This post may contain affiliate links. If you click & make a purchase, I may make a small commission. You will still get the same great price. Affiliate links help me offset the cost of maintaining this site. Thank you for supporting In Johnna’s Kitchen.
One of the ingredients I am asked about most often is protein powder. Today I’m going to share the protein powders I use and share with you why and how I use them.
I am asked often about protein powder for a couple of reasons. First, the question most asked of vegetarians is, “Where do you get your protein?” That question is often followed by, “I bet you use a lot of protein powder.” Second, protein powder is somehow associated with healthy eating. I’m perplexed by this, because many protein powders are less than healthy in my opinion. Packed with ingredients most of us don’t keep in our kitchens, loaded with artificial sweeteners or just too sweet in general. Some aren’t exceptionally high in protein. It’s a fascinating ingredient that comes with the immediate assumption it is healthy.
Most of the protein in my diet doesn’t come from protein powders, but I do keep two protein powders in my kitchen. I use them in some pretty unconventional ways, beyond the typical smoothie. I’m going to be sharing a few recipes using my favorite protein powders in upcoming days, so thought I would share my favorite with you!
My favorite protein powder is Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder. It is nothing other than pumpkin seeds with the fat removed. I’m not opposed to good fats (and pumpkin seeds contain good fat), but to make pumpkin seeds into a non-clumping powder, the fat is removed. The ingredient label on this protein powder is super simple: powdered pumpkin seeds. One ingredient, that’s it!
If you are a label reader, you might find this information handy: one and a half tablespoons of pumpkin seed protein powder has 55 calories and 9.5 grams of protein. You’ll also find a good boost of iron in this, about 20% of the RDA.
Beyond using this in smoothies, I sprinkle it on top of salads. The taste of Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder is nutty, simple, not sweet. I also use it in dressings and sauces. It acts as a bit of a thickener. And my favorite use: making protein truffles. If you are a fan of peanut butter balls or Buckeye candy, drop back by tomorrow for my recipe to make protein truffles with this powder.
If there is a drawback to this powder, it is color. Because of the chlorogenic acid in pumpkin seeds, recipes that are light in color may take on a bit of a green tinge. Fear not, the chlorogenic acid is a good thing! It’s an anti-oxidant and some sources report it helps reduce blood sugar levels.
The other protein powder in my pantry is Nutiva’s hemp protein. Like the Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder, the ingredient list is super simple: hemp seeds. Three tablespoons is 90 calories with 15 grams of protein. That serving size also provide 40% of the RDA of iron!
When I teach cooking classes and suggest using hemp seeds, hemp butter or hemp milk, there is always a bit of laughter, some snickering from the back of the room. Nope, I’m not smoking these and they don’t contain the feel-good chemicals in smoke-able marijuana. What most hemp products do contain is lots of easily digestible protein and nine essential amino acids. Much like pumpkin seed protein, Nutiva’s hemp protein powder is not sweet, is slightly nutty and rather mild in flavor. I don’t use hemp seed powder in dressings and sauces as I do with pumpkin seed protein, primarily because it is a bit more coarse in texture and very dark in color. I do use it in smoothies, protein truffles and hot cocoa. That’s right, I stir up big spoonful into a mug of hot cocoa.
There you have it, my two favorite protein powders. Simple, single ingredient and packed with protein our bodies can easily digest. Drop back by tomorrow when I share my Protein Truffle recipe. They are good for you and have super simple ingredients you’ll feel good about eating any time of the year!