Plant-based protein powders – like pea, hemp, and rice – are most commonly used in shakes, or smoothies. But that’s not where what they’re best suited for. What they’re best suited for is food: delicious nutrition-rich healthy food.
Many people are sceptical about the idea of using protein powders in their cooking. This is because, in their minds, they see protein powder as a supplement, as the basis to a muscle-building shake. They don’t perceive protein powders as an ingredient.
In this article, however, I’d like to convince you that it is exactly what they are: an ingredient. A nutrition-dense ingredient derived from healthy food that you can and should incorporate in your meals and snacks to make, not shakes, but cakes. Pizza. Brownies. Doing so can will your diet more fun, satisfying, and healthier in the long-run too.
All plant-based protein powders are different when it comes to their taste, texture, and how they act/react in cooking. I personally love them all because, like flour, they each work best in the context of particular recipes. They all have something amazing going for them. Let me summarize:
PEA (my personal favorite!)
Pea protein tastes savoury and it smells like it too – salty, like a powdered vegetable. People who buy them expecting something like whey protein powder (a dairy-based powder that’s creamy and sweet) usually end up disappointed because, pea protein powder smells and tastes like... soup! As a result, it yields a uniquely-flavoured shake that a few people may like but I can tell you from personal experience, most won’t. You can, however, use pea protein powder to make pizza crusts! As well as delicious cakes, bars, and truffles. In addition to this, you can use pea protein powder to boost your veggie burgers. You can also add a bit to your veggie curry sauce to up its protein content as well as to any/all cheese sauces. You can even use pea protein powder to make a high-protein gluten-free béchamel!
o Pizza crusts
o Mug cakes
o Bars and truffles
o Vegan ‘cheese’ sauces
o Veggie Burgers
Rice protein powder tastes/feels gritty and grainy – a bit like you’d imagine powdered cement would feel like (texture-wise). Unflavoured too, it tastes sandy. It’s not creamy. However, when combined with pea protein and other ingredients, it can be a wonderful addition to things like pancakes in particular. It lends a wonderful ‘wholemealiness’ to pancakes and baked goods, just remember a little bit goes a long way!
Hemp protein tastes even stronger than pea and rice. You can’t mask its savoury taste easily. It tastes grassy, like… powdered tree? Unlike pea and rice though, hemp protein powder is rich in Omega fatty acids and has a bit of fiber going for it. That’s why some call it a ‘superfood’. Don’t let its strong taste keep you away though – combined with cocoa powder, hemp protein can be a wonderful ingredient to superpower you:
o Chocolate cake
o Mug Cakes
o Bars & truffles
I urge everyone to try plant-based protein powders in their snacks. To cook with it. To approach it as they do flour. To use it to make protein-rich sauces and meals. Veggie burger patties that have a similar protein content to that of meat. Plant-based protein powders provide a great solution to people’s desire to eat less meat while still maintaining their protein intake.