions are translucent. Using a garlic press, squeeze in the garlic cloves and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Remove from the stovetop.
  3. Add the cooked vegetables to the mashed beans, and the egg and dried bread crumbs. Stir all the ingredients together.
  4. Divide the bean mixture into 12 equal portions, and form into cakes. Press each cake gently into the cornmeal to lightly coat both sides.
  5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add in the remaining 2 Tbsp canola oil. Place the bean cakes in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, to cook through and brown both sides. Serve immediately.
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Black Bean, Fresh Corn and Pepper Casserole

Sand and Succotash | Black Bean and Fresh Corn Casserole

Recipes for black bean and corn casseroles don’t have to be fattening to be great tasting. Here is a recipe for an easy and meatless casserole using fresh corn, canned black beans and diced red and yellow bell peppers. While canned fire roasted diced green chiles are used, fresh seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers or poblano chiles can be substituted for an extra spice and flavor. When adding the tomatoes, remember to not drain them as the tomatoes and their juices add to the moistness of the casserole.

This recipe will make 4 to 6 servings, depending on the serving size.

Black Bean, Fresh Corn and Pepper Casserole
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  1. 2 fresh sweet corn ears, corn cut off (or use 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
  2. 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  3. 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  4. 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  5. 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  6. 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  7. 1 4-oz. can fire roasted diced green chiles
  8. 6 corn tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter
  9. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  10. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Trim the ears of corn and with a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the corn cobs. There will be about a cup of corn. If using frozen corn, thaw before adding to the recipe.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir the red and yellow diced bell peppers, corn and yellow onions.
  3. Add in the drained and rinsed black beans. Do not drain the diced tomatoes; add in the diced tomatoes with the liquid. Stir in the diced green chiles. Mix until the corn and black bean mixture is well combined.
  4. In a 2 quart round casserole baking dish, add one third of the corn and bean mixture. Layer three corn tortillas on top. Add in another third of the corn and bean mixture over the top of the tortillas and using a spoon or spatula, make the surface even. Sprinkle the top with about half of the cheddar cheese. Layer with the final three corn tortillas, final third of the corn and bean mixture and sprinkle the top with final half of the cheddar cheese.
  5. Cover the top with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly.
  7. Remove from the oven. Place an amount of black bean and corn casserole onto each serving bowl. Divide the cilantro between the dishes and top each serving with some of the chopped cilantro right before serving.
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